If you're just starting out both in business and in blogging, then your blog might be an excellent place to start finding your audience, get feedback about your business ideas so you can hone your service offerings, and plan events that meet the needs of your audience.
If, on the other hand, you already have a solid foundation and clear goals for your business, then all that's left is to determine how blogging can help you accomplish those goals.
Here is a list of the five most common benefits of blogging. Do any of these match your goals for your business?
- Demonstrate your expertise in a specific industry or specialty – By writing blog posts that answer your clients' most common questions, you show that you're a knowledgeable and trusted authority in that particular area. If this is your top goal, focus on writing "how to" articles. [Update June 8, 2012 - Thought pieces also position you as a leader and authority in your area.]
- Educate your clients about what you do and why they need you – A blog allows people to research you and your business before taking the next step to contact or hire you. By writing authentically about the topics that matter most to you and your clients, you give them a clearer picture of who you are and what they can expect from you and your services. If this is your main goal, provide a combination of client stories and personal posts, with the occasional theory or manifesto added in for good measure.
- Add value to what you already offer your clients and broader network – Your generosity and goodwill speak volumes about who you are as a person, while the quality of your information continues to solidify your credibility. Through your blog you can reach and help more people. If this is your main goal, combine "how to" articles with connective content that adds interest and variety to your blog. There are even ways that blogging can help you give back to your community.
- Gain wider exposure for your business – When the people in your network like and pass along your blog posts via email and social media, they simultaneously provide an endorsement and introduction to other people who are interested in your specialty area. If this is your primary business goal, be sure to blend all types of content so that you reach people with different interests and learning styles.
- Keep your website fresh – Your network will keep returning to see what's new, and Google and other search engines will reward you with higher ranking. This continues to reinforce the perception that you're an expert who is up to date, and your blog is the destination for trustworthy and helpful information. Use my weekly blogging method to stay consistent and get into the blogging habit.
Before you get too far along (though you can stop and do this any time), fortify the roots of your blogging tree by clarifying the goals of your blog. The good news is that you don't have to look any further than the goals for your business!
Linda Dessau, CPCC, is the author of Write Your Way to More Clients Online and the founder of ContentMasteryGuide.com. She offers ghostwriting, editing, training and consulting. If you want better results from your online writing, contact her today to learn how she can help.