Updated February 22 at 7:59am
ADVICE

So you want to run a blog?

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Does your business have a blog? Should it? A blog can add value to your business as a way to generate leads, publicity, customer engagement and more. But a boring, poorly maintained blog won’t boost your business in the least.

The best business blogs have several elements in common. Business owners of all types, from accountants to dentists, and store owners to personal trainers, are gaining clients, patients, members and customers thanks to their blogs. Blogging can be a valuable way to establish yourself as a thought leader. Each time you publish a post or article, people searching for any keywords it contains can be drawn to your blog – and your business website – where they can sign up for your email list and buy what you offer. And it’s easy for readers to pass along interesting posts to their own followers.

Mark Satterfield, CEO of Gentle Rain Marketing and author of a new book called “The One Week Marketing Plan,” offers these tips on creating a successful blog for your business.

• Know what your readers care about. Creating a successful blog is all about creating value for your readers – who are presumably your customers and prospects. If you provide useful information, readers will line up. They are not interested in self-promotion. What they want is tips and resources to enhance some aspect of their lives.

• Tap into current trends. Google Trends (www.google.com/trends) is a handy tool that lets you know what the most popular online searches are at any given time. If you write a timely and valuable post centered on one of those trends you might generate some quick traffic to boost your blog.

• Prepare a list of topics: Planning out a list of topics for your blog posts can be a tremendous help later on. Once you have a list of articles you want to write, you can work on them when inspiration strikes you. “Keep a constantly evolving list of new ideas that come to you,” said Satterfield. “I use a program called Evernote that helps me keep all of my ideas readily available.”

• Get (somewhat) personal. Just because it’s a business blog doesn’t mean it needs to be all about business. Sharing select details about your personal life can get you mileage because it accelerates the “know, like, trust” factors that are critical to building relationships. The trick is to relate those details to your business through stories and anecdotes.

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