With content marketing gaining traction, many small businesses are scrambling to start blogging and benefit from the power of content marketing.
“But I heard that blogging is no longer a smart strategy because many of the big companies are not actively doing it anymore”.
This is one question many small business owners ask me when I tell them to start blogging to attract more customers.
There are reports which show us that most of the big businesses are abandoning blogging in favor of mediums like Facebook and Twitter where they don’t have to start building a community from scratch.
Their strategy is simple. Create a property on one of these sites, spend a few hundred thousand dollars in advertising campaigns, get millions of fans/followers and engage with them.
While this strategy may work for the big brands, small businesses often cannot afford this method of customer engagement. For them, the core content marketing principles still work the best.
Oh, and did I tell you that the strategy followed by these big brands, even though it might work for now, is not good for the long term? But that’s for another blog post! Now, let’s focus on how a few business blogging tips that can help you achieve your goals.
11 Business Blogging Tips
#1: Ask yourself, “Do I need a blog for my business”?
No matter what the experts tell you, you shouldn’t blindly believe them.
Yes, that includes me as well!
Ask yourself whether your business needs a blog. Only you can give the right answer.
Because you know your business better than we do. You know your audience better than any consultant. And you know your strengths and weakness better than any marketing guru.
I see some of the experts in this field asking all businesses to blog. I don’t doubt their credibility. But what I don’t agree to is the fact that every business should blog.
If blogging works for the tire industry in the US, it might not work as well for the audience in Asia. Different demographics have different content consumption culture.
So don’t simply assume that if it works for someone, it will work for you too- now.
These being said, I’d like to remind you one thing. The US or UK people never were used to consuming valuable content produced by brands. They got used to it slowly.
The pioneers in this field will win when the content consumption culture sinks in for your target audience as well. If you have been using content marketing, then you’d be way ahead of your competition.
Pro Tip: Start a blog and then slowly build your business blog into a resource hub. Never focus all your efforts into blogging. Do what works for you (if traditional advertising works for you, keep doing it), so that the revenue keeps coming in and you can build your blog on the side.
#2: Establish yourself as an authority in your niche
I have as much authority as the Pope, I just don’t have as many people who believe it – George Carlin
One of the reasons you should be blogging is to establish yourself as an authority in your niche.
When people have problems, they should come to your blog for help and advice. When they need professional help, they should seek you out (if you are a consultant).
By establishing yourself as the authority, you are no longer seen as a cheesy salesman trying to sell your products and services. Instead, you’ll be seen as a trusted friend.
And we all love taking suggestions from our friends- don’t we?
Trust is one of the major factors your customers should have in you for your business to succeed. By becoming an authority, you automatically gain your audiences trust.
Pro Tip: Don’t claim you are a guru and you know-it-all. Let others speak for you. Testimonials, real life case studies etc help you establish your credibility.
#3: Develop an editorial calendar.
Don’t be fooled by the calendar. There are only as many days in the year as you make use of- Charles Richards
An editorial calendar helps you plan and organize your blog content creation strategy. You can assign dates, author, topics, and so on using your editorial calendar.
The benefit of using an editorial calendar is that you can have a clear idea of how your blog marketing strategy is laid out. Also, it helps you stay focused. Writing down your goals and assigning responsibilities is one of the key aspects of getting things done.
#4: Less is more.
With people facing shorter attentions spans and more and more businesses competing for your customer’s attention, how do you make yourself standout?
How do you deliver your marketing message via your cleverly written blog posts without getting lost in the hundreds of thousands of blog posts published each day?
Embrace the mantra- less is more!
People don’t want more products, more information than they can consume, or even more freebies. They just want one thing- one thing that’s done very well that solves their problems.
Take the case of Apple. It doesn’t have hundreds of variations of mobile phones like most phone manufacturers. Yet, they command a high premium and they are the world’s largest technology company with cash reserves in the billions of dollars range.
How were they able to do it? They used the same mantra of “less is more”.
With your business blog, instead of trying to write daily or weekly, plan a schedule which you can consistently deliver and stick with it.
If you can write just one article in a month, do it. Instead of writing 10 low quality articles, write just one high quality piece of content or create one awesome infographic or create one very high quality video that helps your customers.
Pro tip: When you blog, create one blog post a week and make it extremely valuable. This will save your time as well as help you maintain the standard that your users will come to expect of your business.
#5: Solve real problems
“The measure of success is not whether you have a tough problem to deal with, but whether it is the same problem you had last year” — John Foster Dulles
Why do you think people purchase your product? Or hire you for some services?
They want to solve some problem they are facing or make their life easier. Most of the time, they do it because your product or service solves a very specific problem your customer has.
Your blog posts must do the same as well. Instead of wasting your reader’s time, provide them with useful information.
Your customers expect you to provide value; not waste their time. Your blog posts must focus on helping your customers achieve something that makes their life better in some way.
You can also at times blog about company news, team outing pictures and so on along with useful content. This will help you connect more personally with your readers.
Pro tip: Write articles or create videos/presentations that help users solve real problems. Don’t give too little or too much information. Strike a balance so that your readers keep coming back for more information.
#6: Target the right audience
You can follow all the business blogging tips in this world and not make a penny from doing everything right- if you are not targeting the right audience that is.
If you are selling web hosting services, and your blog is about how you built your business, tips on running a hosting business and so on, what kind of audience do you think you can attract?
You’ll attract maybe resellers. But what if you don’t have reseller packages?
Instead, you should be focusing on getting the kind of customers who have trouble setting up their websites, those who are getting started on the internet, and also those who are searching for targeted hosting services (like wordpress hosting, PHP hosting and so on).
Pro tip: Do extensive keyword research in your niche. Find out what your audience is talking about. If you want more content ideas, go to forums where your target audience hangs out. Choose the most repeated forum questions and create blog posts around them.
#7: Capture leads
If you have been in the internet marketing niche, you’d definitely have heard the cliché “the money is in the list”.
It’s true outside the internet marketing niche as well.
No one will buy from you the first time they land on your site. You need to capture people who land on your site, nurture your leads, and get them to buy from you by building a relationship with your list.
Your blog is the best place to capture leads. Once you get them into your funnel, nurture the leads with informative content, practical advice, free tools, and then up sell them with your offer.
Pro Tip: Take time to build a relationship with your list first. On the internet, it’s difficult to build credibility. If you straightaway send them sales requests, they’ll immediately unsubscribe from you.
#8: Include call to actions
Every blog post you create on your business blog must have one single call to action at the minimum.
Why do you write a blog post? So that users get inspired and take some action- signup for your newsletter, purchase your product/service, or even leave a comment on your blog.
So ensure that every blog post has a call to action at the end which explicitly asks the reader what you want them to do. If it’s to leave a comment you can say something like “leave your comments below”. If you want them to sign up for newsletter, you can say something as simple as “sign up for our newsletter”.
You may think that these are small things that can be ignored. Trust me, these small numbers will add up later on (compounding effect).
See how I do this towards the end of the post. You can also see how I effectively implement CTA’s on my e-book signup page.
Pro tip: For effective CTA’s include one single CTA at the end of the post and also once more within the content where you can perfectly blend it in.
#9: There is no single right way to do it
No matter how many articles you read online searching for business blogging tips and tricks, you will not find the perfect way to get started.
The simple reason is that there is no right way to do things in the blogosphere. Sure there are some basic principles you can follow, but there is no 1-2-3 steps that can help you build a successful corporate blog.
Pro Tip: Just don’t wait to get all the information you need. Just get going. You’ll soon figure out the pros and the cons yourself. Be prepared to make continuous changes along the course though.
#10: Avoid the corporate speak
Many business owners think that they need to follow a very corporate and formal tone when they try to connect with their audience via their corporate blog.
Well, I have got news for you. It isn’t going to work that way. You are, in-fact, turning away your readers.
Your customers don’t want corporate speak and jargons embedded in the post. They want conversational speak. Deliver your blog posts as your audience wants it.
Pro tip: I can confidently say that 90% of the blog audience would prefer this. However if majority of your audience are C level B2B customers, then you may need to add a bit more formality into your posts.
#11: Be prepared for a long and painful journey
“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty”- Winston Churchill
Blogging is hard. Building a passionate community who trusts you is even harder. Be prepared for a tough journey ahead.
If you want to build a loyal audience, if you want to generate more sales while spending less money, embrace the power of blogging and content marketing.
Over to You:
What are the challenges you faced while blogging for your business? Let me know in the comment section.