This blog post originally appeared at FastCompany.com where Rich Brooks is an Expert Blogger.
A blog won't help your business. Just like that StairMaster gathering dust in your basement won't make you thin. Or a hammer won't help you build those shelves if you don't pick it up.
A blog is just a tool, and it can't help you build your business. Seems obvious, right? And yet we see so many businesses that set up a blog but don't commit the resources to make it work for them.
Blogging–actually using your blog–can help your business, and blogging effectively will absolutely help your business by:
- increasing your online visibility,
- improving your search engine ranking,
- establishing your expertise and
- warming online lead generation.
To start blogging, you need to commit resources. I would recommend 2 – 3 posts per week for 6 months. You can keep posts short–we're addicted to “short form content.” A few hundred words is great. As far as blogging goes, you can blog yourself, delegate it to someone else in the office, hire a copywriter, or some combination of the three.
When you start blogging it can be difficult, but you need to keep with it, and strengthen those “blogging muscles.” After a while, knocking out another keyword-rich blog post will be second nature, something you can do while watching the ball game, or after the kids are asleep, or taken care of during the work day.
To start blogging effectively, you need to blog to answer the questions your customers have, and address the pain points of your prospects. Ideas for blog posts can include:
- FAQs, often in the form of Dear Abby questions. Remember, if one prospect or client had that question, probably hundreds or thousands of other people had the same question and asked it of Google. Your blog posts that address these questions can rank well for these specific questions.
- Top 10 lists. People love numbered lists; it speaks to our overly complicated lives and our need for you to cut to the chase. I may not have time to understand the nuances of saving for retirement, but if you have the top 10 (or 101) tips for saving for retirement, well, I've got time for that.
- News items. If a news item affects your target audience, grab a paragraph or two of the article, put it in your blog (with attribution and a link) alone with your own .02. In ten minutes you've got your blog done for the day.
- Creative process. If you have a creative product, whether it's furniture, jewelry or flower arrangement, share the creative process with your audience. People will pay a premium if they can tell a story about your product, whether they're giving a gift to their spouse or showing off their new dining room set.
There are of course dozens of other blog post types, and if you have one that works for you, please share it here.
Now dust off that blog and start working those blogging muscles!
Photo credit: Justin Baeder.