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ServiceScape Incorporated
ServiceScape Incorporated

How to Use a Blog to Grow a Business or Professional Brand

The past decade has ushered in a new way of advertising through blogging, online content, and social media campaigns. If you own a business or are marketing a product or service, there really is no better way to drive traffic to your site than through a regular, content-rich blog. Blogs offer business owners and service providers a way to show their expertise, attract customers, and build rapport with existing customers through relevant content that is related to their industry or specialty.

In tough economic times, business owners and service providers are seeking ways to cut costs while expanding their customer base. Blogging is an inexpensive marketing strategy that only takes a few minutes of your time but one that can have significant impact on your growing business. Whether you chose to hire a professional writer to do your blogging or write it yourself, there are a few key tips to keep in mind if you plan to use a blog to grow a business or professional brand.

Keep it professional

The biggest mistake most bloggers make when using a blog to grow a business or professional brand is to treat the blog with less professionalism than they would treat their website or other content marketing strategies. While a blog is certain a less formal way to market your services or expertise, it is still interaction with your customer base and should be treated as such. A lack of professionalism will likely reflect negatively on your company or brand.

Keep it relevant

Here's an example: If your business involves photography, your blog should be related solely to photography – not to your other personal interests, activities, or musings. However, a blog in this case would be an excellent way to share some of your out-of-studio photography work, some shots of your family or friends (for a more personal touch), or to talk about certain aspects of photography that attracted you to the art form in the first place. It is also an excellent venue to inform your customer base about industry-related news or products. This allows your customers (both current and potential ones) to get a feel for what inspires you and your level of expertise in the industry, building trust and rapport. All of these things are good and essential in growing a business.

Spell check

Another aspect of professionalism is making sure your blog is free of spelling and grammar errors. This is why it always helps to have another person read over it before you publish. Sometimes, an extra pair of eyes reading over content is all that is needed to point out obvious mistakes that the writer may have missed or might not know is a mistake. Peer editing or hiring a professional editor should be a must for any content before it is published (not after!).

If you can't get someone else to edit for you, spend as much time editing and proofreading your content as you spend writing it, if not more. Read over it several times and if you come across an issue that you aren't sure about, look it up. Better to be safe than sorry later when someone informs you that you mis-typed or misused a particular word.

Microblogging and social media sites

Starbucks used this marketing tactic to expand their business past a slump the company experienced in 2009. Microblogging is similar to status updates or "tweets", but takes the concept further in encouraging customer interaction and feedback. Microblogging can be anything from short blog posts or status updates about new products and the latest information, to customer surveys and a forum that allows your customer base to interact with your company on a daily (or weekly) frequency. It's important, however, to keep this content fresh. Mix it up with pictures, video, commentary, and new product or service information. The more engaging your content, the more likely your audience will respond positively to it and seek your advice or expertise.

An important thing to keep in mind with connecting your blog to other social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc., is to keep your blog the central point of activity where you write the content and connect the social media sites to it (such as a status update on Facebook that links directly to your blog posts). Think of the social media sites as a method of announcing a new blog post, rather than as in addition to your blog. The intent is to drive traffic to your blog, and ultimately, to your business's website.

Time it right

There are trends in blogging that should be considered when you create a post. The ideal is to post when visitors are most likely to see your content. According to market research, the times people are most likely to be reading blog posts are Mondays at 11 AM ET.

Link your blog to your website

When you use tools like RSS feeds that link your blog posts to your website, this allows new, fresh content to be shown on your website daily. This step is vital because it vastly improves search rankings through relevant keywords.

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