I’m not always in the blogger seat… sometimes (often), I am a consumer of content myself.
When I am considering doing business with someone or purchasing a product, unless they are a very well-known brand already (as in, household name), one of the first thing I do is look at their blog.
Before I put any money on the table, I want to know:
- Who is running this business?
- Exactly what do they do/sell?
- How online-savvy are they?
- Is this business even still active or is this an old website?
- What are their values and do they align with my own?
- What’s their personality like?
- Where is my money actually going to go once it lands in their bank account?
- How does their approach compare to their competitors’?
For me, a blog is a huge part of my decision making process. When I was a new mum, I went through this crazy phase of absorbing information and purchasing products that I thought were essential for my baby. Looking back, I can remember that reading about these products (and general related advice) was a big factor in choosing one stockist over another.
This was especially true for products that I was unfamiliar with. For example, I spent a lot of time researching baby carriers and trying to figure out which was the best one to get started with. It's no coincidence that the one I chose had a fantastic social media and blogging presence with some top-notch tutorials. Their product was almost identical in quality and price as several other brands, but I chose their brand because I trusted that them.
In addition, when I’m considering working with other business professionals, the standout contenders are always the ones who post quality, authentic content online on a regular basis. It shows me what they know and whether their personality is a fit for mine.
As a consumer, I assume that anyone who doesn’t have a blog is a bit behind the times (archaic perhaps?), not able to communicate effectively with their customers, or possibly even hiding something. Those with the blogs can start to earn my trust before I even get in touch with them... which makes me much more likely to hand over the money.
I personally know many businesses who are amazing at what they do but haven't got around to blogging yet. I trust them. But that's because I know them personally! If they want to connect with a wider circle of potential customers and clients, they need to step up their game and blog.
How can they get started?
I could fill a book with everything you need to do to start connecting with potential customers through blogging (and maybe one day I will) but today, I'll just give you four simple tips.
1. Have a Blog
Seems obvious, but I’m always amazed at the number of businesses who still don’t have a blog. If your site is built on WordPress, this is probably already built into your theme and shouldn't be difficult for your web designer to add on.
2. Learn About Blogging
If you’ve avoided blogging so far because you don’t know enough about it, learn. Here are some techniques:
- Read some more of my posts about blogging and follow others who have a mission to educate businesses on blogging.
- Make it a habit to read popular blogs in your industry on a regular basis. This will help you confidently write to a high standard and meet (or exceed) your audience's expectations.
- Use an app like Feedly on your phone where you can quickly browse new blog articles from your favourite bloggers.
- Read blogs from people who aren't in your industry - sometimes your best inspiration and ideas will come from an unexpected place.
3. Blog Regularly
Crickets on your blog? Haven’t posted in awhile? From your customers’ perspective, it looks like you’ve shut down your business and they may as well go elsewhere.
Try to blog weekly, but if this is too much for you, go with whatever you can keep up with. Consistency is key. If that means a monthly, high quality, authentic blog post, this will get you more results than pushing out 4 blog posts one week, and then nothing for two months.
4. Provide Value
Use your blogs to provide value to your customers – if you’re providing content or information that they might have to pay for elsewhere or spend a lot of time learning/searching for, it’s probably a winner.
Then at the end of each post, it’s appropriate to include a call to action to tell your customers what the next step is. This might be further reading on your blog, or a product or service that goes further in solving their problem.
There are LOADS of other reasons to blog, including:
- SEO/Google benefits
- Generating awesome content for your other channels
- Directing more people to your website
Today I’ve just covered the benefits of blogging from the perspective of your customer.
Yes, some of your customers won’t look at your blog... and not every business needs to blog. But a lot of your customers will appreciate that you took the time and effort to provide them with value... and will choose you as a result. For me, that kind of competitive edge and pay-it-forward approach to business is a no-brainer. 🙂
And of course, if you need help with writing your blogs, make sure you check that out here.