There is no doubt that whilst printed books, newspapers and magazines may be going out of fashion, people still like to read. Not only that, but our thirst for easily accessible information increases with every new smart gadget that falls into our hands. As we wander along the internet highway finding out useful information, or reading articles, or sharing experiences with others, we will come across many other interesting things along the way. These will cause us to turn left, right, go forward or take a u turn depending on the hypothetical signposts, or shop signs, or groups of people, or opinions we encounter.
The beauty of our online voyage of discovery is that we can do it all from the one place. We don’t have to move anywhere physically, or put down a paper and look up a website, or keep great lumps of directories, or even walk along the High Street. We just have to search, follow links and click.
Consider these three scenarios:
I am sitting in my mum’s lounge as she asks me ‘how do you make pavlova?’, and I will whip out my Blackberry, Google it and give her a choice of several slightly different recipes in seconds.
Which sites did I get them from? Actually I don’t much care, but if the recipe is good, easy to understand and I see a list of other interesting ones whilst I’m on the page I might bookmark it and go back to look at other recipes later. Am I buying anything? No, but the site is probably running some adverts that I might see, and these ads may interest me enough to visit whilst I’m there, and whoever owns the original site gets paid for my advert click.
A Facebook friend asks on their timeline ‘anyone heard of a Fifer sausage?’ Again I Google, and, hey presto, the first reference I find is for a shop that, not only explains what they are, but also sells them online.
Aha, these people love sausages – they make sausages, they blog about sausages, they sell sausages. I might buy some, I’ll certainly send the link to my friend who might buy some, and all of our friends on Facebook might see the exchange and go online and buy some too.
I want to learn about photography. I use twitter to find some photography experts who seem to write useful blogs with hints, tips instructions and I follow them.
Each time they blog, they tweet. I see the tweet and I visit their blog. I might have forgotten about them had I not received the tweet – so they’ve reminded me and I’m happy because I just learned how to correct red-eye in Photoshop and I have hundreds of pictures with red eyes. I can comment on their blog and ask a follow up question. They are helpful, I am happy, then I see they offer a great picture framing service – and BINGO – I’m a customer.
Blogs draw people in. They stand at the virtual door of your world and encourage passers by to interact with you. They offer tit-bits, much as promotions people in Supermarkets offer a lump of their newest cheese, or a sip of the wine of the week. Whilst blogs might not be tactile in the physical sense, they do give visitors a sense of you, the person, the business, the cause or the information center.
Blogs are written for people who:
- still like to wander and discover.
- have specific things to learn.
- want to challenge their own way of thinking
- would like to engage with like minded people who are interested in what they have to say
- don’t appreciate a hard sell, but who may well buy from someone they feel they know and trust.
And most importantly, blogs drive more traffic to your site and give your brand a powerful voice.
Twitter and Facebook can’t replace blogs. They can promote them, but there are times when 140 characters is insufficient to allow people to really get to know you, and whether you run a business or support a cause a blog can be the most effective tool in your online armoury.
So blogging is beautiful, but there are barriers – here are the main ones that I’ve encountered:
‘I don’t have time…’
Yes it does take time. But you can write several blogs and then advance schedule them so that they come out once a week. You can set them to be automatically tweeted, or flagged in Facebook or LinkedIn when they are published. You can feed all of your blog posts into an email that automatically goes out to your mailing list once a month.
‘I’m not good at writing…’
You don’t have to be JK Rowling to write a good blog, so you will probably be better than you think. However, if you are really struggling you can always get help. Little Voice Communications, for example, will write blog entries on your behalf. Hawkeye Services offers a full proof reading and editing service.
‘I don’t know what to say…’
Plan blog topics around your whole marketing strategy. Consider the things that interest your customers, or followers, and build up a list of things that you can blog about. Who are you trying to attract? Write for them, then tell them you’ve done it, then tell them again.
‘No-one will be interested…’
I find that pretty hard to imagine. If you have a business, and you think no-one would be interested, then you’re in the wrong business. If you are blogging about a cause you feel particularly strongly about – you can guarantee there are other people who feel the same way. Even if they disagree – debate is healthy and it’s good to exchange different points of view.
Have I persuaded you that Blogging is Beautiful yet? If so, join BothyBiz today and get all the resources, support and encouragement you need. If not, join anyway and we will work at persuading you ;).