A business blog is an opportunity for additional exposure, low cost or free publicity for your business, and a method of potentially increasing traffic to your web site. In order to create a following and convert blog readers to customers it’s necessary to capture people’s attention, give them a reason to want to read your blog post, and entice them with an appealing offer whenever possible. Here are some of the ingredients of an effective business blog that helps market your small business.
- People like “news you can use”, such as helpful tips on using products or strategies for saving money. Other blog topics that should be well received are how to avoid or solve problems that may be unique to your clientele, customer base, or local community.
- Use your business blog to promote sales, special events, contests, or coupons
- Promote a favorite charity, fund-raising event, or worthy cause. It will help benefit the charity and it will also reflect favorably on you and your business.
- Write informative, amusing, or thought-provoking articles/blog posts. I you’re not a good writer, maybe you know someone who is. For tips on improving your business writing skills, visit my business writing blog: Effective Writing Tips and Tools.
- Answer questions your customers have raised.
- If you’re participating in a local trade show, exhibit, or community event, invite your blog readers to stop by and say hello. If you’re offering something free, you’ll get a better response!
- Link to articles, websites, and videos that directly relate to your business, community, and/or the interests of your customers and clients
- Avoid the trap of focusing too much on you. Everyone’s the center of their own universe, which is why you should gear your blog to the needs, interests, and point of view of your blog readers, customers, and prospects.
- Extend sincere holiday greetings to your blog followers.
- Recognize milestones, achievements, community service, etc.
That’s actually just a small sampling of ways you can use your business blog to attract readership, promote events, engage customers, and get people to call, stop by your business, or provide some positive word-of-mouth advertising for you. Whether you’re trying to start a small business or grow an existing one, having some sort of marketing communications program in place can help you achieve your goals.
By the way, if you’re looking for other small business marketing tips and tools, please visit my Web site Marketing Survival Kit!
Does the headline of this blog post sound pessimistic? Am I giving the impression that making money through blogging is a mere pipe dream–a pie-in-the-sky get-rich quick scheme? Well, my personal opinion is that the likelihood of making money through blogging is roughly equivalent to being successful at any other business. It takes dedication, hard work, and a willingness to keep learning and take calculated risks.
If you want to make money from a blog, you also need to have those elusive qualities of persistence, faith, and self motivation. Any kind of independent business venture–including blogging to make money–requires a few key ingredients to stand a chance of getting off the ground.
- A good idea
- A sound marketing strategy
- An ability to keep trying in spite of setbacks
- Basic writing skills
Blogging to make money is far from a hair-brained scheme; plenty of people have and do make money from a blog. In the vast majority of cases, though, progress is slow but steady, and the income is more of a supplement than a windfall. On the other hand, some people can and do make a respectable full-time income from writing a blog. What separates the successful bloggers from the “wanna-bees”?
The four cornerstones of an income-producing blog are the following:
- A strong interest, if not a passion, for the topic you’ve chosen to write about. If you love writing about a particular topic, then you probably won’t fizzle out after the first few blog posts. If a blog starts out as a “labor of love”, so to speak, then it may eventually develop into a labor of profit!
- The topic you’re blogging about also has to spark a strong interest among quite a few potential readers/customers out there in Internet land. Making money from any kind of website requires lots of targeted visitors, and of course, the more, the better! All things being equal, the amount of money you rake in will probably be proportional to the amount of blog traffic you can generate.
- Knowing what you’re doing in the early stages of developing a blog will increase your chances of succeeding sooner. For that reason, it may pay to purchase a manual or home-study course on how to make money from a blog. Although there is a lot of free information on the Internet about how to blog to make money, it may take a lot of surfing to find enough free information to provide you with some really solid guidance.
- Have fun with it! Blogging to make money usually requires little or no investment to get it rolling–especially compared to other small business opportunities–so in most cases, the risk is minimal and the potential for making money is always there.
When it comes to blogging, if it isn’t fun, then why do it? If you enjoy the process, then the journey will be part of the reward. If you own a small business or are thinking of starting one, visit Marketing Survival Kit for helpful tips and marketing tools.
Making money from a blog is not as easy as it’s cracked up to be, but it can be done. Three of the many misconceptions that people have is that it’s easy, anyone can do it, and it’s a guaranteed way to make money. Let’s dissect those misconceptions one at a time.
- “It’s easy.” Well, the word “easy” is a relative term. In other words, if you’re a good writer, you love writing, and you’re passionate about a particular topic that you intend to blog about, then it will probably seem easy. In order to gain followers and get readers interested in what you have to blog about, you do need to invest some time in developing content and posting it on a regular basis. That’s starting to sound a little like work, and most people don’t consider work easy or enjoyable. Again, though, it’s a matter of perception. The more you love it, the more you’ll do it. The more you do it, the more readers you’ll attract. If you blog on a regular basis over a period of time, you’ll probably also improve your blogging skills and perhaps develop a distinctive style that people will like and connect with.
- “Anyone can do it”. Yes, anyone can start a blog, but most people won’t make a success of it. (Success in this case would be defined as creating engaging content on a regular basis and attracting throngs of readers and followers.) Although you don’t need journalistic or literary writing skills, you do need to be able to communicate effectively in writing. In order to attract readers, you also need to pick a topic that scads of people are interested in. “Is that all?” you might be wondering. Well, I’m afraid not. You also have to have a unique point of view or an engaging writing style. The fact of the matter is this: There are a gazillion blogs out there on the Internet, so you need to be able to stand out from the crowd. A basic understanding of Search Engine Optimization is not a requirement of a successful blog, but it sure can help a lot. Without incorporating some SEO strategies in your blog posts, it will be difficult for your blog to be found on the search engines when people search for information, articles, or blogs about the topic you’re writing about. You can also create a more search engine-friendly blog if you take the time to create relevant tags for your blog posts.
- “It’s a guaranteed way to make money.” Well, I can’t imagine that any business is a guaranteed way to make money unless you have a knowledge of what works and are willing to take the time to apply that knowledge on a consistent basis. Even if you do all that, there’s still no guarantee of making money because there are so many variables. Making money through blogging is no different than any other business: There’s an inherent element of risk, there are competitive factors to be aware of, and it requires persistence, patience, and a belief in the value of what you have to say. If you believe in the value of your blog and enjoy working on it, then you’ll stay motivated to continue developing and promoting it. Sustaining that mental energy is half the battle.
The ideal blogger, especially someone who want to make money blogging, is probably someone who is entrepreneurial in nature and/or is very knowledgeable about a particular topic and eager to share their knowledge or informed opinions with others in the Internet community. If you’re thinking about starting a work-at-home business or you already have one, writing a blog can be one of several strategies for inexpensively promoting your business to your target audience. It can also play a role in promoting almost any kind of small business; you just need to come up with engaging content on a regular basis and be persistent.