Your business blog can be an incredibly valuable tool, with the potential to generate word-of-mouth marketing. The key is connecting with the right audience and getting them to share your products and services with others within their social networks. Good blogs encourage conversation and reflect the personality of the blogger.
In other words, good bloggers create relationships with their readers. They do this by providing valuable, interesting information that the reader wants to share with others.
Here are some simple steps you can take to build traffic to your business blog.
Consider your audience
Your blog should not be a mirror image of your business Web site. Although it’s okay to mention promotions and sales on your blog, these types of posts should not constitute the bulk of the conversation. Instead, focus your posts on behind-the-scenes information readers can’t get on your Web site. Just remember to make it interesting to the average reader.
For example, the fact that Wally in the mailroom just celebrated his fifth anniversary with the company isn’t going to hold your readers’ attention. The fact that Sally in R&D just developed a new widget might be extremely interesting to your readers, especially if you’re offering a 10% discount on the new widget to those who subscribe to your blog.
Be helpful to your readers
Ultimately, you want readers to think of your business blog as their destination of choice for helpful information and advice. The information and advice should be related to your business category and not be self-promoting.
Although it may seem counter-intuitive, offering tips on how to avoid having to buy the products or services you sell can be incredibly beneficial to your business. If your business is plumbing, for instance, write about preventive maintenance that can help your readers avoid future plumbing problems. This goes a long way toward building trust and it’s the type of content that typically gets shared with others.
Be responsive to your readers
Your business blog should be a medium for two-way conversation. It’s a good idea to conclude every post by asking your readers to post comments. And be sure to make the comments widget prominent and easy to use.
Don’t forget to monitor your blog on a regular basis and respond promptly to any and all comments. To avoid spam and unreasonably negative comments, you should set up your blog so that comments must be approved before being published.
Depending on the exact sentiment being expressed, it’s usually a good idea to allow negative comments and immediately follow them up with a well thought-out response. Again, this can help build trust with your readers and is an effective way to demonstrate your concern for your customers.
Reward your readers
People love to speak their minds and they love rewards. Conducting online polls and contests is a great way to build your subscriber list. Most blogging platforms offer polling and contest widgets that are easy to install. If you choose to hold a contest, just be sure the prize you’re offering is something your readers would really be interested in winning. Discounts and freebies are definite hits. No refrigerator magnets please.
Make sharing easy and intuitive
Be sure to include links to your other social media assets, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, etc. and incorporate a social sharing widget to make it as easy as possible for your readers to share your content on the platforms of their choice.