Building a business based solely on your blogging is a tall order for any entrepreneur, but many businesses use great blogs to gain followers, boost profile, demonstrate credibility and add real value – so could you blog your business to success?
Want to start a blog?
Starting a blog can be the most worrying part of the whole exercise. Where will it sit? What do you write about? Will people be interested in what you have to say? How will you get your blogs in front of the people you want to read them?
No blogger ever started life with a pre-existing fan base. Blog followers and sharers are built over time, and by following some fairly simple rules. It’s definitely going to take patience to get things right, so start by doing your research (which is why you’re reading this article) before you get writing.
Where will it sit?
Blogs can sit on either your existing website or on a stand-alone blog platform. If you want to have as many people visiting your existing site as possible however, its best to host your business blog there as well. Then if your blog article ranks well, it will send traffic directly to your site rather than a third party platform. By hosting your blog on your own site it also ensures that your visitors land on your branded pages and start to learn about you as a business as well as what you have to say in your blog.
It’s pretty straightforward to set up a new page on your site for a blog, and it’s also easy to sign up to the various free sites that can host your blog for you so it’s up to you which you prefer. Whichever you do, make sure that the design and layout of your blog is consistent with your branding, so that readers associate the blog with your business. And while you’re at it, add a photo of you, or whoever is writing your blog, so that readers have a real person to identify with.
What do you write about?
This is the thing that most new bloggers struggle with the most. And that’s usually because you think that all the things you know are obvious to anyone else. But are they? Here we are, writing an article about blogging, after all – which may seem obvious to a regular blogger, but is essential reading for someone new.
So, think about all the elements of your business, and what you could tell your readers that would be useful to them. You’ll be surprised at what you know, and what other people might be interested in.
- Run an accountancy business? Blog about the costs of recruitment, or compare accounting software packages for small businesses, or write about the particular issues faced in family-run businesses.
- Run a gift shop? Blog about handmade cards, or reveal your five best Christmas sellers, or let people know how you choose your new stock.
- Run a garage? Start a video blog on simple things people can do to keep their cars running, or write about the steps your take when conducting an MOT, or write about each of your mechanics so people build up a relationship with you.
There’s always something new to write about. Check out lists of national days and celebrations, write something that’s relevant to the season, or just something that you spotted on the way to the office. Keep a notepad or your phone handy so that you can jot something down when it occurs to you.
Alternatively, many bloggers like to keep a content calendar – this takes a while to prepare, but gives you a really clear idea of the subjects you’re going to talk about in the weeks or months ahead. It prevents duplication, allows you to keep control of your content, and means you can back your other marketing campaigns with relevant blog content. If you don’t have time for this, you could utilize a virtual assistant to help.
Will people be interested in what you have to say?
Yes – if you’re giving them information that’s relevant to their needs, and you write authentically and engagingly.
For example – people like food. So people love online recipes. Recipes accompanied by pictures of the food is even better. Recipes accompanied by a time-lapse video of making the food is better than that.
Great for food companies, but there will be an audience for your content as well if you show that you understand what’s really useful to them.
- Telling them something they didn’t already know – if you’re a plummer, give them a couple of ‘life hacks’ that they can use to keep their drains flowing, or give their washing machine a boost.
- Validating something they do know – ‘If you’re already doing this, you probably look 10 years younger’.
- Giving them ideas – this is ideal for anyone selling products or services, because you can demonstrate the value in your business.
- Giving them support – people may be unsure about using or contacting a business like yours, so use your blog to set them at ease over time.
Blogs are for sharing thoughts and knowledge. If you employ a friendly approach to your blogging and have a genuine interest in your readers and people you will always provide something of interest to your readers.
How will you get your blogs in front of the people you want to read them?
Most businesses use social media to promote their blogs. The channels you use will depend on where your target readers are most likely to be. For strict business-to-business blogging, LinkedIn is a good choice, but for those who are selling to consumers, or have products or services that lend themselves to great images and videos, Facebook is a great channel. Take a look at our article on social media strategies for choosing the correct social channel.
You can get help with internet marketing. Virtual assistants can arrange and promote your blog for you, across all your chosen channels, helping to create engagement, encourage click-throughs and interact with comments.
You could also choose to promote your blogs via a newsletter. If you already send a newsletter to existing and prospective customers, this is a great way to give them some added value. When it comes to this type of article marketing, a virtual marketing team could prove incredibly useful – they can write up your newsletter, include images, test it and send it out on your behalf, so that you can be confident your blogs are reaching the people who matter.
Still want to start a blog?
If you’re ready to blog your business to success, then don’t hesitate. Do your research, gather your content and decide how to promote it. Then just start writing!
If you’re short on time and think you might benefit from the support of a virtual content marketing coordinator for your blog or would like to know more about our UK virtual assistants feel free to call us on 0800 994 9016 or use our contact form in the menu above.