Unless you’ve been living underneath a rock for the past ten or eleven years, you probably already know how important blogging is for your business.
It doesn’t matter if you’re selling WordPress plugins or watermelons – if your business has any kind of online presence at all, you can raise your profile – and ultimately your profits – by running a blog.
Provided, of course, that it’s done correctly. These are six pieces of advice on how to blog for business and make your online efforts worthwhile.
1. Pretend you’re a charity
When creating blog content, put all thoughts of profit out of your mind. Imagine that the only reason in the world you’re running the blog is to help people.
Don’t ask yourself questions like “Will this blog post earn me money?”.
Instead, ask yourself “Will people find this blog post useful? Does is solve a problem? Are readers like to share it around the web?”.
Once you get into the “all give, no take” mindset, the value of your content will increase tremendously.
Don’t use your blog to sell – use it to build trust and credibility. Then use trust and credibility to sell.
2. People luuurve freebies
There’s something hardwired into the human psychology that makes us go weak at the knees for free stuff. A gift, no matter how large or small, is one of the quickest ways to capture people’s attention.
A mini eBook, a $20 discount voucher, a ‘two for one’ – your freebie doesn’t have to be anything extravagant. It just has to be free. Getting something for nothing is a very powerful incentive, and one which you can use to your advantage.
Give your blog readers a little something for free, and they’re far more likely to visit again (and tell their friends).
3. Build an email list
Take a look around the web, and you’ll see that a vast majority of successful blogs operate an email list.
So how do you persuade people to give you their contact details? A standard blogging/marketing technique is to give people a freebie in exchange for signing up to the email list.
So if you’re offering something for free on your blog, consider making it a trade: the freebie for the email address.
We’ve covered email lists in depth over the last few weeks here at WPMU – check out these articles for a tonne of great advice and ideas.
4. Know what your readers want
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Don’t be afraid to speak directly to your readership and ask them what they would like to see more of. Create a survey, or run a poll on your blog.
Again, use a freebie. Offering readers something in exchange for their input will net you a whole lot more responses.
5. Get some talent
The time and effort that outsourcing will save you is well worth the money spent, and you’ll have better quality blog content to show for it.
6. Diversify, man
A key mistake that many business bloggers make is sticking too closely to their own field of expertise. Creating authoritative articles in your own niche is very important – but you need to spread your wings a little further than that or you’ll probably run out of ideas pretty quickly.
Don’t let your blog get repetitive – duplicate content is a big no no. Try to strike a balance between articles that are highly relevant to your own business, and more general stuff that will appeal to a broader (but still targeted) audience.
How do YOU blog for business?
If you’ve got some experience running a blog for your business (or someone else’s), we’d love to hear any tips and tricks you’ve picked up along the way. Drop us a line in the comments section below.