Blogs can help you keep your existing clients informed and educated — and help you attract new clients.
"Blogs allow you to demonstrate your expertise in specific areas," says Caroline Grimont, vice president of marketing with Excel Funds Management Inc. in Mississauga, Ont. "They must be interesting and newsworthy and deal with issues that are of interest to your target audience."
If your blog is interesting, your readers will share it with their contacts. It could even be picked up by newspapers and other media.
"Make sure your blogs have personality and are not just generic," Grimont says. You can usually gauge your readers' interest by their feedback and the number of times your blogs are shared.
Here are some ways to attract clients to your blog:
> Design a good blog site
Your blog design should be "robust and fast [to download]," Grimont says.
Make sure it is accessible and readable on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets as well as desktop and laptop computers. Your content must be easy to read and "lead the eye down the right path," Grimont says.
Keep your blog posts short and be sure to highlight key points. If you want to tackle a subject that requires longer text, Grimont says, "Break up the content into readable bites with catchy sub-headlines."
You should also add visual elements, such as videos, images and charts.
> Know your audience
You should know what members of your target audience want to read about. Research your audience and try to define your ideal client.
If you are blogging to attract your ideal client, your content must match what such a client would be searching for. Blog posts that strike a chord with your audience can earn your clients' respect.
> Develop content with personality
Create an editorial calendar that incorporates the research findings on your target audience and timelines for blog posts.
"Write content that speaks to their needs, wants and issues," Grimont says, "and figure out how to add value. Create a unique personality. Find your voice and show that you are an expert in the area you are blogging about."
Post regularly to create an expectation in the minds of your readers.
"People have to choose to read your blog over everyone else's," she says.
> Make it sharable
Encourage readers to share your blog by email and social media, Grimont says, to give you broader distribution and exposure. Make sure your social-media links work properly, so your readers can share your content easily.
Add an email opt-in form that's compliant with Canadian anti-spam legislation, for readers who want more information.
> Promote your posts
When you post content on your blog, promote it. Use social media, Grimont says, and "connect with influencers in your niche to promote your blogs."