While it is possible to run a successful business without a blog, it sure is handy to have hundreds of potential customers milling around your blog waiting to hear your witty status updates and see behind-the-scenes photos of your life. While you're in the stages of starting up, take a little time each day and devote it to writing blog posts and getting a wicked-awesome blog designed. Trust me, it comes in handy. Here's how:
1. MAKING CONNECTIONS
Try not to view your competitors as your evil arch enemies. They're just down-to-earth creative girls like you, on a mission similar to yours! Embrace that. Go out for a coffee with them, skype them, start a Google + hangout with them and learn from them. If they are swamped with work one month, they may refer someone they can't work with to you. Referrals from friends in the business is a great way to get work.
2. MEETING POTENTIAL CLIENTS
Many of my design clients were my blog readers first. How exactly do you turn a reader into a client? Self promotion! Let your readers know (but not in a spam kinda way) what you do, provide them with links to your shop/portfolio and give them reasons to hire you.Make it known that you're not just a blogger, you're a business lady.
3. GENERATING EXTRA INCOME
The great thing about owning a blog that's generating decent traffic is that you can charge businesses to advertise on it! A little extra dosh never hurts, especially when you're not on a fixed income each month. You'll need money coming in from various angles, so why not make your blog one of them?
4. ESTABLISH YOURSELF AS AN EXPERT
Say you're a graphic designer and you want people to choose you over your competitors. How do you do this? By niching yourself! You have to let people know that when it comes to XXX YOU'RE the woman to go to. Its easier to let people know of your expertise if you have a blog to showcase it on. But here's the important point: don't establish your expertise by telling everyone 'I'm an expert at XXX!' No no no, my friends. Say it enough times and people will get sick of you tooting your own horn. Instead, post regularly aboutyour expert area, guest blog for others about it and post tutorials on it. People don't need to be told that someone is good at something, they'll figure it out for themselves when they see just how much knowledge you have on a subject.
5. GET PEOPLE TO LIKE YOU
People are far more likely to choose you over your competitors if they like you. How do you get them to like you? By blogging helpful tips and tutorials, writing in an upbeat, positive way and being your lovely self! Let readers see behind the scenes of your business by posting photos of your work process on your blog. Include profile photos of yourself smiling and looking happy and dressed in normal clothes instead of boring suits and 'work lady' clothes. Show them why hiring is sooooo much more fun than hiring any one else, ever, period.
6. BETTER SEO
SEO is not as difficult to understand as you think. If you have a shop on Etsy and no blog or web page, then your shop is probably buried deep on page 30 of a google search. But if you have a blog with 100 posts on your expert subject, and other people have linked to your posts on their sites, then you're much more likely to be higher up the google ranks and more people will be able to find you. Then all you have to do is link to your shop/website from your blog and bam! People have arrived at the right place.
7. PROMOTE YOUR PRODUCTS
If you're releasing a new product next month, blog about it! Offer your readers sneak peeks of the product and the making of it, give them exclusive discounts, and let them know why this is THE product that will change their lives. Your blog can be an amazing place to promote yourself and your products- just don't overdo it. If you're going to promote your product on your blog, make it feel like you're letting your readers in on something personal and exciting. Show them how much it means to you and how dedicated you are to it.