Blogging has come a long way since the early days of LiveJournal and Tumblr. Blogs have evolved from individual writers’ musings and thoughts to a robust marketing channel used by almost every business with a digital presence.
Blogging gives you another avenue to communicate and connect with your customers. You’re able to answer burning questions, offer advice, host tutorials, and more.
While it’s relatively simple to create a blog, it requires time, money, and resources to maintain it over time. You need people who will create content, distribute that content, and measure the results.
However, the upside is worth it. Some of the benefits of blogging include:
Building relationships with your customers: A blog provides your customers with a place to find the latest news about your company and products. You can speak directly to your customers, teaching them how to use a new feature or sharing industry tips and best practices. When done right, a blog adds a human touch to your brand and makes it easier for customers to connect with you.
Creating a backlog of reusable content: A blog creates a backlog of content that can be repurposed on other marketing channels. From Facebook posts to email marketing to landing pages and more, your blog entries contain evergreen content that can be strategically recycled into new marketing material.
How Do I Start Blogging for My Small Business?
It can be tempting to start writing whatever comes to mind before fully formulating a blogging plan. However, your blog is just like any other marketing tactic and deserves careful planning before diving in.
Here are four steps to take to set your new blog up for success:
Define your goals: Figure out what you want to achieve with your blog. Do you want to reach a certain number of visitors each month? Increase your SEO ranking? Drive sign-ups for your newsletter? Whatever you choose, make sure they align with the goals you originally set in your business plan.
Pick your platform: Find a blogging platform that works for your business and existing website. Some of the most popular platforms include WordPress, Blogger, and Medium. When picking a blogging platform, consider the following: ease of use, customization features, and available plug-ins and integrations.
Create a content strategy: Find out what your customers want to read before generating content. You can research competitor blogs, send a survey to your existing customers, or see what your target audience is talking about on social media. And, when you’re first starting off, test a lot of different things, like length of post and topic. Over time, you’ll learn what resonates the most with your readers.
Define your distribution process: Distributing your content is even more important than creating it. Create a plan for how you’ll get your content in front of your audience, whether it be through social media, email marketing, or paid ads.
How Do I Get Readers for My Small Business Blog?
Every company wants to increase eyeballs on their content, especially businesses just starting their blogging efforts. But, as you work to increase your blog’s readership, remember that number can sometimes be a vanity metric.
Instead of focusing on the number of readers for your blog, focus on the quality of those readers. Five-hundred readers who are interested in purchasing your product or service is much more important than 5,000 readers who have no interest in what you’re selling.
Here are three ways to get qualified readers for your blog:
Establish smart partnerships: Invite industry experts or influencers on your site as guest bloggers. This will help you generate valuable content and reach a new audience. Guest bloggers almost always share their post with their network, bringing new readers to your blog.
Cross-promotion: Your marketing channels should all support one another and your blog offers valuable content to augment your email newsletter or social media posts. You can also leverage the real estate on your website and email footers to promote your blog.
Optimize for SEO: The more content you create, the healthier your SEO presence. But, you need to make sure you create the right type of content and optimize for search engines. Figure out what your target audience is searching for, and then use those keywords in blogs written with simple, searchable language.
Blogging for your small business is a balancing act of checking all of the technical boxes —- like including relevant SEO keywords and posting regularly — while capturing the interest of your readers.
As your blog grows, be comfortable adapting your content strategy based on what is and isn’t working. For example, if your 2,000-word article performed half as well as your infographic, opt for including more visuals in your content. Over time, you’ll pinpoint the type of content that works best for your business and drives the results you want.