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How startups can use blogs to increase customer engagement

Gone are the days when online portals sought customers‘ attention with the same cold, harsh spiel that sounds more like an advertisement rather than a conversation.

July 14, 2016 / 12:06 PM IST

Gone are the days when online portals sought customers’ attention with the same cold, harsh spiel that sounds more like an advertisement rather than a conversation. For most brands, content has been about increasing sales and bringing in new customers, but today’s customers demand information that is more personal, tailor made and a little less like a sales pitch.

Why blog?Brands are often averse to the idea of using blogs, as they can be work intensive in comparison to other social media platforms like Twitter or Facebook. However, there is a lot of evidence in favor of blogging as a medium to increase customer engagement, Hubspot’s 2014-2015 “The State of Inbound Marketing Survey” found that marketers who have prioritized blogging are “13x more likely to enjoy positive ROI”, and have acquired a steady flow of new customers from a blog-generated leads.

Having a blog can set you apart from your competitors, by giving your brand a well-defined personality that can bring your trademark to life! The marvelous thing is that a blog provides you all this at a very low cost that benefits you in the long run. This is helpful especially when you are a bootstrapped startup that doesn’t have a large advertising budget. A good blog can provide you with a platform to tell your brand story in the way you want to tell it; while having full control over your brands reputation. It is also a great interactive tool for customers who are constantly looking for interest based information.

Blogging effectively  While most startups find it easy to set up a blog, knowing how to effectively plan and post good content will be the deciding factor in whether your blog is recognized or is ignored.  Here are some steps to get you off to a good start!

  1. Know your audience- Investing time to do little bit of research about your audience can go a long way. Tailoring your message to a specific need faced by your readers can create the type of resonance any startup looks for, especially if they want their audience to feel understood. Tailored content can ensure your blog is not just a generic sales pitch, but it sincerely means something to those you want to reach out to. Creating an emotional bond with a specific audience can help your readers feel a personal connect to your brand and it also panders to their desire to belong to something.

  1. Content is your hero- Not getting enough attention in the media yet? Here comes your blog to the rescue! Companies today no longer have to wait for the media to pick up their message, they are taking the initiative to shape conversations and create traction for their brand.

Your blog is your brand’s personal diary and gives you a permanent and stable online footprint that speaks to your brand message.  This is why it is important to set the right tone in your content early on and continuously work on ensuring that all your posts are cohesive. A blog allows you the freedom to be interactive and conversational with your audience. This type of one to one interaction can cause an immediate reaction in your readers spurring them to take the necessary action you want from them.

  1. Establish yourself as a credible advisor- Every start up eventually wants to be recognized in their industry as an expert in their field, and your blog will help you do just that.  Ensuring that content is consistently reliable and beneficial to your audience is every blogger’s prerogative and can give you the upper hand.

Creating valuable content on your blog builds the trust of your reader, which can ultimately help you to reel in new and potential customers. Surveys also show that,“56% of companies with blogs say that their blog has helped them establish a positioning as a thought leader within the industry. Your goal is to become respected and better known in your industry because of what you are saying on your blog.

No matter what type of brand you plan to start up, you can always benefit from the SEO thrust a blog brings with it, whilst expanding your network and influence among your target customers. As a startup, you want to “own your expertise” and the best way to do that is to consistently blog about it. It will help you explore your own business from a different perspective, the perspective of your customer and understanding your customer better can only help your engagement with them grow by leaps and bounds.

So regardless of what your plan is for customer engagement in the future, remember that a little bit of blogging can go a long way.

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