Recently I was approached by a local small business owner and he asked me if he should add a blog to his business website.
My short answer? Absolutely!
I have always been quite the advocate for business blogging, and in my humble opinion, the advantages of having a business blog far outweigh any disadvantages.
With the advent of the Internet and social media, the relationship between a business and their customers has fundamentally changed forever. You may have noticed, blogs have most definitely made their presence known in recent years.
Ever since the early noughties and even before, blogging has been an effective way for people to share their thoughts and experiences, promote awareness about certain issues, inform others about a topic or purely because they enjoy writing.
These days, more and more businesses are jumping on the blogwagon as an additional way to market their products or services. By adding a blog to your business website, your audience will see you as a valuable information source and industry thoughtleader.
What is a business blog?
A business blog is a dedicated section of a business website used to publish ‘posts’ written about industry-related topics. Business blogging is a completely legitimate marketing tactic and can prove very beneficial for your business when done correctly.
Why do I need a business blog?
Blogging for business has become a staple for many marketing strategies these days. Apart from the amazing SEO benefits, there are many other great reasons a business should have a blog.
1. To boost your credibility.
Potential customers want to trust your business before they decide on making a purchase. Publishing high-quality, relevant news, and useful, informative posts related to your industry not only establishes your business as an industry thought-leader, it also helps to builds trust with your audience. Over time, you’ll become known as a go-to resource!
2. To encourage interaction.
Blogs are great for engaging with your customers since they are a lot more interactive than your website or sales pages. Ensure the comments section of your blog is activated, and be sure to integrate social media share buttons on your posts. If someone likes what they’ve read, they can share it quickly and easily to their own network. This makes for a nice segue into the next reason…
3. For free promotion.
A well-written and regularly updated blog can help to market almost any type of business. Blogging provides an immediate and unique form of advertising for your business – and it’s FREE! Leverage your existing online community by sharing your blog posts across all of your social media platforms and via email marketing campaigns.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS TO BUSINESS BLOGGING?
The benefits to your business of having a regularly updated blog are plenty. Although not all of your customers read blogs, there is a great chance they use search engines like Google to find information or advice about a product or service before making a purchase. This is where they’ll discover your blog posts!
The dynamic nature of a blog that is constantly being refreshed and updated helps your posts to achieve higher rankings in search engines and, ultimately, appear in the searches of your potential customers.
Blogging is a very powerful way of demonstrating your industry knowledge and building trust as an expert in your niche. Having high-quality, user-friendly blog content will show your audience you truly understand not only your industry, but also their needs.
– Avinash Kaushik, Indian enterpreneur and marketer
What should I blog about?
A great place to start with your blogging is to scour your social media accounts for questions in the form of comments from your audience. Take these questions and answer them in an informative and beneficial post.
With a blog, you can afford to be more conversational than on your website, which gives you a more “human”, approachable voice in your writing. Other ideas for things to blog about could include:
- RCreate helpful how-to’s, tutorials or guides to answer your followers questions;
- RWrite a review about your products/services;
- RShare an entertaining (yet still relevant) story;
- RWrite about exciting industry-related news;
- RShare the success story behind a positive testimonial (also known as a 'Case Study');
- RCurate a "Best of" list - perfect for displaying multiple images;
- R Write a review of a product/service relevant to your industry;
- RShare your ideas on a thought-provoking post.
Not everyone is a professional writer and fortunately for us, writing effective and engaging content is a skill we can learn with a little patience and a lot of practice.
How do I drive traffic to my blog?
One great way to send people to your blog is to use your social media accounts. You have taken the time to create and nurture these accounts, now it’s time to use them to your advantage.
Most of the major social media platforms allow you to link to external URLs. The exception to this being Instagram which only allows you to link to one URL at a time, however I have a sneaky little workaround for this (comment below or email me if you’d like to know how I do it).
When writing your posts, make sure you complete the excerpt – this is your audiences first taste of what’s in the blog post so make it good – and add a featured image as this is what is displayed when you publish your URL on social media.
Another awesome way to get traffic is by optimising your post for SEO. Ensuring your blog posts are optimised with specific keywords and relevant metadata will mean you are more likely to be found in an online search by people looking for those words. A cool tool to use to find out which keywords you should be using is UberSuggest.
Ensure your images are well optimised too. This means they’ll appear in Google Image searches, which will send traffic to your site as well.
Before uploading any images, change the filename to include what the image is about and your business name. For example, dog-eating-icecream-charmeddigital.png. Take the extra time to add a title, alt-tag and description which will also make your images searchable.
There are a lot of other factors involved in SEO but this is a great start. If you’d like to learn more about SEO, please reach out – it’s my passion!
As a blogger, you need to be aware of the implications of using someone else’s image when you don’t have permission. This is known as copywrite and can get you into some deep water if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Never take an image direct from Google images or another website or blog unless you have been granted permission to use it by the original owner.
What if I don’t have time to blog?
I hear you. I’m a busy work-at-home mother too! I’ll be honest, it does take time to craft a great blog post but the good news is you don’t have to do it all at once.
To take away some of the overwhelm of writing a blog post, break it down into smaller tasks and complete them over the course of, say, a week. Here’s a method I use, except I do it over one day as that’s what works best for my schedule.
DAY 1. Brainstorm ideas for topics and titles. (30 minutes)
Write everything down so you don’t have to rely on your memory too much. Yes, I said write, not type. It’s been proven that writing things down with good old-fashioned pen and paper helps you to be more focused on the task at hand and to retain the information better.
Once you have decided on the perfect topic, start thinking up some compelling titles for your post. This is where you want to grab ‘em by the eyeballs! I usually write down three and choose the most appropriate after I’ve written the post. Occasionally, I’ll change it altogether. You can do that. It’s your blog.
Day 2. Do your research. (1 hour)
If your post is going to contain some cold, hard facts, make sure you’ve done your research before publishing so you’ve got it all correct. The last thing you want to do is misinform your audience, losing your credibility and their trust!
This is where I write myself many, many questions about the topic I’ve chosen and then go find the answers I need. I generally write these in dot format to save time. This then forms the basis of my post. It never hurts to quote your source either. Credit where it’s due!
THE TIME INVESTED IN WRITING A TOP-QUALITY BLOG POST IS DEFINITELY TIME WELL SPENT.
Day 3. Get writing. (2 hours)
The fun part! Well, I think so anyway. This is where you have to pull together your notes from the previous two days and create your literary masterpiece. You’ll need an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. I try to dedicate at least a solid two hours to this task alone, however you may bowl it over in less (it’s that darned perfectionist in me).
Optimally, you want to aim for between 800-1200 words, which seems like a lot but isn’t really once you get started. Don’t forget to break up your post with subheadings and images – this makes it easier for your audience to read. No TL;DR here!
Adding a Call to Action at the end of your post is a must. This tells your audience what you need them to do next. Subscribe to your blog? Contact you for more information? Visit your Instagram for more photos? Let them know here so there’s no confusion.
Day 4. Edit, edit, edit. (1 hour)
You’ve written your post and now you need to read it back to yourself. And again. And a third time.
A handy little trick I use here is to use a free online tool like Natural Readers to read out aloud what I’ve written to check the flow. If you don’t know how to do that, just ask me in the comments or email me.
It never hurts to ask someone else to read over your post and provide feedback as they may see something you’ve missed. It’s also at this point you need to double-check your SEO, excerpt and image tags. You want to get this right before you hit publish.
Day 5. It’s publish day!
All the time and effort you’ve put in over the past few days is about to pay off in the form of shiny, new content for your blog. Once you hit publish and send your post out to the world, you need to grab that URL and share it on your socials. Before you do that though, give your post one final proofread. I don’t know if it’s just me but I’ll quite often find a sneaky typo around about now which snuck under my radar.
You’ve done it!
Congratulations on writing your first business blog post. It wasn’t that difficult, was it? You’ll be a seasoned pro in no time at all. I suggestion aiming to write one post a week, or even one a month would be beneficial to your business over time from an SEO standpoint.
If you are still hesitant to begin a blog on your business website due to lack of time, patience or knowledge, you can always outsource the task to someone who loves writing them (*wink wink*)!
Keep an eye on my blog for upcoming posts on how I come up with ideas for posts on my blog and how I keep them organised in a content calendar in Airtable.
KEY FACTORS TO CONSIDER
- RYour blog posts need to provide value to your readers or you’ll be unlikely to snag any return visitors or blog subscribers;
- RAlways interact with any readers that have taken the time to comment on your blog posts as you never know who may turn into a potential customer (except for SPAM comments - bin those right away);
- RAdding fresh and relevant content to your blog regularly creates more pages indexed by search engines which means the more you post, the better your chances of showing up in searches conducted by your target market;
- RIt will take time to see the results of your blogging efforts so be patient and don’t be too quick to dismiss it if you aren’t getting thousands of visits right away;
- RDon’t be afraid to have a go! There is ample help available to guide you along the way, including me.
I wish you all the best in your business blogging ventures. There is a lot of competition out there but if you’re committed to pushing out regular quality content, you’ll have a better chance of getting noticed first.
Do you have a blog for your business? Share the link in the comments!
If you still have any unanswered questions about blogging for business that I haven’t covered in this series, drop me a comment below or contact me and I’ll do my darnedest to find an answer for you.
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