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You’ve probably heard that content marketing offers one of the best returns on your investment when it comes to business promotion. And if you know what content marketing is, you probably also know that a lot of it is about blogging. Nonetheless, we talk with a lot of small business owners who want to blog, but aren’t sure that it’s the right solution for their business or what they need to do to get started.
So, here’s our FAQ list for anyone looking to start a small business blog. We hope this encourages you to make a start, and if you need help getting one started be sure to reach out!
Yes, if you want to promote your business online, running a blog is one of the best things you can do. It’s a key strategy for improving your domain authority and boosting your website in Google’s rankings. If you want people to find you online, and if you believe your website should be more than a glorified business card, starting a blog for your small business is your best move.
At least once a week, but the more you blog the better off you’ll be, so long as you can keep the quality up. We find 2–3 times a week is a great rhythm for most small businesses. This not only helps you keep your content flowing, but it gives you more to promote on social media and across other media streams. If you’re just starting, target once a week. Less than that is not enough.
One of the great myths many people have about blogging is that “shorter is better.” The theory goes that, given our supposedly diminished attention spans, most people aren’t interested in long blog posts. However, this theory runs contrary to data which shows that blogs do better in the 1000+ word range that below it.
This makes sense once you remember that people who have come to your blog are self-selecting into a group of people who want to know more about your topic. They don’t want you to brush the off with a short answer.
That said, many people have made a successful blogging strategy work with fewer words. And your content has to be good and worthwhile before it can be anything else. So start with good content, and make it longer as you are able.
Start by thinking about your marketing personas. Who is your ideal client, and what are their needs? How does your product inspire them or make their lives better?
If you’re struggling to answer some of these questions, talk to your customer service department or your sales team. What kind of service questions do they regularly handle? What are the main pain points your clients struggle with, and how does your product address them? What is the main benefit that closes a deal for your clients more than any other? Work to describe your product in terms of benefits rather than features and you’ll go a long way toward addressing their needs.
Along those same lines, not every blog has to be directly about your product. For example, the Icelandic airline Icelandair doesn’t spend a lot of time promoting itself. Instead, it sells its prospective passengers on Iceland. It just so happens that to get to Iceland you’ll probably have to fly Icelandair.
Start with social media. There’s a relatively low cost to distributing across channels, it’s just a matter of taking the time to do it. Publishing your blogs to Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn should cover your bases.
Blog categories are also important for directing your visitors’ attention toward related posts and keeping them on your site once they’ve arrived. Also take the time to link to previous posts that are relevant to your subject matter. This will keep your best content in front of your visitors. Additionally, if you have several on a related topic, you can combine them into an ebook to attract email addresses.
Finally, look into opportunities to guest blog, or invite others to guest blog on your site. You can also publish on other content platforms, such as Medium, with a link back to your blog. This will expose you to a larger audience and grow some interest in your content.
There are several metrics you should watch to make sure your blogging strategy is successful. Moz provides great reports on your keyword rankings so that you can see where you rank for various search terms. Google Analytics can also give you some insights as to how much traffic your web page receives, which pages are the most visited, and which pages have high bounce rates.
You should also pay close attention to your sales metrics. If your blogging strategy isn’t drawing in the right leads, head back to your personas to see if you’re targeting the right groups.
Finally, it’s important to remember that a good blogging strategy takes time to show results. Planning on going “viral” is about as reliable as basing your financial strategy on winning the jackpot. It probably won’t ever happen, and even if it does, you need to be prepared for the publicity. A well-run blog can generate a lot of traffic and high-quality leads over the long-term. Focus on the big picture, and don’t be afraid to adjust your strategy according to the metrics you get back. Above all, find a strategy that works and stick to it.
Talk to us! We work with businesses large and small to manage their content marketing. Plus, our automated marketing services can ensure your message reaches the right people and nurtures leads to help them turn into clients. Contact us to learn more.