Okay, I was obviously kidding about that last thing. But blogging really does drive traffic to your website and boost your credibility with potential and actual clients. Plus, some other really good stuff that I’ll tell you about in a sec.
If you are a skeptic about blogging, join the club.
Before I decided to become a copywriter, I had always thought of blogging as just a hobby. It’s something that I picture dudes, who are really into videogames and still living in their moms’ basements (not that there’s anything wrong with that), doing with their free time. To be fair, most of these guys (and gals!) do more vlogging than blogging these days.
It’s true that during the early growth period of the blogosphere, hobby blogging was quite popular. Since those early days, though, blogging has evolved into a professional mainstay. Today, if your business doesn’t have a blog, you are in the minority—more of a requirement than an option for big and small businesses alike. And for good reason.
Blogging? Huh, yeah. What is it good for?
So many things!
Just take a look at the following list:
- Blog posts drive traffic
When you think about marketing and sales, blogging is probably not the first thing that pops into your head. Still, it makes sense to think of blog posts as indirect marketing. Publishing a new blog post gives you something interesting to post to social media and to mention in a newsletter. And the more relevant, high quality content you deliver, the more likely people are to share your content with others. Since SEO is all about having high quality content shared all over the place, blogging is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to get those pesky Google bots to push your website higher on the search results page, which means more traffic for your website.
- Blogs are natural selling tools.
While browsing the Internet, we automatically sort content into ads and non-ads (How long did it take your brain to start skipping past the ads in your newsfeed on Facebook?) The beauty of blogs is that they allow you to combine the two. Really excellent blogs are valuable because they are mostly entertaining or educational and if you give people a fun experience, they won’t mind so much when you casually mention that you also happen to sell something they are probably interested in purchasing (This is the approach I take to all of my blog posts. See, for example, this post I wrote on helping your elderly loved ones live independently). Also, keep in mind that a big part of selling includes educating people about the value of what you do. So actually blogs are a natural selling tool.
If you are concerned about bugging people, think about why we avoid most ads and what makes them truly annoying: they get in our way when we are trying to do other things; they force themselves into our space; and they are one-dimensional, meaning that the whole point is to benefit the business without regard to whether you could actually benefit from making the purchase. The big difference between regular ads and professional blogs is that the information provided is useful to the reader independent of whether she ends up buying your product or services. It’s more of an invitation to buy than a demand. How refreshing is that?
- Blog posts give you a chance to showcase your best work
It might seem that blogging makes sense for someone like me, who is making a living selling words. Blog posts give me a chance to show off my amazing writing skills. Blogging is absolutely essential for my business. But let’s say you own a clothing boutique, how might you use a blog to showcase your skills? It just takes some imagination to realize that you have valuable advice to share. How about a post on how to properly care for your favorite vintage clothing pieces? Or on the advantages of buying clothing from your local ‘brick and mortar’ retailers rather than shopping online? Also, blogs are especially great for visually driven businesses. Take some photos of your shop, your staff, your favorite products, and YOURSELF and write some lovely copy to go with the photos.
- Blog posts show credibility
Another great reason to write blog posts that educate others or offer free advice is that when people read your words, they will see how much you care about your work. Since you are still reading this article, I know you are passionate about finding new ways to build your business and that passion will overflow into whatever you write about your business. Keep in mind that you never know who might be reading your blog and telling others about it.
Incidentally, this is part of the reason I think hiring certain types of freelancers is a terrible idea. When I write copy for you, I interview you and get to know what makes you tick. I want to help increase your credibility, so I know generic copy is a waste of your time and money. The best copy needs to be genuine. It needs to paint a picture of what motivates you and what occupies your mind each morning when you wake up and decide to make your way toward your first cup of coffee.
- Blog posts enhance the story of who you are and what you care about
Of course, much of the above applies to all of the content on your website. But blog posts give you a special space to really fill out your story and the story of how your business is unfolding in as much detail as you are comfortable with. Keeping a regularly updated blog gives your clients another opportunity to get to know you and your business. So, don’t be afraid to let your personality shine.
I like to think of blogs as the pulse of a website. When I find a website that has a regularly updated blog, I am more confident that the business is alive and well. When I see the opposite, it’s one clue that a business is operating in a state of overwhelm. All of this means, you should set aside time to put some effort into your blog posts. Dust off that journalism degree and let the creativity flow. Don’t have the time to spare (or a journalism degree)? Why not find a professional writer (like me) to help?
I can’t promise that blogging will get you that body you’ve always wanted, but I can promise that making a commitment to blog regularly is a big step toward getting you the business you’ve always wanted.
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