How to inspire through blogging
Blogging is becoming an increasingly popular way for both B2B and B2C businesses to engage with clients, customers and stakeholders.
It can be a very cost effective marketing communications tool, especially when compared with traditional advertising. However, blogs should not be seen simply as a sales tool – they are about building long term relationships with customers. They allow for two-way conversations between company and customer that facilitate better understanding and allow organisations to reach out to their target market, share where they’re heading and what they’re thinking, and find out what customers think in order to tailor their offer accordingly.
This kind of two-way communication and online customer engagement has therefore become a great way of both maintaining long term relationships and gathering useful data about customer preferences and behaviours.
Social media integration
The best blogs are also set up to link well with existing social media channels. Blogs are fantastic for providing regular new content to publish through your social media channels. By adding sharing icons for Facebook, Twitter, Google+ LinkedIn etc to each blog page, you can make it really easy for readers to share content through their own contacts and networks, which will increase your reach and open up your brand to whole new audiences.
Blogging and SEO
Search engines have always liked regularly updated fresh (and relevant) content, but they are becoming increasingly sophisticated at picking out content written purely for search engines over content written for the reader. Gone are the days of packing in keywords to gain top ranking in Google. Search engine algorithms that calculate where your website should be ranked on specific keywords are now taking into account many other factors. These include the quality of your links (who do you link to, who links back to you) and how much your content is shared and re-posted. Sharing through social media sites is becoming a more important factor; particularly through Google+, which Google gives high credit to in order to encourage more people to use it as a business networking tool.
Blogging for thought leadership
Many bloggers are now establishing themselves as industry experts through their blogs. Of course, blogging and online activities cannot be used as a replacement for offline activities and maintaining good relationships with people in person, but it can enhance your offline activities and provide a useful base for people to refer back to your content and ideas.
By taking a particular stance on a topic and using your blog to explain and share your view, you can create healthy discussion and debate and link with others in your industry, who you may not have linked up with otherwise.
My own personal blogging journey
Having always been interested in online technologies, the turning point for me was when I was a business owner (I ran a chain of optician stores) and my website was issued with a Google penalty.
I decided to learn and understand SEO to find out for myself why it had happened and how to work my way out of it. Through a lot of hard work, I worked my out of my Google penalty and built up my online profile in a way that I knew and understood would best represent my company online. My journey involved me learning the ins and outs of search engine optimisation, how it worked, and how to employ best practice with my own digital marketing.
I have since firmly believed that to successfully promote a business online, business owners should understand how SEO works and thus how to direct their own online activities in an equitable way that is favoured by search engines. As a result, I changed my career and set up my current business to help other small business owners do just that.
As well as setting up the technical aspects of a website correctly, I learned about the power of blogging as both an SEO tool and a way for connecting with potential new clients and customers. The regularly updated, relevant content that a high quality blog can provide is a key part of achieving good ranking on search engines.
Blogging and personal connections
For me, blogging has opened up so many doors. Not only has it helped build up the online profile of my website, it has also helped me reach people and places I would never have done otherwise. It has led me to be invited as both a speaker and a workshop leader in my chosen topic areas. I have had interactions with people I would never have normally connected with.
Just last week I blogged about big data, having been inspired by conversations at an event I attended. I referenced Arcompany’s Marketing & Technology VP, Danny Brown – one of the people I spoke to at the event – in the blog I wrote afterwards, and he in turn commented on my blog and then wrote another blog referencing me and linking back to my website.
One of the best things about blogging for me is its reciprocity – by acknowledging and sharing the ideas of other that have inspired you, you can be generous, and this generosity is often reciprocated.
The best ideas and most fruitful partnerships often come out of conversations. By sharing these conversations online, you open them up to a vast worldwide audience and increase the potential for these ideas to grow into something magical.
I hope this blog has inspired you to begin sharing more of your ideas.
Written by Jonny Ross.
Jonny Ross is a Leeds-based website development, SEO and social media consultant. He has set up and maintained top-ranking blogs in a variety of different sectors ranging from law, education and professional services to e-commerce and retail.
With 14 years experience of setting up and running businesses, including managing a chain of retail stores in the healthcare sector, Jonny Ross is well known for his no-nonsense, jargon-free advice and friendly approach to supporting other business owners in developing successful digital and social media marketing strategies.
Jonny is a regular digital marketing blogger and speaker across the UK, and runs bespoke workshops and courses on social media, blogging and SEO in the North of England.