What’s blogging anyway?
A blog is a regularly updated website which contains various blog posts in which information is shared with others.
Having a blog is a type of content marketing. You develop content in the form of words, images, video or audio, to add value to the lives of your ideal customers. A blog can be created on your own website or on a standalone blogging platform such as WordPress or Blogger.
Blogging is about giving. You give, and if you do it well you will get back. Blogging helps you showcase your skills or products. It helps position you as an expert in what you do, increases your authority and is great for SEO (search engine optimisation = getting found in Google search results). It increases engagement with potential customers and ultimately increases sales. But not overnight.
“You really need to know what you are selling. If you are giving away 100% of what you are selling it won’t be profitable but if what you are giving away isn’t actually drawing people to you then it won’t be profitable either. One thing that is valuable is curating content.”
Marianne Cantwell, author of Free Range Humans
In other words, you need to showcase your talent, knowledge, and products through your blog, to attract ideal clients to you – without giving away everything you’re selling. This is more so for those with services rather than physical products.
Let’s get one thing clear though – blogging is not compulsory! However, in the digital information age we live in we’d urge you to try it, but if you do and hate it, or if you get little results then knock it on the head. Blogging is simply one method of marketing and it won’t work for everyone and every business.Blogging is simply one method of marketing and it won’t work for everyone and every business Click To Tweet
When and how often should I blog?
How long is a piece of string? Seriously, this question entirely depends on several things. You might choose to blog monthly, weekly, or even daily. The key here is consistency. As long as you blog around the same time of the month, or the same day of the week, your followers will know when to expect more content from you, and a habit will begin to form for them to read/watch/listen to you regularly.
How often you decide to blog might be affected by what you feel you have to say, and how much your audience respond, but give it time to grow and embrace a trial and error mindset. You’re in charge of your path now, so try it for a while, if you don’t feel its working then change it. Plan, test, measure and refine. Be sure to build strategy into your blogging, just like your other marketing activities. A quick search of Google or Amazon will show lots of blog planners* to help make things easier if you need some structure.
What should I blog about?
This is something small business owners like you ask all the time, for some reason they’re just not sure what to post and don’t want to come across like they’re bragging about their business.
You need to think about what your audience a want v’s what you want to write about, and find the middle ground, something that works for you both. Whatever you post make sure you use language that will resonate and be easily understood by your audience. If you’re aiming your blog at people in your field, trained in a particular area then jargon and acronyms are fine, if not then don’t do it.
If you’re not sure what your audience want, ask them, or take a look at the blogs of similar businesses – look at the posts, the social share numbers if available, and the comments, to get an idea of what people are responding positively to.
Here are some ideas for possible blog post types to get you started:
- How to’s (great for how to use a product, or to show your expertise in an area)
- Step-by-step guides
- PR & media (if you feature in a great media article share it on your blog)
- News & announcements (great for new product or service launches)
- Behind the scenes
- New staff members (show off their bio and introduce them to your tribe)
- Interviews (with other people with the same target audience)
- Case studies
- Testimonials (written or video of people using your products/or have benefited from your service)
- 10 ways to use your product
- Product reviews (for your own products, or something that your ideal clients might use)
- Top lists/numbered lists
- Guest posts from other people (what else is your audience interested in?)
If you ever get stuck for ideas to blog about give HubSpot’s blog topic generator a try. It give you a ton of ideas!
There are two sides to guest blogging, one is where you write a post for someone else’s blog, which is a great way for new people to find you, the other is by having someone else guest post on your blog which adds value to your subscribers too.
Guest blogging is also great for building relationships with others in your field, fellow self-employed people and other small businesses. Start by finding those with a similar target customer to you, but who offer a different product or service, and slowly build your contact list of possible businesses and people to guest post on your blog and vice versa.