We regularly hear from our small business clients that writing a blog is way down their list of priorities. Blogging can feel a little like clutching at straws and it’s easy to quickly lose interest when you don’t see a return on your investment.
But this shouldn’t be the case.
The business landscape is ever-changing, and never more so then now. For small businesses to have a strong online presence, it can make all the difference. And that is where blogging comes in. Did you know that 70% of customers prefer to get to know a business through reading articles vs adverts?
What Benefits Does Blogging Bring to a Small Business?
- To connect people to your brand
- As another platform for visitors to see what your business is about
- To establish you as an authority voice in your industry
- It develops relationships with existing and new customers
- Works does wonders for your search engine optimisation (SEO)
- Drives traffic to your website
- Creates opportunities for sharing by readers
- To open doors towards networking with other, complimentary businesses
That all sounds great, right? You’re probably still wondering though how you go about creating this wonderful content that’s going to make you a blogging wizard! Let’s begin
How to Plan a Blog
The old adage ‘fail to prepare, prepare to fail’ also applies to blogging! With a planned approach to content writing, blog writing will be easier, and it will happen faster.
Set a timer
As a small business, you haven’t got all the time in the world to take your time writing a blog. Set a timer to 15 minutes and really hit the ground running.
In the first 3 minutes, choose a topic and mind map as many headline ideas as you can. This could be: Dog Training > puppy training, behavioural issues, rehabilitation, classes, 1-2-1, guard dog training, children and dogs.
Next, take a minute to decide on the best two or three.
The next 10 minutes are for you to outline the content for each headline. Think about key messages, what people want to know about, what problems they have you can solve, images etc.
You’re the expert in your field, this technique is designed to draw all that knowledge out and put it on paper!
You don’t need to write the article down… in the traditional sense.
Sometimes sitting and looking at a blank screen can be off-putting, and you lose any enthusiasm for blog writing that you had! Think of all the other ways you can get your ideas down:
- Speak them out loud and record yourself. Perfect for if writing isn’t your thing.
- Start from the end and work backwards. This is great for those who have the ideas but have writers block over the headline/intro!
- Get your images together first. If you’re a visual learner, this will help to piece together the article before even picking up a pen.
If you’re really struggling for a topic, think of your customers.
In your day-to-day working life, what are the frequently asked questions you get? It may be:
- How to use a product
- Explaining a process
- Demystifying an area of concern
- Top tips
- Which product is best?
- Your opinion on a product/service/industry update
These are some of blog styles that are proven to work. Why? Because you’re answering the questions you know that people are asking! If you don’t answer them, someone else will. And that person may be your competitor!
So now you at least have an idea of how to generate ideas, how to keep it succinct and how to best please your online audience. Now, let’s start structuring!
How to Structure your Blog
Structure is really important in blogging, as without it your blogs won’t make sense and visitors will bounce off your page in seconds. Another reason to structure your small business blog well is search engine optimisation. Search engines like Google will see when you have uploaded a blog. They will then read it and assess how READABLE it is. This is why structure is important! Google won’t spend time promoting a blog that is difficult to read.
Making it easy for readers appeals to Google and therefore increases the likelihood it will be seen online. This is when you start seeing a return on investment in the shape of website traffic! Happy days!
- Write clear paragraphs, starting with the most important information. Keep paragraphs to around 6-7 sentence long.
- Write short sentences, keeping to less than 20 words a time. This makes them easier to read and understand. Naturally, there will be times when you have to write longer sentences. This is okay, just try not to do it all the time.
- Mix your words up! Instead of using the same words over again, think of what else you can use in its place. Using a thesaurus can help to get different words in your blog.
- On the subject of words, limit the difficult ones. We tend to think by putting big words in, we sound fancier and better. Maybe so, but your less likely to be understood by readers!
- Think about keywords. Keywords can be minefield for small businesses who don’t have the time to understand them. Basically, you want to include in your blog the most popular search terms for your industry.
For example, if you’re blogging about ‘How to Make Pancakes’ you would ideally need to include that in your title and blog. Why? This is likely the most searched key phrase for making pancakes. Consider more in-depth keywords and phrases too, like pancake batter, pancake day, pancake maker and other variations. Learn more about keyword research here
We hope this has set you up in good stead to start your small business blog writing journey! As a small business, blogs are beneficial when done correctly and consistently. They’re one of the most effective ways to build brand awareness!
If you still don’t want to blog, or have tried and can’t, let us know. We offer a blog writing service where we work with you to create top quality content. Get in touch for more information