We marketers love to recommend that every business have a blog. Blogging is important even for small businesses.
The reason is simple – blogs create fresh content and fresh content keeps search engines and people interested in your brand. But, the devil is in the details! How can busy small business owners keep up with a blog? Here are my tips for a successful blog plan.
- Define your area of expertise. What are you going to blog about? It should be something that meets an audience need and about which you’re passionate and knowledgeable.
- Develop a list of topics you will cover. Optimally, define 3-5 broad categories.
- Sketch out an editorial plan that will guide you for the first six months. (Yes, 6 months. Don’t give up before 6 months.)
- Use Google Search to identify related blogs. Monitor them. Practice your writing by commenting to provide meaningful contributions to one or more posts.
- Set up the blog at your website. Many website tools have this functionality built it. It just needs to be enabled.
Writing Posts with Focus
Think of your blog as an ongoing conversation. Start new conversations with your posts. Get inspiration from comments you get online and offline.
Create and stick to a writing and publishing schedule. Blogging software allows you to create and save posts and designate the date and time they will be published, so your writing time does not need to be the same as the timing you have selected for your blog posts. I like to write my posts in monthly batches, and they are published twice a week over the course of the month.
Sticking within your defined topic, write about things you see, do, hear or read about. Continue to look for conversations at other blogs. Either contribute to the conversation there, or use the topic as inspiration for a new post at your blog.
Blogging Mistakes to Avoid
Talk only about your product or service.
Don’t just talk about your product or service. Write about the problems you can solve and the interests and concerns of the people who have those problems.
Assume too much about your reader.
You assume since they are reading your blog, they know all about you and/or your products and services. Wrong. Offer readers context within every post as well as links for related information.
Write in corporate speak.
Blogs are about people talking with other people. Show some passion about what you do. Engage your reader – don’t write at them. Write in a conversational and informal tone.
Promote Your Blog
Creating your blog is not enough to get readers. You need to market your blog. (That markets you, too!)
Link your blog.
Link to your blog at all of your online locations. Invite partners and related organizations to link to your blog, too.
Share posts online.
Share links to your blog posts as posts on your social media channels. The best way to do this differs by channel, but look to others for examples of best practices. In general, you want to share a key takeaway in the post as a way to entice people to click through and read the post.
Use your blog in your email marketing.
Blog content often translates well into email content. Whether you repeat the full content of a post or offer a roundup of your latest posts, make sure your email subscribers get connected to all the great content on your blog.
When you comment, refer to your blog.
Include a link back to your blog when you comment on other blogs or at social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Make sure the link accompanies meaningful comments or content. No one likes shameless self-promotion.