Remember the days when a blog was nothing more than the online version of a personal diary? Years later and blogs have become an integral part of online and content marketing strategies for businesses of all sizes. High time to start a blog for your own small business, don’t you think?
If you still need convincing, check out my post about the benefits of blogging for small businesses. If you’d like to find out how exactly you can start a blog (or a vlog or podcast), read on!
The truth about blogging
Simply put? Blogging works. It increases web traffic, improves SEO, generates new business and helps hammer out a niche for your small business. That doesn’t mean your business will fail without a blog – it just means there are a lot of benefits!
Before you start a blog though, make sure you (or someone on your team) have enough time to take care of your blog. Blogging is a long-term strategy that requires consistency. Don’t leave the blog on your company website to languish with outdated posts from two years ago.
Also, don’t wait until you know everything about blogging before you get started. Be prepared and read as much about blogging as you need, but in the end, you’ll only learn it by doing.
Blogging takes experience and a lot of trial and error. What works for some may not work for your small business. They say you have to fail to grow and they’re absolutely right.
6 steps to start a blog
But first, here are a few things to tick off your to-do list before you can start sharing your expertise with the world:
1. Define your goals
To repeat my old credo: If you don’t know what you want to achieve, you’ll never get there. A blog can do different things for your small business, from improving your website’s SEO and web traffic to attracting new customers. But you need to define your goals before you start a blog.
It can also be a platform to demonstrate your expertise and the values you share with your customers. Do you want to give practical tips and advice, or inspire clients and customers with your ideas? What action do you want readers to take and how will you achieve that?
Still figuring out how to get your values across? Branding plays a key role. Read more in my post on creating a strong brand!
Next define your blog’s audience, your ideal customers or clients. Who are they, what are they looking for and what do they like and loathe?
Another very important question: Where is your audience hanging out when they’re online? You’ll have to share your blog posts widely, so make sure you know how to reach your target audience.
Ask yourself (and ideally your readers):
- What would they like to read about?
- What can you add to their lives?
- How can you help them?
To attract readers, you must deliver something of value to them. Answer questions they might have, offer a new perspective or simply share insights into your profession.
Also, consider your writing style and your tone of voice; let your personality shine through and be sure to speak your audience’s language.
Your next step is defining the platform you want to use to start a blog. Will the blog be part of your website or are you going to use a blogging platform like Medium or LinkedIn? Do you need to access it remotely and are other members of your staff going to work on it, too?
Another aspect is your blog posts themselves – are they going to be short or long, wordy or with lots of visuals? How often do you want to post? Know the SEO keywords you’re targeting, but remember to write for your readers, not Google’s algorithms.
Make a long list of possible topics to write about (you can use my free content tool for that). Also, note special events in your industry, holidays or anything else that impacts and/or is of interest to your audience.
Then create an editorial calendar for your blog and you’re ready to get started!
Try to have fun with this part, too. A blog is a great opportunity to be creative and show off some personality, in addition to sharing valuable information. Stay on topic, and keep it relevant, but don’t feel pigeon-holed by what other people in your industry are posting. Once you’re in the swing of posting, you can start to think outside of the box!
Now’s the time to plan how and where you’ll ensure your content is going to be seen. Make sure to share them widely on social media platforms, especially the ones your ideal clients are most likely to be on. And don’t just promote current blog posts; re-sharing older posts maximises their impact.
WANT TO READ MORE?
To read more about this topic, have a look at these:
7 Reasons to Get a Blog for Your Small Business Marketing
How to Reach Customers Sooner in their Journey to Grow your Small Business
Content Marketing Ideas – A Brainstorming Tool for Small Businesses
7 Successful Ways I Market my Small Business On and Offline