Depending on your experience, blogging may or may not seem like a daunting addition to a small business marketing strategy. This article offers blogging tips for small businesses to get you started and focused on what matters.
Recent statistics say companies that blog have 55% more website visits and generate 67% more leads per month than those who do not. This should be the incentive to make it happen!
Why is a Small Business Blog Important?
- A blog is a tool to communicate with customers directly by sharing your experience, knowledge and expertise. Blogging gives potential customers a place to get to know the business culture and offers current customers a site to rely on for important information.
- It improves your business’ search engine optimization and overall web presence. An improved SEO score increases the ease for people to locate the business through search results. To learn more about the power of informational blog content read our content methodology post.
- It is an excellent way to humanize the business and showcase the people behind it. If there is little time for social media and developers/designers are too expensive for an in-depth website, start a blog. Blogging provides interaction with customers and social media sharing functionality can be added.
- Utilize a blog to become a resource in your industry. Compose quality blogs with links, outsider commentary and exciting information that customers cannot get anywhere else. Draw on unique experiences to add substance and people looking for answers will turn into customers wanting a service or product.
How To Start A Small Business Blog
Everything Starts With A Strategy
Comprising a strategy is key to a successful blog. Define the reasons for having a blog and its goals. Do you want a blog to market the business? Communicate with customers? Develop your online presence? Or to become a resource in your industry? If the reasons are determined beforehand, it will identify the direction of the blog.
Read other blogs in your industry
Delve into blogs and start reading, commenting, and getting used to the blogging environment. A few ways to find blogs is by searching through blog-heavy sites like Tumblr, WordPress and Blogger or use Google Alerts to set up an alert for a specific type of blog.
Pro blogging tip: Keep a paper and pen (gasp, I know – who uses those anymore) handy to take notes on what you like, dislike and how other blogs are articulating the business culture.
Come up with blogging ideas
Be creative, think outside the box and write it down. If a clever blogging subject catches your attention, add a personal twist and rewrite it for your audience.
To start with, originate at least 20 blogging topics and try to come up with a new idea every few days. Keep a list handy throughout the day, in case inspiration strikes.
Also, use Google Adwords or sites like SEMrush to search for popular keywords. For example, if you are a plumber, search “plumbing” and it will generate a list of subjects related to plumbing that people are searching for.
Don’t stress about it
Do not feel pressured to update it everyday. Determine what is best within the confines of your schedule to remain engaged and creative in the process. And do not worry about post length – if it’s valuable information, it is important.
Blogging should be an enjoyable process. It offers a dedicated place to share your experience, expertise and create interactions with customers.
We often get asked how often a website should write blog articles. Our answer is, as often as you can create in-depth content that provides value to your users. Usually small business owners can write something once or twice a week – remember quality over quantity.
Blogging Tips For Small Businesses
Determine your target audience
Who are you writing to? It may seem obvious, but writing comes naturally when the target audience is established beforehand. All businesses market towards a specific audience (persona or customer type), and the blog does the same.
What do they want? What are they interested in? What kind of questions do they have? Focus on who they are and when it is time to write, write as if speaking face-to-face with your customers.
Determining a niche will help the blog stay focused in its direction, the subjects it covers and who it is talking to. The audience is the most important element; structure the strategy around who they are.
Be a consistent writer
Consistency is an underrated trait that does not receive the applause it should. Being consistent creates trust, stability, and it conditions the audience’s expectations. Be organized and plan the blog out. Discover which days are best suited to reach the target audience and combine them with the days you have the time to write. They are the set blogging times.
Successful blogs do not happen in a drive-thru fashion, it takes months to establish a loyal fan base and the quickest way to achieve that is by blogging consistently. If the audience receives your blog every Thursday morning, they will begin to rely on its consistency and the relationship develops. Consistency rules!
Survey the competition
There are thousands of blogs on the Internet and there are hundreds (if not more) of blogs covering the same industry or topics you plan on covering. The clever move is to find out what other blogs are doing and adjust accordingly.
Compliment the blogs you enjoy, debate where you disagree, but make it a priority to spend (at least) 30 minutes a day reading new blogs and commenting. And don’t forget to leave a link to your business blog in the comments.
Engaging with other blogs gives you topic ideas and creates interactions with the blogging community. The more comments left, the more other writers/readers will become interested in knowing who you are and what business you represent.
Do not underestimate the power of reading other blogs and leaving comments. The blogging community appreciates people who interact and more often than not, will make an effort to return the favor. It is considered having good blogging manners.
Utilize the large world of search
If it is a new blog, there are probably lots of writing topics running around in your head. But they will run out. Or you will get burned out. Either way, its inevitable and normal – do not to worry. Use Google Trends to get an overview of what the Internet world is talking about or the Google Keyword Tool to search for popular keywords. Check out social networks like Facebook, Twitter or the news to generate ideas.
What is important about blogging is that it stays relevant. If topics are old or do not cover a popular subject – you may want to reconsider it.
Also, use Google Instant search to find local keywords. These keywords do not have as much competition, which simply means topics will gain more priority in search results.
Give ‘em some variety and evolve
Do not stick to a normal paragraph by paragraph style of writing, spice it up and use free time to evolve as a blogger. Let’s face it, there are unlimited methods to make a blog unique – so give readers the best. Stay up on trends, blogging tips and learn how to optimize the blog with SEO and other practices. Play around and experiment with blog ideas and use different elements like video, pictures, and audio.
Write in list form to make it easier for readers to scan, how-to’s to share your skills and generate trust, or write the occasional journal entry. Share the inner business culture, tell its story – humanize the brand and develop personal connections with the audience.
The more time spent on updating the blog, the better chances of its success. Stay relevant not just with blogging content, but the overall blog as well – keep the theme fresh and original for readers. The blog design conveys who the company is – so make it count and do not rely on a second chance.
SEO it up! (For newbies)
Use SEO keywords and key phrases in the page header and the primary keyword at least once in the post heading.
Write the first paragraph so it reiterates the heading and explains succinctly what readers will get out of it. This provides another chance to use a SEO key phrase and offers a neatly packaged summary of the article for people looking through search results.
Use the SEO key phrase for the title tag.
SEO images by saving them with key phrases and simple file names, and use Alt and Title tags with key phrases. Images are an important element that grabs Google’s attention for better search results.
What To Avoid When Creating A Small Business Blog
Bad writing and thin content
Although perfectionism is not the goal, the blog is representing the business so it must be written well. Spelling, grammar and concise thoughts are very important. After writing, read your post out loud, ask a coworker to read, and use Spellchecker. It might sound silly, but many people don’t. But if you are not a good writer, get someone who is, or ask them to edit for you. A poorly written blog can do a lot of damage.
Writing for yourself
There is a big difference in writing an informative post to writing a conversational one. Overall, the best blogs – whether personal or business – are the conversational blogs. Write as if talking to a friend, let humor shine through, ask questions and don’t be afraid to leave the blog in an incomplete form so people will comment.
Promoting. Promoting. Promoting
There is a fine line between promoting your business too much and too little. It is important to blog about your business and promote it, but include industry-specific topics into the mix. If you run out of topics, have a brainstorming session with employees, use Google Adwords to see what’s being searched, or ask yourself what you would want to learn. A cool aspect of blogging is learning about new things or finding new information in the process of writing. Educate yourself and your audience.
Do you need help creating a blog strategy?
For most small business owners, the world of social media is intimidating. There are several networks and not enough time to learn and manage them all. Besides, there’s an actual business to run – right?
But one surefire way to reach your audience is to start a business blog in conjunction with one social media network. Skeptics may advertise the death of blogging, however the reverse is true. As trust in the media becomes blurred, the general public is looking to blogs for answers. And regardless of the industry type, your blog can be a vital resource to the Internet community.
Feel free to contact our founder and we can help you build a blog strategy or create custom content that increases SEO traffic.