I’ve been blogging in one form or another for quite some time. I’ve blogged everything from R. Kelly album reviews on my crappy little hobby blog to ninjabread cookie recipes on my besties’ vegan blog. Respectable businesses have even paid me to write blog posts on topics such as What to Do in Hawaii, How to Make Stovetop Popcorn, How to Feed Vegetarians in Your Office, Stock Plan Administration, and many more.
I love blogging because it gives a writer almost instant gratification in the form of likes, shares, comments and reactions. It’s kind of a narcissistic exercise, but it’s beneficial in many other ways.
Just the other day I was at a meeting with a potential client and he said he really enjoyed recent blog post of mine (10 Ways to Sell Something with Words aka Vancouver’s 10 Best Beet Salads). Of course, I was flattered, but it also reinforced the fact that blogging is not a waste of time, especially when it’s done with a few best practices in mind.
You’ve probably been told by numerous people that you should blog to increase business. Some people call it ‘content marketing’. Perhaps you’ve met these suggestions with eye rolls and are petrified at the prospect of having to write regularly, and well. Before you dismiss the idea, here are some more reasons to give it a shot.
1.) Blogging allows you to demonstrate your knowledge of, and passion for, your business or area of interest
2.) Google and other search engines like blogs because they add fresh, relevant, keyword-rich content to your website, encouraging them to send more traffic your way
3.) Blogging offers an opportunity for you to connect with your customers and community on a personal level
4.) Blogging makes you a better writer – good writers write everyday!
5.) Blogging forces you to continuously learn and grow, through searching out new topics to research and write about
6.) Blogging is information sharing, and people love to share online, driving more traffic to your website
7.) You can do lots of cool things on your blog, like post videos and even run contests that drive more traffic to your website
8.) You can repurpose your blog content into weekly or monthly newsletters for subscribers
9.) If your blog gets popular, you might even get a media pass to prestigious events or the opportunity to sell advertising on your blog if your traffic numbers add up
Essentially, blogging helps drive more traffic to you and your business, whether it’s a search engine that recognizes you as a relevant source for your industry, or people seeing your posts shared in their Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn streams. Best of all, blogging is an affordable marketing tool.
Tips for Awesome Blogging
Get organized. At the beginning of this year, I decided that I would post on this blog twice a week (Tuesdays and Thursdays), and that I would plan my topics ahead of time. Whenever I have a few ideas in the bank, I add them to my calendar as my blogging schedule, then I work on the posts whenever I get a block of spare time.
Stuck for topics? I’ll never forget this one tip I received when I attended Freelance Camp and sat in on Bosco Anthony and Owen Clark’s blogging talk: write down a list of questions your customers have recently asked you, then create a blog post for each one. That way, you’re delivering in-demand, relevant content to your readers.
Not a writer? Perhaps you are extremely knowledgeable on a certain topic, but you aren’t the best writer. Get a friend or pro who’s gifted in the textual arts to read over your posts, check for errors and provide feedback before you post. And don’t forget that handy spellcheck function.
Don’t forget SEO. With plug-ins like All in One SEO Pack, and Yoast (thanks for the heads up Kelly!), you can optimize each of your blog posts for a little extra search engine lovin’. All you have to do is plug in the keywords in your meta tags and strategically within your content. It’s a lot easier than it sounds. (For more tips on this: check out my post How I Got to Page One of Google in Three Simple Steps).
Make it readable. Don’t just spew out huge blocks of text – make your blog easy and enjoyable to read by breaking it up into scannable sections with neatly organized sub-headings. Studies have shown people tend to shy away from lengthy uninterrupted manifestos.
Guest blog. To drive more traffic to your blog from other communities outside your social media reach, you can ask other bloggers you know (even ones you don’t) if you can do a guest post on their blogs. You can also ask them to post on your blog and return the favour. Just be sure that their topic relates somehow to your industry, and vice versa. This also creates relevant links to your site, which search engines also recognize.
Now get blogging! And if you have any questions, I’m always here to help.