These days it seems like everybody is blogging. Whether it’s an outlet for your own thoughts or an avenue for your marketing efforts, there’s a never-ending list of reasons to start blogging. If you own a small business, there are even more reasons to start blogging. While many would argue that blogging has become obsolete in the face of the social media platforms, most of the world’s top marketers still agree that creating and branding your own content and social assets on the world wide web is an essential piece to the overall marketing puzzle, and this trend shows no signs of slowing down.
In case you are still waiting to take the plunge into blogging, here are some reasons to consider moving forward with your own blog:
- It’s a great way to develop relationships with your existing clients as well as prospective clients.
- It will increase your overall SEO position.
- You can position your brand as a thought leader and authority in your industry or niche, even if you are just starting out.
So what are your options when it comes to blogging ?
Microblogging is a combination of blogging and instant messaging. This is usually carried out on 3rd party platforms like Twitter. It allows users to create short and snappy messages and take very little time to craft. This is probably the easiest form of blogging.
The benefits of microblogging are:
- Your content takes much less time to create.
- It’s easier to post more frequently.
- It’s perfect for quick status updates.
- It’s easy to publish and consume on mobile.
To carry out this activity you would usually set up an account on a recognised blogging platform like WordPress.org, WordPress.com, Medium.com or Blogger.com. The main differences to consider are whether you would want to manage the hosting of your platform or not. Hosting your own platform gives you the flexibility of configuring the layout and presentation of your blog to your liking. The disadvantage of this approach is you’ll require more technical skill and knowledge with HTML, CSS and to a lesser extent popular scripting languages like PHP. Of the four options mentioned earlier only WordPress.org offers full self hosting capabilities. It is one of the most popular blogging platforms for small businesses. If you are considering blogging for the long term then self hosting is probably the way to go.
Photo blogging takes the concept of creating and sharing information (ie blogging) and transfers it to specialised image sharing platforms. The best and most popular example of this is Instagram. Many entrepreneurs have built a full time income and have become very successful through photo blogging on Instagram.
Video Blogging (Vlogging)
Hello YouTube! Need we say more ? One major selling point for YouTube is that it is the world’s second largest search engine, second only to Google (and by the way, Google also owns YouTube).
Guest Blogging is basically writing an article for a blog that isn’t your own. It’s a way of increasing your reach beyond your own blog. The flip side to this is you may also want to consider featuring articles from other bloggers on your own blog. Featuring guest articles on your own blog will help give your audience fresh new perspectives as well as relieve you from the pressure of having to create your own content on a constant basis.
Research is essential to guest blogging. Begin by asking yourself a few basic questions:
- Are the blogs you are looking at have a large number of readers or active followers on social media ?
- Are these blogs generating engagement with comments and sharing ?
- Are these blogs generating engagement on social media, particularly on Facebook and Twitter ?
Focus on finding bloggers within your niche or industry. You should also broadly agree with their opinions and insights. There’s nothing worse for your credibility than stating opinions on a blog that are wildly different to yours, unless of course you are deliberately intending to spark debate. Also, be sure to promote your guest posts on your own social media accounts. This will bring more traffic back to your guest’s blog. It should become a good habit to share each other’s content, plus it’s a good way to say thank you to your host for publishing your guest post.
All being said, blogging is a great way to widen your reach and promote your business.