If you’re not blogging, you probably should be, according to Kirk Lowe, founder of TactiBrand in Toronto. A blog is a low-cost marketing tool that can, with consistent and efficient use, be a successful one.

Blogs have levelled the playing field between large companies and small businesses when it comes to marketing on the web. “It is an incredible platform,” Lowe says. “I can’t believe more advisors aren’t jumping on it.”

Need more reasons to blog? Here are four:

1. Blogging makes you credible
Writing about topics that matter to your target market demonstrates your expertise. Your blog posts help you build trust among readers before they contact you.

Says Lowe: “Nobody wants to blind date anymore.”

Before a potential client agrees to meet with you, that person will want to know that the appointment will have value for him or her. A blog helps prospects understand where your expertise lies and how you can help them. Without this level of trust, it’s difficult to get anyone into your office.

2. A blog can show how you’re different
Whether you are an independent financial advisor or belong to a large firm, your blog posts can help set you apart from other advisors. Your posts will relate specifically to what you do and what concerns your ideal clients. It also helps you build an identity.

For example, you might work for a large firm that has strong, uniform marketing that makes it hard for you to stand out. However, if you have a distinct specialty that can be demonstrated through your blog, you are more likely to find clients who are looking for an advisor with your skills.

So, let’s say that you are passionate about working with families who have special-needs children. By simplifying a topic such as the registered disability savings plan, you are likely to attract families who need an advisor who understands their complex needs. Similarly, you can demonstrate a specialization in business owners or young professionals through your blog.

3. Blogging will make you more visible
Google loves blogs, according to Lowe. The site’s formula for search-engine optimization (SEO) includes ensuring that its search results give priority to authentic content such as social-media sites and blogs.

SEO is not solely a matter of using the right keywords. When people share your blog posts, they are showing Google that your work is widely read and should be elevated in search results.

“But how are people going to share [content] if it’s not a blog post? Nobody is going to go to your ‘about us’ page and share that all over the internet,” Lowe says.

Connecting with the public on topics they care about will motivate others to read your content and pass it along through their networks.

4. Blogging can motivate referrals
When others share your work, it helps widen your network in the best possible way.

If someone encourages a friend, relative or colleague to read your blog, that person is recommending you, Lowe says. He or she is essentially telling others that you are skilled.

This is the first article in a two-part series on blogging.

Next: The must-have elements of an effective blog.