Having a blog is one of the best ways to ensure your small business is being found on search engines, like Google and Bing. According to Wordpress, there are over 409 billion people who read over 20 billion blog pages monthly just on Wordpress! Users write around 70 million new posts and leave 77 million comments on posts every month – and even if you aren’t writing a blog, your competitors probably are. This means that their page has a higher chance of showing up on search engines when people search for topics related to your business, which is never a good thing! People who search for a topic are 434% more likely to come across a company with a blog in search results than those without.
Blogs allow you to tell your brand story, address common questions about your business or products, highlight company and employee accomplishments, help launch new products, and address timely topics in your industry. It’s a wonderful (and relatively easy) way to show the world who you are as a company, what you value, and how you’re addressing the needs of your customers. You can build authority in your industry, which helps close deals. And the content you create can be used across social networks like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.
So now you know you need a blog… but where to start?
Create clear goals
Before you start writing, you need to know why you are writing. Are you hoping to grow brand awareness? Do you want to increase sales? Are you looking for subscribers? Knowing your goals will help you structure your blog so that it works best for your business needs.
Determine your target audience
Understanding your target audience will enable you to craft carefully tailored posts that address specific pain points and questions that the audience has. You need to know the demographics of your target audience so that you can solve their particular problems with your writing. It’s no use writing posts that don’t match up with your target audience’s needs.
Decide on voice and tone
Blogs vary widely in voice and tone. B2C and B2B blogs are often quite different, but even within those two categories there is great variation. Some blogs take a conversational tone, with light-hearted or sarcastic jokes, while others are quite scientific or studious. Again, this goes back to knowing your target audience. But remember, just because you are writing for a “serious” company doesn’t mean you can’t be a little self-deprecating or witty in some of the posts. You want to keep your readers’ interests.
Have a consistent posting schedule
This is extremely important. Once you start getting regular readers, they will come to expect new content from you on a regular schedule, and if you fail to provide it, you will lose their readership. This is not what you want! Posting a new blog at least once a month is absolutely doable for most small businesses, and many find that they can do twice a month or even weekly. Whatever you decide, stick to it!
Post about topics that your customers will find useful
This seems self-explanatory, but some blogs have a habit of posting about whatever is in the news that week. Your blog should be about things that relate to your company (unless you are a news provider), and help show your customers how your company can solve their problems. Not everything has to be a product or service post, but it should be somehow related to a project you have done, or work you are doing in the community to give back, or about your employees or customers. Your readers are coming to your blog to learn about your company and your activities.
Engage with your readers
It’s very important to actively encourage your customers to comment on your posts. You can have some incredibly useful conversations about customer needs and ideas this way! And don’t forget to respond to customer comments – no one wants to feel like they are being ignored.
Use social media and email marketing to promote your posts
Don’t just let your blog live on an island – promote it! Use your social media channels to drive people to your blog posts, and thus hopefully poke around your website! You can also include your blog posts in email newsletters or marketing emails to show your expertise in your field.
Experiment with format
Don’t feel constrained by one type of format. If you normally write longer blog posts (1000 words), switch it up and write a shorter list format post every so often, or post an interesting and relevant infographic. Again, you want to hold your readers’ interest…plus, it’s fun to write something a little different every once in a while!
Take a stand
One easy way to generate lots of engagement is to have an opinion on a controversial topic. Now, we're not talking politics or religion here, but something where there is healthy debate in your industry. Pick a side, and defend it! You’ll have people on both sides of the topic engaging in droves with your content. It’s a great way to stimulate conversation.
Having a blog is almost a requirement for a small business these days, and it’s not difficult to do at all. If you follow some simple guidelines, you’ll be on your way to better search engine rankings and great customer engagement in no time! For more pointers, or if you’d like an expert to get you started, contact us and we’ll help you produce an incredible blog!