Effective Blogging for Home Businesses
Many small and home business owners have heard the buzz or read information on blogging but haven’t yet taken the plunge. The fact is that blogging is easy and can be a very cost-effective way to drum up interest and get traffic to your home business website. In fact, blogging can be a home business by itself.
But having a blog related to your home business isn't typically enough to build traffic and even sales. 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 a 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. 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 is engaging and “link worthy”. 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. 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. 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 to 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. 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.