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Why and How we Blog–Part Two

This is part two of the “Blog Blog, Why and How we Blog.” Like any great sequel (the movie Blade is the first to come to my mind), you don’t need to read the first part, but it makes the whole experience more enjoyable.

Reasons why we blog, continued:

3. Give you fodder for other social media efforts

It’s the 20th of the month, and you haven’t sent out your monthly newsletter yet. You panic social media icons: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTubeand eat half a package of the new Candy Corn Oreos, and while they’re delicious, you don’t feel any better and you still have to find content for your email. If you’ve been consistently blogging, you would have nothing to fear, you would have several posts to choose from. The same strategy works for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pay-Per-Click. Why do you blog? To have something to say to that hard-fought audience that has so graciously “Liked” you on Facebook. Having something to say to your customers in an email instead of just trying to sell them something one more time is kind-of priceless. Blogs are magical that way. You say it in a blog and it gives you something to say in your other communication mediums.

4. Get people on your site

How are we doing? You still with me? We’re almost done. If you have a passion, an opinion, a load of information, or even if you’ve just taken note of something, and you take the time to write it down and post it, someone will find it interesting and will read it. If your blog is consistently filled with good content, you’ll start to get people to your site even when they aren’t shopping. While some may say that’s a terrible idea for a retailer, that’s not true. The more qualified traffic you get to your site, the better. This traffic will be qualified because they are interested in the same things you are writing about. Blogging will drive people to your site if it fulfills one of these five basic marketing principles:

  • Become a trusted source. People will start to check with you first before they make a decision.
  • Give away something for free. Need I say more? Everyone loves something for free. The “something” is your content. It’s valuable stuff.
  • Reach people with a message that isn’t “Buy Something.” Instead of always asking for something from your customer, a blog post gives you the opportunity to swap the message and just give them something.
  • Connect with people on a personal level. People respond, especially online, when they can connect personally (virtually). When you blog, your voice and opinion will start to develop and it gives a personal layer to your company.
  • Give people something that they might even forward to a friend. That is the holy-grail after all, to get your content to be spread by others because it’s so interesting. That isn’t going to happen with your product or the brands you carry. It’s only going to happen when you add the color.

Let me wrap this up with just a couple of quick things to always do when you blog.

Be consistent. Blog on a regular basis and keep your voice consistent. Like a favorite author or a magazine you renew, people will come back when they trust you and know what they are going to get.

Be relevant. But not too relevant. Half the fun is spinning way out to left field with blog posts and then bringing it back to your company. For our outdoor gear guy with the student discount–he shouldn’t blog about his recipe for corn-flake encrusted French toast that he made for Mother’s Day brunch, but he could post camping recipes. He shouldn’t blog about his crush on Mariska Hargitay (from Law & Order SVU), but he could blog about the top 10 things the contestants of Survivor should NOT do.

Stay current. Seriously, if you aren’t going to blog at least once a month, then take it down, don’t do it. Just blog as a guest blogger with tools like Nothing makes a site look worse than a dusty post from 18 months ago as the last entry.

Are you inspired? Are you going to get out there and blog now? I clocked this. This blog took me four hours and that includes finding the photos and wrestling with WordPress. They usually don’t take that long. This one was longer than usual. As you can see, this blog became a two-part series and an e-book (which you can download here). It’s usually about 90 minutes for me. But, as Tom Hanks says in League of Their Own, “If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The “hard” is what makes it great.” In other words, for us marketers and business owners, taking that extra step is what can give us just one more competitive advantage.

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