Content is king. It was true in the heyday of the newspaper industry, and it’s true on the internet now. Whether this content takes the form of clever social media posts, snappy newsletters, or blogs about wiener dogs, the important thing is to keep your voice in front of your clients in an engaging way that keeps them coming back for more. The strategy can take the form of blogs, newsletters, or social media posts, but no matter how you slice it, if you’re not updating regularly, you’re missing out on getting your brand and your services in front of potential clients.
Over the course of this three-part series, we’ll be discussing how to keep your business relevant online through regularly updated creative content that is presented organically while remaining both informative and engaging.
Part 1. Blogs.
It’s too late. They’re everywhere. Blogs have taken over the internet, from DIY kitchen repair suggestions to the top thirty-seven reasons you should move to Florida, to the best kinds of dog food for vegan organic soy-sensitive dog owners. And their pets. Reputable business owners are filling their internet space with what may seem to you to be immaterial word vomit. Why isn’t the realtor posting real estate market statistics, plain and simple? Why isn’t the insurance salesman posting stock fluctuations? You check the page of the pediatrician’s office next door, hoping for a final holdout… and are greeted with “Five Top Vacations for Children Under Five”.
Maybe, you ponder, it’s just because people like to read drivel?
We beg to differ. And, in this case, we blog to differ, too. Today, I’ll discuss the differences between a scholarly article and those pernicious blogs, and demonstrate the value of blogging for a business owner: not only for your business but how it translates to your current and potential customers.
What is the difference between a blog and an article, anyway?
One of the clearest differences between a blog and an article is the fact that an article is generally a collection of facts strung together with words. This is not to say that a blog does not contain facts, but where a scholarly article is a vehicle for regurgitating those facts, a blog serves a slightly different purpose. An article, as a whole, looks to steer clear of personal opinion. A blog, however, capitalizes on the fact that it is a personal account of an event, experience, or set of facts—even if it’s a technical blog. Where an article reasons or lectures, a blog is often witty, personable, imaginative, and builds a human-to-human connection.
Okay, that’s cool and all. But how does this help you, a business owner looking to remain credible and professional?
1. Audience Engagement: snag those potential customers right off the ‘net
Time for the magic words… Audience! Engagement! Entertaining content tends to grab and engage audiences more quickly than an info-dump. What you blog about doesn’t have to be shallow, and certainly not inaccurate, however, the focus should be on presenting information in an engaging or narratively interesting manner. You can blog about theoretical astrophysics in a fun way that gets the layman’s attention, or you can blog about it in a way that’s only legible to other theoretical astrophysicists. The goal is to communicate with a wide range of people, presumably potential clients, so provide content people want to see. Post puppy pictures. Make jokes. Tell a story.
That said, it’s not all toy dogs and circus clowns, sure. You’re representing a business, after all, and you’re trying to sell your services, too. Presenting that information in a fun and engaging fashion will hook people who might not have clicked on your page otherwise. Once they are there, the ball’s in your court: sell, sell, sell.
2. Technical Blogs: we’re on your side
This isn’t to say there’s no place for a technical blog—far from it. Many industries can and do require such highly technical and informative blogs simply based on the services provided and the clientele. Especially when your potential clients already have the entry-level knowledge, it’s certainly appropriate for your blog to read at “expert-level”.
Even at a level of technical expertise, your blog should be a way of communicating effectively and simply the very basic statement of who you are and what you do. It’s the elevator pitch in written form, for whatever that basic thought or service may be: the short, 30-second explanation of a product, service, or potential use for that product or service. Part of creating a blog, technical or otherwise, is to find the clearest and most concise way to communicate a bite-size piece of information to your audience. Even if that’s a bite-size piece of astrophysics.
3. Tell Me A Story: a little imagination is worth a thousand words
Blogging, at its core, is a short-form medium that allows you to write with personality, imagination, and vivacity, about something that actually happened or actually exists. Travel blogs sell trips to exotic locations, mommy blogs sell childcare products, and pet care blogs make you want to head for the nearest animal shelter. Why do you care so much about the next installment of “How To Plan an Ohio Wedding in January”?
It’s the stories we tell.
You’re building a human connection that demonstrates to your potential audience how you can help them and that you know their interests, what they enjoy. It’s an exercise of imagination, where your potential clients or customers are imagining a scenario in which the advice you offer impacts their life and improves it. The primary purpose of a blog is to build that precious human connection between you and your potential clients.
Blogging is a fantastic supplement to your growing business’s voice on the internet. As an extension of content marketing, it helps you hook potential customers with your snappy and engaging content, solidifies your communication into a clear and direct voice, and tells a compelling story about how your clients can improve their experiences when they engage with you, and it’s definitely worth it.
Feeling up to the task? Ready to grab your clients with the power of a finely-crafted blog? If the thought of writing more than two sentences together has you breaking out in a cold sweat, you aren’t the only one. Hot Dog Marketing’s content team works with businesses like yours all the time to ensure they have consistent, engaging, and regularly-updated content for their clients. We’ve got this. Let Hot Dog Marketing’s digital marketing team flex our blogging skills and share your story with the world!
Looking for more content marketing advice? Don’t miss parts 2 & 3 of this series:
Abigail is a writer and editor with a focus on integrative storytelling in all its ever-evolving forms. Her creative background ranges from explorative fiction and observational travel blogging, to web content and film reviews, to scripts for stage and screen. Her work has appeared at Rusty Scythe Publishing, The Modern Cultural Reject, and Houston Baptist University.