Twitter and Facebook may be hot topics right now, but business blogging can be an incredibly simple yet effective way to increase your business. Blogs were the first truly democratic form of social media; anyone can create one, and they afford direct access to customers, helping to promote your business in a unique way. One study suggests those companies that blog enjoy between 67% and 88% more leads per month than those that don’t, so the benefits are very real.

Business blogging isn’t just about chucking advertising copy onto the company website every so often, though. For a blog to work it must feature articles that have relevance to a specific target market and, very importantly, don’t actively tout the company’s products. This can be hard for a lot of bosses to hear, but it’s crucial. The social media conversation is just that: a conversation. A blog that rams home your marketing message is the unpleasant digital equivalent of a pushy salesman.

A good alternative for trying to flog stuff is to inform customers of the challenges you faced developing something new, or explain the weird (and successful) ways other customers use your products. The key here is to ‘add value’—a wedding photographer might perhaps share some secrets that help readers take better holiday snaps. People will remember you and come back, or recommend you to a friend. That sort of marketing is powerful stuff.

The most important thing about business blogging, though, is consistency and regularity. A reader will return over and over if there’s always fresh content. Research has shown that a blog with twenty articles per month will get double the traffic of four articles per month. If you’re worried, then plan out when you’ll publish your posts on a calendar—you can always write a few at once.

Finally, just because it’s a blog doesn’t mean you can get away with sloppy writing. Last year, one company discovered that sales of a product doubled after they corrected a spelling mistake on their site, and William Dutton, of the Oxford Internet Institute, agrees: “when a consumer might be wary of spam or phishing efforts, a misspelt word could be a killer issue.” It pays to double check.

Ultimately, the blogging message is so obvious: the more you put into it, the more you get out!