One of the best ways to promote your business is to write a small business blog.
They are cheap and very effective but for first-timers it can be a bit daunting sitting in front of a computer.
So here are some tips from me to help you get started.
#1 Just write something, anything.
Most professional marketers and blog writers will tell you that the biggest mistake people make is in starting to write too soon (I cover this in the next tip).
But if you are absolutely brand new to blogging then the first thing I reckon you need to do is to get something onto the web.
Use a simple platform like Blogger to set up your own personal blog and just fire away.
Write something you are passionate about and just let the words flow.
If you don’t publicise it then it’s unlikely anyone will read it so you can just write with no worries.
When you come to write your actual small business blog then you won’t have any fear about writing because you’ll be an old hand.
#2 plan plan plan
When you are ready to set up your own blog then before you even write word 1 you need to sit down and plan.
It is all too often the case that people get all enthusiastic and blatt off thousands of words fairly randomly.
You need to do a little bit of research and thinking about what your target market is looking for.
Then write your blogs to match the needs of your customers.
In a similar way to point number 3, writing a large number of blogs about a large number of subjects has two problems;
The first is that you become a subject matter expert in nothing and the second is that it is either very expensive or doesn’t get done.
With the best will in the world if you set yourself a target to write 500 blogs a month you are probably going to get bored by day 1.
Instead, focus on a specific subject that is very narrowly defined to a small section of your target market and then write blogs around that so you cover it brilliantly.
#4 Think about what value you are going to add
You’re really passionate about your business which is great but unfortunately, this can blind you to the simple fact that actually most people really aren’t.
What they are passionate about is solving a problem.
Essentially, when they read the title of your blog your potential customers are asking ‘What’s in it for me?’
So what problems do your customers have?
How can you help them solve their issues?
How can you add value?
If you can answer these questions then you have already got the titles for your first three blogs!
#5 Little and often
It is really easy to get enthusiastic about blogging, especially when you have a great story to tell but hold your horses.
So often what happens is people write up a few articles (normally between 4 and 8) and then get bored, dispirited or have to go back to the business.
Set yourself a task to write 1 article a week, maybe 2 if you think you can.
Two articles per week over ten weeks will work much better than 6 articles at the start and then nothing for three years!
Oh and if you don’t believe that this is what happens then have a look at some of your competitor’s websites. You’ll find that consistent blogging is a rarity but that the ones that do are normally at the top of the Google search rankings.
#6 Think about your titles
Titles are really important.
In fact a recent survey said that 75% of people only read the title of a blog*
So getting your title right is really important.
Have a look at these articles to find out how
#7 Choose your tone of voice
We all have a tone of voice and so do our businesses.
You need to decide what tone of voice your blogs are going to have.
For example take a look at two blogs, one from Grant Thronton, one of the top Accountancy practices and this one from Giff Gaff who are my mobile phone provider
One is all corporate and serious and one is like a mate down the pub.
The one thing I would say is that you should feel natural writing in this style.
You’re going to annoy someone with your blog, whatever you do so you may as well feel comfortable about the writing process.
Writing a small business blog should be something you enjoy doing, after all, you are writing about your passion so if you find that the tone of voice you have chosen stifles you then you need to think again.
#8 Set aside some time
I set aside an hour twice a week to actually sit down and write some of my own content.
This is good because it forces me to refuse calls, ignore the internet and actually think about my own business.
Too often we get distracted working on what we think of as ‘real’ work and then neglect our own marketing.
But marketing is important and the time you need to make sure you do some is when you are busy because when you are not busy it will be too late.
The side effect of making sure I write my own stuff is that it gives me some really nice time to sit quietly and do something I enjoy. Win win!
#9 Think about a series
Google loves useful sites and the way that it works out if your site is useful or not is by looking at how many people go to the site, if they read more than one thing whilst there and if they return another day.
So think about doing a series of articles that all link in together.
So perhaps you may want to do an article on how to order flowers for your wedding.
I’d always suggest breaking that up anyway because it will be a bit long but breaking it down into its component parts and then doing a series will get people to read more and come back again and again.
Plus of course, you are giving people more, easy to read content and thus more value.
#10 Remember that this is an investment
Having a blog is a great investment because it gives your business credibility, creates loyal customers and ultimately gets you sales.
But none of this happens overnight.
You have to be persistent and see it as an investment of your time because in the end, it will pay massive dividends.
#11 Bonus tip – think about partnering up
OK so I know it said ten tips and I know that will really annoy some people but here goes.
Think about partnering up with a blog writer who will produce your content just the way you like it.
Generally speaking they will give you a discount if you book a series and you can then forget about having to sit down and do something you don’t want to do.
The only problem you have is finding a really good blog writer…
*Another recent survey said that 95.3% of all statistics are made up.