Love them or hate them, blogs have become a vital component of business, especially if you are offering professional services to your regular customers or clients. But even in these days when social media is understood to be one of the cornerstones of good business, so many new companies fail to have one, and many of those who do will often not be using it to its full potential.

If a new business wants to succeed, it is essential to establish a good relationship with their clients if they want to retain them. A good business blog is the core or this process, and it really does help to build trust, and keep your client list loyal to you.

By using your blog properly you can make great strides towards establishing your company as approachable, informative, knowledgeable, and professional. Use your blog badly, or even not at all, will mean you are missing out on a great opportunity to connect with your existing clients or customers, and encourage new prospective business to contact you.

You may be wondering how best to use your blog, and if you should be tying it in with all your social media activities. The answer to this question is – of course your should? A blog is more than just an extension of your website. It is hard to believe but some small businesses and start-ups still think that having a Facebook or Twitter account will cover all their social media commitments. In all honesty, this is simply not enough, and believing this is seriously selling yourself short.

Your website is your professional face, and should be well-constructed, easy to navigate, and informative. For most small companies or new businesses, once their website is set up they may only amend or update the site as and when it is necessary. Your blog, however, is something that should always be changing. It should be looked at as something that is alive, and will need feeding regularly to keep it alive. Your company blog should be at the centre of all your marketing and social media efforts.

When you use your blog as your central hub where everything new and fresh is ready and waiting for your clients and prospective customers to read, absorb, learn from, and have the ability to ask for more information, then you are making best use of the opportunity.

Facebook and Twitter are great for creating excitement, causing a stir, and shouting out enthusiastic hooks to catch people’s interest, but it is back at your blog where you pull everything together, and deliver what people are looking for.

If you are really struggling to know where to start with your own blog, then your best move would be to start by researching other people’s blogs. By trying other blogs out as a user, you can learn what makes a good one. You will note what is particularly good about some, and not so good about others. Study the style or writing on your favourite ones, note if you prefer blogs that are more visual with plenty of attractive photographs, or the more informative styles that favour quality content over looks. Which ones do you like to return to on a regular basis – what makes you want to revisit them? Take all your research and apply it to your own blog, obviously avoiding all the negative things you found troublesome with your least favourite blogs.

Look at what is popular on blogs in the same or similar niche as your self. Follow your competition on Twitter and Facebook and read what they are saying. Search out those within your own business sector who are actively putting out good quality content and see how they link their posts back to their blog. Note how often they post fresh content, and if they invite guest bloggers to post for them. You can closely mimic those successful competitors who are active on social media without becoming a carbon-copy.

Seek out complementary businesses on social media sites that could help grow and expand your own company, and start to post helpful comments that offer good value. Do this until you feel comfortable, and have become established as a trusted contributor. This will take some time, and is certainly something that cannot be done is a day.

You should write topical posts for your blog, especially some that are focussed on the subjects you are currently discussing with others on social media. Invite people back to your blog only if they are genuinely interested in what you are saying rather than spamming each of your posts with links. Some people may ask you for a link to your blog while in conversation, so you may find it easier than you think to get your blog into circulation.

If you think you cannot spare the time to develop your blog, or you don’t believe you are a very good writer, then why not invite people in to write guest blog posts for you. You may well come across some excellent bloggers in your field during your research, and some may be happy to write for you. If you have a talented writer on staff, then assign them a regular spot and ask them post for you.

Most blog platforms will automatically ping the search engines each time your create a fresh post, and your subscribers will be notified of any new content as it is posted. WordPress is one of the most popular blog platforms around today, so if you don’t already have a blog attached to your website, then this may be a good one to set up, and it is really easy to use too with lots of free plug-ins.

Here are some easy pointers for you to consider:

Post quality content that answers a question or addresses a problem in your sector
Encourage people to contribute by asking readers for their thoughts
Target your posts towards current issues and topics
Make sure each post has good keywords, but weave these in naturally without spamming
Ensure your blog has all your social media buttons easily available for people to follow you
Reply swiftly and politely to questions raised by readers in the comments
Where possible, visit the sites of those who are commenting, and leave feedback or comments on their own blog, and share their blog posts if you find them interesting
Reciprocate with other bloggers and you will quickly find your blog being distributed far and wide

Time to get more engaged with your business blog if you want to establish your business.