The word blog is a shortened form of the word ‘weblog’ and describes a certain type of website (or part of a website) that is made up of posts and articles which are usually arranged in chronological order.
Having a regularly updated blog can help you win business and build success by increasing your rank in search engines, demonstrating expertise within your industry and by giving you content to use to engage with customers and prospects.
Running a blog will take time – for research, planning, and to keep it updated, so your resource capacity needs to be taken into consideration. But if increasing your presence online is a business objective then a blog should be a priority.
Creating content to connect
Creating content that is of value to your network will increase your business’ (and your personal) reputation. By asking people to sign up to receive your blog you can grow your database of prospects and share with them your latest news.
You should be able to easily add a blog section to your website or you can create a blog for free, or very little, using platforms like Blogger, WordPress or Tumblr. Blog posts can be as short or as long as you like – it’s good to have a variety of lengths and types of post.
Blog post ideas that work
Lists work well for advice-based blogs – delivered in bite-sized, easy-to-read parts.
Share stories and show off your personality in posts as a way of forming connections. Your blog can be a creative outlet.
Use your blog to answer frequently asked questions by your customers and for somewhere to direct them to when they ask.
Break up text-heavy articles with images, diagrams and videos or create some posts that have no text and are purely visual. Make sure you have the legal rights to use any pictures or videos that you put on your blog.
Tell your readers about the latest software or tools that you’ve used that have made your life easier and that they might be interested in.
Host a generous giveaway for your audience to enter and share.
Profile yourself or a team member, interview somebody who is respected in your field or talk to one of your suppliers or customers.
Predictions and opinions
Give your views on industry news and position yourself as a ‘thought leader’.
Share your company’s news, for example, key takeaways from events you have been to, team members joining or leaving, and new services offered. Your blog is your own PR tool.
Putting together a plan
The best way to become good at blogging is to get started, and see what people respond well to. Do some research on competitors’ blogs and see what you like. Depending on your expertise and target market you should try and carve out your own niche and style. Think about the appearance of your blog being appealing and easy to read.
Post frequently without over-committing, a content calendar will be really helpful for this, as will getting other team members involved in contributing. You may have untapped creative and writing talents on your team that you are yet to find out about. A blog that isn’t updated regularly (weekly or monthly as a minimum) will actually portray you in a negative light, the same goes for dormant social media channels.
A big part of your blogging plan should be how you go about getting readers and growing your blog. Use your social channels to share and re-publish them on LinkedIn and Medium for further reach.
Blog content can be re-purposed in different formats – for example, split into lots of shorter posts for social media or turned into a video. Connect Google Analytics and keep an eye on what’s working so you know where to focus your attention in the future.
Blogging inspiration from the industry
PFK Francis Clark has created a culture of blogging within their company with a regularly updated blog and a variety of contributors. They also created a live blog for the Budget 2018.
Our blog, AAT Comment, posts several times weekly with the latest news, career advice, accountancy resources and tips for running your business.
Plus Accounting has a huge archive of blog posts plus frequent news ones about all things accounting.
SG Accounting (Contractor Accountants) have a blog that’s largely focused on business and accounting guidance for contractors.
Before you start, make sure that blogging will be the right use of your time. Ask yourself what your motivation is for it, think about who you’re targeting and make a plan.
Sophie Cross is a freelance writer and marketer specialising in business and travel. She is the editor for London Revealed magazine and her clients include lastminute.com Group and the Coca-Cola London Eye.