The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a blog as a “website that contains online personal reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks, videos, and photographs provided by the writer.” Blogs come in many forms, and there are numerous companies that can help you create them (for example, Tumblr or Blogger). In many cases, you can create and maintain the blog yourself, free of charge, or you can hire either the service provider or a third party to do so. Rather than go into the details of creating and maintaining a blog, this article will examine how you can use one to market your business and display your talents.
If creating a blog is your first foray into social media, it can be both exciting and intimidating. You will have to familiarize yourself with:
If you’re an existing social media user, whether it be on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or the like, the mere idea of burdening yourself with yet another online presence might seem daunting. However, the magic of using a blog as the central platform for promoting your business is that you can use it to selectively integrate various components of your existing Internet platforms.
Quite simply, your blog can combine all types of content featured on existing social media accounts. It can feature YouTube videos, Facebook posts, tweets, photos, original manuscripts, GIFs, memes, or any other form of communication that you desire. In contrast, sites like YouTube and Instagram don’t readily allow you to share original written material, for example. Twitter further challenges the user to keep postings under 140 characters.
Facebook is a different animal. Like a blog, Facebook allows you to incorporate all forms of online content for your business. It is true that Facebook gives you the option of creating a separate business-related profile and linking it to your main profile. However, Facebook and blog sites have different reputations with respect to their intent and interface. One could argue that Facebook is a place for people to find your company’s profile and upcoming events, whereas a blog is a place to showcase your company’s character and value. Furthermore, much of the genuine appeal of platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter is driven by one’s ability to quickly share or retweet items without putting much thought into how seamlessly those posts fit into your company’s brand or market strategy. While blogs can also give you the option of easily sharing content from other users, your intent behind that function should be to conscientiously and deliberately craft your company’s message.
Many blog sites allow your account to readily interact with, and connect to, your other social media platforms by clicking a button, copying and pasting a desired URL in the right spot, or properly configuring your account settings. More specifically, services like Tumblr allow you to fix your account settings so that anything you post on its platform will be automatically forwarded to your other social media accounts, like Facebook, Twitter, or both (we will refer to these as flow-through accounts). However, because each social media platform adjusts and displays incoming content based on different algorithms, you should pay very close attention to how each post on your blog ends up being visually represented on each flow-through account.
The point of your blog is to have one place where you can carefully shape your business’ message. You should be able to adjust your account settings so that your content only flows in one direction, meaning that when you post items on your more generic, personal, or perhaps racier, Facebook or Twitter account, they won’t appear on your blog. This way, you have the freedom of selectively blogging only those posts from your other social media accounts that reinforce your company’s brand.
When you’re seeking to cultivate a professional relationship or share your talents with a business prospect, your blog serves as the primary hub you can direct them to. Your other social media accounts might have their own personalities, and you might maintain them to serve various purposes, but your blog should be 100% dedicated to your business.
Your blog should speak for your business when you’re not present to do so. It should be a visible, and tangible representation of everything you and your company stand for. The look, feel, intent, and content of your blog will depend on your business’ character. You can use it to promote your products, services, business plans, work product, promotions, events, artwork, or anything else related to your company’s bailiwick, experiences, and vision. You should find creative ways to draw in the user, including images and videos. Just be sure that none of the materials you post are covered by copyright. For example, you can use Google Images to search pictures and determine whether or not they are labeled for reuse. Also, there are certain websites (for example, Pixabay, Wikimedia, and Pexels) that only feature copyright-free images.
If you’re in the service or performance business, a blog is also an ideal way to flaunt your gifts. If you’re a writer, you can include samples of your work. If you’re a dancer, singer, or musician, you can create a separate YouTube account and feature those videos on your blog. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination in utilizing the blog to showcase your talent. Note that this type of self-promotion need not be limited to the arts. For example, if you’re the manufacturer of an innovative product, imagine featuring a video on your blog that not only introduces the product to the world, but also shows how your assembly line works like a well-oiled machine.
As a final note, creating a blog is like crafting an evolving and everlasting resume. When you need to woo a client, convince an investor, or land a gig, you can always impress someone by having them peruse your blog in order to absorb the full extent of your capabilities.