If you’re a butcher, a baker, or a candlestick maker; a tinker, a tailor, or a small business owner – you’ve probably never thought of blogging as a way to enrich your business. After all, people come to you for your services and expertise and you exchange them for money, not for ‘hits’ online or internet fame.
But whatever sort of company you’re operating, you should start thinking of how to use the internet wisely in 2012 – or before long, you’ll find you’re getting left behind. These days, interaction is a sure-fire way to increase your transactions and with the internet you’ve got the ear of most the world.
Believe it or not, at least some of those ears will be interested in hearing about your job – whether it’s your take on the latest trend in your sector, a record of your experiences or your recommendations for the best commercial insurance.
So where to start? Well, setting up a blog is very simple: search for ‘website hosting’ or ‘blog hosting’ and find a place that appeals to you. The site has to be easy to use as well as easy on the eye, or you’ll get put off and so will your potential clients.
From there, it’s easy to set up your own domain name. Your website’s host will probably give you the option to buy it from the off – for a small fee. It’s an investment, because having your company’s name in your website address will give your users confidence and will mean you’re more likely to appear high in search results.
Then comes the tricky part: what to write about. Maybe you have a small company, with ethical ideals or a real niche – anything from a goat farm to a boutique or a B&B. It shouldn’t be hard to find an angle that will interest readers, especially those local to your community: perhaps you’re trying to run your business in an environmentally friendly manner, or perhaps you’ve got a unique taste in fashion?
It could even be something as simple as great pictures and funny stories of your life. If you write honestly and passionately, people will be as interested in your struggles as well as your successes. So, try and give an honest portrait of your trials as well as your triumphs – and remember to answer comments and address questions.
The most important thing is that you post regularly – minimum twice a week – and keep it relatively simple. You’ll need lots of pictures and you’ll have to limit each ‘post’ to 500 words; any longer and people might lose interest.
To spread the word, connect with people with similar interests or similar businesses – you can trade tips and swap recommendations. No doubt there’s already an active online group that’s writing, analyzing, and thinking about your sector from a fresh new perspective – follow the most active on twitter and start conversations, ask questions or challenge their stance on current topics. It’ll all link back to your blog and your company – and the more people feel they know you online, the more open, engaged and authoritative your voice, the more likely they are to trust in your business.
Image: renjith krishnan