Via The Guardian : To create a following you need to post regularly and share your posts on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn
If you’re looking to create a more profitable business, starting a blog can be a smart move. With the right approach it can help you build influence, strengthen your relationship with clients and attract new ones. Go about it the wrong way, and it can drain your time and resources.
Here’s some of the most common mistakes business owners make with blogs – and how to avoid them:
1. Navel gazing
Not every prospective customer has the need – or the budget – to buy from you right now. But if you create useful content that solves peoples’ problems or makes their life easier in some way when they do have a need, they’ll immediately think of you. This approach is often referred to as content marketing.
But too many business owners miss the point. Instead of creating helpful content for prospective clients, they create long, rambling posts about their latest product line or the local business award they were nominated for. Then they wonder why no one is visiting their site.
If you want people to read your blog and keep coming back, don’t tell them how brilliant you are – show them. The easiest way to do this is to teach them something.
So if you sell cake decoration supplies, create a series of blogposts on how to decorate children’s birthday cakes. If you own a garden office company, produce a guide to getting planning permission for detached buildings. Run an accountancy firm? Try sharing money-saving tips or advice on negotiating new tax rules.
While giving away free advice might seem counterintuitive, it really does work. Although I give lots of free advice on my own blog, people still buy my training and consultancy. In fact, several clients have said that the reason they hired me was because they’d got to know me and my work through my blog.
My experience is borne out by research, which consistently shows that most people need between seven and 13 interactions with a company before they buy. Sharing useful content, via a blog, is an effective way to keep prospective clients warm until they’re ready to do business with you.
2. Not posting often enough
If you want to create a following for your blog, you should be publishing fresh content on a regular basis so your audience expects, and looks forward to, your latest offering. If you’re not posting new content at least once a week (ideally more frequently, at least at first), it can be much harder to create a loyal fan base to share your content with others. Don’t worry if writing’s not your thing; video, audio and image-led content can be just as effective as the written word. The key is to create useful content and do it regularly.
3. Not telling people about it
One of the most common complaints I hear from small business owners is “I started a blog but no one is reading it”. There is usually a simple explanation: they haven’t told anyone it exists.
You can’t sit back and expect people to find your blog. You need to be out there, telling the world about it. That means sharing your posts on social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and LinkedIn, adding a link to your blog in your email signature, mentioning it at networking events … anything to get the word out.
I don’t bother with business cards anymore (I see my blog as my virtual business card). When I’m speaking at an event, I give out flyers for my blog instead, which makes me far more memorable.
And don’t be afraid to email your existing clients to tell them about your blog. People who already do business with you – and like what you do – are far more likely to spread the word about what you’re up to.