Like anything else in life and business, you have to invest your time and sometimes a little cash to reap financial and personal rewards. Of course for many, nothing feels better than self-accomplishment, and that’s where I come in — helping you learn about blogging for business.
Understand what this is all about — monetizing on your current business investment; your website. And of course if your website has a blog, then this article is truly for you. I’ll cover this blogging 101 tutorial as simply as I can and try to keep the geek talk to an absolute minimum. Grab some coffee and something to eat and get comfy because this is a long one.
Know Thy Self…
Just so many questions come to me about blogging. But you know what? They all have something in common: anxiety and fear of something new and unknown! Once beyond that, your mind is free and this is no longer a chore. Here’s a list of the most common questions/roadblocks I hear:
- Who is my target audience?
- What should I write about?
- When will people find my blog posts?
- Where will my readers come from?
- Why would anyone bother with what I have to say?
- How does all of this come together and help my business?
Do you see a trend? Ah yes! The classic “WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, WHY and HOW” scenario! The hidden beauty behind this scenario is the ability to answer them all in succession, and that’s just what I’m going to do for you. In other words, once we know Step#1, then Step#2 starts to become obvious, and so forth! So get a pen and make your list of those six questions now before I answer them.
#1 Who is my target audience?
This may seem obvious, but often it’s not. Right now, you’re thinking “my customers or clients are my target audience”. If you’re just starting out with blogging, then this is DEAD WRONG! You see, you have to build an audience first by making content that people want to learn about, know about, talk about, or email/text/tweet to others (covered more in Step #2 next). Your current clients already know you and are not likely very interested in what you have to say at first. You are blogging to try to attract new customers/clients as well as serve your current ones so people you do not know should be your readers. To recap, your target reader is someone who will find your writing interesting and/or entertaining.
#2 OK, I have my target audience. What should I write about?
For example, let’s say you’re a dry cleaner. Take a simple inventory of your professional knowledge and see what may be interesting to someone:
- I can clean clothes professionally. (Yep, obvious but boring. Ironically, this is what a beginner would likely blog about)
- I could tell you what clothing to buy that’s most cost effective and durable when it comes to laundering. (Hmmm…)
- I know how and why you should clean certain stains yourself without using a dry cleaner! (Huh? Why do that!)
Hey dry cleaners! Did I just get your attention? Make you mad? Make you think? That’s the whole point — attraction. Two things I listed above may seem like I’m giving the farm away, and that’s exactly right! And no, I’m not drawing business away from myself either, trust me. You need to learn to look beyond that now. Instead, I’m attracting readership and creating trust and investing in my future. Think about it: what am I doing right now with you? Yep, you guessed it, giving away my knowledge to bring you back for more and maybe even tell others. And guess what? It worked. I now have an audience because I gave the farm away. Get it? Napoleon Hill, an early personal success author and advisor to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, once said: “Give more value than you are being paid for and soon you will be paid more than the value you have given.”
Lack confidence in your writing ability? That’s very common, and a good point to consider. If I can’t make sense of what you’re saying, you will never gain me as a follower. But how will you truly know unless you try? Here are two options: write something first and have someone read it before publishing it in your blog. You will know the answer to this question real fast. Another solution: get someone to write it for you, like hire me for example, or a family member or friend who can write well and offer some sort of trade-off.
#3 When will people find my blog posts?
By now, you found something to write about and who to direct it to. Now for the golden question: how do people find my blog articles? By far, this is the biggest question I receive — and the most important one to explain carefully. The answer comes in many forms but I will mention two of the easiest ways here.
Instant Search Engine Notification: If you are using WordPress for your blog and/or website, then you may or may not know that WordPress can be set to automatically notify a well known blogging resource called Ping-O-Matic each and every time you create and click “Publish” a blog post (your article). In layman’s terms, Ping-O-Matic notifies search engines of your new content immediately!
Before blogs were around, website owners created articles and had to wait for search engines to come and find their new content before the world could search for it. But this could take weeks if your site wasn’t real popular and proved quite frustrating. Blogging revolutionized this whole process and is the single-most important reason why I use WordPress for websites and blogs.
You already know why you have a website (hopefully!): to get people to find you when they search for what you do and where you do it. So each time you write in your blog and publish it, you are telling the WORLD about your new information immediately! This way, you don’t have to wait for search engines to come to you. They are already notified and quite capable of using your information right away. Don’t belive me? Well try it for yourself. Have a Google Account yet? Then try this free Google tool: Google Alerts. Google Alerts can notify you almost immediately about any topic, anywhere, anytime as soon as it goes online just by typing in a topic of choice. Be careful though, it could potentially flood your inbox so play around with it first. Hmm… maybe that’s why CNN and others large communication networks all use blogs!
Social Media: Once you publish your blog post, notify people via Twitter and Facebook with a link to it. You will be amazed just how fast this can bring comments to your blog post and create links from other websites. Also, use newsletter services like I do. I use Constant Contact but there are several other services out there two. In fact, if you really want to get a jump on using these avenues, I’d suggest learning more about Twitter. This training resource on using Twitter is a guide I feel accomplishes this quite well. It’s a small investment of about $47 bucks I think but it’s well worth getting and taking the time to apply it.
#4 Where will me readers come from?
My first reaction to this question was “who cares!” But really, it is important to know. First of all, you aren’t creating a fan club here. You are making content to be found in search engines! Remember, every blog post you write has keywords people use to find your article. However, as you gain readership, even one person at a time, you develop a personal relationship with them and become a trusted resource, which in turn, also makes you a reliable search engine resource!
Patience! Work at it an you will reap rewards but YOU HAVE TO BE DILLIGENT AND PATIENT at the same time! Commonly, bloggers get frustrated and feel like they are talking to nobody because they aren’t getting comments. Trust me, just keep writing. Search engine focus on good, quality content. The more you write, the better you will get at it, and the more you will represent your website to search engines as an important resource to send its searchers to.
#5 Why would anybody bother with what I have to say?
Simple answer: for the same reasons you are reading this blog post! I’m sure you will figure it out.
#6 How does all of this come together and help my business?
You may know the answers by now:
- You want more new customers
- You’d like to retain your existing customers
- You want your website to make money for you somehow or pay for itself at least
- You want a low-to-no cost marketing solution
- You would like to be known as the town expert with what you do and grow by word-of-mouth
- Your blog creates a personal relationship with new clients or customers
- Everyone on the planet is recycling their phone book so where else will they look for what you do?
…you fill in the rest…
Here’s what this blog post did for me:
- Who is my target audience? Owners of websites and blogs.
- What should I write about? The most common questions they want answers to.
- When will people find my blog posts? Via my newsletter, Twitter, MySpace and searches for this topic.
- Where will my readers come from? Search engines, blog subscribers, people who had this post sent to them to check out.
- Why would anyone bother with what I have to say? Seriously? Just kidding.
- How does all of this come together and help my business? I help you and you help me by either using my services or telling others to use my services.
Make sure you share the love and give me your feedback. I’d love to hear from you and your experience with this lesson.