Share your voice

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Blogging is a powerful way to boost SEO and raise your industry profile.

In 1996, Bill Gates wrote an article about the new opportunity the Internet presented regarding the sharing of information.

Though the article focused primarily on how companies could eventually see revenue from the distribution of information, he stated that pretty much “anyone with a PC and a modem can publish whatever content they create.”

The title of the article was “Content is King” and he couldn’t have been more accurate.

Fast forward two decades. The “sharing of information” has become a business of its own, with billions of pieces of information being distributed worldwide via the web. According to WordPress.com, 53.8 million Blog posts are published on their platform — each month. That’s a lot of words to read and information to process.

So, the question begs — why would you, or in our case, why did we decide to take the plunge into this seemingly overcrowded space?

Ironically enough, so that we could have a voice.

Sure, we get our voice heard when we work with and help our dealer partners grow their business. But these conversations tend to be granular and really serve a functional purpose.

Blogging gives us the ability to soar up to 10,000 feet to talk about things that are far more conceptual. Blogs are, in essence, the “sharing of information” that Bill Gates spoke about 20 years ago.

We know that within that information could be the solution to a problem our readers may be facing and each blog post is a potential spark. You never know —someone could read your next post and run with your idea and make it really work for them.

The question remains — is having a voice the only reason for starting a blog? Definitely not!

Blogging gives us the ability to soar up to 10,000 feet to talk about things that are far more conceptual.

At the end of the day a blog is a powerful business tool. It’s about giving and taking. On one side you are providing high quality content that is genuinely helping someone. On the other side, you have to come up with a way to leverage the traffic and opportunities that come along.

Blog for SEO

SEO is the foundation for any good blog.

Websites are ranked on the freshness of their content, relevancy and quality. The problem is, most websites are not frequently updated.

People also don’t want to do a lot of reading on your site, especially from their phone. They want bite-sized clips of useful information. This means that the average website that doesn’t receive frequent updates slowly but surely falls within the Google rankings. The lower your site ranks, the more unlikely you are to pop up on an organic Google search.

This is where a blog can really help. Think of each new blog post as new page on your website. A page loaded with relevant content and as you accumulate posts, Google recognizes this and starts to boost your ranking.

Remember, Google is all about sharing relevant, frequently updated, high quality content.

Capture the moment

The great thing about blog posts is that they are always working for you, even the posts that you may have written a year or two ago.

People will continue to stumble upon them, and in turn, their relevancy will increase and they will continue to drive traffic to your blog.

The goal is to convert this traffic into a lead. To do this you need to focus on clear calls to action. This could mean linking your blog to some other content on your website, or it could mean talking about how your product can help them solve a pain point that was discussed in your blog post.

Doing this is a balancing act between maintaining the focus on helping people and generating leads for your business.

A glimpse into your culture

Every business has a brand and a culture. It’s easy for us to overlook this because we are steeped in it every day when we come to the office.

Your blog gives people a glimpse into this world. There is something satisfying about sharing some of the expertise that you have built up over the years.

You have to remind yourself sometimes that you are really good at what you do. It’s hard to see yourself as an expert even when that’s exactly what you’ve become. Sharing your culture and brand is about knowing your audience. What does their day to day look like and how do you fit into that picture?

Coming up with ideas can be one of the biggest challenges of blogging. Try to keep an idea bank for future posts.

Getting started

Pick the right person for the job

This is important because you need someone that understands your business, your customers and is passionate about writing. As I’ve mentioned before, good writing is hard work, so ensure you have the right person committed to the project. Nothing says poor process like having your last blog post with the date of 2012.

Know your audience

Trying to please everyone shouldn’t be your goal. The more focused the content, the more valuable it will be to your target audience. Building a persona for your target audience is a good exercise. How old are they? What interests do they have? What website do they like? These are all valuable questions to ask and once answered will give you a clear picture into the type of content you should share. They might even provide you with some insight into how you write your blog.

Collect ideas

Coming up with ideas can be one of the biggest challenges of blogging. Try to keep an idea bank for future posts. Apps like “Feedly,” a blog consolidator program, can also be a big help by allowing you to follow dozens of other blogs that are great thought starters. Believe it or not, our team once wrote an automotive-focused blog on an idea spawned from an article about colonoscopies.

Curate material

Curating entails sharing other people’s content but in a way that has you adding value.

This means putting your own spin on the content or adding a unique perspective. If you find a really good piece of information you might want to share, you still need to follow the same regulations as they apply to traditional media.

Rules that guard against copyright infringement or plagiarism still exist on the web, so make sure you are aware of that when sharing a good piece of insight.

By providing your own editorial to the blog (an intro into why you think the content is worthy of sharing), you can include a link to the blog on your site. Remember, blogging is about sharing of information so your readership can become more informed. It’s an act of transparency, not greed.

Start writing today

When it’s time to launch your blog, you will be warmed up already. Pick topics that really interest you to make it easier. There is such a thing as the writing muscle. The more you write, the stronger it becomes.

The building blocks

Building a blog is like building a stone house.

It happens one stone at a time and though the process is slow, the good news is that the potential gains are well worth the effort.

Along the way you will likely end up sharpening your business focus, develop a better engaging conversation with your customers and sell more product.

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