Here we go, joining thousands of other internet authors. Adding our two cents worth to the blogosphere. And seeking to establish ourselves in a subject matter both dear our hearts and well-aligned with our core competency... In this case, the nifty niche of marketing.
Why undertake the task, and frankly, the commitment of writing a blog when there are already so many out there? As we'll do with all future installments of MarketingMinds, we'll keep this simple and short.
Here are 6 reasons to write your own blog.
1) Blogs are a relatively cost- and time-efficient way to create useful, fresh, and compelling content for your website -- which, at a topmost level, makes your site a more interesting and beneficial place to visit, interact with, bookmark, and share. Think of it as simple way to ensure there's some "there" there.
2) Digging a little deeper, it's also clear that useful, informative, compelling, and thought-provoking blogs are critical to helping people who are interested in your subject matter, products, or services find you when they are actively searching on the web. (A popular ingredient in many "inbound marketing" programs -- rich content like blogs are the internet equivalent of placing magnets throughout your site, attracting readers by 'matching' their search queries.) Once they arrive, you have a few precious seconds to engage them.
3) Blogs help establish you as a subject matter expert or thought leader in your industry, essentially becoming a credential that can add cache to new-business presentations, speaking engagements, or your own resume.
4) A good blog opens new opportunities for exposure, like speaking engagements; guest-blog invites from potentially higher-traffic sites (here's an example of a guest-blog I authored on wireless sensors when I worked for our client Anaren, before joining Smith!); or even traditional article- and book-publishing engagements... Each of which yield their own street-cred, networking opps, and potential new-business leads.
5) Well-followed blogs can yield advertising revenues and income in their own right.
6) And, perhaps my favorite benefit of all, being a blogger helps to keep your gears going by forcing you to stay current in your field, be a more observant and thoughtful professional, and a better communicator.
Some key considerations when starting a blog.
1) First up, be certain your subject matter is in your wheelhouse -- so your advice, observations, and commentary on the subject matter have credibility. Who wants to read a fashion blog written by a plumber, unless it's for chuckles?
2) Second, keep it current. This doesn't mean you need to blog every day; it does mean you should set your readers' and followers' expectations at the onset and then deliver on those expectations. (Tip: Add a regular, recurring 'blog-writing' appointment on your calendar and stick with it.)
3) Cite and link to examples that support and substantiate the points you make. Case in point, here are three good examples of blogs authored by businesses (vs. trade publications) who utilize blogging the way I've described here:
- Rockwell Automation -- brought to you by this leading provider of factory automation services, software, and systems, this blog covers anything and everything a plant or operations manager might want to know about plant automation, IT, safety, and more.
- Clifton Larson Allen -- offered by an accounting services company, this particular blog focuses on financial issues and accounting practices/principles of agriculture and farming concerns, which CLA lists among the key vertical markets they serve.
- Broadcom -- followed by electronics and software engineers, this one covers a vast array of industry segments and applications where semiconductors are employed and deployed. (Search for our client "Anaren" when you get there!)
4) One of the best ways to win paying customers is to offer a little free advice first. Sell wood stoves for a living? Given how important and costly these appliances can be in a home (re: reliable heating, aesthetics, safety) -- you're more likely to be viewed as a trustworthy professional if you augment your website with fact-filled blog-posts like "5 easy ways to tell if your wood stove or fireplace is safe to use this winter!" -- than if you do nothing but hawk your wares on price.
5) And finally, be sure to provide potential followers with an easy way to sign up for whatever blog your write. Speaking of which: Click the RSS feed icon at top-right to be notified when we post new blogs. Or send us an email to subscribe to our e-newsletter (which will also notify you of new blog posts!)
Welcome to the official blog of Ithaca, NY-based Smith Marketing Services. Authored by members of the SMS team (we take turns or just chime in when inspiration strikes), MarketingMinds offers up