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How to Use Blogging to Gain New Customers

Use your blog to get new customers!

Blogging is a powerful tool for every business website. But just as with anything to do with running a successful business, there is a right way to produce the best results.

I get asked two questions regularly about “blogs.” Why should I blog? And, can't I just have a website? Having a blog is part of having a website. The blog format allows you to provide all that knowledge, wisdom, and experience your customers are looking for in a partner they need to trust.

What throws some folks off is the perception that a “blog” is only for personal, informal, or non-professional commentary. Not true. So instead of thinking about labels and definitions, let's think about the format. And how this formatting option can help us target our market and build our business.

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

Think of Blogging as a Content Format

What is a blog?

A blog is a discussion or informational website published on the World Wide Web consisting of discrete, often informal diary-style text entries. Posts are typically displayed in reverse chronological order, so that the most recent post appears first, at the top of the web page. 

Let's move beyond the “official” definition of “blog” and think of how we can use this format to our advantage. Instead, open your mind to using the format of blogging as a platform and structure to add all that great content you want to include on your site. Content that will sell your Expertise, Authority, and Trust to potential customers.

Information that you know your customers are looking for and can use. You know what that is! The concerns your established customers relay to you all the time. The questions you get asked regularly.

Your “blog” can have instructional or troubleshooting guides, helpful tips, Q&As, or downloads. The sky is the limit. There are no restrictions on using this format to serve up the content on your website that will benefit your market. And you won't get thrown in the pokey if you are not informal enough.

So, let's not box ourselves in by thinking that having a blog requires that you write about the latest fad, food, or fashion. Or that you need to blog every single day.

While tons of blogs do that, your blog, your content library, can be the professional product/service resource you need to cater to your current and new customers alike! You can make your blog unique to your company, product, and customer needs.

Be Unique; Be You

Now, this is not to say that personality doesn't matter. It does. That is where the “conversational tone” comes into play. You want to talk to your site visitors — not at them. You want to write like your customers' talk. If that is informal — so be it. Personality can help you to stand out from others in your space.

If you think about it, there is only one you. Using you to your advantage helps your content stand out from all the other possibly generic blah-blah-blah that isn't anything special. Showing your personality in of itself doesn't mandate “informal” either.

Be yourself -- that's how you stand out from all the noise and your competitors.

Is Blogging Dead?

“I've heard blogging was a fad that's over.” I've had several folks looking to improve their online exposure make this statement. They are intimating that blogging was a fad and is now outdated.

Could they be looking to avoid the hard work that adding content to build out their site requires? I'm not going to sugar coat it — writing good stuff takes time and effort. But, the alternative is to remain a brochureware website and that is not a practical or effective approach.

So let's not allow semantics to come into play. Maybe you do not need a “blog” on your site, but you'd better darned well be adding content regularly and doing it correctly. In that case, why not use the blog format to accomplish that?

In WordPress, having dated and categorized posts is how you organize your content. You don't have to call it a “blog.” You can call it whatever you like. However, it is always best from a usability perspective to categorize your content in a way that makes sense for site visitors. That's what a blog enables you to do.

Keep in mind that many onliners look for a website's “Blog” area to find the articles, information, and resources they seek. And if they like what they see, they subscribe! You have then have the privilege of being invited into the interested party's inbox. Marketing opportunity!

Adding valuable content will never be “dead” for credible business websites. “Blogs” are still a great way to organize and categorize all your content above and beyond the pages that rarely change (About, Contact, FAQ, Services, etc.).

Let's Talk About How You Can Use a Blog Format

Having a blog is a great way to publish content directed at your target market. Start a new post, add headlines, paragraphs, images, bulleted lists — Preview and Publish. Adding is easy; creating great content to add — not as much. Writing great content takes practice, and skill-building comes into play.

The fact is that adding new content is the lifeblood of any successful website. Without adding new content, regularly, you have an online brochure. Nothing special.

Brochures rarely rank well in search engines. Why should they when so many other alternatives offer a wealth of information? Nor are they viewed to have expertise, authority, and trust. Just think about that for a moment before you decide to nix using a blog format.

Blog Starter Tips

  • Create your framework. We want to have all our articles organized to make it super easy for site visitors to find the info they seek. So sit down and develop a handful of categories that you know your potential (and current) customers could use information about. Then create five headlines for articles that would fit within each. Boom! You've just made the starting structure for your new “blog”!
  • Make sure category names are specific and intuitive. Create categories that make sense to site visitors while allowing you to organize your posts intuitively. Avoid industry jargon or buzzwords your readers may not understand or be able to relate to.
  • Develop helpful, relevant content. Content isn't a daily or weekly sales pitch about how great your business is. Instead, you want to provide information that goes to the heart of showing your expertise and why folks should do business with you — by helping them out. Keep track of what you get asked about your product or service. Better yet, what do you see your customers struggle with most? Help them by writing about it.

SEO, Formatting, Sharing, Frequency and Visuals

  • Think about SEO — from the very start. Before creating your content, develop a keyword strategy. This way, you have your list of terms ready to go as you create new content.
  • Format for reading. You land on a site and scan; you don't read. So we need to write in such a way to encourage reading. Make an effort to keep your posts concise. We do this with short sentences and no more than a few sentences per paragraph. Uses bulleted lists to make quick, scannable points. Throw in a few sub-headlines to break things up. For more comprehensive topics, think about breaking them up into a series of more focused posts or offer as an e-course.
  • Offer the ability to share. The reality is that website visitors do not share articles as much as they used to. Even still, we want to offer the opportunity for them to share if the urge hits them. There are a bunch of WordPress plugins that provide sharing capabilities. Choose the one that offers the look, feel, and features that meet your needs.
  • Post often enough to keep visitors' interest and to encourage a following. Quality posts * take time, but if you are an expert in your field, you should have no problem typing at least once a week about trends, sites, tutorials, or info you want to share. On the other hand, infrequent posting does not lend to growing an active subscriber list or following.
  • Include at least one cool graphic representing the content's theme or meaning. Online is a visual medium, after all.

“Blog” for the Win and Market Domination

Okay, market domination may be a bit dramatic, but that certainly doesn't preclude you from being able to outperform your competitors by simply adding great content! Using the blog format.

Business “blogs” (or whatever you want to label them) are powerful marketing, reputation management, and customer service tool that no serious business should overlook or underestimate the importance of managing correctly.

At your service,

WordPress Consultant Judith
WordPress website products and services you can trust!