Blogging is not just for “tech geeks”, it has a real business purpose that can be harnessed. SouthWest Airlines are a fantastic example of a business committed to blogging. Recent research of 4000 businesses by Hubspot shows that businesses who blogged 16 to 20 times per month got over 2 times more traffic than those who blogged less than 4 times per month. And those with over 200 articles got more than 4.6 times more traffic and 3.5 times more leads than those with less than 20 posts.
Blogging is a way for businesses to demonstrate knowledge and expertise in a market sector without the hard sell. Potential customers can research suppliers and suppliers can increase their potential of being found and hired. Even though businesses often agree they still fail to take action and start blogging.
Technically, setting up a blog has never been easier, see my 3 Minute Guide to Installing WordPress. Producing the content is another thing altogether, this takes commitment.
In House or Agency
Looking for the easy option, some businesses consider outsourcing their blogging. Whilst producing sales copy and marketing material are best created by those with the skill to produce them, the value of blogging is it’s realism.
A business blog is your opportunity to reach out to existing and potential customers. By writing the content in-house it brings your business alive. You are opening up to feedback. You have the ability to react to comments or even comment on current affairs or news related to your industry.
This can only be done effectively in-house.
Finding the Ideas
Coming up with the inspiration to write can sometimes be difficult. Even the most prolific writers suffer from “writers block” on occasion. The key to continual inspiration is to read widely and take notes of ideas as they come to mind. Read about your industry, subjects related to your industry, business books, blogs, news websites. Look out for comments by thought leaders in your industry, do you agree or have an alternate opinion?
Can you provide any type of guidance or advice without giving away the farm?
Are there real stories from within your company of interest?
Once you get in the habit of taking notes of ideas as you read, you’ll have an almost endless list of blog ideas.
Finding the Time
This is probably the biggest obstacle to most small businesses that want to blog. Already working long hours to keep the business running, finding the time to write can be hard, but it’s all to do with routine.
If you decide that the blog is to play a part in your promotional tool kit you need to allocate time for it.
Work out a schedule you are comfortable with and stick to it. Like brushing your teeth, make it something you do everyday. After all, it’s an important lead generation tool for your business.
Avoid getting caught up in fiddling with settings, site design and plug-ins, just write.
Procrastination is the biggest enemy of blogging. Whether it be deciding what idea to write about, researching for facts or continually editing as you write, they all eat up valuable time.
To ensure you maximise productivity get in the habit of picking the next idea on your list and start writing. Don’t stop for formatting, spell checking or to make any corrections. Just type like your life depended on it, the edit comes later.
Once you get in the swing of it, and if you really know your subject, you will be amazed at how much you can write in one sitting.
Once your are finished then you can edit. Although I prefer to leave my first draft for 24 hours before going back to it, as I find it easier to spot the errors. At my next sitting I will write my next post and edit and publish the previous one.
Stop fiddling, just get it live. For your first few posts you will find yourself playing with the layout of text and images. You will not be used to adding links, bolding text or other highlighting, wasting valuable writing time.
I usually do a quick search on Flickr for a related image, if I don’t have one of my own, always crediting the copyright owner by linking the image. I have an introduction to each blog post and then break my post up into sections each with a heading. I try to keep this format every time I post as it takes the decision making out of layout, and provides consistency for my regular readers.
Start again. The trick to blogging is repetition, don’t give up, don’t listen to the voices in your head that tell you nobody is interested, that nobodies reading it. Keep going and a blog can be amongst your most powerful marketing tools.
What’s the subject of your next blog post?