How to start your business blog

Adding a blog to your small business website is a great way to kick some business goals.

You’ll boost SEO as each new post is added to your site and your website is re-indexed accordingly. Next, as each blog post can be used across social media, you’re taking care of your Facebook and Twitter content creation too. And as blog posts are the perfect way to address common customer questions, you’re also cutting down customer service time.

Three great benefits, all set to to save your business time and money, while helping position you as an expert in your field. But the catch is, you have to create the blog posts.

This is where most people stumble. Some common reasons:

  • You’re not sure of where to start in terms of choosing a topic or theme.
  • The time it takes to blog is daunting.
  • Finding images seems impossible.

Each of these reasons can be overcome with some effort, some scheduling and a little creativity.

To make your blog effective, and see the full benefits, aim to publish a post every week. Creating a calendar of blog content gives you a clear direction for each week’s post, making the process of writing it much more straightforward.

Look to create four broad ‘types’ of content:

Baseline content

This is the stuff that your customers expect to see on your site. This is information they need to guide their purchase decisions, to help them when they’re in their research phase. Having the information they need on your site makes you more likely to be ‘top of mind’ at final purchase time.

Hygiene content

Pre-empt common questions with posts explaining areas of enquiry or directly addressing pain points if you’re experiencing them.

Your business story

Your blog is the perfect place to give your customers more insight into your company and why you operate in the way that you do, deepening their relationship with them.

Tentpole content

This last category is your high value stuff- the content that’s likely to get the most cut through. This is the content that you will invest in. It’s the place to exercise some creativity and see what resonates.

Create one post from each category per month. Plot these into a calendar. So you’re creating twelve posts of each type over the year. These could be articles, infographics or illustrations or videos. While you’re getting going, you may wish to focus on written articles which you can tackle yourself.

Finding your sources

You’ve got more content sources at hand than you may realise. Pull together a selection of the following:

  • Common questions from social media platforms or customer emails.
  • Data showing what your audience are searching for at different times during the year.
  • Topics your competitors are blogging about.
  • Articles from ‘thought leaders’ in your industry.
  • Sales data that shows any purchasing trends throughout the year.
  • A calendar with important dates and holidays.

Use these to inform your content plotting, and plan in three month blocks, plotting out headlines for each month, making sure you’ve got one from each of your four content types.

Now you’ve got a barebones content strategy that meets your business needs. The next step is to create the time to put it into practice.

Make it a habit

Like everything else, getting your blogging done depends on a routine. Block out some time and do it. Some people find that setting a word count goal is the best way forward- for example, getting 400 words done in one morning session. For other people it means setting aside thirty minutes each day just for writing. Experiment and figure out what works for you. But a tip: doing it daily will make it easier. Stick to your calendar and your publication schedule to see the benefits.

Find the images

Using stock images isn’t hard and isn’t expensive, it can even be free.

Think laterally with your image selection- perhaps pick a theme to riff on with your pictures. For example, if you’re writing about how to set up an account securely on your online shop, instead of using a picture of someone on their laptop, choose a quirky image that speaks to security more broadly like an antique lock and key.

Send it live

It might feel scary the first few times you publish a blog post, and put your business ideas and views into the world. But once you get into the rhythm, and start to enjoy the benefits, you’ll see blogging become an integral part of your marketing strategy.

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