Now that you’ve considered all the social media options for promoting your business, it’s time to start a few campaigns. Last time we discussed how Facebook, with its vast number of users across demographics, is a great way to reach a large audience. However, if you’d like to post with fewer restrictions and more control, you might consider blogging. There are a few tips on starting and maintaining a blog to promote your business.
1. Why Blog at All?
Blogging is time consuming, and poorly written blogs or blogs that are off topic can hurt your brand. So why bother with it at all? Well, blogging can do a few things for your business that are hard to accomplish through other social media channels or through a static website. For example, blogging can help you rank higher in search engine results, which is great when you’re trying to reach new customers. Blogging can also help you to tell the story of your business. For small businesses especially, blogs are important. The difference between your shop and the mega-mart down the street are the stories you tell your customers, and blogs are a way to get those stories out there.
2. Starting a Blog
Before you can start blogging, you need a blog! Most websites today are built on Content Management Systems (CMS), and almost all of these come with a blogging option. WordPress, for example, was originally created as a blogging tool, and you can easily add a blogging channel to your otherwise static WordPress website. Drupal also offers a blogging interface, although you will need to install it separately. Drag-and-drop website options like SquareSpace and Weebly also offer blogging tools. If you’ve already created a static HTML website on your own, you can always create a blog using a blogging tool (WordPress and Blogger both have free options) and then link it to your pre-existing website.
Be sure your blog has a name that is closely related to that of your business and website. A great example is Formaggio Kitchen’s blog. It’s simply called Formaggio Kitchen’s Cheese Blog and can be found at blog.formaggiokitchen.com. This simplicity does two things: It makes it easy for customers to identify the blog as belonging to your company and it makes it easy for search engines to associate your blog and its content with your business.
3. Creating Content
Your blog is like a pet in some ways: You need to feed it or it will not be long for this world. What does a blog eat? Posts! Your blog needs to be constantly updated with a mix of content. Choosing GOOD content, content that will appeal to your customers, that will inform them, and that won’t turn them off for being too pushy or promotional, is a challenge.
Since blogging is all about telling stories, a good place to start is to tell the story of your store. Then you can tell the stories behind the products you carry. New cheese in the shop? Write about where and how you first found it, how it was produced and who by, or maybe talk about the place it was made or the animals that made the milk used in it. New employee? Ask them to introduce him or herself in a blog post. Your store is full of stories, you just need to find a way – and the time – to tell them. Set up a schedule so that everyone knows how many posts they are responsible for and what topics they should be covering. This way you can get out new posts on a regular basis and know that none of those posts will have content that overlaps with past posts.
Once you’ve got a schedule and you’ve managed to stick to it for a few weeks or months, it’s time to start including some promotional posts. Blog posts are a great way to announce sales and special events like tastings or classes. You just need to be sure that these types of promotional posts are balanced out by great content that’s not geared towards selling (this keeps your audience engaged and makes them feel like part of your community, rather than feeling like a wallet for you to exploit).
4. Spreading the Word
One of the great things about blogging is that blog posts make fantastic content that you can share across other social media platforms. If you create a blog post, you now have content that you can put on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or Tumblr. This is an especially great way to promote special events since you can just make sure that all the information is available in a single place on your blog and then promote it across all your channels, reaching a much wider audience.
Photo Credit: Featured image courtesy of shutterstock.