A blog is an important tool for anyone planning to use content marketing to achieve their business goals. But before you can effectively use a blog, you need to be able to answer the question ‘what is a blog?’.
What is a blog? – The definition
Blog is short for ‘weblog’. So, as this name suggests, a blog is a log of information published on the internet (web).
Blog entries, usually called blog ‘posts’, are mostly displayed in reverse chronological order with the most recent article appearing at the top of the web page. A blog may cover any topic or a range of topics. Blogs usually have an informal style but that’s not essential.
When blogging first began, it was used to document people’s lives. In those days a blog was a personal diary. When people realised blogging could be used to disseminate information, it quickly became more popular for bloggers to share knowledge rather than their most intimate feelings.
Why should your business have a blog?
Not every business needs a blog. But most businesses with a website can benefit from having a blog.
If you create a blog, you can use it to market your products and services unobtrusively. The idea is to provide information that is useful and relevant to your target market (the people who would most benefit from your products/services). When you’ve provided enough value to your prospects, you can then direct them to your sales pages and they’ll be more likely to make a purchase.
Once they’ve purchased a product/services you can also use your blog to help customers make the most of their purchase. This can help improve customer satisfaction and satisfied customers are more likely to be loyal (make repeat purchases from you rather than your competitors) and to recommend you to their friends.
Using a blog in this way is a fairly inexpensive way to boost sales. It takes longer to make a sale than when using ads but it also often results in higher value customers if it’s done well.
If having loyal customers that advocate for your business is attractive to you, I highly recommend you consider starting a blog.
Once you’ve decided to start a blog, you need to get it set up. Neil Patel has a great step by step guide to starting a blog that I highly recommend. Bits From Bytes has also produced an 8-step guide to starting a (profitable) blog that emphasises different aspects of the process and provides instructions for alternative domain name and hosting providers. If you’re looking to start a blog as a means of marketing your business, then you might prefer Neil’s blog post. If you’re interested in blogging for the sake of blogging or because you want to make money directly from your blog, then Bits From Bytes’s article might suit your goals a little better. And if you want more detailed information on domain names to help you with that initial step in starting a blog, check out this article about the history of domain names. There’s some good information in there about what to consider when choosing your domain name.
You also need a blog strategy and, ideally, a broader content strategy. A blog strategy will help you produce the right blog content that is always aimed at helping you sell your products and services. Having a broader content strategy will also help you disseminate your content so more people see and benefit from it (and by extension, become your loyal customers).
Once you have a strategy in place, you’ll need to start producing (or purchasing) content. To help you get off to a great start with this, I’ve prepared a guide that describes how to write a great blog post.