iStock_000009648196SmallI am working with several clients who are just now optimizing their corporate website, integrating social media and learning about TWEETS.

When I state, “now, let's talk about your BLOG,” I often get the dropped chin with a confused eye brow.  I know they are thinking “why and how am I going to find the time to do a BLOG!?”

Bottom line, you can't afford not to have a blog.  I am going to focus this week on content to help those new to social media to explore and learn why and how social media, blogging, and community engagement can be instrumental in improving the ROI on all marketing efforts.

WHY BLOG?

1.  EXPRESS YOURSELF: A blog is a perfect way to share WHO you are, what you LIKE, what you KNOW, and how you can HELP your target audiences.  A blog is less formal than a typical website or piece of marketing collateral.  A blog enables you to share a little (or a lot) of the real YOU! You can share the special award you received from the big boss or customer, talk about one of your favorite clients, share what you learned at the industry event or even complain about the mess your neighbor made over the weekend!

2. AGILITY: As business leaders we all strive for agility and the ability to be proactive vs. reactive – the ability to grab market opportunity when it is ripe vs. a month old.  A blog is a perfect proactive tool.  You don't have to wait for a web developer, graphics designer or 2 hours of free time.  The average blog post takes less than 10 minutes to write!

3. ENGAGE: Blogging is a great way to participate!  Social media marketing is all about engaging.  Blogging enables you to contribute, educate, participate and ENGAGE!  By sharing yourself, your company and information that others may be interested in you can begin to build a community of interested followers, birth new online relationships as well as the many business and marketing benefits such as increased brand awareness, readership, improved ROI, and increased sales!

4. SEARCH ENGINE RANKINGS (SEO!) Search engines LOVE blogs!  In case you haven't noticed, a website with no visitors doesn't really do a whole lot for your business, career or bank account!  Google, Yahoo and MSFT LOVE blogs.  There are many new technologies and built in widgets (we'll explain this at a future date) that enable the search engines to know your blog exists so it can send people looking for your product to your web front door!

iStock_000008247545Small 5.  LISTEN & LEARN: Blogs enable DIALOGUE… oh yeah, that is another form of communication and engagement!  So wow, we are only on #5 and you are  ENGAGING, LISTENING and improving WEBSITE TRAFFIC!  We could stop here….but we won't as I know some of you want a few more reasons! No really, blogs are a great way to ask questions, obtain feedback on new offers, new logos, or share a viral video contest!  You can easily get a pulse on your community, their needs and how you can help solve their problems!

6. TEST IDEAS: Same reasons as #5 above but it earns it's own line for sure! A great primary, cost effective, quick and efficient research method!

7.  SUBSCRIBERS: Building a community is one of the best marketing weapons in business!  Social media and networking makes it easier than ever to engage prospects you'd never be able to meet otherwise.  Once you have them to your blog you have made a big first step!  Getting them to subscribe is worth 5 more!  Subscribers offer an ongoing communications channel you can leverage to further nurture a relationship, engage in your community and hopefully sell product to!

8. SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION (SEO): I just had to mention this one again.  Every one of my clients says “just get me #1 on Google and I'll be happy”.  Please read this: BLOGS WILL HELP YOU IMPROVE SEO!

9. MAXIMIZE ALL MARKETING: Blogs are the perfect GLUE between your different marketing channels, campaigns, audiences and tactics.  Your blog can help integrate your Random Acts of Marketing (though those of you actively working with me know I HATE these, we'll eventually get you “weaned off”.) Your blog can point to everything from your website, YouTube channel, campaign landing page, Twitter, Facebook pages, customer pages, to the community event you participated in over the weekend!  Social media is all about engaging WHERE your customer is!  If you can get them to any one of your social marketing channels you can get them back to or from your blog and to the others!

10. BLOG AS A HUB: As #9 describes a blog as GLUE…it can be a central HUB!  Because a blog is so flexible, agile, creative, purposeful, it enables you to use it however needed!  Don't have the corporate web page ready for the big campaign but the CEO is on you for getting more hits to the You Tube channel?  If you are an active blogger, you not only post an announcement on your blog, but you can also send a note to your SUBSCRIBERS since you have actively engaged them and they are now loyal followers….and guess what… wala…they visit your YouTube Channel as well as check out your 2 latest blog posts which educate them on the event you have next week.  So now not only did you increase You Tube hits, but you got 10 more registrations for the customer event…so the big boss is exponentially HAPPY!

11.  BUILD AUTHORITY: Many of my customers are EXPERTS in their field but they aren't telling anyone about it!  If you are an expert, trust me there are people who want to hear what you have to say!  If they don't then they won't visit your blog anyway.  But the ones that are interested WILL so you might as well share with them why what you say matters!  You don't have to stand on a big soap box…just a medium size one!  Be proud!

12.  GET NEW CUSTOMERS: Did I just say customers? Yes!!  A blog is a great medium to leverage social media to connect to NEW customers!  The more you blog, the more you'll see the new opportunities surface!

13.  CROSS-SELL / UP-SELL: Blogs are a perfect way to cross-sell and up-sell your other products and services.  You can highlight key benefits, uses and leverage that “soap box” knowledge to get them to listen.

14.  Search Engine Optimization SEO: Did I mention SEO? 😉  Not only do the search engines love blogs…but if you take a quick look back thru this list…you'll see we're starting to work on integrated content!!!  Search engines LOVE CONTENT…particularly RELEVANT CONTENT!  And because you are obtaining FEEDBACK from the COMMUNITY in your BLOG you are LEARNING what they are INTERESTED in which is probably the same TERMS they are SEARCHING for in GOOGLE!  And if you are smart… you are writing blog posts based upon their feedback.  And guess what!!  When you do this… the search engines pick it up and guess what?!  Your rankings increase!!!  And that's a GOOD thang!

15.  SHARE YOUR STUFF: Blogs are a great way to share your gallery!  Could be the latest piece of art, website template, whitepaper, photograph, technical spec or customer success story!  Whatever it is…share it!

16.  NETWORK: Leverage and talk about your partner and customer relationships!  Assuming your customer has authorized the use of their name (now a days most businesses are happy to be referenced) then highlight the work you have done for them.  You can also talk about a business partner, an event you attended with a customer or partner and the list goes on and on!

17.  CONTESTS: Contests are a great way maximize your use of social media!  Host a YouTube contest with votes being housed on your blog, or  blog contest where you ask others to blog about your company or product and inform you of it on your blog page as a post.  You can even offer a prize for the best video, blog post or other contribution to your newly formed community!! I will write more soon about contests to help you get started.happybirds3Small

18.  SOMETHING TO TWEET ABOUT: Many people setup a Twitter account and then they sit there with the crazy little blue bird and think “now what?”  Not only do you not have any followers…but you don't have anything to say!?  A blog post gives you something to TWEET about!  And guess what!?  Tweeting gets you blog visitors which gets you subscribers, website visitors, community members and customers!

19.  SEO: Need I say more!?

20.  It's FUN!!! If all of this doesn't excite you then call me as we need to talk SOON!

Even if it does look fun, but you simply don't have the time to do it…. well we can help!  Not only can we setup your blog, integrate it with your website but we can also leverage it to maximize $$ spent on all marketing tactics.

Please let me know of specific content you would like to see this week regarding blogs, the above or any other topic!