Small Business Marketing: Blogging 101
Blogging. Everyone is doing it. You know you should be doing it. But how can you possibly find the time to write 2 or more posts a week on top of everything else you have to do while running a small business?
If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. As I write this, I can feel my internal pressure building to just get it done and move on to the other important tasks that need to be done. But honestly, blogging is more important than most of those other things. Not just for your business, but also for you as a business owner. According to HubSpot, B2B marketers that write blogs receive 67% more leads than those that do not. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want to miss out.
“If you’re not a part of the conversation, then you can’t expect to be heard.”
Blogging is an opportunity for you to share your knowledge about the industry. If I weren’t blogging, who else would I be giving my tips to? Blogging can also help you start a discussion with and learn from your customers. Write a post about a new industry trend and ask your readers their opinion of it. The best part about starting a discussion, in my opinion, is hearing what people have to say. And let’s face it, with the internet and social media flooded with new content every second, if you’re not a part of the conversation, then you can’t expect to be heard.
Develop A Strategy
I don’t want you to navigate away after reading this and decide to start a blog about whatever pops into your head first. There are way too many blogs out there saying “Now introducing my weekly (insert fashion, food, cat, etc.) blog” that was dated 4 years ago and never got past the first post – not to mention that some are sitting on really good blog names that now no one else can use. I have been this person, and I don’t want that for you.
Spend a little time figuring out what your blog is going to be about. The answer isn’t as simple as you may think. The best way to discover this is by asking yourself what the point of your blog is going to be. Are you someone who just loves to share your opinions, or do you want your blog to work for you and help grow your business? If it’s the latter, then use what you learned in part one of this blog series to think about blog titles that will engage your customers in the attract stage of the buyer’s journey.
For example, I know that anyone coming to us, Catch22, is most likely looking to build a new website. So I decide to write a blog post about topics such as tips for good mobile design and choosing a website host because I know that these are topics people will be searching for when planning a website. As much as I would love to write about cats, it just isn’t relevant. The goal is for people to see you as an authority figure. They read one great blog post, then see another of yours that is filled with good information, and suddenly, they are lost in the funnel.
Sure, anyone can make a website. There are tons of easy drag-and-drop platforms that even the least computer-savvy people can figure out. But the point is that I am providing you with real industry knowledge, not selling you on a product. Those drag-and-drop platforms can’t and won’t help your business. Your website will fall short on so many basic web design fundamentals and won’t be optimized for search engines. So the bottom line is: Let me help you understand what you need to do and give you all of the answers to make an informed decision. Hopefully you’ll decide to work with us on your project, but if you don’t have the resources, then at least you’ll know where to come when you do.
Be True to Your Brand
Aside from writing about relevant and useful information, the next most important thing to include in your blog is your brand’s “voice.” If you’re not a very formal company, then don’t write like it. If you’re into being humorous, then tell your reader something funny. People bond to people. It’s what connects your customers to your company and makes you relatable. No one else has had your exact life experiences, so take what you’ve learned and apply your unique perspective to what you write.
Promote Your Content
So you created an awesome blog post and it’s out there for the world to see, but how is the world going to see it? With social media platforms such as Facebook making it nearly impossible to get noticed unless you want to pay (more on this next week), you need to be creative with your content.
Curate Your Images
Stock photos sites are an incredible resource for bloggers. But unfortunately, the photos get overused and become boring. Find a stock photo that encompasses your topic then use photoshop to add text to it or make it unique by adding an photo overlay or changing the color.
Craft an Eye-Catching Layout
In my opinion, nothing can ruin a good blog post like a bad layout. Poorly placed images and weird spacing issues can make your post seem very unprofessional. Look at popular blogs you admire to see what they are doing and figure out a format that works for you.
Edit for Grammar and Punctuation
Missing a comma here and there may not seem like a big deal, but if you want to be an authority figure then you need to know how to edit properly. It’s amazing how many big-name blogs out there clearly don’t have an editor proofreading it.
Share Other People’s Content
You know how awesome it feels when someone likes something you created and shares it? Everyone feels that way. If you want to build lasting relationships, you need to put some time into acknowledging other people’s great work too.
I think this one goes without saying. No one wants to connect with a brand, they want to connect with the person behind the computer. It really doesn’t matter if you’re doing everything else right – the formatting, images, great content – if it doesn’t seem like there is an actual person creating the content, then no one will be interested.
Thanks for reading part 2 of our blog series Inbound Marketing for Small Businesses. Check back next Thursday for a need-to-know guide to social media.