Who’s ready for more Christmas? Yeah. Neither are we. We’ve only just gotten around to accepting the inevitable approach of Valentine’s Day. But those 12 Days of Christmas blogs are waiting to be finished up. Luckily, they were only tangentially connected to the song in the first place. Our original idea, to profile 12 ways businesses can use platforms other than Facebook for their digital marketing, is still relevant.

So here’s number 9: Blogging

Keeping a blog seems like a chore to some, but blogs are one of the most valuable tools in the digital marketing tool box. Blogs give a lot of bang for their marketing buck. Why?

  • You establish your expertise and personality.
  • You engage with your followers.
  • You help promote traffic to your website.

Let’s look at those benefits a little more closely, and then I’ll pass on some tips to get you blogging and keep you blogging.

  1. You Establish Your Expertise and Personality

Many people think of blogs as online journals or diaries, full of random musings about children, food, work, and travel. Those blogs exist, and some of them are truly interesting. They establish a blogger’s personality and communicate life experiences to readers.

Although business blogs are a different animal, they can look to those lifestyle blogs for inspiration. Businesses and organizations publish blogs focused on their industry, experience, and expertise. They dispense information that their audience is curious or passionate about. Still, they should demonstrate at least a little of your organization’s personality and story. Purely informational blogs have a tendency to be dry. To counteract that, don’t be afraid to put a little flair into your blog. Your writing should have a voice, and it should be a voice that matches the tone and personality of your business. Don’t forget the images too. A little humor never hurts.

  1. You Engage With Your Followers

Whereas a website offers static information about your services, blogs are an ongoing conversation. They’re interactive. When you make a post, you’re inviting people to ask questions, make comments, and offer their own thoughts on the topic — to argue with you even. Make that conversation work for you. Your followers want to know more about you and your topic, so embrace blogging as a way to put your own ideas out there and engage others in a conversation. Blogging is a medium that includes the reader as an active participant.

  1. You Help Promote Traffic To Your Website

This one is very simple. Blogs bring people to your website. Regular, steady traffic is just one factor in improving your site’s performance in Google search rankings. Every bit helps. To engage more readers, use your other social media accounts to promote your blogs. Always announce new blog posts on your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Google+ accounts.

So how do you start, and how do you keep going?

  1. Choose a theme and stick with it. If your blog represents a product or service or area of expertise, that’s your natural topic. Make your theme broad enough to allow for a range of posts, but specific enough that your intended audience can depend on your blog to offer similar information. You’re more likely to get subscriptions if readers know they can turn to your blog for information on a specific topic.
  2. A publication calendar is very useful. Start by generating a list of topics you’re interested in sharing with your followers. Schedule those posts, and try to keep a regular schedule. (Ahem – like our goal of publishing 12 blogs before Christmas, for example, sometimes life and business obligations get in the way of strictly sticking to that schedule. Just do the best you can.)
  3. airplane gifDon’t worry too much about crafting works of literature when you’re writing your blogs. They should be clear and engaging, free of grammar and spelling errors, but they don’t have to be Dickens. If you’re not Shakespeare, and the idea of publishing a piece of your writing makes you break out in a sweat, consider asking others to write your blogs for you. This could be someone within your organization, or an outside source like D. Cohn Communications. Your main concern should be that the author can represent your organization with accuracy.
  4. Blogs shouldn’t be novels. The ideal length of a blog is 500-750 words – long enough to thoroughly explore a topic, but short enough that it doesn’t take your reader their entire lunch break to read it.

And that’s it. Have you had success with blogs, or are you struggling to make them work for you? Let us know in the comments.