Why have a business blog? 5 things you should know before you start.
You’ve seen them on hundreds of websites – blogs. They’re everywhere. And there is a sliding scale of quality and commitment: from the DIY-style blogs that start by promising a heap of interesting posts (and then that’s the last post), right up to professional-looking blogs that have new content posted every day.
Wherever you sit on that scale, making the decision to start a business blog in the first place holds a number of questions. Does my business really need a blog? How much time will I need to invest in it? And what should I write about? We hear ya! Here's the answers to five of those questions.
1. Is a blog right for my business?
The answer to this question mainly lies with who your customers are and how they will respond to a blog. For instance, if the majority of your customers do not get online much, then you might blog your good self into a frenzy, but your customers are very unlikely to ever see it! Be reassured, this scenario is quite rare – especially for businesses that need a website. Other questions you should ask yourself are connected to your business objectives. Do you want to grow your business? Or establish yourself as a thought leader? Grow your customer database? Improve your SEO ranking? Or, do you just feel the burning need to express yourself? If the answer is yes, then a business blog will probably make sense for you.
2. What will my business gain from writing a blog?
Oh, so many things! Here’s a quick list:
- More people will be able to find your website. Yep, this benefit is big enough on its own for people to decide a blog is right for their business. Google loves fresh content and each new blog post on your website is another indexed page that serves as a reminder to Google that your site is active and will help to make it more visible through organic search. Put simply, If you’re writing interesting, shareable content that contains keywords, and you’re doing it regularly, you will get more traffic to your website. More traffic usually means more business. More business = happiness. Yes?
- You want to build a tribe of like-minded people. The people who share your passions and interests tend to be your ideal customers by default. By putting yourself out there honestly and genuinely, you'll not only attract and engage your ideal customer, but you'll begin to build a community of like-minded people who will get behind you and your business like they're your own family.
- You want to build credibility. Over time and as you share your insight and wisdom through your blog, you may realise you become known as an expert within your field or industry. As well as gaining credibility and respect, it will also go a huge way towards building that very important bond of trust between you and your customer.
- You want to get to know your customer. Most the time you'll be sharing your own thoughts, but a blog that creates a real conversation will help you to build up really good customer profiles. Comments and responses to what you write can help you to understand what your customers like, don’t like, what language they use, what will make their neck hairs rise, and what will send them running. That knowledge is gold to you.
- It will give your company a voice. Every company needs a voice, and a blog is an excellent way of really cementing that voice. Your voice will convey what you believe in, what your opinions are, what you’re passionate about, will share your sense of humour, your energy and your personality in a way that can rarely be achieved from a website alone.
3. Who will write it?
If you (or someone awesome in your business) have got the time, and you can string some words together in a half-coherent fashion, then you should definitely consider writing the blog yourself. Just keep in mind that the content needs to engage the reader and keep them coming back for more, so whoever is writing it needs to have the skills to do that. The other option is to outsource it to a professional copywriter, who will worry about making it SEO friendly, on-brand, engaging, shareable and all of those other special things that a blog needs to be. We’ll do it for you, if you like!
4. How much time should I invest in writing a blog?
There's loads of variables that will give you the answer to this question: What is your marketing budget? How much time can you spare? How much of an impact do you want to make? The main thing to remember is that you need to post regularly – a minimum of one post every one or two weeks to keep some momentum. Some businesses find that’s enough to get some traction, while others will find they need much more than that. Trial and error will help you to find your ideal posting amount. But, try not to spend days on each post – create a blogging plan, stay focused and don’t ever write more than you need to. Less is far superior than more!!
5. What should I write about? Does anyone even care about what I’ve got to say?
Yes, they do! But the subtext to that is: they care as long as it’s interesting and useful! Go through this checklist when you're planning each post: Can your reader do something with this information? Will it help them in some way? Will it inspire them to take action? Or make them think? Will it answer any questions they have? Or show them how to do something they couldn't do before? Choose subjects that you know about and write from the heart so that your genuine personality can shine through. It can help to stay focused on a few different topics, as jumping around from topic to topic can be confusing. The easiest way to write a coherent blog is to plan it in advance. Brainstorm a good dozen posts in advance. An annual editorial calendar will help you to stay super organised. You can make your own up, or you can ask us for ours and we'll gladly throw it your way! We love a good spreadsheet.