How blogging can be a vital tool in your marketing kit

BusinessZone
Dan Martin
Former editor
BusinessZone.co.uk
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Thousands of small businesses are doing it but they are not all being heard. What is successful blogging and how do you achieve it? Yell’s content partner manager Jemma Tipping explains the value of blogging and gives practical advice to help small business owners make blogging work for them.  
Can any business blog or is it only relevant to certain business sectors?
Blogging appears to naturally lend its hand to certain sectors of business, like professional services for example, however any business can blog – and believe me they do! You may not expect Joe the plumber to be regularly logging on to his computer to let the blogosphere know about his business and his working day, but small businesses are having to become savvier during the current tough economic times.
Yell.com's blogs cover everything from building trades, plumbing and gardening to solicitors, health and motoring. The internet provides a forum for instant communication – something which small businesses can utilise in their favour through blogging and in turn communicating with their customers – both existing and potential.
Give me three good reasons why small business owners should blog?
  • It can help to drive traffic to your own website, through engaging writing and clever link-backs.
  • You can improve the search engine optimisation of your own website. Editorial content is regarded highly by search engines and will help your site to appear in organic listings without having to pay.
  • It can help you reach new customers that might not have known about your business otherwise.
How can blogging directly add value to my business?
A blog makes sure your business is as visible as possible to potential customers. It also allows you to communicate the message of your choice to both your existing customers and potential new customers.
As you can choose the content of your blog, you can carefully convey your message to demonstrate your expertise in your business area. As the number of followers and readers of your blog increase, you are provided with a larger platform for your business and the potential to increase revenue.
If I'm an electrician, why would people want to read my blogs? How could I make my blogs interesting?
People would read your blogs for expert advice and opinions – it can help to instil the faith of customers that you are truly an expert in your field and will complete the work safely and efficiently.
You could write about typical jobs you complete, why people would need a professional electrician, the dangers of completing electrical work yourself, training and qualifications professional electricians need to have and why.
What are the golden rules of successful blogging?
First make sure you update your blog regularly – posting regular helps to refresh the blog which in turn helps it to show in search engines’ organic search results and helps to keep readers interested.
Secondly ensure your content is unique – so written specifically for your blog and not reproduced anywhere else online. This is recognised by search engines and will help your blog to appear as often as possible. Thirdly I would recommend using links carefully, you can use your blog to link back to your business’ website (this is assuming it isn’t part of your existing site). Getting inbound links to your blog will also help improve the search engine optimisation.
Do I need a website to blog?
It certainly makes sense because you can make your blog part of your website, which will improve your search engine optimisation greatly due to content being regularly refreshed. Alternatively you can use your blog to point readers to your website to increase traffic, however it is not a prerequisite to have a website in order to blog.
How do I measure the value of my blogging?
There are a number of tools you can use to measure the success and traction of your blog - including Google Analytics - as traffic to your blog is obviously a key indication of its success. You could also use a Twitter (or other social media) account to point relevant users to your blog, you can then see how many followers you have which would also be an effective measure. If you allow people to comment on your blog you can also gauge people’s engagement with your blog through comments and/or questions on your blog itself.
How often should I blog?
One of the keys to successful blogging is to ensure you post regularly, however it doesn’t have to be something that takes up large chunks of your time as lots of blogs are only 150 or so words per post, which can be written quickly – especially if you are an expert in your subject matter. I would recommend weekly as the ideal but fortnightly if time will not allow this.
What constitutes a successful blog?

For a small business a successful blog would mean finding additional customers through your web presence, extra visitors to your website and customers trusting you and your company as an expert in your field. 

Jemma Tipping is content partner manager at Yell.

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By David Evans
30th Nov 2012 13:27

I think any business can blog about their industry because as long as you are informed and can be seen as an expert in your field, there will always be people who will engage with what you have written as long as the content is of a high quality and is unique. This is where using an inhouse or external content marketing team can be very useful, especially if you feel that writing is not your strong point. 

 

-- Dave Evans Commercial Director at accessplanit Specialist in learning management system and training management software

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