I happen to enjoy writing blogs. This activity may not be exciting to you, but I’ve told you before that even a business that follows your passion also requires you to do less-thrilling work. To drive more traffic to your small business, consider finding a way to add blogging to your to-do list. Recent statistics showed that companies got nearly 3-1/2 times more traffic when they published at least 16 posts per month on their sites. I think that number might be extreme.
Like any worthwhile endeavor, blogging requires knowledge of the craft, writing ability, and enough devotion to publish new blogs regularly and consistently. Read on for a quick primer on how you can make it work for you.
What Blogging Can Do For Your Business
In a nutshell, blogs keep your customers informed — and reminds them that your business cares enough to reach out and educate them. This can work many ways, such as the following:
- Your financial services firm clearly explains everything from changes in statutes that may affect them, and it periodically reminds customers about ways to save on taxes throughout the year.
- Potential clients of your family law firm can learn a lot when your blogs explain how aspects of high-profile divorces might apply to any family situation.
- A “Five Uses For …” blog teaches users of your products to recognize extra value, even when it reveals the many unusual uses of cotton swabs.
- Don’t forget about how-to instructions that teach how to properly use major equipment that you sell, like lawnmowers (links to videos optional, but very helpful).
Effective Blogging Requires Understanding, Planning, and Discipline
Don’t be scared. I don’t always know the details of my articles when I start writing — and my level of discipline is at the level of the average goof-off. Yet, with the following few simple tools, I manage to stay on top of all three blogging requirements:
- Understanding: The Internet is a magical place that allows me to research whatever I need to know, from how to write articles that people want to read, to technical information that I need for my content. The keys to good research are simple: learn to recognize reputable, accurate sites, don’t copy what you read without giving credit, and double-check the facts from multiple sources.
- Planning: With a list of topics to write, you’ll never face the dreaded writer’s block. This list is called an editorial calendar, and you should maintain entries for months into the future, adding new ideas regularly. You can use holidays and seasons to help unlock ideas. For example, March or April might be a good time for your motorcycle-repair business to publish spring maintenance requirements for customers itching to get their bikes out as soon as the snow clears.
- Discipline: You don’t have to be highly virtuous to develop the self-control needed to sit down and write. A little time management lets you allocate time to take care of this task. I find that being able to check it off of my to-do list is surprisingly motivating.
There Is a Science Behind Blogging
You’ve probably heard the term, algorithm as it applies to how Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and the like decide which posts to reject. Search engines also use complex algorithms to determine the order used to display search results (known as rankings.) This is called Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and the methodology behind it changes constantly.
SEO is affected by many things. Meaningful keywords incorporated into your content (particularly in titles), length of the content, and even punctuation and spelling can heighten rankings. A simple search for SEO will help educate you on the many things to consider. Since you probably want to focus on Google, check out the Google Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Guide.
Don’t let any of this frighten you, though. If you write accurate, easy-to-read blogs, you’ll be fine. Still, it never hurts to periodically check online for news about major changes in SEO algorithms that might help you target your content most effectively.
Your Website is Not Your Only Option
If you don’t think that you have the time or fortitude to create and populate a blog page on your own website, you can still gain recognition for your business by using other means:. Here are two common practices:
- Hire someone Many writers are just waiting for the opportunity to write for you. Prices vary widely, with the understanding that you get what you pay for. Some writers have specific backgrounds in your industry. Others learn the industry through research, like I did when I started writing for law firms. For some, you will need to supply topic ideas. Others can populate your editorial calendars with their own ideas, subject to your approval. Heck, you can even hire me if you need a writer or just need some help to get your blog process started.
- Become a guest blogger: Plenty of other websites would welcome a post from you, particularly if you are an authority on a certain subject (such as anything that pertains to your business’ industry). You may already know of some sites, or you can search for “guest blogging” to get instructions on how to find places that will consider your posts.
Wrap It Up With a Call to Action
Now that you’re convinced that blog-writing is a must-do activity, you might be wondering how to ensure that it’s a worthwhile effort to increase customer purchases. In addition to offering valuable information, there’s nothing wrong with asking readers for their business.
Close out your content with a Call to Action (CTA) that tells them how and why to get in touch with you. The CTA doesn’t have to be fancy, for example: To learn more about how to start or grow your small business, use the handy contact form at ChooseWhat.com.
But, now it’s time for you to act. Get out your imagination, and start planning ways to inform your customers!