Does your small business need a blog?
I’m often asked questions about business blogging. You could say it's the nature of my job but I’m usually pretty quick to say that all businesses need a blog.
But blogging does take time and in an age where the internet is becoming more and more saturated with content, it's no longer enough to half-heartedly write 400 word blog posts and expect them to work for you. You need to do something extra special to stand out.
So I thought I'd create a post to help those considering taking the leap into business blogging. If you've been wondering weather or not you should start a blog for your business then this is the post for you.
First things first, why should you blog?
There are literally tonnes of reasons why you should blog but I've whittled it down to my top five for the purpose of this post. For me, these five alone should show the benefit a good quality blog can bring to your business:
- It will drive traffic to your website. Each new blog post you create is a piece of shareable content that people can promote and engage with on social media. New web content also helps your search engine position. The higher up the ranks you are, the more likely people are to visit your site.
- It builds trust with your brand. Creating interesting and informative blog content shows your customers that you know your stuff. A blog is a great platform for sharing your expertise with your readers in more detail than your web copy will allow.
- It allows your personality to shine. Through your blog content you can show readers the personality behind your brand. Blogs allow you to connect with your customers in an intimate way.
- Google likes it. I touched on this briefly above but search engines love fresh content. Blogs are a great platform for getting new content online and keeping Google happy.
- Great newsletter content. Your blog topics can give you some excellent content for your monthly (or weekly) email newsletter.
That all sounds great, right? So why doesn’t everyone have a blog?
Well, there are some pitfalls.
Blogging takes time for one and if you don’t have a flair for writing it can feel like a bit of a chore. You also need to set time aside to promote your content because, after all, people won’t read it if they don’t know it’s there.
That being said, blogging is an excellent marketing tool for your business so you should consider the pros before deciding not to blog for your business.
What kind of businesses would benefit from a blog?
I'd argue that all businesses benefit from blogging. No matter what your subject matter you probably have customers with problems that need solving.
Think of your blog as a platform for helping your customers solve those problems and you should start seeing how you can benefit from having one.
I find that people naturally assume that blogs are best suited to consumer driven businesses and it's just not true.
Say for instance you run a coaching business for female personal trainers. You could use your blog to share expertise on: making better use of your time between sessions, tips on how to simplify your tax return or a guide to making the most of social media. Or you might be an IT company selling finance systems to small businesses. You could blog about the top finance mistakes small businesses make or provide advice on how to track expenses.
What should you blog about?
First and foremost your blog should be answering your customers' questions. Imagine what your customers might be typing into Google and write responses to those queries.
Remember that your blog is there to build trust with your audience so posts providing advice are always preferred over posts selling your services.
If you're still not sure, here are a few ideas:
- Business news. Do you have a new customer? Have you won an award? Do you have a new product to promote? Share the stories on your blog.
- React to industry news. Is something trending in your industry? Share your opinion by writing a post about it.
- Share industry news. Create a monthly (or weekly) round-up of news in your industry to be the go-to company for the latest insight.
- Publish your stats. Use statistics gathered from your customers to share interesting and unique tidbits about your industry.
- Promote your products. But not in an obvious way. Are you an interiors business? Show how items in your shop can be dressed up for different seasons or pick out the perfect items to suit a particular kind of style.
- Share your story. Share the tale of how your business came to be and why you saw a gap in the market for your products and services.
- How-to's and FAQs. Publishing an in-depth how-to guide or FAQ document will help your readers see you as a company they can trust.
There's plenty more ideas out there of great blog content but the list above should provide you with a good starting point.
What if you don't have time to blog?
If you know that you'll only get chance to post once every couple of months I would really consider wether blogging is for you. In order to get all the benefits that I mentioned above you probably need to post at least twice a month.
Lots of companies blog multiple times a week but I would recommend posting once a week to begin with.
No matter how often you intend to post, creating a schedule (and sticking to it) is super important. I use Trello to plan all my blog content and find it really useful for keeping me on track.
If you don't have time but think a blog will benefit your business, consider asking someone else to do it for you. You can either ask a colleague with a knack for writing or you can outsource it to someone like me. I provide affordable blog packages for small businesses that take all the stress out of getting blog content online on time.
I hope this post helps anyone considering starting a business blog. Blogging doesn't come easy and it takes time to make it work for you. That said, it's such a rewarding activity and can prove to be an incredibly valuable tool for your business.