But why don’t you have a blog? You are really sick of this question and every time it’s put to you at a networking event or a local business meet-up, you groan inwardly and decide that it’s something you will definitely do THIS TIME. A small business blog is a great way to provide regular “useful” content to your market but how do you get readers and build a community that will keep coming back for more.
But you know all this and what you want us to tell you is…how to kick-start your small business blog…
# 1. Strategy
First of all, sit down and define what you are trying to achieve. Why are you blogging and what is the topic or subject that you will blog about? Don’t make the mistake that some businesses do – a blog is extra value content and just NOT a repeat sales message. So regurgitating old brochures or ‘cutting and pasting’ the marketing part from your business plan is not the way to go. Decide on your content strategy in broad terms and that will be a very solid first step into the world of blogging.
# 2. Calls to action
Once they have finished reading your blog, what do you want them to do? A typical call to action could be a comment – invite people to contribute their ideas and find out if your blog has missed something important or even find out their own experiences on the subject.
You could also ask them to sign up for regular emails. Include an email sign-up beside each post or add a pop-up that is triggered once people navigate to a certain part of your page or after a certain amount of time. Would you prefer them to navigate to a page on your website? Create features around the blog post that promotes products/services on your site that relate to the post
# 3. Manager
If it’s your business’s first blog, then someone has to take responsibility for managing it and developing new content. Decide who will be the blog manager and outline their responsibilities. Ghost blogging is always an option for the busy SME. In our experience, there are many ghost bloggers around but not too many good ones. So choose wisely and remember that price should not be your only measuring stick.
# 4. Contributors
Even if it’s a small business, it can be useful to get as many people involved as possible. Who will you ask to contribute and will they have the time or skills to write blogs. And don’t just focus on the marketing folk! Have a look around and ask people what they think and how they can help.
# 5. How do you know what to write about
While there are many ways to come up new content, here are a couple to start with.
- Use the Google keyword tool to research what people are looking for in Google and to research your target search phrases.
- Use Google itself and see what suggestions Google gives you when you type in certain word.
- Listen to clients. They ask questions every day that you could be answering for them via your blog.
- Have a look at what people are asking you on a daily basis and look at the current queries you are dealing with in your inbox every day. Can they be the inspiration for your next blog?
# 6. Look at what content you already have created
There are probably reams of info floating around your office that you can use as inspiration. Don’t just do the old ‘cut and paste’. Take your case studies, training material and old research data and turn them into something meaningful and relevant for your audience.
# 7. Calendar
Create a content calendar. Know what you will write about and who will write it. Remember that sometimes you will have to create a blog ‘adhoc’ depending on what’s happening in your industry. And it depends on the type of blog as to how often you should be blogging.
# 8. How will you measure its success?
From analysis of readers, comments, social shares, Google analytics traffic data and sales, you’ll soon start to get a feel for your blog and how popular it is and what it can do for you.
# 9. Marathon not a sprint
It will take time to be seen as an expert and build a community so be patient.
# 10. Enjoy it!
You talk about your business all day every day so this is just an extension of that. But if you’re blogging just to create new content, people will soon realise that they’re getting limited value from your blog.
So, you’re running out of excuses! Next time someone asks why you haven’t got a blog, at least now you can say that you have a plan! Put this plan into action and kick-start your business blog today.
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