As a small business, running a blog is especially important. Here's how to do it.
When you hear the word "blog," you might think of that one girl from high school who spent her Friday nights venting to an audience of five readers on WordPress (that's me – I was that girl.) But blogs are more than just platforms to share personal essays or spill overwhelming emotions. In fact, in business, they can attract customers and reveal another side of you and your business.
On many business websites, you'll notice a Blog tab where relevant information is stored, written for an audience specific to that company's field. This not only allows customers to connect and interact with you, but it provides insight into your brand and industry.
As a small business, running a blog is especially important, because your relationships with clients are more intimate than the relationships clients have with most larger businesses.
Here's everything you should know about blogging as a small business.
Many companies write their own content or hire a ghostwriter to do it for them. There is no right or wrong; it depends entirely on your writing skills, free time and interest in running the blog. If you feel overwhelmed by the idea but have the extra money to spend on a writer, it might be smart to hire a freelancer.
"Having an in-house writer works for some, but he or she should work closely with the sales team so the content can address customer/client problems," said Ron Lieback, CEO and founder of ContentMender. "For others, it simply makes more sense to outsource to an agency or freelancer/ghostwriter."
Lieback said that he developed his content marketing agency to provide SEO-friendly content, which is imperative for writers to understand. However, he noted, it's difficult to find writers who are passionate about your industry and understand SEO.
"My agency provides an SEO strategy to its writers for each piece of content, and the strategy includes all the SEO needs, from optimized keywords to optimized title tags, URL structures, internal links, etc.," he said. "Basically, the stuff a business shouldn't have to worry about so C-level execs and managers can focus on business development."
Brainstorm various topics.
The content on your blog should be related to your brand and inform your audience of relevant information. For instance, a real estate agent might run a blog that covers topics like saving for a house, steps to take when searching for an apartment, etc.
"Find out more about your audiences' needs," said Shawn Breyer, owner of Breyer Home Buyers. "If you're selling products, write about useful and unique ways that your product can solve problems for people. After all, people are buying products to solve problems."
Be consistent with publishing blog updates.
You don't want to post at random times, or only occasionally. Set up a realistic schedule that you can stick to and maintain a flow that makes sense to your audience.
"My agency recommends at the very least eight blogs per month, each one uploaded consistently across the month," said Lieback. "But those who do more … will garner more traction faster, and a snowball effect begins."
Interact with your audience.
Give your customers what they want. Let them comment on your posts, ask questions and offer topic ideas.
"Provide easy ways for your audience to get a hold of you, like your email, in your blog posts," said Breyer. "Your followers will want to connect with you, and this is a great, easy way for them to do so. People feel great when someone they admire corresponds with them. If you prefer people to leave comments, make sure that you engage with every comment, good or bad. Compile the questions that people have to create new content for your blog."
Lieback added that you should offer direct comments on your blog and share across your social media channels, being sure to follow up with any questions or comments.
"The more value you add before a sale and the more education you provide, the easier a sale will be," he said.