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What started out as personal diary-style weblogs in the late 1990s has evolved into one of the most common and cost-effective marketing strategies used today. All businesses great or small can count on blogging to increase awareness and visibility.
Best of all, you don’t need to be a tech genius to do it. With a little knowledge and effort, you, too, can write content and start reaping the benefits of blogging.
Just what are those benefits? Well . . .
First off, let’s address the elephant in the room. (Waves at imaginary pachyderm…) We’re talking about business blogging. This isn’t a vanity project. It’s not about sharing your personal story – it’s about sharing valuable information that can help others. Think of it like writing a magazine article. You do some research and reveal some insights.
And when you do it well, your business benefits in several ways.
Ready to jump into the format and content tips to set you on your way? Excellent. But not yet… You need to nail down a few important details prior to putting pen to paper.
First, ensure you have somewhere to post your blog. Presumably your business has a website, so find out if your platform has a spot that allows for blog posts. (Often, it’s a simple click of a button to activate a “News/Articles/Blog” section.) Contact your host or website designer and get the goods. If you don’t have a website or your existing site doesn’t allow it, you’ll need to get busy and do some groundwork before you think about blogging. Seriously, you need a fully operational website! It doesn’t have to be fancy, just functional. Can’t afford a designer right now? GoDaddy, Wix, Squarespace…there are plenty of DIY options.
Second, have a strategy. Know who you are writing for and what you want to achieve. Work in alignment with your other marketing efforts. Do you want to focus on certain services or products at particular times of year? Maybe you simply want to tell the story of your brand. Find your focus and come up with supporting topics and ideas. A rough content calendar will serve you well.
Third, do your research. *Yawn* WAKE UP!! I repeat, this ain’t no vanity blog. You have a goal, and it takes work – so do your research! Look at the competition, come up with SEO keywords, learn about what your audience wants and needs. If your topic is too general, your keywords will have a lot of competition when it comes to searching, thus it may pay to get specific.
Fourth, consider your voice. It’s almost time to start writing. But before you get going, contemplate tone and temperament. Think about your brand. A written blog is an extension of your business’ attitude. Does fun and enthusiastic work with your funeral home? Will goofy or sarcastic jibe with your architectural firm? Is serious and scientific really the tone your dog-grooming business? If all else fails, friendly and helpful is a good way to go.
Once you have decided upon a few different topics, you’ll want to consider how to present the content. Depending on the subject and the audience, the following approaches offer plenty of options to get your message across.
How-to: A classic method that capitalizes on the most common way people search for information.
Lists: Who doesn’t love a list? Easy to read and to write.
Interviews: Show off your business’ subject-matter expert with well constructed questions and answers.
News-related: Not as evergreen as many of the other content format options, but it does capitalize on something real and relevant.
DOs and DON’Ts: An interesting take on a list-type style that allows for personal opinions and stories.
FAQs: If customers have questions, give them the info they need.
Reviews and previews: Give a sneak peek into upcoming events and products or an opinion on those that have occurred.
Survey results: Family Feud is popular for a reason. People like to know what others are thinking. Create a poll and highlight your findings.
Tips & tricks: Anything that saves time or money needs to be shared.
My story: Why not give some insight into lessons you have learned along the way.
Comparisons: X vs Y that can be positive, negative or a bit of both.
Guest blogger: Show that not only do you know what you’re talking about, but your colleagues do, too. Or go outside your business and let it be clear that you have good connections.
Whatever format you choose, don’t forget to reply to comments and keep an eye on your metrics.
While the goals of your business blog should be consistency, quantity and quality, no matter how much you post, blogging helps your organization build more brand awareness, credibility, attention, leads and conversions. The time to start blogging is now.
At Rock.Paper.Copy, our professionals work with you to create high-impact, effective copy and turn browsers into buyers.