Between all of the tasks that go into running a business – payroll, making the employee work schedule, and oh, yeah, talking to customers – it may seem hard for a small business owner to imagine having the bandwidth for blogging. How could you have time for writing when your hands are already full? But making the time for blogging will have serious payoffs, bringing you more website traffic, customer engagement and sales.
Ever read an interesting magazine article you just have to show your friend? Informative, funny, entertaining and helpful articles are shareable content – and that’s the kind of content you want to create for your business’ blog. When you target the right topics that appeal to your target audience and format your posts in a way that appeals to search engines, you’ll achieve exactly that. These five tips for kickstarting your small business’ blog are sure to get you headed in the right direction.
1. Drop the Excuses – You do have things to blog about!
Many people don’t blog because they think they have nothing to blog about. But the truth is, you DO have a lot to talk about. There are tons of people interested in learning more about your brand, product, service, industry and customers – you just have to communicate these stories in the right way.
A lack of experience in blogging is actually a good thing. You don’t usually start a small business because you’re passionate about blogging. You start a coffee shop because you love coffee or a hair salon because you’re amazingly talented at creating great hair styles for your clients. You’ve invested time in developing an expertise in a specific subject area, and this perspective will help you come up with tons of content ideas that will attract your niche audience.
So no more excuses because you have plenty to blog about. If you don’t believe me, check out these small business blog examples:
- Louis Page Fencing runs a fence blog where they teach readers about the latest trends and designs for fences and shares instructional videos on how to install them.
- 575 Pizzeria shares their hottest menu items on the 575 Pizzeria blog. Look at their seasonal and fun “12 Beers of Christmas” series.
- River Pools and Spas answers common questions about pools for your home on their blog. They teach their customers about things such as how to properly prep your pool for the winter.
Remember: You are the expert. Whether it’s pool tips or beer recommendations, your customers want your input and there’s no better place to offer your advice than on your blog. And once you’ve grown a fan base through helping them with educational content, they’ll be happy to help you when it comes time for your CityVoter contest.
2. Make Your Content Shareable
Your content has to appeal to both the people who come directly to your content and the search engines that will bring even more visitors to your blog. To accomplish this, keep these things in mind:
- Come up with a great topic: People want to share information that helped them or featured them. Answer common questions or provide a list of tips. Feature your favorite customer. Seattle-based Emerson Salon has a great example – they feature customers by showing off great Yelp reviews on their blog.
- Target your keywords: You need to reach the right audience in order to attract readers who will care enough about your subject matter to pass your content along to their friends. To do this, you need to optimize your blog posts for SEO. Think about the kinds of search terms people use to find your website. Use Google’s free keyword research tool to discover more relevant keywords and variations of search phrases to target in your headline and in your blog post copy.
- Make it easy to share: It surprises me how many blogs don’t have social media buttons. It’s easy to get caught up in selecting the perfect design or blog theme and then completely forget about the obvious, functional elements likes social sharing buttons or “subscribe by email” widgets. When you’re just starting out, get your content in line and focus on a simple design that lines up with your branding and includes the practical features. Then go crazy with design.
3. Be Consistent
Blogging is not the type of thing where you just want to get your toes wet – you’ve got to dive in all the way. If you start out blogging every single day and that schedule isn’t sustainable for you, you build an expectation of content among your fans and they will be disappointed when you burn out and stop blogging. Select a realistic pace that works for you. (Two days a week is an effective pace to start with.) Keep yourself on track by organizing your blog post ideas and deadlines in an editorial calendar.
So if you haven’t started already, kick of the new year on the right foot for your business and start blogging. And if you’re already creating content for your business (good for you!), hopefully these tips will help re-ignite your enthusiasm for creating content.
What other tips do you have for small business bloggers? Let us know in the comments!