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How to improve your business, one blog post at a time

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In this day and age, if your business isn’t online, it’s not top of mind. Just building a half-decent site isn’t enough — you need to market it too.

Marketing is nothing new, but the new platforms such as blogs, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are. Social networking platforms like these allow you to build a relationship with your client in a way more traditional forms can’t — think of the terminology; you become ‘friends’ on Facebook, you ‘follow’ on Twitter and you ‘subscribe’ to a blog.

Marketing has long been the realm of the big bucks, but more often than not the big corporates throw money — hand over fist — at a campaign without any cut-through.

But that’s not to say all corporates are so out of touch! Many use these emerging platforms to their advantage — just like Optus’ BizThinkTank site, featuring Yours Truly.

Essentially, marketing is about creating true value. You have to give people a reason to want to engage with your brand. Social marketing, when used properly, allows you to reach out to create a relationship.

But blogs are not just the realm of big business — blogs are perfect for cost-conscious small businesses who want to be sure they get the most bang for their marketing buck.

Sarah Green’s blog is a great example of this — a Sydney-based chef and entertainer, Green runs cooking classes and corporate events. In a crowded marketplace, her recently-launched blog — The Party — is a savvy way to speak with her customers. Here, Green offers party stories, tips, photos and recipes. So, not only does she create value by sharing her recipes with her readers, posting fresh ones every few days, but the blog offers her followers the chance to engage with the brand — many send in photos to be posted, adding to The Party database.

It’s important to note that when it comes to her marketing strategy, Green has done her homework — she has a strategic plan for social media and uses professional design in keeping with her brand. Plus, she promotes the blog via Facebook and Twitter, racking up friends and followers daily.

So, if you’re looking for a cost-effective way to enhance your website and share your expertise with clients, a blog — just like Green’s — is a cheap and effective way to do this.

Blogs are undeniably the way of the now. In fact, if you don’t have a blog you’re doing your business a disservice. As BusinessWeek reporters Stephen Baker and Heather Green assert, “Blogs are a phenomenon that you cannot ignore, postpone, or delegate. Given the changes barrelling down upon us, blogs are not a business elective. They're a prerequisite.”

Blogging is all about getting your brand out there; it’s about a low-cost promotion that has the potential to draw awareness to your brand. But just because it’s low-cost doesn’t give you any excuse for cutting corners. Take care to have all of your content proof-read — there’s nothing more unprofessional than spelling mistakes on your blog!

If you’re still not convinced, here are five reasons why you should get blogging to boost your business:

  1. Blogs increase your search engine optimisation (SEO), drawing traffic (and potential clients) to your site. With the rise of social network sites, they also have the potential to be viral — the cheapest and arguably the most effective marketing strategy yet.
  2. Blogs offer you a platform to share your business expertise with an unlimited community, creating you as the authority, which can, in turn, create publicity (for example, journalists may contact you for your thoughts on certain matters pertinent to your industry).
  3. You can use your blog to answer frequently asked questions, for news purposes, to highlight promotions and run contests.
  4. The more ‘big names’ you mention in your blog, the more you increase your SEO (this means more traffic, which means more potential customers and, in turn, more profit).
  5. Adding a blog to your site will save you both time and money. Updating a blog is a much quicker and cheaper way than contracting a designer to update your website, or doing the coding yourself. Lots of big names have blogs, including Rockpool’s Neil Perry.

Remember too, systems are key.

Step one should be a production schedule that shows how often you need to update material and a breakdown of all costs associated with the site, including your time.

Before you start, also be sure to do a SWOT test — look at the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of your current campaign. Don’t forget to ask yourself what your competitors are offering.

Once you’ve got this on the boil, it’s time to improve your business — one blog post at a time!

So, if you’re looking to work on your business rather than being stuck in it, book in for a complimentary business assessment today with Switzer Business Coaching

Important information: This content has been prepared without taking account of the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular individual. It does not constitute formal advice. For this reason, any individual should, before acting, consider the appropriateness of the information, having regard to the individual’s objectives, financial situation and needs and, if necessary, seek appropriate professional advice.

Published on: Thursday, May 13, 2010

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