In this digital age of widespread information, the Internet is our world, and for a small business this can be game-changing. The value of web marketing for businesses large and small cannot be overstated; these days nearly everyone is online, and 85% of consumers reported using the web to find and patronise local businesses.
Building your company web presence is a multi-tiered operation. In addition to selecting a high quality web design and incorporating relevant, SEO-friendly content, it is important to develop a personal brand for your business. There are many roads to branding your business, and one excellent method is through blogging. If you’ve got a website up and running, you’re already halfway there. The simple addition of a blog can do wonders to help build your company’s brand, and to yield awesome results in the form of leads and sales. Here’s how to do it:
Defining your brand
The first step involves defining the brand you want to promote. Decide how you want to be seen by your current and potential customers. What do you want to be known for? Perhaps you’ve already developed a brand strategy–a blog can help you capitalise on that.
Your brand is a combination of multiple elements: visuals like your logo, website, and slogan, as well as your company’s values, presentation, and image. Your brand is a composite of all these aspects; it’s how others see your business.
When you’ve chosen how you want to be seen, it’s time to start marketing that to the world. Every business and notable individual has a brand, and the most influential brands are those that stand out as memorable and easily recognised. So how do you help your business’ brand stand out?
Blog like a master
If you’re using a blog to help build your brand, this is your chance to make your mark. With more than 152 million active blogs on the Internet, blogs can seem a dime a dozen, but well-written, authoritative blogs which present new information or provide value to readers can develop a tremendous following or have their blog posts shared repeatedly.
However, you don’t need to become a viral success to use blogging for brand building. To have your blog work for you, it’s important to become a trusted authority on your subject. Perhaps you own a local bakery and your specialty is delicious cupcakes. Your blog could include tasty recipes, tips for baking the perfect cupcake, or clever decorating ideas, complete with stunning photos. Whatever your business does really WELL, focus on that in your blogs as much as possible, and you’ll soon find you’ve got a foothold in a very specific niche. Writing about what you know inside out also ensures your content is well-informed and coming from the viewpoint of a certified expert in that department. If you’re writing about something you love, your writing should flow naturally and make for a good read. If possible, it’s a good idea to seek the services of a professional editor to make sure your writing is at its most polished. Once you’ve developed an informative blog that cupcake fans love reading, you’ll find your web traffic climbing, your search engine rankings boosting, and all those website visitors and shares of your blog posts are bringing in more and more customers and skyrocketing your web presence. And of course, this is building your brand! Perhaps your niche isn’t as a cupcake connoisseur, but whatever your industry or business, there’s an untapped niche just waiting for that authoritative blogging expert.
Keep the following keys in mind for becoming a master blogger:
- Find a niche
- Write about what you know (or what you love)
- Seek the services of an editor to polish your words and help you say what you want to say
- Write content which is relevant or says something new
- Don’t be afraid to be opinionated
- Have a unique ‘voice’
- Address topics important to your industry
- Set yourself up as an industry or niche authority
As you build your blog, your range of topics can grow and vary in accordance with the brand image you’re promoting. Make sure your writing participates in the important conversations and topics of your industry. Add your unique and intelligent perspective to a ‘hot’ issue, and watch the traffic come rolling in. Likewise, be sure to create some evergreen content which will remain relevant irrespective of time. It’s also worth your energy to create more complex, authoritative “guides” on a specific topic. These more in-depth blogs will generate a great deal of interest and be shared among your industry community and beyond. All of this great work you put into your business blog will have tremendous value: earning you earns you those desired clicks and traffic and helping to set you up as an expert in your arena. Best of all, your blog will help affirm your personal brand as a knowledgeable, cutting edge business with something to offer.
Engage with online communities
When you’re not creating your own bold, beautiful blog entries, take a look at what other companies in your field are doing. Read other blogs–even your competitors’. When you read something that causes a reaction, engage with that blog by commenting. Leaving thoughtful blog comments is an excellent way to connect with your industry’s online community (or with other businesses in your local area). In addition, when you comment on most sites, a link back to your own blog or website is automatically generated, building those valuable backlinks that will help Internet users find you. Commenting on blogs is easy and can be quite enjoyable. Expand on the content of the article, disagree with the argument, bring up new points, agree with the author, support, encourage, ask questions–even subtly direct readers to new information if you have an appropriate blog post of your own you think might be helpful. While you’re getting your business out there through meaningful blog comments, you’re also building relationships with other professionals in your area or in your industry. This can be a valuable part of developing your respected and well-known company brand.
Keep at it
Establishing a blog is a process that requires a bit of patience and hard work. Blogging may not be for everyone, but if you are dedicated and keep at it, you will find that the rewards will truly pay off for your business tenfold. Continue maintaining your blog, posting regularly to continue driving traffic. Most of all, develop consistency. Building a brand takes time. Consumers respond to familiar, recognisable elements, and gaining that recognition may take several months or years. So work on evolving your signature style, colours, feel, and blog ‘voice’. That desired instant brand recognition, slowly grown over time will yield amazing results and fantastic business growth.