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!
1. 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.
2. 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!
3. Survey the competition and opine
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.
Use Google Blog search to locate specific types of blogs and read up. And keep something on hand to write with – never know when the inspiration bug will hit.
Get involved and opine. 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.
4. Utilize the large world of search to concoct a lure
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.
5. 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.
6. Welcome guest-bloggers to partake
Give readers a real treat by showcasing guest-bloggers who share their opinions on industry-related topics. Ask them to write on topics you may be unfamiliar with or have questions about.
Or utilize professional connections and interview admirable business contacts. Ask them probing questions about important related topics or go off-the-cuff and get personal.
Opening up a blog to guest-bloggers generates discussion and conducting interviews shows a willingness to allow differing opinions and faces into the blog. To the audience, it signifies a secure company who is not afraid to branch out.
7. 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 META description 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.
Creating a successful business blog is not just a few good posts – it’s about consistency, value and some excellent SEO.
If you have anything to add, please share. We learn from one another.