Are you taking advantage of all the great benefits of having a business blog? Not only does a blog allow you to interact directly with customers, which is great for building relationships, but it also provides a forum for you to deliver fresh, up-to-date information about your business, your industry, and how you help customers with your products or services. Blogging is a type of social media that’s designed to foster two-way communication. Here are some tips to help you achieve that with your own business blog.
Create a Customer Community
You can create your blog as a place where people can share ideas and ask questions. Think of it as a “virtual watercooler” for your business. There are services and plugins that can help you manage your blog this way — one of the most popular is Disqus. Disqus essentially turns your blog into its own social media platform. Visitors to your blog sign up for Disqus, and all of their comments are integrated. When a person leaves a comment on your blog, it has a link to his or her blog. Disqus also gives users a place to keep track of comments they’ve left on other Disqus blogs they frequent.
Elicit Customer Feedback
When writing your blog posts, try ending them with a question to elicit responses from your readers. Pose questions asking for your readers’ thoughts, opinions, or experience regarding your post’s subject. In addition to ending posts with questions, you can actually embed a poll or a short survey in a post. Do this using a free tool like Google Drive or Wufoo (Wufoo is free for a certain amount of responses and survey forms), or use a paid service to collect answers/launch polls. People love to give their opinions, and you get valuable insights into how your customers and prospects think and feel.
Position Yourself as a Thought Leader
A blog is a great way to establish your self as a thought leader or subject matter expert in your given field. Use your blog as a means for sharing industry-specific news and developments — things your audience needs to know. Add your own insights and expertise. This not only provides a way to demonstrate your knowledge in a given area, it also attracts new prospects that are looking for the information you are offering.
Announce Company News and Product/Service Information
Consider your blog as a platform for advertising what’s new at your organization. Showcase your products and services, and highlight news about awards, projects, and employees. This won’t necessarily replace your press release efforts — it’s more of a way to give your personality and voice to the news. You can also use your blog to offer special deals and promotions exclusively to your readers. While the blog is a great way to promote your business, don’t over do it. If readers feel they are assaulted with sales messages only, they won’t come back very often — it’s a turn off. Slip promotional messages in among your more informative and engaging posts.
Blog for Branding Purposes
Your business blog is a great platform for broadcasting your brand message across the internet. Through your blog, you can define your company or brand personality and how you want customers to perceive you. The blog is your place to tell potential customers what you’re all about. The great thing about a blog is this: you are in total control of it.
When you have a business blog, it’s not enough to simply drive your online customers to it.
- Find ways to get your offline customers there, too — let them know about special deals and incentives or information you share exclusively with blog readers.
- Add social sharing buttons that helps your customers share your message with their friends — your potential customers.
- Provide a call to action and/or ways that people can easily contact you for more information.
Are you blogging for business? What tips do you have for other people who are new to business blogging?