It used to be that a blog was something pre-teens and teenagers spilled too many details into, a type of diary that the entire world had the potential to see–though, of course, a maximum of 3 people only ever stumbled across mine (as far as I know). These days, a blog can be anything and everything. It can still be the public diary, or it can be a space for witty storytelling or political manifestos. Today, you can make money just from blogging. These days, you can also enhance the money your business makes with blogging as well.
Your business should have a website. At maximum, of course, you should be connected to a handful of social media sites for modern-day self-promotion; but, having a unique and tailored website is also highly recommended. Your website is where people find out your hours of operation, find out about events at your space, and potentially buy merchandise and products when they can’t make it to your physical store. It is one of your best marketing tools. The amount of traffic to your website correlates to the amount of traffic to your business, the number of people who know about it, and it can multiply that business if used correctly. This is where the blog comes into play.
A blog plays several roles in your online persona and your marketing and business strategy. A blog that includes personalized updates about your business and its personnel is one that creates a sense of community and connection with your business. This is similar to what a well-tended social media account can accomplish; giving your business a personal touch that increases customer engagement and increases your customer base.
Your blog is an opportunity to feature and highlight your best practices and your best employees. As a roastery, for example, you can feature your roasters on a regular basis, interviewing them for their journey to roasting and the world of coffee. You can feature those employees who pursue educational opportunities like their Q Qualification, or those who travel abroad to specially select your next best blend. This gives a personal, involved feeling to your website and your business. It also engages the coffee community at large by connecting you to what’s going on there; the more coffee people who know about your brand and are engaged with it, the more conventions and competitions and opportunities for collaboration you’ll find yourself involved with. The more people you know, the better chances your business has of growing and blossoming.
Beyond blogs specific to your business, you should also include “expert” content blogs. This increases engagement by bringing traffic to your site (and your business, by extension) that didn’t specifically set out to find your specific business. You can draw in even more coffee people by blogging about roasting techniques or the history of coffee. Many of these types of blogs have been done, but an individual spin on it keeps it relevant. You can draw in potential customers with home-brewing or coffee storage advice, for example. Many roasters encourage engagement by creating customer competitions, such as home-roasting competitions, where the prizes can include a feature on the blog and products from your business.
You can also blog about the coffee community, featuring coffee celebrities, or discussing your favorite coffee brands, which enhances your good feelings within that community and expands your potential connections.
Your blog is also a great place to expand on the information about events going on at your physical store. If you are having a speaker come in to talk about something specific, or if you are having a book signing, you can do a profile of the visitor to encourage better attendance.
You can use your blog as a creative outlet for your artistically inclined employees and in order to attract your most likely customers, who are also the artistically inclined. You can make your blog completely random and fun, playful and creative, drawing in a variety of traffic that enhances the popularity of your website and your business along with it.
Blogs are also a great opportunity for backlinks that connect visitors to other pages on your website, which in turn creates more traffic throughout your site and enhances your online popularity. If you feature other businesses or people or information or cite other articles, you can boost traffic to your site by helping to boost traffic to other sites. You can contact other coffee businesses, blogs or anyone and offer to do a profile on your blog; they will most likely want to promote on their own online domains, thus boosting your backlinks throughout the World Wide Web.
Finally, you can use your blog to boost your employees’ morale and engagement. You can do this by having employees write their own blogs, about what it’s like to work for your company or their journey to coffee–offering to feature their writing will be an ego-boost and will likely result in them linking the blog to their friends and family. You can also do an employee-of-the-month type thing where you do a fun feature on a different employee, which results in similar things. If you have company-wide events, the blog is a great resource for summing up the events and posting pictures of your employees enjoying their time together in the context of a company event. People like to see a company that cares for their employees and employees that actually like where they work and who they work with.
You can hire someone to write your blogs (freelancers, ghostwriters, people like me), or have people on your staff who do so; you could also find interns (with writing preferences/experience) and offer the incentive of a byline for keeping a blog. You could write the blogs yourself. Just remember that people want engaging content, whether that be personable, witty or highly-expert; they also want reliable, so strive to create content that is well-written no matter what style it is in. A blog is an easy and versatile way to boost your business both online and off!