We all know that blogs have emerged as powerful marketing tools, especially for the solo entrepreneur. This is, in part, because blogs fare so well in search engine results. This fact alone has led to the evolution of many marketing tactics using the blogging platform as their base.

Here are five practical ways to use your blog to promote your business and build a following of loyal prospects:

1. Tell Engaging Stories
Blogs are most effective when they attract a loyal readership. And the best way to do this is to entertain, inform and engage your audience. Write about things that are worth their time to read ... be it on an emotional level or a professional level. Depending on your personality and your business goals, you might consider including events from your life and then move on to your marketing message.

2. Write Product Reviews
This technique is particularly effective when you want to promote affiliate links. But be careful with this technique. You don't want all your reviews to be all sugar and roses. Let your readers know the faults of the products you review. Try to be objective. And don't think narrowly about this technique - product reviews can include book reviews using your Amazon affiliate link! This is also a good way to give some love to your joint venture partners, and even your best clients!

3. Hold Contests
Want to challenge your readers to write the most moving testimonial for your products? Have them leave their submissions on your comment box. Want to hold a raffle? Have your readers leave their names in the same comment box. The possibilities for contests are limitless, and blogs make all of them possible.

4. Gather Valuable Feedback
Post surveys and polls on your blog. Encourage readers to post feedback in the comment box. The blogging platform truly gives you the power to gather instant and valuable feedback from your audience, and respond in a fairly quick manner.

5. Provide Excellent Customer Service
One of the unique properties of blogs is the ability to have comment boxes on posts and pages. This is where readers can leave their feedback regarding your posts. You can use this feature to gather questions, complaints or suggestions from your readership. Even better, you can post your answers as part of the comment thread!

Author's Bio: 

Carma Spence-Pothitt has more than 20 years experience in marketing, public relations and publications. She helps authors, speakers and coaches develop and nurture a thriving web presence. Would you like to learn more? Then visit http://www.wordpressrevamp.com for more information. Sign up for your copy of "WordPress and the Solo-Entrepreneur."