Blogging to Build Your Business

When I left off yesterday I had told you about an organization called Pagan Packs that I had signed up for in hopes of finding more tools to help me with reaching my goals for the two organizations that I run as well as my business.  I’m working through those tools now.  One of the tools that someone posted about on the Pagan Packs forum is something called the Ultimate Blog Challenge.  

The UltimateBlog Challenge is a challenge you sign up for that challenges you to post 31 blog entries during a 31 day month.  (I’m not sure if the challenge changes to 30 posts in a 30 day month or not).  Once you sign up, you are then expected to not only post your blog entries but begin to tweet and share your blog as well as read, comment and share other blog entries by other contestants.  The idea is that the accountability helps you get your blog entries up there and the sharing helps you all promote your blogs so that you get more traffic, more followers and better results from your blog.  There are also tons of articles and suggestions on how to maximize the effects of your blog contributed by the organizers of this challenge as well as by other contestants.  

I signed up for this challenge and have started reading through the material provided.  I’m going to share some of the information I’ve found while researching blogs below. 

The first question I always hear is “Why do I need a blog?”  From all the research I’ve been doing into the people that are successful at running these businesses I’ve noticed there is almost always a blogger attached somehow.  The internet has significantly changed the way people do business.  A few years ago I was more apt to listen to sales people to try and find out information on a product I was interested in.  Now, my first action is to go to my search engines and look for articles or reviews on the product.  If there is a blog about a product or by a business owner, I read it.  A blog can be your best marketing tool whether you are promoting your services, your product, your store, your music, your art, your craft or yourself. 

Let’s say you are a musician that doesn’t have a contract with some recording company that has its own marketing engine promoting your music.  Then you are not only the artist, but the manager, promoter, road crew, and every other hat that needs to be worn to keep your business growing.  So you need to create a relationship with your fans that will get them helping you promote your music.  Start a blog.  Share the blog on your social networking sites and your email list with your fans.  If you are saying interesting things they will be sharing it with their friends and you will gain fans.

Okay, not a musician?  What about an online retailer?  A blog that gives interesting little tidbits about different products or about events you’re going to will catch people’s interest and have them looking for you at these events.  Building a relationship with your customers has them thinking of you first when they are looking to purchase a gift.

If you’re product is yourself then that is more reason to build a relationship with people.  Blog about interesting topics to give them a sample of what you would speak about at their event.  Show off some!

Achieving My Goals

How many articles and columns and blogs have we all read on New Year’s resolutions this past week?  I know I’ve stumbled upon quite a few while working on one project or another.  So, what’s one more?

I had a nice afternoon with a couple of friends earlier this week and one of the topics that was brought up was how we can achieve goals we have in common without adding more work to our already slammed schedules.  In fact, in a perfect world we would both like to reach these goals and even find a smidge more free time in our schedules.  Asking for the sky? Probably. 

One of my goals includes better promotion of my business and the two organizations that I run as well as one of which I’m on the governing board.  So, on the long drive back from my friend’s home I started researching this very problem.  Better promotion – less time.

I first found a link that a friend had posted on my Facebook page for a company called PaganPacks.  This not-for-profit company brings Pagan business owners together for the express purpose of helping each other promote their business.  Now, those of you that have businesses that have been a part of my orbit will know that helping pagan-owned businesses grow is a pet cause of mine.

So, Pagan Packs does this in several ways. 

1 –Pagan Packs and Fillers.

They have one program where business owners exchange something they call “fillers” to distribute.  From what I can gather, you can order the Pagan Pack bags from their website.  You join the yahoo group and send business cards, flyers, samples, whatever you want to contribute to the pack to whoever is doing a festival, has a store, a gathering, what-have-you.  It works kind of like the swag bags that we do at the festivals that North Georgia Solitaries puts on.  We let our vendors and sponsors put items in the swag bags and we hand them out to everyone at the festival.  The difference is that these go out to festivals and stores across the country where other participating business owners are.

2 – Webinars

They have webinars where they share tips on things like shopping carts, blogging, advertising, etc.

3 – Online Faires

They do these free online faires that involve some presentations and giveaways.  It appears that the vendors that sign up to do them get a chance to make a presentation as well and interact with the customers that attend the faire.  I haven’t attended one yet but I plan to attend the next one they put on as an attendee.  I’ll see about signing up for one as a vendor after that. 

4 – Ad sharing

They have a special group for ad sharing.  You have a place there to post ads and specials and advertise whatever is going on with your business. 

5 – Sharing of resources through the databases

I’ve browsed through their databases and found some vendors that offer drop shipping so other vendors can sell their items and both vendors make money.  I found a database on vendors that offer goods at wholesale prices.  There is a database of members that offer Affiliate programs.  There’s a place for members to list their social network links so other members can like, share, follow, etc.  and more. 

So, I signed up for Pagan Packs and spent a couple of days reading back through their archives and getting a handle on the rules of how this works.   I’ve already found a couple of things to help me with my goals.

One of my goals includes more active blogging.  So we’ll talk next time about what tips I got to help me with that.