As small business owner, you know that you SHOULD be blogging; you know it’s a valuable marketing tactic that will not only drive new traffic to your website but also help you to communicate with your customers, demonstrate your thought leadership and boost your credibility. BUT many small businesses struggle to get started – it all seems a bit overwhelming, so you hide it at the bottom of your To-do list, kind of hoping it’ll go away.
For today, it always just seems too, well, hard.
If you break it down into manageable and practical steps, however, it’s really fairly easy to get yourself up and running. These 5 simple tips will help you to get on your way to a successful business blog.
Make a commitment
Now is the time to make the decision to start, come what may. Stop putting it off, you’re missing out on an enormously valuable marketing tactic that many of your competitors are already utilising, so you need to get going. Decide, realistically, how often you will post; you know your schedule and abilities better than anyone else, so don’t attempt to publish once a week if you can’t manage it. Once a fortnight or once a month is fine, just make sure that you schedule it in and stick to it. Make that promise to yourself; put it in writing if it helps.
Find your focus
To do this, you must first ask yourself who your target readers are. Draw together as much detailed information as you can about who you are trying to reach and keep that ideal reader in your mind at all times.
One of the biggest objections I hear from clients is that they don’t know what to write about. This really is the easy part! Once you’re clear on who your target readers are, ask yourself what they might like/need/want from a blog. To attract and engage your ideal audience, you’ll have to produce content that they will get something from. Think about how you can solve their problems; help them by giving advice and being USEFUL. Do your research and get your facts straight. Keep a notepad handy for any ideas that come up, and be open to inspiration at all times: many of my best ideas pop in to my head while I’m blow-drying my hair!
Whilst your content is what will draw readers in, it’s your voice that will set your blog apart. Let your personality show and let your readers get to know you, this will build a relationship that will keep your readers coming back for more.
Write a bad first draft
OK, if you can write a perfect draft straight off, that’s great, but instead of agonising over every word and sabotaging your efforts by being too critical and finicky, just get writing. It’s easier to work with something, however rough, than nothing. Remember: you can’t edit a blank page! Of course it’s essential that anything you publish is of a high quality, well written and clear of grammatical errors, but your first “brain dump” onto the page is not meant to be perfect, so just GET IT DOWN … and edit/proofread/perfect later.
Like the billions of resolutions that are made (and failed) each year, your blog-writing success won’t be achieved by good intention alone. It needs realistic goals, preparation, and ACTION. Be clear about whom you are writing for and what you want to say to them. No one is expecting War and Peace, so don’t be too self-critical; as long as your content carries YOUR voice and it’s helpful and professionally written, it’ll be well received. I promise you that the more you do it, the more natural (and easier) it becomes.
So, without further ado…get blogging!