Whenever someone says to me, “I really need to start blogging”, I always ask them why. Mostly they look at me like it’s a trick question. Surely blogging is something every business is supposed to do? You know, content marketing and all that.

The problem is, few people actually have tangible goals for their blog. They just think bashing out a post every now and then will give their sales figures a boost. I’m sorry to say it, but that just isn’t very likely.

Does that mean you should scrap the idea of blogging? Not at all. There are many excellent reasons to blog for your business, five of which I’ve listed below.

By making one or more of these your goal, you’ll be able to track your progress and see a return on your investment that will encourage you to keep going even when you’d rather be doing absolutely anything other than writing.

So, here are five things that a good blog - and by good I mean well targeted, well planned and well written - can do for your business:

Increase brand awareness

I say smoothie, you say…. Innocent, right? Or how about batteries…. Duracell? Funeral directors… Co-op, super fast couriers… FedEx, elite universities… Oxford or Cambridge. And there are probably a few brands that are household names in your particular industry too. A good blog can get people talking so that when a potential customer or client does need your product or service, yours is the name that pops into their head.

Develop brand personality

Many of the marketing tools we use force us to condense our message into a 30 second ad, a 140 character tweet or a pithy tag line. Blogs, on the other hand, give us the space to expand a bit. Like the hour long coffee after the initial two minute chat at a networking meeting, it lets your audience dig a bit deeper and really get to know your brand.

Establish expertise

You know you’re an expert in your field, but how do you convince people who have never used your services? The trick is to show not tell. So rather than saying, “I’m a great handyman”, tell your audience how to get a shelf level every time and remind them that they need to clear the autumn leaves out of their gutters before the frosts come. These not only add value for the customer, bringing them back to your website on a regular basis, but will give you credibility too.

Create PR opportunities

On the back of establishing your expertise is the opportunity to become an expert in the media. Play your cards right, and every time there’s a news story related to your specialist area, you’ll have journalists ringing you to get a quote or ask you on their show. The key is to be informative, and have clear, strong opinions. You’ll also want to make it easy for relevant journalists to find you (for example, consider adding a ‘press contact’ email or even a media page to your website) and there’s nothing stopping you from engaging with them directly via social media.

Encourage customer loyalty

By creating genuine value for your audience, you’ll not only encourage repeat visits to your site but you’ll find that they become some sort of unpaid brand ambassadors, engaging with you, sharing your content and yes, actually buying your products and services - probably more than once. It’s a relationship born of ongoing understanding and respect rather than a quick fire transaction with no longevity. But never get complacent. Up the hard sell and you may put even the most loyal fan off. Always remember that your audience is thinking, “What’s in it for me?” and you won’t go far wrong.

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