In recent years, utilising a blog for business purposes has grown in popularity massively. Organisations have come to realise just how beneficial it can be and this realisation has only grown in its intensity over the last few months.
The problem is, as more businesses realise how important blogging is, the more mistakes are being made – and this is mainly due to a lack of understanding of what works, what doesn’t and what is expected from consumers.
Therefore, while there’s a lot that needs to be taken on board, there are three steps every small business can follow to instantly improve the success of their blog.
1. Use it as an engagement resource, not a sales tool
One of the most common reasons why business blogs fail is because they have the wrong focus – they should always, always, always be focused first and foremost on engaging with your target audience.
There’s no doubt that a business can impact positively on a variety of business processes, including sales, but if the focus is on such business processes and not reader engagement, your small business’s blog is almost guaranteed to fail.
The reason behind this is simple. As consumers, we want to be able to find out as much information about a product or service as we possibly can before we decide to buy it. We want to essentially ‘window shop’ online, perusing a range of different websites and blogs, gathering information about the things we’re looking for to allow us to make an informed decision. Yes, we need to be sold to to a certain extent, but if your business blog provides information that is nothing more than elaborate sales copy, you’re just going to put customers off as you’re taking away their ability to learn about your products or services and subsequently make an informed purchasing decision.
2. Always write for your audience, not Google
A lot of businesses have seen some fantastic SEO results by blogging regularly. They write with their audience in mind, but by incorporating some keywords strategically into their copy, they are able to raise the positioning of their blog and / or website for those keywords in the search engines.
A fantastic by-product of blogging, it’s important to understand that it really is only a by-product – focus on it too intently and you’ll actually find your blog is less of a success.
As a search engine, Google is much more intelligent than most truly understand and it really can tell the difference between content that’s been written with the user in mind and content that’s been written with a strong search engine focus.
The over-ruling fact is Google wants you to write content for your audience, so why go against this?
3. It’s not just about the content
Your blog’s content is paramount to its success, but you’re unlikely to see any major achievements if you simply publish content regularly. Yes, you’re likely to see continually improving search engine rankings, but blogs have so much more potential that you need to be able to make the most of them.
You need clear Calls To Action that are going to entice readers to interact with you. Links through to your products or services to ensure readers can find out more specific details about them after reading your content is a great example.
Social media sharing buttons, too. They might sound obvious, but you’ll be surprised at how many businesses are confused as to why their content is getting shared, yet they don’t offer any easy way for this to happen as they have no Twitter or Facebook buttons, for instance, on their blog.
A properly developed and utilised blog can enhance your small business’s online presence massively. Impacting positively on everything from customer service through to sales, it requires more strategising than most first realise, but a great blog really can be a fantastic asset for any small business.
Note: This post was originally featured on October 30, 2012.