Face it. Pretty much whatever your industry, the competition is probably stiff. It’s especially true online. Every time someone searches in your industry, thousands of search results pop up. Even if you’re on page one of Google, there’s still other choices.

The phenomenon compounds on social networks. Your Facebook friends and Twitter followers probably know more people than just you in your industry. You need front of mind recognition. You need to work to stand out. Online success is about establishing relationships, providing value, and differentiating your business from the competition. With a blog, you’re constantly creating new content. So what better way to set the stage for your online presence? You should be using your blog to provide value.

Five Ways To Use Your Blog To Create Value And Differentiate Your Business

Show Them How – If you provide a service, don’t hold anything back. Show your customers how to do what you do. A lot of people think they’re DIYers, then find out they’re wrong. If it’s your content they’re utilizing, then chances are you’ll be the one they call to finish the job. It can also pay to show customers how to use your product. When they begin doing whatever you’re showing them how to do, it’s a pretty safe bet who they’ll buy from. Either way, you’ve become a resource for your audience, which is never a bad thing.

Answer Customer Questions – Chances are you’ve been asked every question under the sun by perspective customers. Some questions you’ve probably had to answer several times. Why not create one extensive resource? As people continue to inquire about your industry, you can point them to a thorough answer. If people are asking you in person, they’re probably searching for the same types of answers online. When your post is optimized well, you can attract a new audience to your business through social and search.

Content As A Perk – Are you in the information game? You could use your blog to create an additional resource for your paying customers or clients. This type of premium information can help foster a community, and be especially useful. It also gives people a strong sense of value for having done business with you. If you’re handing out others’ content to educate customers or clients, this is a great way to stop doing that, and use your blog.

Show People Who You Are – If you can do this well, your blog becomes a great tool for differentiating your business. You don’t always need to be so formal. Talk with your readers in a way they’ll understand, and they’ll respond. That means ditching the industry geek speak, and talking with them in a down to earth manner that they’ll understand and appreciate. It’s also OK to clue people in to the things that make you who you are. Being a new father and a Bears fan have been huge connecting points for me. They serve as excellent conversation starters, and let people know that they’re talking with a real person. It’s OK to share a little to differentiate you from the competition, and establish trust.

Become An Industry News Source – Are you keeping up with what’s going on in your industry? Why not take that knowledge, and repackage it for your client’s benefit? It can pay to give people the type of information that they’re looking for in order to be more educated consumers. If people see that you know what you’re talking about, the impact can compound. A quick tip on this strategy…Don’t just regurgitate your news from another source. If you’re printing the same thing as other popular blogs, chances are your readers have seen it before. Instead, try to give them your take on the industry topic of the day, or find something a little less known to run with. It’s important to keep an authentic voice for this, because your readership is looking to you as the expert.

Conclusion 

Chances are your blog may provide a mix of these strategies, and that’s OK. Keep doing whatever you can to provide value to your readers. When you notice that something works particularly well, it’s time to look for ways to duplicate your success.

What other ways have you found to provide value to your readers?

Matt Brennan is a Chicago-based marketing writer and copy editor

 

 

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