“Starting a blog is a bit like standing in a room, full of people, trying to shout loud enough over everyone else to get your voice heard. No one hears you at first.” ~ Steel City Hub, 2017.
There are millions of blogs, vlogs and articles out there, all trying to make their impression on the world and when you start blogging, for whatever reason but especially for business, following a simple structure can mean the difference between offensive to downright embarrassing and a place where people turn to for answers and reliable information.
It’s much like anything else you do to promote your business, spewing cold-calling tactics about how great your business is just won’t work. Here is our 5-step plan to starting a blog for your business:
Pick a Good Platform to Get Started
Obvious but vital, the best platform for your business blog is your own website. Not only does original content help to populate your website with SEO-rich content that helps your search engine rankings but it’s your business shop window. Visitors to your website are always a good thing. If you’re attracting people to your own website through great blog posts, you’re going to increase your likelihood of making those sales, raising your brand awareness and becoming a trusted company that people want to be involved with. Adding a blog aspect to your website could be easier than you think.
If for whatever reason, you can’t add a blog to your own website, think about creating an external blog on a free platform like WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr or Wix. If you want to go that step further and create a truly professional blog that’s bespoke for your business, speak to a graphic/web designer such as Foster & Scott.
There’ll always be a small cost involved such as your domain registration i.e. http://www.mynewwebsite .com or hosting for your blog but with most free blogging platforms you’ll get the option to pay monthly, upgrade or run a trial for free.
Create a Blog Plan
As with all aspects of business, planning prevents poor performance (the four P’s). Creating a plan for your blog doesn’t just mean putting some words together and hoping for the best, there are certain aspects of blogging that you’ll need to consider so to have any kind of chance in the blogging world:
- Who are you trying to speak to? The people you want to attract to your blog are called your Target Audience. They’re your customers, your associates, your allies and most importantly, your potential customers. Create a profile of your target audience, narrowing your ideal customer down as much as possible. Is your target customer male or female? Do they work? What are they interested in?
- Plan your blog to suit your target customer. Think about topics he or she might be interested in. If you sell windows, he or she might not want to spend on new windows but do they live in a burglary hotspot where new windows mean better security for their home? Put together a list of topics for your blog (let’s use the windows example for now), such as security issues, heat loss during the winter, carbon footprints etc. No one will want to read a blog post that’s a complete sales blurb about your windows. It’s boring, it’s dull and they’ve seen in all before. If you do want to create a sales blog post, think about an offer of some kind and telling your reader how you’ve got the answer to their problems.
- What is your overall goal? It’s an important one and you might say simple – making sales. Blogging is an indirect way of selling your products or services. If you just wanted to make sales, you’d spend all of your money on advertising and get your products in front of people’s faces as much as possible. However, this is pretty cold and impersonal. Statistics on customer trends show that buyers prefer to purchase goods and services from companies that they know. A blog is a great way to raise your brand awareness and help people remember you.
- How are you going to market you blog? Many business owners are fooled into thinking that they’ll create a blog and immediately, the views will flow in. It doesn’t work like that. You’ve got to plan how you’ll drive traffic to your blog. The best ways to do it for free are to get your business listed on directories with a link to your blog or website, get other bloggers to add your links to their blogs and get as many links back as you can from other websites. Next is paying for advertising. The best way to advertise at the moment in order to attract traffic to your blog is through Facebook Ads, which is still relatively cheap and straightforward to do.
Pull Content Together
For getting your first blog started, pick a topic that would interest your target reader and write down some bullet points, some links to other resources and useful websites or articles and pull together some images or videos to support your blog.
A page full of writing is never the most attractive way to create a blog as the average attention span is around only 8 seconds for online readers, that’s the first two lines in a blog…
Create a Blog Structure and Stick to it
There’s nothing worse for readers who are interested in your topics than to see one blog post structured one way then the next structured completely differently, unless you’re blogging about creative design and showing your design prowess.
The key features to a good blog structure are:
- Colour scheme.
- Font types.
- Writing the important stuff first i.e. summarising what your blog is about then writing the important aspects in the first few paragraphs, leaving the nitty gritty details for later.
- Adding images to enhance the readers experience.
- Linking your social media channels to it.
- Ensuring your blog is free from grammatical and spelling errors.
If you need a little more help, you can access our FREE blog structure guide here.
Finalise, Publish & Promote
Finalising doesn’t just mean putting all of your points together and hoping for the best. Draw your bullet points into short, readable sentences that encourage your reader to keep reading. Add some points of interest to what you’ve written such as images in relevant places, links to important information or sources and any offers or discounts that you can add at the bottom to encourage sales.
You’ll also need to consider adding a disclaimer if you’re offering advice that could be taken seriously i.e. advice on healthy eating.
Making sure that you’ve not just re-written what someone else has already written or used sources that you haven’t credited such as statistics (you don’t want to get told off for plagiarism or copyright infringements as they’re punishable by law) are important.
Do a final proof read and ensure that your blog is free from errors. Not only can your blog be downgraded in the search engine rankings but it will put readers off if it’s full of spelling errors and full stops where there should be commas. If you write on a Microsoft Word document first, you can do a spelling and grammar check there.
Once you’re ready, copy your wording from you word document and paste it directly into your blog creation area. Add on your images and links by going to the hyperlink icon.
Once you’ve pressed that publish button, it’s out there for all to see. Make sure you make the most of your efforts and get it promoted properly. That means spreading it all over social media; Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and in as many Facebook groups and directories as possible.
Don’t be under any illusion, creating a blog is better suited to raising awareness of your business ethos, your company ethics, your commitment to customer service and your place in the community in which you work and live rather than making those cold sales.
There are techniques that you can adopt to make your blog sell for you but that’s for another post.
Readable, relatable and useful content is paramount for our evolving world of online understanding. Blogs have the power to influence and alter people’s lifestyles so your information should always be appropriate, accurate and conscious.
Better your business by producing a blog and if you need some help, you can always rely on us and our reasonably priced Blog Package to get you started and help you on your way.