A Blog? What would I write about?
One point that often comes up when we are discussing a new website with a client is whether or not that website should have, for want of a better word, a ‘blog’ feature. Does anybody even care about blogs nowadays? And even if they did care enough to read my company blog, what would I write about?
We’ve mentioned before that blogs are a good way to regularly inject new content into your website. New content shows Google that your website is still current and relevant. ‘Current and relevant’, combined with the right combinations of keywords, leads to better SEO ratings.
According to Wikipedia, the term 'blog' is a contraction of the term ‘weblog’, described as consisting of discrete, often informal diary-style text entries (posts). This may not sound like the sort of information you’d want to your business to publish on the internet. But the reality is that a blog doesn't need to contain this type of information. More commonly, the blog facility on most business websites is used to publish a series of articles about the business. This could be the latest news or developments in the business. Investment consultants might post about government policy and investment strategies. Manufacturers might choose to write about a new product. Many tech companies even publish information and tutorials on how to solve particular problems. A widget on your homepage can even show your latest blog posts and how recently they were published, guiding readers to your most recent content.
Why would you want to put out this information onto a public forum where potential customers or (even worse) your competitors might come across it? What if they were to take it and use it against your business?
I believe the rationale behind sharing this type of information in the public domain goes back to the origins of the World Wide Web. When people were first wanting to publish content online they often needed to learn the HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language) programming language and what could be achieved with it. From the W3C onwards, developers were only too happy to post instructions and tutorials showing users what could be achieved. Not only was this valid content for their own pages, it was providing valuable resources and showing the knowledge and experience of these developers, positioning them as ‘experts’ in this new domain.
Flash forward to today, and you can use the same idea to demonstrate yourself as an expert in your field, whatever that might be, offering advice and assistance to those that are reading your posts. You can include a form that allows people to comment on your post (be sure to moderate and respond to these comments) if you wish to engage with your readers online.
When talking about your business, or a particular service or product, it’s very easy to focus on the features that are on offer to show a point of difference or how relevant your offer is. Don’t over emphasise these points however – it’s very likely that your readers are looking for a solution to a problem that they are facing. It’s far more important to tell them how your product or service will benefit them and solve their problem.
It’s an often-repeated marketing truism – people don't buy a high-speed tungsten carbide-tipped eversharp 10mm drill bit because it has a tungsten carbide tip, operates at high speeds and never needs sharpening. They buy it primarily because they need a 10mm hole!
But I don't have time to write articles!
Don’t have the time to write and post articles for your business? There are many companies online (ourselves included) that are able to assist. You just need to be careful about who you choose to work with. Give them a clearly written brief as to the topic you want to post about but also listen to their suggestions – as ‘outsiders’ to your business they may have a more objective view as to the type of questions that people might be asking and how your product or service could benefit them. It’s very likely that they will come back to you with questions – your answers will form the basis of a well-researched and informative post that encourages people to follow up with you for further information.
What about video content?
Good question! Online videos (vlogs) produced by industry experts are a popular resource these days. If you’re comfortable in front of the camera there’s no reason why you can’t produce a video on any topic related to your business. This could be short-form and more ‘real’ or ‘spontaneous’ or it can be more polished, possibly even including animations and graphics about your product or service.
Whichever form of video you choose to use, it’s important to give some thought to the message you are presenting. You’ll need some sort of script or outline that lays out how you’re going to present things. You might even choose to ‘storyboard’ ideas for a more complete long-form video. Decide where you’re going to shoot the video, making sure that your background environment is relevant to the topic and doesn't detract from the video subject. And finish up with a ‘call to action’ or information about how people can get further information. A clearly-branded ‘endframe’ is a good way to do this.
The finished video can be self-hosted on your website, or it can be published on your YouTube or Vimeo channel (make sure this is clearly branded) and embedded on your page. Short-form content can even be posted on Social Media channels like Facebook, Instagram or even TikTok. These posts can then be ‘boosted’ as advertisements that promote your business and what you are doing.
Want to know more? Contact us at mhdesign for further information.