If your main aim of starting a blog is to capture more customers there are probably easier and less time consuming ways to do this (such as paid advertising); and blogging is of more value to some businesses than others. But people (and businesses) have different reasons for blogging.
Blogging has been good for my business since I started writing regular blog articles within my website blog in January 2016. My reasons for blogging were to:
Every time you publish a blog article I write and publish a similar one on LinkedIn.
Writing LinkedIn articles about topics that interest you, especially topics that are relevant to your business, displays your knowledge, skills and experience in those areas to anyone who cares to look up your LinkedIn profile. Your articles are part of your general profile: your 'brand'.
For example, the sorts of people who might look up my LinkedIn profile are potentially people who need their policies edited, or need someone to scribe minutes of their meetings, or need audio files transcribed. They may want to find out what sort of person I am - my views and how professionally I've presented myself on LinkedIn.
Each time I post an article on LinkedIn I include a link to my blog page at the bottom of the article for anyone interested in reading similar types of articles on my website blog. Obviously, each time someone clicks into my business website, that represents a 'hit' to my site which may help me get up further on the search engine list.
On LinkedIn, I write articles and join in discussions about things that are relevant to my industry, as well as subjects that may have no relevance to scribing or editing such as managing online businesses, juggling family and work, gender equality and Indigenous issues. I try to keep away from political issues but enter discussions about human rights and other ethical issues. When participating in these public discussions I always try to remember I'm representing my business and always behave professionally.
Has publishing LinkedIn articles helped my business?
Yes it has, indirectly. LinkedIn articles get my information and profile out into the LinkedIn network, and then out to other networks through people sharing my articles with others. Some articles have provoked interesting discussions about editing, managing online business and other topics that may not have won me any new clients but which have given me new insights and information, and been helpful to me professionally and personally; and anything that helps my development is, indirectly, helping my business.
Has networking on LinkedIn helped my business?
Yes it has, directly: I still have a couple of regular clients that found me on LinkedIn a year or so ago.
I've got a Facebook timeline (Sally-Anne Watson Kane) and a number of business pages including On Time Typing Australia; Online transcription and audio transcription; Wayward Words - grammar, punctuation, spelling; and On Time scribing, writing and editing.
Has sharing blog articles via Facebook been helpful to my business?
In a word, no. After sharing my website blog articles via my Facebook business pages over the past 13 months, I have not won a single client via Facebook. This may be because I haven't learned how to use Facebook properly as a tool for promoting my business. It may be because haven't got the right types of (or enough) Facebook 'friends'. But it may also be because the types of clients that need scribing, editing or transcription services are not the kind of people who look businesses up on Facebook.
Has networking on Facebook helped my business?
Sharing and networking on Facebook has not directly resulted in any new clients for my business. However, a few clients who came to me via Google or word-of-mouth referral have, after becoming my client, then connected with me via Facebook. So I suppose being on Facebook has indirectly helped my business in terms of continuing a relationship with clients via social media.
Where I have had excellent value from Facebook is through my participation in Facebook's closed group, 'Secret Editors' Business' which is open only to professional editors who are members of IPEd. We discuss and share articles and information about editing, running a freelance/sole trader editing business, different editing courses that are coming up and other related issues. Being an active participant in that group is extremely helpful to myself and, by extension, my business.
Looking at the reasons I started blogging in the first place, blogging has accomplished what I set out to do, as follows:
Whether your business operates predominantly online or is an actual shopfront in town, and whether you're selling goods or services, it is really important that your business is liked by as many customers as possible. A person who likes you is more likely to walk through that actual or virtual door and have a look around and maybe buy your product. So every business wants and needs to be liked. In the online blogging world, it's important that your articles are not only be liked but also to be 'liked' - to attract that 'like' click, and potentially that 'share' click, and potentially and best of all, an actual comment about your article.
I'll be talking more about how to get more 'likes' and 'shares' and 'comments' about your articles, and how to make the best of them, in a future article.
This article is based on my own experience as a sole trader business which has over the years evolved from an onsite scribing business into an online transcription, scribing, editing and proofreading business with clients across Australia.
Stay posted for future articles about blogging and other aspects of freelancing and managing home-based businesses, especially online scribing and editing businesses.