During my recent workshop at Southern California Writers Conference, one of the topics discussed was why writers should not blog about “writing”. The main reason being that they need readers – not just other writers, to purchase and read their books.
The goal (at the most basic level) should be to grow their readership into a wide, diverse audience who will loyally follow their blog (written on a variety of subjects) and eventually decide to purchase their book(s), read and tell others about it.

But does this philosophy also hold true for other types of businesses?

When I worked in sales, years ago, it was all about building a Relationship with the client…gaining trust and then loyalty…which eventually brought you successful business. The same is even truer today. We must remember that Social Media is all about the “Social” part. Not advertising.

So how does the “blog” fit into this equation?

Let’s take a look…besides PPC ads and posting informative articles on our Facebook or Twitter, what are some of the ways we use Social Media to drive people to our website?

•Writing and sharing a blog (which resides on your website)
•Posting on your Facebook Page–with a link to your blog (which resides on your website)
•Tweeting on Twitter–with a link to your blog (which resides on your website)
•Sharing our Tweets on LinkedIn–with a link to your blog (which resides on your website)
•Joining FB Groups with similar interests and posting–with a link to your blog (which resides on your website)

You get my drift…the blog can be at the heart of drawing readers to your website, no matter what your business, whether it is a product or a service. This is where you have the largest amount of content to work with – thus the biggest opportunity to build a relationship with your reader through the sharing of experiences or information.

But what if you aren’t a “writer”? Doesn’t matter. There are lots of ways to compose a blog that doesn’t involve coming up with a completely original topic that no one else has ever blogged about. In fact, the more it’s been written about, so much the better. It’s probably a topic many people will be interested in.

Let’s look at the different type of blogs you can choose from:

This is where you share your experiences and information. That means writing about something you’ve already done, or already know. There is no time consuming research to be done, interviews to be held. Just write what you know, in a conversational tone. If it makes you more comfortable, have a writer or editor friend read it over before you publish it.

Pick a hot topic and state your opinion on subject. Presumably you would pick a topic you know well, cutting down on research time and making sure you know what you are talking about!

This is different from the Editorial Blog, in that you will supply a link to an article, interview or video on your blog and simply tag on your personal commentary. This is a good one for when you are very limited on time. Make sure you don’t copy the entire piece to your blog – use only a link that takes the reader to the original post. Be professional and credit the original author in your blog post.

You can do a written, audio, or video interview. This doesn’t have to be “Hollywood”.    Podcasts are fairly simple to create, and are popular. And you can do a written interview quite easily. Contact the person of interest and ask if they would agree to do a written interview. If they agree, send them the questions. They can take their time and fill in the answers when it’s convenient for them – then return the form to you. You’ve got an interview ready to go!

If you also have a personal blog, pick topics you enjoy writing about, hobbies, interests, or passions. Write a weekly blog on the subject. Examples: Recipe of the Week, Poll of the Week, Poker Tip of the Week. These readers will eventually find your business page and may follow you there also.
You will want to keep it more “business-y” for your business blog, but you don’t want to constantly be talking about your product or service – instead write about subjects that bring a value added aspect to your reader. I love to share inspirational thoughts with my readers, such as How to Re-invent Yourself in Tough Economic Times, or Breaking Free of Your Comfort zone. You can pick a specific day of the week when you share ideas on a specific topic. Readers will begin to anticipate your blog post and appreciate your sharing with them.

The Structured Blog has many benefits:
1. Appeal to a more diverse audience than just those who have found your website
2. Write about subjects you enjoy (more fun) and connect with others who also enjoy it.
3. Knowing what your topic is each week keeps you motivated to write your blog
5. Opportunity to build relationships with readers–gain loyalty
6. Encourages you to be consistent with your posting–readers will anticipate your blog

So now you have a variety of ways to get a blog up and running on your website. Make sure you share it on your Facebook & Twitter pages.

Remember: The keys to successful blogging are: consistency, make it personal, make it topical and timely, write for your audience.