25th Nov 2014
5 WAYS TO MAKE A BLOG WORK FOR YOUR RURAL BUSINESS
Previously we’ve explored just how important it is for businesses to have an online presence, particularly if the company in question trades from a rural location. In this post we’re going to focus on one specific website feature that, while commonplace across the net, holds often-overlooked potential for businesses – the blog.
1. KEEP YOUR AUDIENCE INFORMED
Perhaps the most obvious use for a blog on a business’ website is keeping customers, current and potential, up-to-date with what’s going on at the company. It’s a great way of connecting with people and giving your business a ‘voice’.
You could feature stories on new members of staff, changes to your premises, new products or services and special offers. Downloadable or printable vouchers, for example, are a simple but enterprising way to direct more traffic to your website.
Endeavour to give all your blog posts ‘character’ – make them engaging and try to avoid ‘the hard sell’. Remember, the idea is for people to want to return to your website time and time again.
2. SHOW YOUR BUSINESS AS PART OF THE LOCAL COMMUNITY
Evidently, the audience that a rural business has the best chance of engaging with is the people that live closest to it.
Use your blog to show how you are proactively part of the community. Could you sponsor the strip of a local sports team? Or fund a prize for the town carnival or fete? Maybe you could make your premises available for the meetings of a local group or society?
Think about ways to engage with people who, perhaps, wouldn’t normally know about your business. Connect with them, share photos of your collaboration via your blog and social media, and see how news of your business spreads – both online and through word-of-mouth.
3. DEMONSTRATE YOUR VALUES AND PRINCIPLES
A great way to show a different side to your business besides its carefully considered corporate face, is to highlight a cause that holds importance for the company.
Not every business can afford to make grandiose charitable gestures but there’s plenty that you can do to support such organisations that needn’t cost a penny and, if featured on your blog, can reinforce the business ‘personality’ I mentioned earlier.
Bake sales, sponsored sporting events and dress down/up days are all easy ways for a business to offer support and donations to a charity. Try these or something more imaginative for a better chance of the news being shared – you may even get coverage in the local press, generating great PR for your business. Remember, the more photo-worthy the activities the better – images always engage more readers.
Illustrate your support by using your blog and social media to share the charity’s news, and there’s the potential that your business may be mentioned on theirs too, further increasing awareness of your company, and for very worthy reasons.
4. SHOW HOW YOU’RE AN AUTHORITY IN YOUR FIELD
If your website is setup and promoted correctly, people should be visiting it because they’re interested in accessing the products or services you provide. Capitalise on that interest by writing blog articles that tempt such potential customers to stay on your website for longer.
If you sell cars, feature a model that has had a particularly illustrious history. If you run a cafÃ©, why not explain the technique behind making the perfect cappuccino? If you provide a gardening service, explain to readers the jobs that should be taking place, month-by-month, as the seasons change.
Not only can you bolster that all-important sense of personality, you show yourself to be selfless and demonstrate the expertise you have in your field, instilling confidence in people to shop with you or use your service.
5. RUN A COMPETITION
People love to enter competitions and they’re a great way for your business to engage with a wider audience. When deciding how they will work though, always consider how your business can benefit.
Assuming the competition has a prize to give away, ask your entrants for contact details that are potentially the most useful for you. Does your business use e-mail or SMS marketing, for example? Are you looking to increase your Twitter or Facebook followings? A successful competition should leave you with a plethora of new contacts to market to in the future.
A more elaborately planned competition could require entrants to follow a series of clues or questions that lead them to explore your website, highlighting the range of products and services you provide. Uploading a new question each day can significantly boost traffic to your site that, coupled with a series of tactically planned blog posts, could vastly increase awareness of your business’ activities.
A well-run blog is a great way to bring zest and life to your website, particularly if the nature of your business means much of the site can be static for long periods.
Our Calderdale-based web design team can advise you on the best way to incorporate a blog into your site, allowing you to easily make updates from the comfort of your home or office.
Use these ideas as a starting point and think of innovative ways that your business could lend itself to blog coverage – have fun with it and see how many new customers you can connect with.