Tag Archives: blogging

Why social media? Six reasons to start a blog

I sat down to write a post about the benefits of using social media to promote your business, but quickly realized that there are so many, and they can differ entirely depending on what platform you’re trying to use. So I thought it might be best to step back and start a “Why Social Media?” series of posts, starting with the simple blog*.

I’ve been blogging since 2005. I started a poetry blog in my third year of university; I thought I needed a creativity outlet, turns out I was just procrastinating about the piles of papers I had to write about the mountains of novels I was reading. No question blogging can be fun, but there’s real value behind starting a blog for your business.

Six reasons to start a blog

Six reasons to start a blog

Blogging creates an engaged customer or public, and that translates to a positive opinion of your brand, good word of mouth, and an increase in sales or reputation, which ever you may be aiming for.

Let’s break that down. Here are my six basic reasons to start a blog:

  1. People love a personal story – Sharing a personal story about yourself in your blog creates the opportunity to connect with your audience on a more direct (and personal of course!) level. When you reveal your own thoughts, opinions, ideas, you can give your readers the chance to identify with you, thereby creating a familiarity. So just think: when they go out to find a coffee/new pants/lawyer/photographer/insert your product here, don’t you think they’re more likely to go with someone they identify with over Random John they know nothing about?
  2. Provide transparency – Blogging about yourself or your business gives your audience a “behind the scenes” look. What really happens during that 9-5 day, or when customers aren’t in the store? What are your thoughts about it? What are your opinions about your neighbourhood, the city, the latest big issue to arise in your market? People want to know.
  3. Create dialogue – Providing these transparent, personal stories doesn’t just create a connection – but it creates a two-way connection. When that sense of familiarity is achieved, people feel the need to share back. Blogs provide this option for interactivity, which is one of your goals as a blogger. You want people to hit that share button, or that Facebook like button, and you especially want them to leave a comment and engage directly with you. This of course gives you the chance to chat back with the feedback – and boom! – two-way dialogue.
  4. Educate the masses – If nothing else, writing on your blog provides you with the opportunity to share your knowledge about your product. Even if there isn’t much engagement with your target audience, you’re still proving you’re an expert and know whatever it is you’re selling. Do it smart, and people will remember. It also doesn’t hurt to get your info out there to make it more accessible via Google searches!
  5. Employee engagement – You hire your staff because they’re good at what they do right? They’re experts in something. Why not let them show it? Celebrate your staff! Showcase them in the blog, or even better yet, let them write some posts for you! I recently read a great article that applied the theory of cognitive dissonance to employee social sharing. When they share your company’s messages, they come to believe them on a more personal level, and will become your own brand ambassadors, beyond the call of duty.
  6. Practical value (tips, tools, ideas) – I recently heard a “web expert” say that in general, folks don’t visit websites to find information. … What?! I call bullsh*t on that one. How many times have you gone to specific site with no intention of engaging, but just to find tips or ideas? Who doesn’t do that almost every day? How to eat healthier; how to cook pork properly; what do I need to build a birdhouse; where do babies come from… the list goes on! If you have any kind of practical value to provide someone – share it! Useful knowledge is a great gift, so if you can share that with someone, your credibility will skyrocket. And you’ll keep them coming back for more.

You don’t have to do all of these in one post – a good blog builds a solid foundation of these qualities over time. It’s what keeps people coming back.

Did I miss anything? Do you have any good reasons to start a blog to share with me?

*Check back over the coming weeks for more posts in this “Why social media?” series, focusing on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube and LinkedIn.

On blogging and brevity

Earlier today I read a blog post by Chris Brogan, in which he discusses boring blogs. This was my biggest fear coming into the Blogathon 2012 challenge – to not have anything to say every day. Or even worse, for this blog to turn into a “what I did today” blog, of which I loathe to admit there are hints. Now that’s boring.

Chris says to write about passion, so I’m going to try to stick to that:

  • Cooking
  • The outdoors
  • Health
  • Social media & technology
  • Writing

Those are the five themes you will (mostly) see – with the occasional personal or gardening post thrown in for flavour. I will work on planning ahead too, so I’m not always straining for a topic at the end of the day. And if I’m really struggling, I’ll just keep it short. Plain and simple.

Chris has some great advice for bloggers too. In the aforementioned post, he lists 5 tips for making your blog better:

  1. Brevity. Cut posts to sub-500 words.
  2. Structure. Write something others can USE.
  3. Simplicity. Big words are pretty. Help people understand the point, instead.
  4. Positivity. Writing angrily only works if you want to attract angry people.
  5. Outward-facing. Write more about others than you ever do about yourself. (www.chrisbrogan.com, May 7, 2012)

And he’s even got a giant list of his “best advice about blogging.” I highly recommend.

Thanks Chris!

[Note: Happy and interested to see Chris Brogan has a creative commons license on his blog.]

On writing: The start of Blogathon 2012

It seems I’ve accidentally committed to writing a blog post every day of May. And I’ve written about 10 in the last 29 years. You might wonder how this happened? I was likely either severely out of my mind from writing papers for my master’s degree (for which I have only just a week ago submitted the draft of my final paper, thank you, thank you) or slightly tipsy from the consumption of too much wine. Or both, which is most likely. So, welcome to Blogathon 2012.

I say accidentally because it makes me laugh at myself. Like I’ve said, I’ve only just finished my papers for my master’s degree and here I am making another writing commitment. The last few months have had me crazed with stress, with too much reading, too much writing, too much revising, and the moment my major research paper is due, I apparently decide to take on more writing. Go figure.

I do love writing though. I always have (and my writing past is something I’ll get into in a different post), but there are a few things you should know about me when it comes to writing… especially if you plan to follow me over the next month.

  • I’ve always been good at it, but I’ve also always been scared of it. This may be why you haven’t seen much of it.

    Creepy camping wine. My favorite.

  • I do my best work when I’ve been drinking wine. Seriously. Even school work. I probably shouldn’t say this when I haven’t technically graduated yet, but much of my best paper writing has been done after a bottle of wine – and I’ve almost always gotten As.
  • I’m a huge procrastinator (hence the pre-writing drinking). Again with the school work, I have often only started a paper the day before it’s due, and again, almost always gotten As. (I’m an over-achiever, but again, that’s a whole other post). So, as you could guess, you will likely only see my posts at the very end of each day…at the last minute.
  • One of my biggest goals is to be a freelance writer for outdoorsy type magazines in general, and BC Magazine, in particular. Stay tuned on that one (even I don’t know what will happen there yet).
  • I’m shy. I warmed up to Twitter slowly and it may be even more difficult to share on my blog, when it’s not just general non-fiction. I’m already scheduling which posts will be “promoted” via Facebook and Twitter and which only Twitter (I feel safer on Twitter… maybe because my mom isn’t on there?)
  • I’m a huge grammar nerd. If you find a misplaced comma or an unintentional spelling mistake on my blog, I’ll be mortified.

I hope that helps prepare you for this month!

So, I raise my glass of cabernet merlot to this blog, this month and the rest of the Blogathon 2012 participants. Best of luck to all, welcome to my new readers and happy blogging!