I met with Loni, the Marketing Manager for a local medium-sized building contractor. It was an interesting conversation, both of us exploring ways that blogging could benefit her company.
One of the themes that kept recurring in our conversation was the owner - I'll call him 'Sam'. She told me one story after another illustrating Sam's integrity, devotion to his family, and his willingness to go above and beyond for his customers. Sam was a living example of the phrase:
People don't do business with your company, they do business with you.
Sam is the company. Yet, when reviewing the company website, Sam was nowhere to be found - The company's biggest asset was invisible. Sam's company needs a blog for several reasons, but the biggest is to get Sam out in front of his prospective customers and let them build a personal connection with him.
Here in the Phoenix area, there are a bazillion contractors. When you need a contractor, who do you pick? You pick the one you trust. Certainly you need to use your blog to demonstrate your expertise and develop your credibility, but it is just as important to use it to develop trust.
You develop trust by letting your readers see you are human. Be genuine. Share a little of your personal life. If your son or daughter has a significant accomplishment, brag about it a little. (Who can help but brag about their kids?) Talk about your hobby, interest, or avocation once in a while.
The result is that not only do people start to see you as a three-dimensional human being, readers that share the same interest will feel a connection to you. You have no idea how many people feel connected to me because of my food blog.
The results of that is that your prospective customers learn that you are the kind of person they are comfortable doing business with.
Trust. Credibility. Interest. All three must be present in order for you to convert the prospect into a customer.