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Starting a Blog for Your Small Business

starting-a-blog-for-your-small-businessStarting a blog for your business can be a foreboding experience. If you’re more in the habit of reading other company’s blogs rather than writing for your own, it can appear to be an uphill struggle. But with the right attitude and a bit of forward thinking, blogging can easily become a part of your normal routine.

Before you start your blogging journey, you need to make sure your website can handle blogging functionality and if not, what work is involved in making that happen. Speak to the people that created or manage your website to see what is possible. If work is required to your site but you’d still like to get cracking in the meantime, you may want to look into third party blogging options such as Medium, LinkedIn Pulse, or a free WordPress Blog. If you do use a third party site, always remember to link back to your website so if people are interested in you, they can access your details immediately.

Define what you want to achieve from blogging

First of all, it’s important to understand why you want to blog. If you just want to do it because it seems like everyone else is doing it, that’s not a good enough reason on its own. Think real, tangible things that you want the act of creating blog posts to achieve. Do you want to increase exposure to new markets? Do you want to post content to social media? Do you want to keep your website updated and vibrant? Maybe you see how other companies are capitalising on giving out free advice and can see how it could increase your own online exposure. You may even want to blog simply for the love of writing about your industry! Set out what you want to achieve from the outset, so you have a set goal to aim for. If it’s a measurable thing like more website visits or increased sales, you will also have to commit to measuring that metric to see how your blogging is affecting performance.

Decide on your topics beforehand.

There’s nothing worse than writer’s block, and it’s even worse when you don’t even know what you’re going to write about! Add an impending deadline in to the mix and you’ve got a recipe for bad times. One way to help combat this is to decide on your blog topics in advance, so you have a list of topics to choose from each time. Planning your content in advance and even attributing a deadline date for each topic can help with routine and flow; if you know what topics are coming up in your schedule, you can research and prepare well in time for writing your next post. Additionally, putting your upcoming posts on a content calendar helps you schedule your posts around seasonal trends, annual leave and national holidays.

Commit to regular blogging.

This is the one thing that a lot of small businesses struggle with, and I can totally empathise. If you’re starting out on a blogging and content marketing journey, you need to commit to a set frequency. It’s important to define a few parameters first rather than plucking a frequency out of the air:

  • How long does it take you/a team member to create a single blog post?
  • How much work is involved in uploading a finished blog post and promoting it (e.g., on social media)?
  • How frequently can that person take that blogging time out of their other duties that doesn’t damage the quality of their work elsewhere or their morale?
  • How frequently do others in your field (including your most direct competitors) post new blog content?

Take all of these factors into consideration when you’re working on a blogging frequency. It needs to work for your company and for your industry.

Provide value rather than making blogs “salesy.”

When you’re starting to use blogging as a marketing tool, it can be tempting to make your blogs all about the hard sell, but content marketing (which includes blogging) is a very different animal. Where traditional marketing efforts are all about hardcore persuasion, content marketing is more about providing value, proving your expertise and offering up advice and support to those who are interested in what you offer. People aren’t going to click on your article if they feel they’re just going to be sold to, they’ll be more interested in learning useful tips or reading helpful information, so provide that in your blogs above all else.

Don’t be afraid to share a few secrets.

This is one that a lot of people struggle with when they’re starting to blog – I know I did! The general train of thought tends to go along the lines of “If I write about how to do my job, other people will read it and just do it themselves.” This is false. Though it may sound counter-intuitive, sharing your expertise proves your authority to the world, and rarely does it lose you business.

Usually, if people are coming to you for something, it’s because they’re currently unable to do your job themselves. That may be due to lack of time, lack of expertise, or lack of inclination to carry out the work involved. People in this situation are unlikely to suddenly find that which they are lacking, so proving that you know what you are talking about is only going to endear you to them more. If you get them thinking about what you offer in an interesting new way or get them to realise the extent of work that is involved, you prove that you know what you’re talking about, and that working with someone like you can be a valuable investment.

Don’t shy away from covering the basics.

The best (and frankly, easiest) way that you can prove your expertise, especially near the start of your blogging journey, is to blog about your industry’s basics. If someone is looking to outsource work to an organisation like yours, chances are that the things that seem obvious to you will be new and intriguing to them. Though there may be a number of blogs out there covering the fundamentals of your field, only you can share your unique standpoint. However, always look at other blogs out there that cover the same topics to make sure you don’t overlap too much with another source.

Blog about products, services and developments – new and old!

Got a new announcement or product release coming up? Blog about it! Blogging about your up and coming developments is a great way to build buzz around the news and to present it in an easily shareable way. If your company relies on a set range of products or services that doesn’t change much, you could blog about an existing product or service; inform about the benefits it provides, answer any frequently asked questions and maybe finish off with a related offer or a link for the reader to find out more.

Always promote your blog content

Always ensure you’re making people aware of your content elsewhere. At the very least, use a scheduling tool like Hootsuite or RecurPost to continually post your previous content through your social media channels. Sure, people may find your content through Googling for the answers that a post provides, but why leave it at just that when posting to social media is free? If a post does particularly well, you can always turn it into a paid ad – but that’s another can of worms for another time.

I hope these tips have got you thinking that blogging isn’t such a massive undertaking after all. Even once you have started your blog, don’t be afraid to come back to these steps to make sure you’re on the right track. As you start to produce blogs for your company, you may find that things may change over time – you might need to tweak the frequency of posts, the kinds of topics you’re writing about, or the things you want your blog to achieve. Regardless, blogging is a worthwhile endeavour for most businesses, so enjoy it, have fun and good luck.

Looking to start a blog for your business? It may be easier than you think... Click To Tweet

Blogging newbies – are there any further queries about starting a blog that you’d like answering? Are there any aspects of starting a blog that we haven’t covered above? Seasoned bloggers – is there anything you’d like to share to those embarking on their own blogging journey? Let’s have a natter down in the comments!

Image Credit: FreeStockPhotos.org.