‘Content is king’ is an often overused phrase that roams the Internet. However, it’s abused for a reason: it’s very true.
The online throne is dominated by information; by creating it, sharing it, and using it well, you can rule the world (wide web).
Sometimes the best stories are short and straight to the point. Microblogging sites like Twitter are perfect for this. But every now and again, you’ll need a larger platform – and word count – to say something of real value.
This is where blogging jumps in; it really speaks to a virtual audience. Plus, it can boost your SEO and consequently the traffic to your company.
So how do you maintain a blog that effectively communicates to your small business’s customers (and potential ones)?
1. Create a blog
This simple step is usually the hardest to take. But the sooner you get started, the better – it’s almost a relief. Set up an account; WordPress is my favourite, but there are many others. Or just start one on your existing website’s system.
2. Plan your blog
Yes, this is very necessary for a business blog.
a) Think about your target audience, and what they’d want to read about.
b) Decide if you want a general or niche blog, your word count for each post, and writing style.
c) Make a list of topics or headlines that are possible post candidates.
d) N.B: Create a schedule. Blogging has to be consistent. If you can’t do that, then don’t start one. Decide on which days and how often you’ll publish (this will depend on when your readers are online; also, aim for once a week, at minimum).
3. Start writing
This is the best part. Here are some tips for your content:
- Be a little informal – A blog post is not the same as an article. Actually, it took me a while to get to grips with this fact. As a journalism graduate, it’s so tempting to ‘report’ what I write. But try to remain casual and add a touch of your personality.
- Have a catchy headline – Online, this is what gets someone to read your post (unless you’re famous; in that case you don’t need this).
- Great entrance & exit – Your intro and conclusion are also important. Hook the readers and leave them with info that they’ll be glad they read.
- Keep it short – Not necessarily the post; I’m referring to sentences and paragraphs here (that’s how it is on the Internet). Use sub-headings and bullet points for readability.
- Do this, please – Don’t leave a bad impression; check spelling and grammar! Also check for unfavorable content, such as anything controversial or useless to your audience.
- Get the picture – Images are essential. I know that people are supposed to read the post, but images make it a little easier and more fun. Make sure you’re allowed to use photos that aren’t your own.
- Stock up on posts – When you have enough time, it would be great to write a couple of posts and keep them as drafts on your site. This ensures that you’ll always have something to publish.
Give your post a final check before putting it out for the world to see. Publish it on the day that you planned in your schedule. And then:
5. Market & build
a) Use your business social networks to advertise your new post. Post the link with a brief and captivating description on FB, Twitter, G+, and LinkedIn (you can even do this on Pinterest if you have a nice picture to go with it). Use hashtags and mentions (‘@’) to get found.
b) Ask your family, friends, customers, colleagues, and business partners to read your post. You can do this through your personal social media networks or through email (no spam though). If they like it enough, they’ll share and comment.
c) As you build your blog, start interacting with other bloggers in your field. Grow you network – this will grow your reader base too.
6. Monitor & keep it up
Regularly keep track of all interactions on your blog (or even if there aren’t any). If it’s the latter, study similar blogs and see what they’re doing right. If you are getting shares and/or comments, quickly respond to these with constructive input.
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By the way, if you don’t have the time to blog regularly – or if you’re unenthusiastically trying it out – the above steps aren’t for you. It’s always disappointing to come across a company blog, where the latest post was published in 2009.
But maybe you’re just not a writer. That’s fine, you can try out vlogging or creating podcasts. Whatever it is, your online plan does not only consist of Instagram. It needs something concrete and useful for your clients.
Use business blogging to make the best out of your marketing strategy.