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.
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 do I start a small business blog?
- Read other blogs in your industry
- Come up with blogging ideas
- Don’t stress about it
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.
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. Also, here is a list of the top 100 small business blogs.
Pro 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.
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 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.
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.
What should I avoid with a small business blog?
- Bad writing
- Writing for yourself
- Promoting. Promoting. Promoting
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.
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.
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.
Starting a blog for your small business is an excellent idea and even though it may seem daunting, old-fashioned writing skills can make a huge difference in the online presence of your business. So get started!