The Top Five Reasons Why Blogging Increases Your Business

In today’s internet-led world, a blog can increase interest in your business on a daily basis. Forget about advertising or marketing (well, not entirely!), a well-presented and well-written blog can be your ultimate advertising department, without costing the earth.

Reducing the costs of advertising

Whichever way you look at it, creating and maintaining a blog is cheaper than splashing out on a costly advertising campaign. However you choose to go about starting, whoever you decide to use, there is no other package that is as cost effective as using a blogging service.

Enhancing communication capabilities

Probably one of the greatest advantages is its ability to reach thousands of people all over the world instantaneously. There is no other media currently in circulation, which can be as effectively accessed as a well built and well maintained blog. Newspapers and magazines are all bound by geographical locations, where as blog has the potential to reach anyone, anywhere in the world. By using effective tags and keywords, within seconds, you could be placed at the top of search engines across the globe.

A website can offer the same coverage, but it tends to lack the interaction that a blog can offer. A blog offers your client an informal, but direct, place to chat with your company in a real-time situation. You are also able to keep your clients updated with the latest company information and products, without making them feel that they are under any hard sale pressure to buy – an important factor that puts many people off approaching companies.

Improving research abilities

With a blog, potential clients are able to research your company and see the latest products you have to offer on a daily basis. There is nothing worse than looking for something and having to trawl through mounds of useless information. It is able to present information in an ordered and concise way, a valuable tool for any company.

Generating valuable and targeted feedback

Are you worried that you are not stocking the right merchandise or that you need to improve certain areas of your business? If you are, just ask! Within the blogging culture, feedback plays a huge role and this can be used to your company’s advantage. Whenever something comes up that you are unsure how to handle, turn to your blogs visitors. It is the one place where you will get an honest and swift response.

Enhancing your online reputation

Many companies have a big corporate personality that surrounds them. By creating a blog, this can be translated into a one-to-one, hands-on image. If you let your clients see how you regard their opinion, you will certainly start seeing the benefits. There is nothing that can hook a customer quicker than openness and honesty.

Blogging for your business is simple and cost efficient. It has the potential to build the reputation of your company on a global scale and is a fun and easy way to promote openness and trust between you and your customers.

What more could you want from an advertising department?

What are the other advantages of blogging for business? Let me know if you have any!

The Wider Picture Of Blogging

Running your own blogging business is not just about writing great posts and getting people to read them. It’s also a lot about hard work, time management and stress. I thought I’d give you some pointers in case you’re feeling a little wrung-out at the moment, keeping your fantastic blog running successfully!

With this in mind, here are some of my favorite stress-busting techniques, that can come in handy for us poor overworked bloggers…

Manage your time properly

When we run our own business, sometimes it can feel as if you have a never-ending list of things to do. No sooner do you get one job out of the way, than another three sneak on to the bottom of the list. If we’re not careful, we run the risk of becoming completely out of our depth and fire-fighting all hours of the day and evening just to keep our heads above water.

Managing your time is critical. Look at your things to do list and prioritize it well. Is it really so important that you comment on ten blogs this morning, or can you leave that until you’ve sorted out your affiliate program and answered all of your outstanding emails? By reassessing your list of tasks, the chances are you’ll be able to move things around and buy yourself some much-needed time.

Be kind to yourself

One of the main issues people who run their own business encounter is learning when to stop. In truth, there will never be an end to the things you can do to promote your business. Whether you are getting up early to network, optimizing your blog or polishing your products, you’ll know that there will never be enough hours in the day to do everything that is outstanding.

This is where being kind to yourself comes in. Have you noticed that most people go to work in the morning, do seven or eight hours, and then come home? They don’t lug their desk back home with them and carry on writing and working in to the small hours. Why should you? The whole point of being our own boss is surely to bring us some freedom. Don’t forget to enjoy yours! Whether you choose to have one afternoon off a week for doing nice stuff like walking, going out or simply snoozing, make sure you limit the time you spend working and remember to be a good parent, spouse or friend to the people around you!

Relax – It’s just a business!

Most of us forget to take things steady when we set up on our own. It’s really important to stand back sometimes and see just how much you’ve achieved. The chances are you have come a long, long way since you started out, and you need to take a moment to acknowledge that to yourself.
Remember that as long as you have enough cash to pay your bills, and enough time to spend with the people you care about, you’re doing well.

What is your experience of working for yourself – is it better or worse for you than the corporate world? What have you learned? Let me know your experiences!

Using Twitter To Promote Your Blog and Enhance Your Business

You can’t visit many blogs these days without seeing the Twitter logo and being invited to ‘Tweet’. Twitter is a micro-blogging tool which is becoming more and more widely-used and no longer seen as just a bunch of people “writing about what they had for dinner” (I had a salad by the way…). Here are a few ideas on how Twitter is beneficial for you or your business:

As a research tool:

It allows you insight into an amazing community of people from around the world to find out what they are thinking, feeling and experiencing in different ways. In a sense, Twitter has become a news service where you’ll quickly find if there is a breaking story somewhere in the world, by watching it. It is getting more popular because it’s very quick and easy to use. A wide variety of people use it because of the character limit of the messages, which keeps communications brief, convenient and productive.

For collaboration and networking:

Ongoing interaction is helpful for your business, in a number of different ways. It can support you to generate new ideas, or get you in front of potential new customers or collaborators. For your existing customers, it can inspire confidence and let people know what you are up to, encouraging them to stay in touch. It can also create significant relationship opportunities which are useful both now, and longer term.

To direct traffic:

Twitter is all about encouraging people to stay in touch! If your Twitter page is not driving direct traffic to your blog, then it’s not doing its job properly. There are many ways to drive direct traffic to your own website, from your page. You need to use these key benefits by posting regular, informative ‘Tweets’ to your followers to keep things lively and interesting.

As a marketing tool:

For marketers who use it, this is a great way to reach out to a different demographic. For those who are not able to commit to regular blogging, particularly due to time restraints, it could be the answer for social marketing. Using it is an interesting exercise for companies, to try communicating their own announcements.

To reinforce your brand:

You can use it to expand your brand or to show a different side of you. Some people inject humor into Twittering that you don’t see on blogs. There’s also something a little more personal about many of the people on it, letting you see the ‘real’ person behind the business image.

To promote content:

Twitter can potentially drive traffic and promote content to your primary sales site. It offers a tool called ‘Twitter Feed’ which will take the titles and URLs from blog feeds and publish it on your account. This is a great way to promote your content, without you having to lift a finger.

To enhance SEO:

You can increase the popularity of your profile page with the help of some tricks. Find people’s Twitter pages which rank highly. For Example, ‘Brent D. Payne’ is a popular user who has a 7 page ranking and 21,720 followers to his profile. If you can link to a well-visited profile page, your profile will get popular and ranked in return.

For easy updates:

Now you can use your cell phone to post updates! This will help you to keep up with fresh and related content from anywhere, any time. You can very easily post text from your cell phone as Twitter allows 140 characters for one post. Updating your profile page frequently will bring people back to find what you are posting.

To assess your audience:

Through Twitter, you can get the sense of what people think about a subject, which is a very positive way of making sure you post well. It helps you to know people better, and supports you to keep updated on the thoughts of your potential readers and their requirements, and then cater for them.
All in all, it’s a convenient, fun and simple tool to use which holds a number of benefits over conventional tools. If you’re not Tweeting already, perhaps it’s time to sign up?

There are may other benefits, what are your favorites?

Blogging For Small Businesses – What Should We Write About?

OK. You’ve set your blog up. You understand that it’s a great tool for telling people about your business. You’re on board with the technical side of things and know how to maintain your new site.

There’s another problem. What the heck do you write about? How do you know what your customers are looking for, and what subjects will bring people back again and again to your site? Here are my thoughts:

Write about what you know
You set up your blog for a reason – to share your expertise and knowledge with other people. Therefore, it makes sense to stick to subjects you are really familiar with. A gardening blog isn’t going to have articles about cooking, and a technical blog isn’t going to be discussing the intricacies of crochet skills. Your main aim is to enhance your customer proposition by speaking knowledgeably about subjects related to your business, so do that. If the thought of writing about a particular subject terrifies you, the chances are it’s not the right subject in the first place!

Bring in current research and ideas

Every industry is constantly evolving, as people discover new tools, processes and innovations to improve it. Regardless of whether you are blogging about networking or needlework, there are going to be resources online that cover the front line when it comes to your particular subjects. Do some careful online research to find out the lowdown on your industry specialism, and keep your readers updated with news and new ideas.

Ask your customers
The best way to find out the kind of thing your readers want to see on your blog is to ask them! Why not elicit feedback from your existing users, and get ideas from people you network with? This has a double purpose, as it also lets people know about your blog, and invites people to take an active interest in it.

Let your hits do the talking
Some days we get loads of comments and views on our blogs, and other days it can feel as if your writing has disappeared in a puff of smoke. Get to know what works and what doesn’t for your entries. If an entry on knitting generates four thousand views, and an update on casseroles gives you one, you’re not going to blog about Hotpot, right? Work out the right topics to please your readers… and stick to them.

Look at other successful blogs for ideas
We all have ‘favorite’ blogs that we log in to religiously each day to get updates, learn something new or keep in touch with some of the great writers out there. Take a look at some of the most successful blogs on the web at the moment, and work out what they may have, that you don’t. That way, you can learn from the experts, and have fun finding new blogs at the same time!

Take inspiration from your day-to-day experiences
Every day, something will happen to you in your job or at home that can be thought about, and put to good use. Whether you are writing for other small businesses or the general public, your experiences can be really valuable to blog about. We like to hear about what other people have been up to, and there are very few events that can’t be turned in to a great story for your blog, and be used to promote your business.

What do you reckon? Let me know the kind of things you think small businesses should focus on when writing their blog updates…