How to start a successful blog for your business

Blogging is one of the most effective marketing tools for your business but it’s hard to run a business, and do all the things you need to do while adding a blog to the mix. If you’ve never considered blogging or find the idea overwhelming, here are my tips to get you started.

Why Blog?

A blog acts as a 24-hour shop front, giving your customers round-the-clock access to your news, expertise and behind the scenes information.

Blogging for business positions you as an expert in your niche and it provides a way to build an audience and customer base. Well planned SEO alongside quality, shareable articles will help drive traffic to your website. With engaging content and well placed calls to action (asking customers to sign up to a newsletter, share on social media or buy your product or service) these visitors can become customers.

A blog can also:

  • Answer frequently asked questions.
  • Show your business and staff behind the scenes. Your staff and workplace can be the best ambassadors for your brand, building trust and developing a personal relationship with your customers.
  • Provides value to your future clients by giving them free knowledge and advice, establishing you as an expert in your industry.

So where to start?

You can start a blog within minutes for free, using services such as WordPress or Blogger. These platforms will allow you to host a blog which you can customise with thousands of predesigned themes and templates. If you just want to dip your toe in the water with blogging this is a good starting point.

Some questions to ask yourself before you start a blog are:

Who is my audience? Try to understand you customers and potential customers. How can you entertain and inform them about what matters most to them?

How often should I blog? Consistency is the key to creating a loyal readership. Be realistic about how much time you have to devote to writing a blog and stick to it. It’s far better to write once a month than three times in a week and then once again two months later.

What do you do that is different from your competitors? What can you offer your readers that they can’t get anywhere else? Is your approach uplifting and light-hearted in an industry that’s serious and stuffy or are can you offer technical advice in a simple and easy to understand way? Think about most common complaints and problems your customers have and solve them.

But what to write?

If you ever feel frozen, bamboozled, and totally stuck for something to blog about, help is at hand. Maybe you think there is nothing to say about your business (if so, I have some tips for you). Maybe you think there is so much to say and don’t know what your clients would want to hear (I have some tips for that too).

Blog less and promote more

Blog less, and promote more is the mantra for busy business owner. One post a month (break it down into 15 minutes a week if that still feels too much as a task), will, over a year, amount to 12 posts of content that you can re-purpose, share, and pull out quotes from to make lovely visual content too.

Link posts are valuable

Link posts of valuable content are the time starved business blogger’s goldmine. People like extra bang for their time buck, and they really love convenience. So, round-up some useful links (hint, they don’t even have to be yours), and you have a post ready to go that adds plenty of value.

Think in stories

Think about what your ideal client wants to hear; what content would they find valuable to read and come to you for? How can you showcase your expertise in a story? Weave some narrative into a post around what you do, and you have an engaging story that is human, authentic, and shareable.

Think around the service/products you offer

Of course,  we need to know what you do and what you sell, but think around that for a moment.

Consider client profiles, the story of your product(s), behind the scenes stories and news, informative how to’s and added value blog series; opinion pieces, discussion pieces and the like.

There is SO much more to blog about that you realise.

Swipe files of ideas

When you see a blog title or whole post that you really love, swipe it! I use Evernote to grab examples of posts that I love, but a simple notes application or Google Docs will work equally as well. You can then critically analyse what works, why it works, and use your swipe files as fodder for your next posts.

Cheat

If you are really, truly, stuck for ideas – you can cheat. There are some really handy blog post title generators that may help get your ideas whirring.

Here are a couple that may help:

http://www.hubspot.com/blog-topic-generator

http://tweakyourbiz.com/tools/title-generator/

You can also pinch a deconstructed blog post format to help get things started.

Good luck and happy blogging!

Jo Gifford mentors solopreneurs to tell their business story online and to work in smarter, creative ways on www.dexterousdiva.co.uk.

Jo Gifford mentors solopreneurs to tell their business story online and to work in smarter, creative ways on www.dexterousdiva.co.uk.

Comments

Related articles