Firstly, I’d like to start off with saying a huge well done to Michael Berwick, owner of http://allotmentadvice.wordpress.com and http://mberwicklandscape.wordpress.com on the success of his blogging experience. I have had the pleasure of working with Mike over the last few weeks, and his blogs have gone from strength to strength. I will explain why shortly, but first a little about Mike. His full title is Michael Berwick BSc MLA; he studied landscape design at the University of Sheffield. Since graduating nearly two years ago, he has been working self-employed as a landscape labourer and an ecologist for several companies in both Kent and Sussex. His true passion lies with design and ecology work, thus he decided at the beginning of this year to kick start his company. He has a website meeting with my good friend Tom Crane (Crane Creative), to help him design a website suitable for his business, and I have taken full charge of his marketing and social media. Thus having a blog seemed only natural. He has a business blog, and a blog referring to his allotment, which he received as a Christmas present.
Due to the creative nature of Mike’s work, having a blog was a must. If you have a business, and especially if it is creative or artistic, a blog will aid you in getting more traffic to your website, helping with customer service and helping your business to do well. You need to think of your blog as a way to communicate with the masses, but in a personal manner. Using a blog, you are able to talk in great detail about a product, a service or a specific subject related to your business that you are passionate about. For example; if you are in the fashion business, you might perhaps like to write an entire post about silk. From where it originated from, to the pros and cons of using the material for a garment, and above all else why you like it so much. People like to read about what interests people, what others find passionate. We have seen a huge rise in blogs related to beauty and hair because every woman out there is desperate to find a way to enhance their best features and find a new hair trend that suits their type of hair. So, once you have a business plan, research your target market, see what blogs there are already if any, and start posting!
You can be extremely clever with a blog, using readers out there to help you shape ideas for any projects and services you might be thinking about applying through your business. One of the first obstacles that Mike faced when setting up his business was with regards to what his business logo should look like. So I suggested that he set up a blog, come up with up to 10 different logo ideas, and ask readers to cast their votes. If you visit his blog, you will see that he had over 80 votes, along with helpful suggestions and quires to other logo ideas. He also joined a design group on LinkedIn, which saw him gain further advice not only from other landscape designers, but from graphic designers also. His blog got over 175 hits on a daily basis, which means that there are already people out there who have invested themselves in having a part in the shape of Mike’s business, and who will be on the look out for what he doing next.
One of the things I stressed to Mike about when creating his blog, is that he had to make sure that he was communicating with his readers, and most importantly the people who had taken the time to vote and/or leave a message. Blogging is (excuse the pun) a two way street. If someone is taking the time and effort to read/interact with your blog, then you need to acknowledge that effort and respond. Whether you simply reply to a post, read/follow their blog, people will respond warmly to this, letting them know that you valued what they did and said, and that you are willing to do the same. This is where you can see how having a blog will help with your customer service. If a customer has written a specific comment on your blog, and you see that maybe a few others have agreed with the original comment posted, you can look to create a personal blog post designed to deal with what your customer needed. This again leaves them feeling like you are dealing with them personally, and will increase traffic to your website and bring you more business.
A few things to remember when creating and writing blogs:-
- Visuals are extremely important; don’t forget that images help add a personal touch to your business, make customers feel you have added personal touches, and help emphasise the topic of your blog post.
- Spelling is extremely important; do not make mistakes on your posts. It looks extremely unprofessional and sloppy. people switch off the minute they read mistakes, because if you aren’t going to take care over what you’re writing about, why should they?
- Language is equal to spelling; if you have a PROFESSIONAL blog then keep it that way. Do NOT start using slang/abbreviations it is lazy and infuriating.
- If you are unsure of your blog post, save it as a draft and ask people to read it prior to publishing it. Remember how important friends are; they may be harsh critics, but they will be onset with you. And it’s always better coming from them than from a total stranger.
- As stated earlier, your blog is professional. So whilst friends should be supportive, they must in no way write anything on the blog that would be deemed detrimental. Yes Saturday night was fun, but your readers do not need to know how you ended up or you were seen kissing on the dance floor.
- Equally, if you are reading someone’s blog and you notice any mistakes, leave a comment but don’t be mean. It makes you look extremely unfriendly and people don’t tend to listen to the advice. Don’t appear to be a know it all, or a snob either.
Above all else, and with this advice in mind, have fun with your blogs. Readers will be able to pick up on a post that you enjoyed reading, so don’t make it feel like homework!
If you are considering setting up a blog, simply want advice on content, or any other quires, please visit my website http://www.laboromarketingsolutions.com or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be more than happy to assist in any way that I can.