Blogging

Your website is the “foyer” to your business. Your blog is the “family room”.  It says, “Come in and get to know me.”

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Lately I’ve been asked to speak to many groups about blogging.   And I love it!  I believe that if you’re an independent business owner with a website, that’s not enough.  You need to have a blog too.  But I also believe that a blog is not for everybody.

Your blog is a platform for potential clients to get to know you in an easy and risk-free way.  It’s the “Free Trial Offer” that will help them to decide whether or not to do business with you.

For me personally, I have been told over and over by clients and people who have hired me to speak at their organization that “I hired you because I liked what you said in your blog.” My blog helped them to understand HOW I could help them, WHAT info I could teach them, what VALUE I added to them, and if I was WORTH the investment.

A well-written, timely, interesting, and info-packed blog builds your credibility, brands you as an expert, makes you valuable.  It can take your business from a commodity to a category of one.

So if you don’t have a blog, I highly recommend you try it out, but if you already have a blog and you’re struggling because no one reads it, here’s some ideas that will help you attract new readers and eventually turn them into customers.

1. Tell a Story. This is probably the most important tip here, and to be honest, this is where I struggle the most.  Blogs are the one place where you can IGNORE your English teacher and write in the first person using ample incidences of “I”, “me” and “my.”  You want to write as if you are writing a letter to your best friend, telling how you feel, what you think, what is working and not working.  Stories pull in our emotions and get our attention.  Stories build relationships; and stories teach.

2. Catchy Titles. Every story needs to have a catchy TITLE so the reader knows what it is that he’s reading about.  The added bonus is that the catchy title is also very search engine friendly.  If someone is “googling” about your topic, chances are very good they will find you if you use a catch title with your topic (keyword) in the headline.  People also love titles such as “7 Easy Ways..” or “How to…”

3. Easy to Read. Some of the most popular blogs in the world consist mostly of photos such as Pioneer Woman.com, Boingo, Boingo, and Mental Floss.com.  Catchy titles, photos, and limited text make these blogs easy and fun to read.

4. Be Succinct. Short posts are more likely to be read than long ones.  500 words is seriously way too long.   If you have a particularly long post, break it into “Part I”, “Part II” etc, and post on different days.

5. Use Social Bookmarking.   After you write a post, post it to social bookmarking sites like Digg.com. Reddit.com, and Stumbleupon.com which suggest content based on subscriber’s interests.  Every time I post to Stumbleupon.com my blog gets over 100 hits in just minutes.   I still don’t understand how it works, but it makes me feel like a rockstar!

6. Get Connected.  Along those lines, make sure you are connected on Twitter and Facebook. Many  of these sites allow you to connect your blog to a feed, automatically posting your content on the site whenever it is updated!

7. Write often and keep it current. This is the hard part.  It’s better to not have a blog, than to have a blog that’s not current.  An old blog tells people that you’re out of business, or that you don’t care.    Plus, the more often you write, the more traffic you will have.

Keep a running list of great headlines, article ideas, and reader questions so that you always have content to write about.    You don’t even have to write the posts yourself.  You can hire it out, or find syndicated content on websites such as ezinearticles.com. Just make sure you have permission to repost.

Having a blog isn’t for everyone.  So if you have a blog and you’re not keeping it current, take it down, or leave the blogging to someone else.

Wendy Kenney is the author of the upcoming book “Garage Band Marketing: Creative Marketing Strategies for Independent Business Owners.” She is also the Founder of 23 Kazoos, a creative marketing agency that specializes in helping business owners build buzz through social media marketing and creative marketing strategies.

To hire Wendy to speak to your association, business, or group about marketing  or social media, contact her at 480-389-5219, or you may email Wendy at buzz@23kazoos.com.

Note:  For more tips on Blogging check out:  Blogging 101, by Mack Collier;