If you are a small business owner that isn’t yet utilising blogging as a marketing tool, you are missing out. Blogging is one of the most effective and affordable ways to develop authority, gain exposure, engage your customers and ultimately create long term revenue.
Blogging is the easiest way to display your authority on a topic. Instead of a one page web copy that talks about the experience you have in your field, you can display your knowledge organically through a series of posts that offer real value to your reader.
The interconnectedness of the internet allows your blog posts to be picked up by hundreds of people who would have otherwise never have been aware of your services. People are eager to share ideas on the internet and quality content often spreads like wildfire. Additionally, the more you build a solid blog, the further your website climbs through the search engine rankings – and the more prospective clients you get.
By allowing readers to comment on your posts, you get immediate honest feedback about your services and your content. This allows you to improve the areas of your business that are lacking and create the best customer experience possible.
1. Understand the basics
If you are completely new to blogging, you are going to want to do some research into what this whole phenomenon is about. Setting up a webpage is now very easy to do, but you still need to understand the basics of domains and web hosting before you can begin.
2. Know your intentions
Why do I want a blog for my business? Is it to generate traffic, to increase your authority or to engage customers. Usually it is a mixture of all three, but knowing exactly where you stand in regards to your intentions makes it easier to know where to focus your time and what specific blogging strategy to take. For example, if you are looking to develop authority you may focus on longer pieces or even eBooks that show your knowledge. Conversely if your focus is on engaging customers, you may have smaller pieces that reply to customer questions or comments.
The next steps can be completed by your team – or you can hire an SEO firm to assist with or takeover the process. Regardless of the path you choose, it is important to be aware of what is required.
3. Create a blogging plan
Once you know why you are blogging you want to start creating a plan. Decide how often you will post, 3 times a week is a good general figure, how long your posts will be and what type of content you will cover and when. Have a look at your direct competitors to see what type of topics they are covering. Make sure the goals you set are measurable for example instead of, “we want to expand our readership”, you want to say, “we want to have 100 subscribers to our newsletters within 3 months.”
Tip: You can also head to blogs that are authorities in your industry and see what kinds of things people are reading. For a general indication of how popular a topic is, look at the number of comments it has, usually shown at the bottom of the page. You want to make sure your content is unique but is also not so different that it isn’t in demand.
4. Create Content
For many business owners, it is a often a good idea to outsource this process as it can be very time consuming. You have the option of either hiring an SEO firm or finding a freelancer. Don’t be too worried about their competence, you can ask for samples before hand and there are often writers for every niche. Whilst you want to ensure you have appropriate keywords, providing useful content is more important for your search engine rankings. Make sure if you are writing personally, you stick to what you know.
5. Drive people to your blog
This is where the importance of marketing comes into play. You can create buzz pieces such as eBooks and white papers, and have them shared on your Social Media platforms. If you already have a newsletter, send out a notification to all your subscribers. Additionally, you may also want to guest post and comment on other blogs in your niche to develop relationships and generate back-links.
Tip: Submit and share your articles on sites such as Digg, Reddit and Stumbleupon – these can be very effective in generating new leads.
There is a lot that can be said about each of these areas, we have barely scratched the surface. A blog is a long term tool and the sooner you start, the better. Start your blog today, or contact us to see how we can help you get started with blogging and other SEO marketing tools.