I gave a talk yesterday to the No Ties Networking group.
The title of the talk was The Dos and Don’ts of Business Blogging.
For anyone who missed it, or wants a reminder of the points I made, here’s the talk as a blog post.
Before you begin your business blogging..
Do read, share and comment on other blogs in your niche before you start writing
This will give you an idea of:
- what topics and trends are being written about – inspiration for your own posts
- what’s popular with readers (look for comments and social shares)
- how to structure a post
- what your competitors are up to!
- a better chance of other people visiting and engaging with your blog posts. Karma!
Do think about how often you want to post so you can be consistent
I did the 30 Day Blogging Challenge, but posting daily is a big time commitment.
It’s better to start small (once a fortnight) and work upwards rather than decide on 3 times a week and then give up. There’s nothing worse than a business blog on a website which is six months out of date. Your visitors might assume you have gone out of business!
Do create a list of ideas for posts you can write
Think about who your ideal reader/customer is.
Get a pencil & paper or use online tools to make notes e.g. Google Docs or Evernote (which can be used on multiple devices).
Make a list of 20 or more ideas and structure a post round each one.
Some post ideas:
A common problem in your industry and the solution
What problems and issues do your readers have and how can you help them? Write a post around each one.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What are those questions your customers are always asking you?
A how-to post
Make a tutorial about something. Include photos or screenshots if appropriate.
A list post
Because we all love posts with numbers in them!
A review of a product or service
If you write a favourable review, email the manufacturer or service provider afterwards. They may link to it or share it via social media.
Example: Chop Chop – Gluten free Chinese
Your take on an event
Events, talks and conferences can provide good content to blog about. I’ve written quite a few of these posts.
Evergreen content is high quality content which doesn’t date and is the definitive article on a topic. The example below comes from a ceilidh band who have listed Scottish wedding venues – something their readers find very useful. And guess who gets booked up as a result…?
Example: The Ultimate Top 100 Wedding Venue List.
Do think about how people will find your post on search engines
Imagine your reader has never heard of you or your business. They have a problem. You have the solution. What are they going to type into Google to find you?
You can do a little keyword research to find out what searches are popular in your niche – use Google Keyword Planner. It’s free to use.
Ideally you want to find a term that is relevant, has lots of monthly searches and little competition. This can be tricky!
In general it’s easier to rank for a longer phrase such as:
“1950s vintage wedding dress edinburgh”
or this search that solves one of my pain points:
“how to make macbook air battery last longer”
When you have your search phrase, try and use the words in the title of your post and in the content.
Remember that ultimately you are writing for human beings, though – don’t add your keywords in where they don’t make sense and end up with unreadable copy.
When you come to write…
Do create a good headline for your post
Which is better?
- “12 Top Tips For Better Business Blogging”
- “12 Easy To Follow Tips To Boost Your Business Blogging”
I would suggest number 2.
Why? The words easy and boost convey a positive sentiment. The word your speaks directly to the reader.
Coschedule’s Headline Analyzer will help you craft better headlines.
Do start writing!
Just begin. Even if you think you’re not the best writer. You will improve over time.
You’ll also learn which types of posts are the most popular, so you can write more on the same topics.
Write about what you know, in your own voice. Don’t try to copy anyone else.
Be friendly, helpful and write as if you were talking to your blog audience.
Don’t write paragraph after paragraph of text
You are writing a blog post, not an essay! Long posts are great, but make them easier to read and more shareable by:
- using headings and subheadings (this helps people scan)
- inserting images – this will get you more social media shares
- keeping paragraphs short
- using bullet points
- bolding/italicising text
- adding other media – audio, video, infographics
Do save time writing posts with these tips
You can save time making your posts with some hacks:
- Outline your posts – headline, intro paragraph, 3 paragraphs of main text, conclusion, call to action.
- Shut down distractions. No social media or looking at your emails. You could even put your phone on silent.
- Set a timer – challenge yourself to write a post in 2 hours.
- Schedule your posts e.g if you are going on holiday.
- Dictate your posts using voice recognition software.
Do have a call to action at the end of each post
Don’t assume your readers will do anything after reading your post. You need to tell them what you want them to do.
- leave a comment (invite them to comment)
- social share (make it easy – have icons)
- join an email list (have a signup form under the post)
- contact you (put in a link to your contact page)
Don’t forget to proofread your posts before publishing!
Check the spelling, grammar and punctuation. A fresh pair of eyes can help here.
Look out for typos, and common words which can get mixed up (e.g. to, too and two).
A post which is full of errors could make you look unprofessional and harm your credibility.
After you’ve published a post…
Don’t forget to publicise your posts!
You could have the best business blog in the world but if no-one knows it’s there, you will have wasted your efforts. In fact, publicising a post can take just as much effort as writing it, if not more. If you are short of time, you could hire a virtual assistant to help with this.
Some ways to do it:
- Social media – you can publicise older posts too
- Social media groups e.g. on Facebook and LinkedIn
- Email newsletter
- Personal email to anyone you have mentioned in your post (e.g. a product manufacturer, if you have written a product review, a speaker you have heard at a conference)
- Tell people in person!
I surveyed business bloggers and using social media and social media groups were the two most popular methods.
Do interact with your audience
Thank your visitors, reply to comments, pose questions, ask for feedback and new blog post ideas. Amend posts if someone makes a good suggestion of valuable content to add e.g. a link to a useful resource.
Don’t allow your visitors to leave your site and never return
Create an email list and invite your readers to sign up.
Give them something of value for doing so and reward their investment of an email address by providing them with consistently valuable content.
Email your list regularly. If you collect an email address and email the person six months later, they may have forgotten they signed up for your list and will most likely not read the email or unsubscribe because they haven’t heard from you in so long.
Do measure your blogging results
Use tools such as Google Analytics to find out what your baseline is in terms of number of visitors.
Keep an eye on your visitor numbers as well as number of comments, social shares, email signups, enquiries and sales that you get.
Ask people who contact you how they found you, to see if it was through a blog post.
Don’t expect instant results in terms of increased traffic
Blogging is more of a slow burn activity.
You won’t get millions of visitors overnight, but a good amount of quality content will bring visitors to your site consistently.
- Be consistent
- Have fun!
If you’ve enjoyed this post and you’d like some advice on your business blog, why not contact me?