Here’s what you need to know about how blogging can be used as an effective marketing tool.
Blogging as an Affordable Effective Form of Marketing
Most home business owners hear the word “marketing” and they hide their checkbooks or start breathing rapidly from fear. Don’t panic. Remember, that marketing your business is necessary to getting customers your business needs to survive. In terms of cost, blog marketing is one of the least expensive forms of marketing after word-of-mouth and referrals. In fact, setting up and running a blog can be done for free.
How to Make the Most of Your Blogging
In order to get the most out of your blogging efforts:
Know your end results. Blogging just to blog isn’t an effective form of marketing. Your blogging should have a purpose. Whenever you post a blog article, you want to have a sense of how it will promote your business, such as keeping you connected with your market, building your credibility or sharing a new product/service. Further, blogging is often lumped with social media because it includes options for your readers to engage with you. Consider ending all posts with a call to action, whether it’s for readers to share their thoughts or experiences, ideas, tips, or feedback on what you posted.
Create solid content people want. The key is to write information (or have it written) that focuses on the business at hand, its products, services and even the industry as a whole that are engaging and “link worthy”. The idea is to promote yourself and/or your home business as the go-to source – the expert – on the topic. Keep the content relevant, topic-driven and even a little lighthearted.Remember that “information” in your blog can include articles, breaking news related to the focus topic, lists, how-to pieces and even videos, podcasts, and humor pieces.
If the right kind of information is placed on a blog and the material is kept fresh and engaging, chances are other bloggers will want to link to it. This can and often does drive traffic to your blog and, as a result to your Website (if you have one connected to the blog), and can improve natural search engine rankings for both your blog and your website, increasing the chances that searchers will find your home business.
Consider search engine optimization when you’re developing information you’re going to use in your blogging. That means, focus your content and post titles on keywords that prospects would be likely to use to find you. It also means incorporating SEO tips into your blogging. Choose relevant keywords and phrases and work them in naturally.
Loading content with keywords for the sake of rankings can drag down the quality and even backfire as far as search engine traffic is concerned. In fact, Google will penalize you if your content, keywords, and links are deemed irrelevant. However, because keywords are what people use in search engines to find you, using them and their variations in your titles, description and keywords help Google help visitors find you.
Create promotions, surveys, contests and quizzes as appropriate for your home business. This blog marketing technique can only pay off well if other sites pick up the news and spread it around the Internet. Tools that can help ensure this happens include using social media, press releases, and even having contests or promotions hyped by readers on social networks or social bookmarking sites like Digg or StumbleUpon.
Advertise and build backlinks. Although pay-per-click advertising campaigns have traditionally targeted websites, they can also be used for blog promotion where the cost justifies the benefits of the incoming blog traffic. Sometimes these campaigns are worth considering for a blog that is up and running, ready for visitors and contains content that would encourage those who click through from your ads to take some type of action – such as request an estimate, participate in a contest, become a paying customer, click through on an affiliate link, etc.
You can also seek out links from other blogs, post comments on other blogs and forums that contain links pointing to your blog (where permitted), or consider placing a paid ad on a related blog or website. Just make sure you understand how to write a compelling ad that not only causes people to click through but that the page they click through to will generate results.
While the “if you build it they will come” mentality works wonders in the movies, it does not always work in the blogosphere. However, with a plan and a purpose, blogging for business is an effective marketing tool. It can be a fun and profitable way to find and engage with your target market.
Scott Herbert is a Web Developer & Digital Marketing Strategist. Currently working with Oracom Web Solutions as Lead Digital Marketing Strategist and Search Engine Marketing trainer for ORADMT. He is Team Member of Blumedia Digital Consulting
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