The term blog comes from the combination of "web" and "log" or "weblog," and was eventually shortened to "blog."
In the 1990s when blogs first appeared, they were primarily online diaries, where people would provide personal accounts of their lives. They since have grown to include writing and media on topics such as news, politics, music, food, business, and much more—there are even blogs about blogging.
Like many new resources that pop up, visionary entrepreneurs recognized the blog format as a marketing tool and began using it to provide information and updates to their customers, and as a way to draw in new business. From there, blogging grew into a new and effective marketing strategy.
What Blog Marketing Is
Blog marketing is the process of reaching your home business' target market through the use of a blog. Initially, business owners had a blog separate from their websites, but today, you can easily integrate the two to make it easier for you to manage, as well as easier for visitors to access. Many business owners use a blogging platform, such as WordPress, for both their website and blog.
Further, as blogging has grown in ease and popularity, many people have created businesses from blogging all on its own, as opposed to having a business first and then blogging. For example, some food blogs are businesses in and of themselves.
The Pros of Blog Marketing
The very nature of blogging makes them ideal for marketing since they provide new content to draw people back, and offer a way for consumers and businesses to interact. Here are a few other benefits:
- Inexpensive to Start and Run: For the cost of a domain name and web hosting, you can have a customized blog marketing setup.
- Easy to Use: Most blogging platforms are simple to use. If you can copy, paste, type, drag and drop, and upload, you can have a professional-looking blog.
- Builds Website Traffic: Offering tips, updates, and other new content gives people a reason to come and return to your business website, which gives them the opportunity to buy.
- Improves Search Engine Ranking: Google, in particular, likes to find and rank new content. For that reason, many entrepreneurs use blogging specifically for search engine optimization (SEO).
- Allows You to Gain Trust and Credibility: People like to know who they're doing business with. With a blog, you can prove you're an expert and provide helpful tips and other valuable information—all of which help consumers feel good about spending money on your product or service.
- Engages Your Market: While most businesses now use Twitter and other social platforms more than blogs for engagement, blogs can allow you to have a conversation with your market. This gives you the opportunity to build trust and rapport, as well as get feedback and provide customer service.
- Creates More Opportunities for Revenue: You can accept advertising, promote affiliate products and get sponsors, adding additional sources of revenue to your business.
The Cons of Blog Marketing
Like just everything else in life, there can be a downside to blogging.
- Can Be Time-Consuming: Creating new content and updating your blog can take a significant amount of time. Hiring freelance writers and a virtual assistant can help.
- Needs a Constant Stream of Ideas: Along with time, thinking of new content ideas is one of the biggest challenges bloggers face.
- It Can Take Time to See Results: It can take time to begin building an audience for your blog—you won't necessarily see traffic right away.
- It Needs to Be Marketed Too: You're using the blog to market your business, but for it to work, people need to know about it, which means you have to find your target market and entice them to your blog.
How to Do Blog Marketing
Starting a blog and using it to promote your business can be set up within minutes. It's the ongoing management and marketing that will take time.
- Make a Blog Marketing Plan: What are you going to share on your blog? News, tips, resources, etc? How often will you update your blog? (Daily, weekly, etc.)
- Create Your Blog: Decide on your blogging platform, and set it up, including customization that fits your business. Be sure to use the same logo on your blog as on your website (if you have a separate website) to retain consistency. If you use a free blog platform (not recommended for business blogging), have a domain name pointing to the blog to make it easier for consumers to get to your site.
- Fill Your Blog with Several Posts ASAP: Readers don't like to visit a blog with only one or two posts. Add ten or more posts quickly to start out, and then switch to your regular post schedule.
- Market Your Blog: It's very easy to integrate social media into your blogs so that your blog posts go out to your followers. Include your blog on your marketing materials as well.
- Reply to Comments: Remember, blogs are social, so people will ask questions, provide feedback, or share their opinion. Delete spam posts.
- Use Your Blog to Encourage Email Signups. Signups are another great way to keep people who are interested in your business coming back to your blog, which again, gives them more opportunity to spend money with you.