By Andy Smith (@andysmithpalio)
Resistance ranges from “I dont have time to blog to “I dont know what to say, and concerns about angering customers. The truth is that businesses today cannot afford to not blog. Blogging opens dialogue between consumers and companies and offers a convenient way to connect with consumers, patients or medical professionals to enhance your organization or practices brand; increase goodwill in the community and boost search engine rankings.
Once you figure out what it is you want to achieve do you want to provide additional information to guide a decision process? Showcase company thought leaders? Build a community for consumers to interact? there is no time like the present to begin a blog.
How can you ensure yours is a success?
Find the time to blog. While best practice dictates having an editor or some form of central control to manage your blog, writing content doesnt have to fall onto one person. At Pixels and Pills, a host of subject matter experts contribute across a variety of topics. Having multiple thought leaders provides texture and enables thought leaders to present more than one side of an issue or draw parallels between recent posts. A good blog post doesnt have to be the next rendition of War and Peace, either. Short and pithy posts can deliver value and will engage readers while showcasing your companys knowledge.
Recognize that good ideas are everywhere. Dont know what to write? Dont worry! There are lots of ways to generate ideas from following topics in industry trade magazines to point blank asking readers what theyd be interested in reading about. Chances are you already do some direct marketing or e-mail newsletters. Dont feel the need to reinvent the wheel – repurpose content either by creating a synopsis of information that is in your newsletter or reformat a portion of existing collateral, such as a white paper, to create a shorter article. Blogging is more interactive than a newsletter because readers can join in on the conversation and respond to questions or a call-to-action in real time. Also, readers may toss or delete your newsletter but your blog lives on, providing readers with a searchable database to your thought leadership.
It is important to commit to a consistent blog schedule because major search engines such as Google crawl the Web looking for new content. Unlike a newsletter, your blog can be optimized, indexed and bring consistent search traffic to your site. The result: more visitors to your blog and increased awareness among people interested in topics you are writing about. Blogging on a regular basis ensures there will be fresh content on your site and increases visibility as a thought leader.
Write content that is search-friendly. More than half the population uses search engines regularly, and as mobile Web usage continues to grow, creating content to be found on the major search engines should be even more of a priority. While you cant optimize your site for every search term, you can write blog posts that target keyword phrases such as an industry conference, particular medical condition, or other words that are likely to draw potential customers. Blogs are also link magnets because they are informative and not overly corporate or sales-focused. As other writers link to your blog, it will help grow your online presence and bring more site traffic which can translate to more customers.
Get over being a people pleaser. Blogging enables you to control your message, but recognize that not everyone will like what you have to say. Thats OK whether it is comments, personal experiences or product reviews, readers may offer up an opinion that counters your perspective. The best practice is operating with transparency and engaging readers in open, honest dialogue. Prospects and customers will appreciate the candor and there may be opportunity to diffuse conflict or address an issue head on.
Understand a blog doesnt exist in a vacuum. If your company is blogging then, by definition, its trying to cultivate relationships with existing or potential customers, opinion leaders or other key audiences. Since thats the case, make sure your blog content is being pushed out through other appropriate channels as well, such as Twitter and Facebook. Remember: Great content is only half of the equation getting it read is the other half.
Blogging is a great way to draw interest in your company, practice, product or service. By creating fresh content your customers and prospects have a reason to return to your website and may even subscribe to your RSS feed. You have no time to lose best to start blogging today!