Blogging. It’s a big bandwagon and it seems like everybody’s on it. Offering the chance of engagement with a potentially massive audience; they’re particularly beneficial for growing and promoting your business. Here are 5 reasons why blogging is good for your business.

It establishes authority

Blogging about the things that matter to your business or industry, and therefore your customers and clients, creates an air of authority. By posting well researched and well thought out posts, you establish yourself as someone who knows what they’re talking about. More importantly, it means people can trust you, the information you provide, and by extension, your business.

It creates visibility

Hummingbird is Google’s latest search algorithm. Long story short, it’s the way they process and deliver search results. And it loves high quality, new content. Regular blogging injects fresh content into your website, making Google sit up and take notice. This increases your visibility in the vastness of the internet; making you more competitive in a world suffering from information overload. Add in the extra visibility you’ll get from readers sharing your content through social media and you’ll be shining like a lighthouse in no time.

It creates a community

Look at any of the big blogs (Mamamia, Hubspot) and you’ll see they’ve got thousands of readers; all commenting, engaging and interacting. That’s what you want for your blog. Although you might not start with quite the same level of readership, you should still be aiming for posts that stir debate, ask questions and encourage discussion. Stick at it and you’ll form a tribe of people who’ll talk about you and your business on multiple platforms, helping further cement your presence in the blogosphere as an expert in your industry.

It forces you to up your game

I won’t lie; blogging’s hard work. It’s difficult to keep coming up with relevant and thoughtful topics, to stick to a regular posting schedule and, not least of all, to write something worth reading. You’re also responsible for monitoring the posts, responding to comments and encouraging discussion among your readers. Good blogging needs a high level of organisation and focus. So you need to be at the top of your game. That means being abreast of the newest developments and innovations in your industry, as well as knowing what your customers and clients are really interested in and want to learn and/or talk about. If you’re unsure, ask them! The blog’s for them after all.

It helps grow your business

A good blog is like a good conversation and can be an incredible learning opportunity. By asking your readers what they want to know about or need help with, you’ve opened a door to potential business growth. Ask the right questions and you’ll get hints and tips about how to run your business better from the people who really matter – your clients and customers. And who knows, you might come up with the perfect solution to a client’s problems; taking your business in a whole new direction. Just remember, a good blog is not really about you or your business – it’s about your customers and clients. Give them what they want and need and you and your business will flourish.

Tips for blogging beginners

    1. Be consistent – Good blogging is regular blogging. Work out a regular posting schedule and stick to it. Starting small is the best way to go; you can always increase your frequency once it’s part of your well oiled routine machine.
    2. Be relevant, entertaining & informative – Whether you’re talking about serious stuff or things on the more frivolous end of the scale, you want people to read your blog. So post on subjects that mean something to your audience. Keep them up-to-date with recent developments in your industry, give them tips on how to run their businesses or lives better, help them out in some way. And if you’re unsure about what they’re really interested in; ask them!
    3. Make it shareable – The more your readers share your blogs, the greater your visibility and the more potential to grow your business. So focus on producing well written, quality posts with catchy headlines, inspirational images and relevant videos and links.
    4. Stick to the point – There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to blogging. You don’t have to write a 1000 word post every time you blog. Focus on quality, not quantity and say what you need to say in the most entertaining, yet succinct way possible. Remember your readers lead busy lives too and don’t want to spend half an hour reading your 3000 word post on the newest whatever to hit the market. Do them and yourself a favour and keep it reasonably short, sweet, and to the point.

photo credit: Kristina B via photopin cc

Over to you! Do you blog for your business? What are your best tips for blogging success?

Shauna Maguire

As a freelance copywriter running her own business, Shauna knows a thing or two about how to string a sentence together for maximum impact. A regular blogger for her own business, ‘Take my word for it’, she’d love to hear about your adventures in the blogosphere.

Image credit: Tara Moore | Taxi | Getty Images

A new collection of stock photos launched by Getty Images offers an escape from the cliché of gender stereotyping that we’ve become accustomed to in the stock photo market place.

Stock photos are a fantastic resource for marketing materials, websites and blog posts for those times that we aren’t able to take our own pictures or arrange professional photography.

And if we have the budget available to choose between both free and paid images, we have a huge amount of images to potentially use to illustrate our point (and that’s without mentioning scraping images from Google because no one does that, right?).

But while there are literally millions of images available, quantity does not automatically mean diversity. Many stock photos have come to perpetuate stereotypes as a consequence of targeting ‘mass appeal’. Spread all around us, and increasingly all around the globe, these images offer inadequate role models and can have a limiting effect on our cultural perceptions of what is both acceptable and achievable.

“You can’t be what you can’t see. In an age where media are all around us, it is critical that images provide examples that both women and men can emulate.” Sheryl Sandberg, COO Facebook, Founder LeanIn.Org

The Lean In Collection, launched by Getty Images this month, is the collaborative effort between women’s empowerment non-profit and Getty’s own visual trend experts. Curation of the Collection focused on more accurate portrayal of contemporary women and incorporates a library of over 2,500 images.

The Lean In Collection allows us to see a range of women being themselves; trying new things, being confident, skilful and not limited by what others think. Models for the Lean In Collection include unconventionally beautiful and real women of all ages and backgrounds.

In freeing up stereotypes of women, the images also bring a welcoming sense of reality to the world of the men and children who also feature in the collection. Children aren’t stuck doing ‘boy things’ and ‘girl things’, and men are allowed to be shown doing the myriad of activities unrestricted by tired roles of business man/ action man/ weekend dad.

The benefit to women’s empowerment goes beyond the message that these images spread, too, with a portion of the proceeds raised by licensing to fund two new grant programs. These grants are designed to further the work of both an individual documentary photographer and a team working to support the empowerment of women. Grant applications can be submitted between April 1 and May 15, 2014.

As women leaders in business, we are already carving alternative paths through society’s expectations. By choosing to use images of authentic women in our business communications we can help promote the kind of society we wish to move toward.

If you are in need of stock photography, you very well may find your next image in the Lean In Collection.

Heidi McElnea

Heidi manages written communications for the various digital and print design services offered by Orion Creative. It’s a colourful blend of website and social media content, email marketing, e-learning, copy for print and scripts for voice overs.

I recently began a book blog, BOOKS NOW! ( because even though I had blogged for clients, created PR campaigns on Facebook and produced corporate podcasts, I had very little personal experience of social media. (I’m also passionate about books, so I thought I’d jump into the conversation).

And I’ve learned a huge amount. I’ve discovered that my professional experience can influence and assist my personal one – and vice-versa. Here’s just a few things I’ve found out on my blogging journey:

1. You wouldn’t launch a PR campaign without a plan, so don’t blog without one.

My first few blog posts were reviews and musings chosen at random because I was anxious to dip my toe into blogging waters. The result? I started to panic I wouldn’t have enough content to fill forthcoming weeks. I realised very quickly that I needed to plan my schedules month by month so I could read ahead, organise interviews and contact publishers, so I would have a regular drip feed of material. My plan encompassed my rationale for blogging, the style I’d adopt, the audience I wanted to reach and how I would reach them. I gave myself a timeline for achieving my objectives, to help keep me focused.don’t blog without a plan

2. PR campaigns need an individual voice and so do blogs

PR campaigns succeed when they have something interesting and original to say and do so compellingly. There has to be an underlying story to every campaign, it’s not just spin. Flog a dead horse, you’ll still be left with a dead horse. Blogs too, need that ‘numero uno’ quality. There are some really wonderful blogs out there and some absolutely terrible ones. The best offer a fresh take on a subject, and the blogger has an individuality that makes the reader take notice.

3. Less is more

Some of the best PR campaigns I’ve ever been involved with were really simple: a News poll survey and accompanying media release yielded hundreds of clippings for a grateful client; another client’s interview in just one highly-respected magazine snowballed into requests for media appearances all over the world. Similarly, blog posts can be snappy and still pack a punch. And today’s shorter attention spans also need to be taken into account.

4. Pictures are worth a thousand words and a clear-lay out wins friends

In PR, they always say that a photo in a newspaper or a TV clip is better value than column inches. I’m learning to incorporate more visuals into my blog. Huge slabs of text aren’t reader-friendly and I turn away from blogs that are tightly packed and written in small font that makes my eyes glaze. You want your consumers or readers to switch on, not switch off!

5. Feel what they feel – build the empathy

Now that I’m blogging myself, I can understand how anxious clients get when they look over material I’ve written: it’s their baby down on that page, in that flyer, in that campaign, something they’ve taken years to develop and nurture and grow. I’m my blog’s sole client now, so I choose my words carefully – I don’t want to be misinterpreted or misunderstood. I also want my words to reach out to my audience and to build a sense of community.I also want my words to reach out to my audience and to build a sense of community

6. Keep researching

I always tell PR clients that our campaigns will be regularly evaluated and re-evaluated to ensure we’re on track. Campaigns need to be flexible, along the way messages may be refined or re-tested, new information may come to light necessitating a strategy rethink. With blogs too, research is your best friend. What are other similar blogs doing well, what can you learn from them so you can make yours even better?

7. Give it time

PR campaigns don’t yield results overnight. Good PR is an investment, in time as well as money. It can be months before the first indications of success come through, whether you’re measuring column inches, consumer behaviour patterns, reputation management or audience reach. Building a blog community happens by word of mouth. My readership is still small, but it’s growing week by week and more and more people are following me. My blog is a salutary exercise in patience, but it also makes me realise how stressed my clients get waiting for results. Just as I’ve learned to share every success with them immediately, so I pat myself on the back every time someone likes a new post, or subscribes to the blog. Every post is another step closer to achieving the goals I have set out for Books Now!

Top image: Credit

Your business website may be a potential client’s first impression of your business. If promoted correctly, thousands of potential and existing clients would have already formed an impression of your business before they pick up the phone or walk through the door. Your company website is another member of your sales team, is the information on your website convincing these potential clients that your business is right for them. The solution to converting those looking at your website into clients could be a lot easier than you think.

One, often overlooked, aspect of your website could be letting the whole side down. Many websites are weighed down with too much text and are hard to navigate. Most people switch off if they bombarded by a page of text or it is hard to find the information they want easily. It is best to have your services filed under navigational tabs such as about us, products, contact etc.

Much of the text contained in websites focuses on the features of the product or service and not the benefits. This includes generic terms such as “quality”, “economical”, “professional” etc. While you want your clients to understand that your product or service is produced with love, care and quality, it’s a claim that most clients see as a “given” and not a point of difference from your competitors.

Here are 6 tips to maximise the benefits of your website

  • Treat your website as another member of your team. Each day, your team answer many client questions. What are the most common questions they receive? Ensure your team provide you with a list of common client questions and check that your website answers these
  • Your text should be punchy, interesting and speak directly to your clients. It must tell them what the benefits of your businesses product/service and clearly highlight the benefits of the services offered and the products available.
  • Make it even easier for clients to contact you by having a contact link on each page of your website.
  • Updated and benefit focused text will help gain clients interest. However, your website still needs to work hard to get them to contact you. Add a “hook” or incentive for clients to call – 10% off a product/service if they mention the website. A web-site promotion will also help you monitor the number of leads generated.
  • Update your website regularly so that existing clients are induced to click-on and see what’s new. Upload monthly specials or news items to entice clients to click on to their website regularly.
  • Include your website address on all of your business letterhead, e-mails and promotional material. Clients aren’t going to visit if they don’t know it exists.

By including all the advantages of the services you offer, offering incentive to contact and making it as easy as possible for prospects to contact you, your website will become a more effective member of your team.

Cindy Parker

Cindy Parker combines 18 years of marketing experience with a Bachelor of Business to help small/medium business owners maximise their profit. Cindy has worked in the Marketing departments of medical, IT, financial services and beauty industries for both Australian and multinational companies.

Four P’s Marketing Solutions assists small business with easy and cost effective marketing activities including website text that converts to sales, PR activities, powerful promotions, plus logical and easy to implement marketing advice.

For further information contact Cindy Parker BBus, email:

Top image: blupics

If you’ve ever searched for any beauty advice on You Tube you probably already know famous blogger, Michelle Phan. She is only 25 but she already ranked 10th in the world for most visited videos and ranked 20th in the world for the number of subscribers with 600 million hits across her YouTube videos. When she was 24 she was able to let her mum retire.

The official video make-up artist for Lancôme, Michelle Phan is currently touring Australia for the Lancôme’s month of colour.

Michelle Phan story

While having her own blog Michelle Phan discovered that more and more readers were requesting videos of the make-up how-to pieces she was discussing on her blog. Launching her first video on YouTube in 2007, the tutorial received 40,000 views in the first week. 2 years later Lancôme asked Phan directly to partner with the brand when they stumbled across a video in which Phan was talking about a Lancôme product that had received 500,000 views.

Leaders in Heels: How did you feel when Lancôme first approached you?

Michelle Phan: It was a fairy tale dream comes true. Two months before I made my first video back in 2007 I applied for a job at a Lancôme counter in a Department Store and they never called back. I was so upset. My mum told me “don’t cry because there is always a new opportunity tomorrow, you just have to be patient”. 2 years later I get an email from Lancôme that they were so impressed with the video and wondered if we could work together [this reminds me a little bit my story and how I got to the beauty industry <Kasia>]. Mum was so right. If I got the job at the Lancôme counter I would had not made the video as I would be busy working. Everything falls into its place and everything happens for a reason.There is always a new opportunity tomorrow, you just have to be patient

Leaders in Heels: When you first set up a video channel did you make it for fun or did you think it could be a potential business?

Michelle Phan: When I first started there was no such business. People didn’t really make makeup tutorials. Beauty bloggers were just doing it for fun. No one really thought about this as an actual career. I did it mostly for my readers and my subscribers because they really needed help.

My biggest dream was to help my mum retire early because she immigrated to America when she was young and all she has ever done was work to support me and my brother as she was a single mum. I am showing Asian American girls that if they have a dream they should keep pursuing it. I am a living testimony. I started everything in my bedroom and with the webcam. I didn’t have any intentions of making money. There is a lesson to focus on being happy and not on money. At the end of the day happiness will bring you real wealth that you can never buy. At the end of the day happiness will bring you real wealth that you can never buy

Michelle Phan is a self-taught make-up artist with her background in art.

Phan encourages following own interests. “If for example someone loves baking they could make video tutorials on baking. People will love it and YouTube can pay 50%-50%. Having a balance of your hobby and doing what you love and also having a little bit of extra money out of it is a great way to expand and profit from own hobbies”.

“The biggest challenge now is transitioning from making beauty videos to doing other things”, says Michelle Phan: “having a jewellery line, having a business and a production company”.

Tips from Michelle Phan on Making Videos

For people looking for tips in video recording Michelle Phan suggests investing in a decent camera. “Finding inexpensive, good quality camera is very accessible these days. Good lighting is also essential. It is also important to learn and find your own style of editing your videos”.

I would like to express a huge thank you to the talented journalist Carah Liu for getting Leaders in Heels questions asked during the time-limited interview with Michelle Phan.

Christine Mielke, is the owner and editor of Temptalia, one of today’s most popular beauty blogs on the web. One could think that beauty blog in not a “career” but if you reach 800,000 beauty fanatics per month and outperform millions of other beauty blogs you have to be smart. In fact Christine is a well educated young women with amazing talent to attract people – that’s what Leaders in Heels is all about. Christine will tell us about her path to success. A true Leader in Heels.

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