This article was originally published in the June issue of the ShelbyBizConnect newsletter -
A great way to promote your business without paying for advertising is through writing articles. You’ve probably heard about blogging and figured it was just for people to talk on and on about their grandkids or to rant about their favorite political issue.
The reality is, it is a great way to establish yourself as an expert in your field. By providing helpful advice to people about your area of expertise, they will begin to see you as the expert in the field and will seek out your assistance when they need your services.
Often times, you can even tell people how to do a job themselves and still get business from it. Sure, some “do-it-yourselfers” will do exactly that, but others will see you are helpful and knowledgeable on the topic. When it comes time for them to get the job done, they’ll call you because they don’t really want to do it themselves. Let me give you an example so you can see what I mean.
Let’s say you are a window washer. You could write an article all about how to clean up windows that have been etched over time by harsh chemicals. You could detail what materials to use and how you would go about it. Most likely, a busy store owner is not going to have time to do it themselves, but when they see that you seem knowledgeable on the subject, they’ll give you a call to come and take care of their problem for them.
There are other reasons to blog also. When you have a website, you need people to actually find that website. Some of that will come through local advertising and through personal contacts. You also want to show up when people search for services in your area though. Search engines such as Google rate different aspects of a website and determine how high to rank it in the search. One of those items is key words. If you are a plumber, you’re going to want the words plumber, plumbing, etc. to show up lots of times in your website so that Google ranks it high. By writing lots of articles about plumbing, you will accomplish this as well as getting lots of other plumbing related key words into your website.
Another ranking measure that search engines use is the freshness of the content. If your website hasn’t been touched in years, it’s not going to rank very high. If you are regularly writing articles though, your website will constantly be getting new and fresh content which will result in higher search engine rankings.
Writing articles for other websites also will help establish your credibility. Work together with business owners in related businesses and write articles for each other’s websites. Submit articles to the newspaper whether that be a column or an editorial page item. The more areas your name appears around the web, the higher your credibility and your ranking. That’s one of the reasons ShelbyvilleToday.com got started, so don’t forget about that resource for our area as well!
Websites such as Problogger.net and ChrisBrogan.com are great resources to help you learn to blog better. One of the best platforms for blogging is WordPress. You can develop an entire website using WordPress with all of the bells and whistles, and you can publish your articles on it as well.
The best tip though is to just get started. Your skills will grow as you do it more and more. Don’t be afraid to just jump in.