There are all sorts of positive reasons for including a blog on your business website, but despite this, many small businesses shy away from blogging – mainly because they don’t know how to do it.
First let’s look at WHY blogging for business is a good idea:
- It adds a valuable indexed page to your website – and one that contains SEO optimised content that is updated regularly, which the search engines enjoy.
- Coupled with social media posts, blogs provide shareable content which strengthens your social reach and helps you become discovered by more relevant visitors.
- As well as increasing website traffic, blog posts are a great opportunity to generate more sales leads, simply by adding the right sort of call to action to your content. It works like this: attract readers, give them an incentive (such as a discount, prize or special offer) and the means to convert, and reap the sales leads that result.
- A good business blog establishes you as an authority in your field, and can also be used for all sorts of purposes like educating your customers and/or answering common questions you are routinely asked about your products or services. You can also use it to announce new products, or developments in your line of work.
- If you write “evergreen” type blog posts – in other words, not date sensitive or dealing only with a current event – it will continue to be useful information that is found by the search engines months, or even years, down the line. In other words, old posts don’t die – they go on generating traffic, so your efforts are not wasted.
Once you’ve realised the value of a blog, how do you write one? Online copywriting is expensive to outsource, but we’re not all natural-born writers – can you learn to be a blogger? Sure! If you can talk it, you can blog it.
The primary secret to brilliant blogging is to put yourself in the reader’s shoes. Visualise your audience (your social media analytics may be helpful in this respect, and of course, your own knowledge of your client base). Then, think of a topic that will interest, inform or even entertain that audience, and something that is relevant to your business.
To begin with, don’t worry about grammar or spelling (you can always run it through a Word spell/grammar check at the end). Think more about the tone you want to take with your blog. If you’re an accountant, for example, readers will expect a certain gravity when you write about the latest tax savings for SME owners. However you decide to “talk” to your audience, don’t be afraid to introduce some appropriate humour, and let your personality and passion for your subject show. No-one wants to read a blog written by a robot.
Before you actually put those itchy writing fingers on the keyboard, take in these rules:
- The title is important. It must be intriguing and creative, but relevant, and contain a focus keyword.
- Don’t plagiarise (copy) someone else’s work, or infringe copyright when it comes to using images or infographics. Even if you don’t get into legal trouble for doing so, someone might notice and your reputation as a blogger will suffer.
- If you quote someone, or use someone’s information or opinion, attribute the source.
- Write in short paragraphs. A blog post doesn’t have to be miles long in order to look authoritative. 300 to 500 words is sufficient.
- Don’t forget to categorise your blog, and use whatever SEO tools your blog page provides (such as Yoast on WordPress) to optimise it for the search engines.
- Include links to interesting, relevant web pages, or even other blogs, where possible. Don’t overload it with outside content though, and don’t just give a list of links. They should be worked into the context of your blog, and open in a new window, to avoid losing readers who might link out on the way.
A final word: be confident enough to give it a go! The only way to judge how well you’ve done is to put your post out there, and see what reaction it gets. Click here for a thorough article about how to promote your blog post after it’s been published.
Don’t despair if the response is dismal to begin with – it takes time to become known in the blogosphere, but every word you write has marketing value for your enterprise.