You can have a blog about anything you want: personal or professional, business-related or just for the experience. However, I’m going to focus on a blog to complement your business website and be another way to promote your business.
In the short time since I started my blog, I’ve sorted out some key pieces of advice and learned a few things on my own:
- Have a purpose for the blog and keep that in front of you as you put together ideas and postings. (Mine is: “To inform the small business owner on how to create a better web presence through their website, email marketing, and social media marketing, resulting in more sales and business growth.”).
- Keep a post relatively short, concise, and on topic, or set the reader’s expectations up front if you intend to deviate from this.
- Use it as an opportunity to answer a question or address a concern; toss out your own opinions and questions to encourage engagement from your readers and learn from them.
- Keep it “business casual”; talk to your audience; humor is fine, as in a business environment. If done right, it can break up the dry commentary, like this piece is becoming. <sigh!>
- It’s ok to share personal stories, but don’t do it for the sake of telling everyone what you did last weekend. Remember the purpose of your blog. Relate your story back to the purpose. The use of personal experiences, allegories, and symbolism can help people relate to or better understand your message. It creates interest and lets people know you a little better.
- Keep a calendar and post regularly; people come to expect it. Once you’ve engaged them, don’t let them down.
But, Where Do I Come Up With Stuff to Write About!?
For very few people does this come easily. However, once I focused on what I knew about online marketing solutions and how they could help build a business, I was able to brainstorm a series of at least 10 blogs.
Here are some ways to get your creative juices going:
- Your experiences. Your experience with customers and acquaintances. Their experiences. Phone calls with friends, the plumber, your spouse, your child, your boss, your client, your neighbor. Be open; you never know where an idea may spring up.
- Read. Research. Steal. Product manuals, literature, interviews, talk radio, magazines, newspapers, television, Twitter, online forums, other blogs, newsletters, movies, Wikipedia, etc. It’s ok to reference other people’s work. You’re trying to inform your audience; it doesn’t all have to be original.
- Keep notes. I recently started using the free version of Evernote. It’s a great way to keep organized notes in one place for easy retrieval.
- Some tools that can help you find ideas for topics:
Keeping Track of Interesting Blogs
As I receive industry-related newsletters and find interesting blogs to follow, one leads to another and pretty soon I’m trying to follow 10 blogs at 10 websites. Google Reader helps keep all those links in one place and automatically checks those sites for new postings. I have only to read the titles and first few lines to decide if I want to go to the site and read the full post. Another great time saver!
It’s a Conscious Decision and a Commitment
Writing a blog is not a slam-dunk. It takes planning, research, time to write, and dedication. But, it’s one of the best ways to:
- keep your web presence active,
- build your following,
(these first 2 items help you get found by the search engines)
- build your industry reputation,
- engage with your audience,
- increase your business exposure, and
- ultimately create more results for your business.
Don’t Forget About Your Website
Your website is still the more complete reference for your business. So make sure you have a link to your blog from your website and a link back to your website from your blog.
Do you have a blog for your business? Where do YOU get your ideas for content? I would love to hear other people’s perspectives. Comment below!
Next time: If I’m Writing a Blog, Why Would I Want to Bother With Email Marketing?
Read our latest newsletter for more about Evernote, Google Reader, and another tool I use regularly: Hootsuite. Also, read about “6 Stages of Social Media for SMBs.”