It’s a proven fact that Google loves blogs; having one on your site will improve your page rankings and drive people to your pages. Always assuming that it’s properly optimised and enhanced by carefully selected and appropriate social media. But before you start to write your blog, you should be asking yourself some questions.
Why are you doing it?
You don’t have to have a blog just because everyone else has one. But given that you’ll almost certainly benefit in increased traffic and sales, your blog can only be improved by giving it some thought before you start.
There are a whole variety of reasons for writing a blog. You can use it to inform your clients, to educate them, to reassure them or to enter into a dialogue with them. Even entertain them. It could be some or all of these but the most important place to start is with your clients. What do they need? How can you help them?
Who are you doing it for?
By helping in ways that mean something to your readers you are of course helping yourself as well. You’re building up trust, demonstrating your expertise and enhancing your own credibility. And this is important. But never forget who comes first – always put yourself in their shoes.
Given two similar services, whom do you think a client is likely to pick? The one who simply shouts his wares, or the one who offers reliable and thoughtful advice? The one who’s merely a supplier, or the one whom he trusts because he has over time built up a relationship with him?
What are you going to tell them?
One of the traps we sometimes fall into is thinking that something familiar to us is familiar to everyone. That’s not the case. Someone may be immensely competent in their own field but feel at a loss when faced with decisions or tasks that are out of their comfort zone.
If you are an estate agent you can be of great service to your customers by talking them through the process of buying or selling a house. Renting or letting property. No doubt there are many people who are familiar with the processes but there are countless others who’d be glad of a helping hand.
A solicitor might demystify the process of writing a will. A tax lawyer could untangle unfamiliar legislation or give simple tips for staying out of trouble. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a professional or in a service industry, you can advise and inform no matter what you do.
Do you sell and fit carpets? Write a post about the suitability of various types of flooring for different locations. If you own a restaurant, offer recipes or advice on choosing wine. If you’re stuck for ideas search the web, Google like mad, read other blogs, find out what people are asking on forums.
When it comes to writing the blog, think of someone who might use your product or service. Again, put yourself into their shoes. What would they like to know? What sort of questions would they ask? If appropriate, think of someone you know who might need what you’re offering. A niece or nephew buying their first home. Someone just setting up in business.
Above all, don’t lose sight of your objective or your reader. Your primary purpose is to help and add value. Your secondary purpose is to increase your ranking and therefore your sales. If you keep this in mind it’s win-win.
Clodagh is hosting a seminar on ‘Secrets of Successful Blog Writing’ on Wednesday 31st October. You can find more information about the seminar here.