In preparation for speaking to fellow retailers at the upcoming AmericasMart Gift Market in Atlanta next month, I’ve been thinking about what I feel are the most important aspects of blogging for business. I started a blog for my invitation, stationery and gift boutique in October of 2008. I wasn’t exactly sure what a blog would do for my small business when I started it, however, I now know how valuable it is for keeping current customers engaged and obtaining new customers. I hope to be able to share some of what I’ve learned about “blogging for business” with my colleagues in Atlanta in January.
Here is a sneak preview of what I’ll be sharing.
Keep It Simple
It really couldn’t be easier to create a blog for your business. It is much easier than creating and maintaining a website and can even be your business’ website if you don’t have a reason to keep a separate web presence. Using free blog hosting services such as WordPress and Blogger, it’s as simple as creating a free account, selecting from one of their excellent blog templates and filling in the blanks to customize the blog for your business. Then you do have to actually come up with what you want to blog about.
More about that at my upcoming seminar. Hint: It’s simple.
One of the original reasons I started a blog was because I didn’t want to send emails to customers too often at the risk of ending up in their SPAM folders or them just not reading emails because they were to frequent. I have always sent a monthly email newsletter to customer who subscribe and found that as business grew, there were times I wanted to communicate with customers more than monthly. Blogging was my answer. I post information on the blog that is worthy of sharing between newsletters and then direct customers to the blog for special updates, event info, sale and new product notifications. In this case, if customers want the information, they are free to review it, however, we are keeping our promise of only emailing them once per month.
Keep It Going
Blogging does take time. You may be lucky enough to have someone to delegate
blogging to, which would mean it won’t take as much of your time. I actually really enjoy blogging and using it as a platform to tell others about my business, therefore, I maintain our blog entirely on my own. Anything worth doing takes time and one of the biggest blogging mistakes you can make is to stop blogging once you’ve started. Make a commitment to your blog, just like you commit to your business. Make it something reasonable for you, not something an expert told you. If you can commit to blog once a week that’s great. If you can commit to once a month, that’s better than not at all.
Keep It Connected
Because I’m also an avid user of social media for my business, I use other social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter to promote our blog to existing and prospective customers. After I post on our blog, I always put a link to the new post on Facebook and Twitter. These avenues expose our blog to many more people than just those who choose to follow it. I also reference the blog in our monthly email newsletter. I’ve found that this makes creating the newsletter faster and easier. I typically cover some of the same information in the monthly email newsletter that’s recently been posted on the blog. I link directly from the newsletter articles to the blog to share more detailed information, making the newsletter more concise.
These are just a few of my “blogging for business” tips. I’ll be sharing much more at the upcoming panel discussion “The Power of Blogging” AmericasMart University: Building
Your Brand Course on Thursday, January 13, 2011 from 1- 2 p.m. in Building 1, Floor 10, Room 1001. I hope to have the opportunity to meet many of you there!