The Blogosphere is here and it is not going anywhere. It's not just for people talking about what their eating for lunch or their next celebrity crush. Blogging is big business for entrepreneurs and business owners. CEO Blog Nation recently launched a blogging community and we regularly blog for entrepreneurs and business owners and there are numerous reasons to blog.
Rescue a CEO asked some businesses how they use blogging to help their business.
1) Original Content
With so much content being recycled online – pictures, stories, trending news etc – we are finding that our followers and users really appreciate when we create original material. Content that we create in-house gets us a lot more reach and interaction on all of the main social platforms. When we produce valuable blog content for our military users they know that the content will be of benefit to them in some way – funny, educational or just plain emotional. We see users interacting with us as they look to add their own experiences or give a different angle. For example, this month we wrote a piece on “4 Great Ideas for Valentine's Day”. We tailored it for a military audience in its content and imagery. It was a simple blog post but it was topical and caught our follower's attention. In the post we did mention sending Valentine's messages through the app to family and friends who are at basic training or deployed, so don't be afraid to mention or sell your product either!
Thanks to Shane McCarthy, Sandboxx!
2) Advice, Tips & Adventures
My blog, is an integral part of my business, because it provides advice on pet friendly destinations, insider tips for traveling with pets, and follows our adventures as my husband and I travel with our less-than-perfect dogs. We combine useful information with a personal spin that inspires people to travel with their own pets, and when they begin planning their pet friendly vacations, they can find hotels, campgrounds, restaurants, beaches, dog parks and more on the GoPetFriendly.com site, as well as use our road trip planner to map their trip!
Thanks to Amy Burkert, GoPetFriendly.com!
3) Industry Expertise
In the remodeling industry, it used to be that the first meeting with a contractor was the homeowner learning all about the products available for their project. However, today brings us the most educated homeowners we've ever seen. With the help of the internet, the home improvement decision making process is oftentimes taking place much earlier than the initial meeting with the contractor. We've embraced this trend and encourage potential clients to visit our blog, which is updated weekly and pertains to products we install, industry trends and tips for busy homeowners. Blog posts are also cross-promoted across our various social media platforms and optimized with key words to allow potential clients to find the blog when utilizing search engines for research. It's our belief that establishing ourselves as an industry expert makes us a more logical choice when it comes time for the homeowner to select a contractor to partner with for their upcoming project.
Thanks to Andy Lindus, Lindus Construction!
4) Explain Products & Cultivate a Lifestyle
StrideBox is a subscription discovery box for runners. At StrideBox we use our blog to better explain the products that are in our box each month and to cultivate a healthy active lifestyle. We are beginning to post weekly and work with guest bloggers to expand our reach. This will allow customers to better understand and use our product as well as be motivated to keep on running.
Thanks to Brooke Bilyeu, StrideBox!
5) Speak about your Brand
A company blog provides a completely unadulterated opportunity to speak to your existing (and potential!) customers about what your brand should mean to them. Sure – our blog is a bunch of articles technically full of business advice for SMBs. But what we're really selling, if even on a sub-conscious level, is the amazing quality and value you can obtain by hiring an HourlyNerd. Our Nerd business consultants write our blog because they are our product. The blog is the best way to let folks try a taste of our services for free.
Thanks to Rob Biederman, HourlyNerd!
6) Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Our staff has really succeeded with blogging for our website which is such a difficult task for any business to start, and maintain over time. Many businesses have resorted to hiring outside writers, which I don't feel is the right approach because your in-house staff will best be able to create content that is engaging to your core consumer base, as well as appropriate for your brand. I asked two of our sales staff, Jessica and Amy, to put their talents to work for the blog. Their blog posts sometimes come from questions submitted by clients like in the Ask Amy section, or are very current and engaging topics about jewelry, fashion and watches. I have found that one of the best ways to attract blog visitors is through proper SEO in addition to social media. Optimizing for SEO will help ensure that your posts are able to rank higher and ultimately be seen in the search engines. Social media is especially useful as long as you build a strong following- a tribe of readers who love the content you share. This is done by giving them content that they enjoy seeing in their social media feeds. Not only will you see readership levels go up, but conversions as well. You need to be inherently useful to your followers. Not just kind of useful but truly useful and they will keep you close to them. These social platforms are unprecedented because they put businesses and their friends together and their friends aren't constantly trying to sell to them, so you shouldn't either. These permission based marketing vehicles allow small businesses to continually engage with these potential clients and win business.
Thanks to Jayme Pretzloff, Wixon Jewelers!
7) Unique Take on the Industry
We use our blog primarily to explain our unique take on our industry. Many of our clients come to us with preconceived ideas about what “branding” is or isn't and we often find ourselves doing a lot of educating to help them see our branding process as important, valuable, and authentic—not just putting a fresh coat of paint on everything. Our blog has become a primary means of getting these ideas out into the world where we can direct potential clients when they have questions as well as reach others who might follow us on social media or find us via a Google search.
Thanks to Mike Jones, Resound Creative!
8) Attention & Distinguish
The real estate brokerage business is highly fragmented and it's very difficult to break out of the clutter. If you think about it real estate brokerage services are basically a commodity. So I use our blog to get attention and distinguish us. There are mainly 3 ways of doing this and there are 3 types of posts that I use to accomplish this: (1) Posts on popular topics gets us attention (2) I can demonstrate our knowledge of the market by providing insights and analysis (3) The real estate industry operates on a number of faulty premises -smoke and mirrors that help the entrenched players stay on top. I use the blog to educate the consumer on how the industry really works and show them that we are on their side.
Thanks to Gary Lucido, Lucid Realty, Inc.
9) Educate Clients & Answer Questions
Our company provides real and virtual office solutions to businesses of all sizes, so we use our blog to educate clients about the real estate market and specific questions they should ask to find the space that best suits their needs. If there are interesting studies or news articles – for example, a report on the pros and cons of open-plan offices – we share them and use it as an opportunity to draw on our own expertise, often in the form of tips and tricks our readers can use in their own day-to-day operations. We also profile some of our existing clients to not only shine a light on their businesses, but also give prospective clients a better sense of the different types of companies that use our services.
Link to recent blog: http://blog.amatacorp.com/the-
Thanks to Ron Bockstahler, Amata Office Solutions!
Because I'm a blogger-for-hire, my business blog serves as a portfolio of my work, as do the guest posts I write elsewhere. People read my content and contact me about writing similar content for their brands. Not only do I demonstrate my writing ability, but also my knowledge of small business and marketing topics.
Thanks to Susan Payton, Egg Marketing & Communications!
11) Drive Traffic & Lead Generation
I use my blog to drive traffic to my website and for lead generation. It also serves as the hub of my social media marketing strategy. I share articles and infographics about internet marketing across my social networking channels, such as Facebook and Twitter. My goal is to teach readers how to use internet marketing strategies to generate more leads and sales for their businesses. I know if I help enough people get the education they need, I'll be able to grow my business as well.
Thanks to Gloria Rand, GloriaRand.com!
12) Marketing Strategy & Branding
Our blog has become a very important part of our marketing strategy in the past couple years. The Grasshopper blog is all about insights for entrepreneurs from marketing to culture to sales and everything else. The blog is an amplification of our brand promise to our customers – empower entrepreneurs to succeed. Everything we do at Grasshopper has to empower entrepreneurs and help our customers run their businesses better. We don't use the blog for sales leads and we rarely talk about our product on there. The blog helps get business owners in Grasshopper door and thinking of us when they want to improve something about their businesses.
Thanks to Taylor Aldredge, Grasshopper
13) Vast Knowledge Base
In addition to contributing articles to a variety of industry-related sites, I also make it a point to regularly post to my company blog. The goal of my blog is to create a vast knowledge base for clients and prospective clients to refer to so they can find the answers they're looking for. Working in the SEO and online marketing industry, things are constantly changing. My blog gives me the opportunity to cover the evolution of my niche every step of the way. I also try to focus on topics that relate to the specific needs of my customers. It's a good way to show off your knowledge, without coming off as being too salesy. For instance, instead of sending people to a landing page that talks about link building services, a blog allows me to put together an informative post that discusses the strategies and challenges of link building. In many cases, readers will contact me for my services, since I presented the information in a less intrusive way. In a nut shell, blogging is a great way for brands to provide value that isn't exclusive to clients or customers – which can go a really long way.
Thanks to Brandon Seymour, Beymour Consulting!
14) Show Off Different Projects
I am in the wedding industry and I use my blog to show off all the different projects that we are involved in. The blog include descriptions of the location and the situation and how the whole event went. I am clued pictures and video clips to additionally show what we do. Every time we post a blog it is linked to my business and personal Twitter and Facebook accounts. As we are a very busy company we blog several times a week. Is also great for my SEO.
Thanks to Alan Katz, Great Officiants!
15) Provide Education
My company provides HIPAA compliance services for healthcare providers and associated businesses. Because HIPAA compliance can be an extremely complex topic, I use my blog posts as a way to provide education on the subject. Most small healthcare providers do not have full time staff dedicated to strictly handling compliance requirements. Trying to locate clear and concise answers to compliance questions is really hard to find. I try to base my blog topics on areas I run across in which I see a lot of confusion from providers trying to figure out exactly what is needed to meet compliance requirements. Sometimes I will try to use something that is in the news and related to HIPAA compliance. That was the case in the most recent blog article I wrote regarding the Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield data breach.
Thanks to Jay Hodes, Colington Consulting!
16) Lead Generation Tool
We're a real estate brokerage in New York City and our blog is a lead generating system in the form of a community website about the Upper West Side. The customer flow path works like this: (1) We're constantly producing interesting content on events, news and even this history of the Upper West Side. (2) Our readership visits ILoveTheUpperWestSide.com to read our content. They might click on a recent Facebook share from a friend or perhaps they Googled in search for the “best brunch on the Upper West Side”. (3) They notice that we're not only a community blog, but a real estate rental and sale search engine specializing in UWS properties. (4) When the time comes to buy a new home or move to a new rental in the area, they think of us because we educated and informed them, not to mention we're clearly experts on the area.
Thanks to Mike Mishkin, Love Where You Live Realty!
17) Industry Knowledge
As a translation agency, our blog focuses mainly on language and translation related issues, tips and tricks for freelance translators and clients, helpful tools and advice. I believe the blog is a wonderful tool to share industry knowledge and to forge a relationship with the people we work with. We connect people not only through what we do, but also through the blog, hence its name: Closer Wor(l)ds.
Thanks to Alina Cincan, Inbox Translation!
18) Discovering Customer's Questions
My advise is to forget focusing on sales completely and instead pour all your effort into discovering the questions your customers have. Know what their pain points are, what issues or confusion there is. Over time you become a trusted source of useful, valuable information that your customers can benefit from time after time. This in turn builds trust for your brand which customers reward with loyalty.
Thanks to Ibro Palic, Alien Gear Holsters!
19) Building a Community
Business blogs is one of the most effective methods to give my brand an opportunity to establish a relationship with my customers. By focusing on topics in my niche business my blog brings in more traffic than my advertising. Sharing useful and valuable content is very important to the success of my business blog. When creating content that's helpful to my target customer, it helps establish my brand as an authority in their eyes. I also encourage our customers to share their own content and questions. Building a community with my business blog is the reason for my brand's success. I cannot see my business grow without it.
Thanks to Lisa Chu, Black N Bianco Children's Formal Wear!
20) Center of Content Marketing Strategy
A business’ blog is the starting point of an efficient content marketing strategy. Once a blog is drafted and published to a business’ website, it becomes the jumping off point for more content. We see many business owners struggle to come up with content topics that will appeal to their ideal audience. Little do they know, they have all the ideas they need right in their blog. Repurposing a popular blog into other pieces of content such as email newsletters, press releases, eBooks, White Papers, etc. is a great way to create a ton of content from one idea. It fits in with a work smarter, not harder mentality.
Thanks to Jeremy Durant, Bop Design!
At ScanMyPhotos.com, the Ecommerce photo digitization service, the blog is imbedded within the website as that boosts search engine optimization. Here is how to then get people to read the regular posts. ScanMyPhotos.com has a team of professional copywriters who contact customers to inquire on their experience and share their story of why they had pictures scanned and describe their favorite nostalgic memories. Those interviews are added to the blog and they then share the link with all their relatives. Their interviews are memorialized along with wonderful photo memories. They often then tweet the blog story as a special (Throwback Thursday) #TBT narrative of past photo memories.
Blog Post: http://www.scanmyphotos.com/
Thanks to Mitch Goldstone, ScanMyPhotos.com!
22) Communicate Tips & Perspective
Our company uses blogs to communicate style tips and our perspective on things happening in our industry, even if they don't relate to our product directly. This gives customers perspective and also drives good quality and engaged traffic to our site!
Blog Post: http://strandofsilk.com/
Thanks to Strands of Silk!
23) An Inside Look
Talent South’s blogs are actually a collection of posts written by our students, past and present. Using our blogs this way allows us to give anyone interested in applying to our code immersion programs an inside look at what students are learning and what they have gone on to do with what they’ve learned. We use our social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ to showcase these posts. It’s easy for us to say what our program does, but we think it's quite a better alternative to let our students words speak for us.
Thanks to Ray Howard, Tech Talent South!
24) 3 Birds with 1 Stone
Blogging is like hitting three birds with a single stone. Yes, you read that right – three. First bird is website traffic. Almost one third of our total traffic comes from blogging (which is a lot!). And when these traffic turn into sales, that would mean profit for us. The second bird is market testing. When we have established plans to make a new product, most of the time, we let it undergo market testing first. And we do that, by blogging about it. The response and analytical data we get from our readers and followers are one reliable factor in helping us decide if the new product will become a hit or a miss. And the third bird is customer satisfaction. Blogging plays an important part in improving the quality of our products. Thru reader/blogger interaction, we can get significant feedbacks on which products in the past are well-loved and which ones we need to consider improving.
Thanks to Sean Peterson, KillerGuides!
25) Not About Your Business
My number one tip for business blogs is not to make it all about your business, but make it about the clients you serve. No one wants to view simply a blog that is all about an advertisement for a business. We just launched a new website and blog for our company and our focus is on home improvement. We plan to offer tips to our site visitors who are primarily homeowners, tips on how to better take care of their home, articles on current trends in design and home decorating. Additionally, we will write about community events that maybe of interest to our local clients.
Thanks to Kenneth Combs, CQC Home!
26) Keep Customers Informed
Our company blog is just another tool that allows us to not only keep our customers informed but to connect with them on a more personal level. We run a data center which is a very sterile and impersonal industry. Our blog helps our customers get to know us, the people driving the service, rather than them just knowing the data center and the servers.
Thanks to Steve Eschweiler, Hivelocity Hosting!
27) Share Research & Communicate
I love to use my blog as a way to share the latest food mood research, but I find the best aspect of my blog is that it’s a great way to communicate with my community. They ask questions and I respond so I am serving them and staying connected. I also learn new facts like the pyroluria/social anxiety/
Thanks to Trudy Scott, The Anxiety Summit!
28) Lead Generation Device
At RhinoForce, we use our blog in conjunction with our email marketing as a lead generation device. We send out Marketing Tips emails that have a brief summary of the Marketing Tips blog posts that we publish and a link to the blog posts. This way, we're creating traffic for our website, giving people on our email list useful information they can use and hopefully turning some of those email recipients into leads.
Thanks to Rob Swystun, RhinoForce.com!
29) Subject Matter Experts
We use our blog to show our clients and potential clients that we are the subject matter experts in design, marketing, SEO, social media, and IT. We write about topics that our clients are asking us because we know if they are asking us, then other people are wondering the same thing and probably searching it online. We want to be the experts that show up to answer their questions. If you provide great content that shows that you are the expert on those topics, then people will start to share your blog posts and link to them, which in turn will help you to rank higher in search results bringing you more traffic, leads and business. We could go on about this for awhile, but trying to keep it to a respectable paragraph.
Thanks to Tom Malesic, EZSolution!
30) Push Prospects Toward Sales
After years of being tempted to try to get as many tweets, shares and likes as possible, I've finally realized that I need to focus on blog posts that push my prospects toward a sale. So- what is my unique selling proposition and who is my ideal audience for that? I go after small business owners and marketing agencies to get Facebook advertising clients. We do much more than that, but that is our most unique, valuable and hot service. So my blog posts highlight how to do it well, but also how tough it is for them
to do it themselves. By talking about mistakes DIY'ers make and talking about big time results we get, we're more likely to get business out of it. And the leads have increased! I also Facebook advertise to get prospects to my blog posts. I also market to meeting planners to get speaking gigs.
Thanks to Brian Carter, The Carter Group!
31) Press Release & Announcements
The Voice of Your Customer uses our blog to share press releases and organizational announcements. Our blog is an easy way to spread the word about our events, initiatives and successes. We use tags and categories to increase visibility of our posts. We include information about our company to generate sales leads, and we include social sharing buttons that allow our followers to bookmark or share our posts on social media. Additionally, we invite interested persons to follow our blog so that they will see all of our posts in their timelines. Our blog is a very inexpensive and efficient way to attract media, followers, customers and employees. Most notably, it is very easy to share our messages on social media once the posts are complete.
Blog post: https://voyc.wordpress.com/
Thanks to Kendrick, The Voice of Your Customer
32) Extension of Business
I am known as the “Get Unstuck and Get Empowered” Strategist. My target audience consists of women, but more specifically Mothers. Hence, my blog topics are written for them, from a Mom’s perspective. For example, self-care is an area that Moms often neglect. Therefore, I make an effort to include blog posts that speak to the need for them to prioritize this and provide ideas that may be beneficial. In addition, having become a Suddenly Single Mom, as a result of death, I write articles to remind women that loss does not have to equal lost. Life does and must go on. It behooves an entrepreneur to create a blog that is an extension of their business. Informative content that connects to a potential client on an emotional level is a win-win for both parties. When you are deemed to be an expert on a topic and/or have firsthand experience with what your business is about, credibility is enhanced. Gaining a customer’s confidence and respect is instrumental in winning them over as a client.
Thanks to Jacqueline Miller, Jacqueline DuJour Enterprises LLC!
33) Update our Audience
In regards to generating leads, inquiries, or quality traffic, we blog daily. Enforcing this will help increase your traffic tremendously. At AspiredSteps, we blog in order to update our audience about our struggles,
our wins and most of all any cool DIY ideas that will help.
Thanks to Zen Cachola, Aspired Steps!
34) Strategies for Strategic Results
I use video blog posts with accompanying text to educate my followers and potential clients by teaching them manageable techniques for improving their overall small business productivity. I give them bite-size strategies to implement on their own then offer myself and a free report as resources to them—no pressure added. I love showing entrepreneurs that is possible to be productive and systematized in their business, while having lots of fun at the same time. By sharing the “what”, “why” and a little bit of the “how” in my videos, I build deep relationships at lightning speed which enables me to bring on more clients and creating lasting impact in their lives.
Thanks to Katie Mazzocco, Full Spectrum Productivity!