Getting a small business up and running today involves an almost limitless number of decisions and options to make, pursue and figure out. One of the last things on your mind might be content marketing and building a bank of industry-relevant content. But in today’s digital world of online browsing and shopping, a strong online presence is vital.
For long-term success, having a strong bank of online content will help consumers find you, but also help them navigate your business, help them understand the value you can offer them and ultimately help them choose you over your competitors.
Online content essentially all begins with your business blog. Yes, you’ll have content on your website pages that speaks to your value proposition and products, but your blog helps position you as an industry expert, provides solutions and answers to your audience and makes your website more discoverable.
If you know it’s time to get your business blog but just don’t know where to start, we cover how to get off the ground to the best possible start, from setting up to writing.
Choose a content management system (CMS)
This process is almost as important as the blogging you’ll be doing down the line. There are a number of blogging platforms out there, but generally, WordPress is the go-to system. It’s simple and easy to both setup and use, whether you already have a business website or not. Plus, while it does so much more than offer content publishing, it was originally designed for blogging in the first place.
Read more: 6 life hacks for your WordPress website
If you’re looking to keep everything in-house and not add a WordPress to your business website, you can choose a website builder that already includes blogging functionality. You can then browse through a number of templates and choose a blog style that best suits your website look.
Choose your tone, voice and style
Truly engaging articles come from a distinct tone, voice and style. Choose how you want to present your content, and the writing part becomes easy. But this all depends on your industry, business type and “personality”. Do you want to be educational and informative, fun and casual, or unbiased and neutral?
Once you’ve chosen what tone, style and voice best suit the information you want to share with your audience, writing the content will come naturally.
Focus on your readers’ needs
An easy mistake to make when you first start a business blog is to focus on pushing your product or service. Readers are there to learn something, get advice or tips, not to be sold to. That doesn’t mean to say that you can’t mention your product or service in your content, but that your articles shouldn’t be about them and only them. By doing this, you’re sure to turn readers away pretty quickly.
The best way to ensure you focus on readers’ needs, is to write content that answers their questions, gives insight into a frequently searched topic or tips on how to go about solving their issues. How do you find what answers people need? Aside from the handy Google Trends, tools like Answer the Public are extremely handy in understanding people’s questions around certain topics.
Consider search engine optimisation
Search engine optimisation (SEO) should always be a consideration. You don’t have to be a specialist, but getting the basics in place is vital to ensuring your content gets discovered during searches. Narrow down the products or services you want to focus on to get down to keyword research. There are a number of keyword research tools available; we tend to stick to Google’s Keyword Planner, but SEMrush is also easy to navigate and has proven to be accurate. Include one or two target keywords in their relevant blog posts and you’re on your way.
Aside from keyword usage, it’s important to remember to write optimised page titles (of no longer than 60 characters), optimised meta descriptions (page descriptions of no longer than 160 characters), and add internal links (links within your blog article that point to other important pages/content on your website).
Ensure quality, consistency and frequency
You don’t have to blog 24/7 to provide useful and relevant content to your audience. It’s all about providing articles that are easy to read and free of any errors, choosing a schedule and sticking to it. That means always getting a second pair of eyes on your articles before they go live and sticking to a calendar that you set up weekly or monthly.
Every business is different and if you just don’t have the time or resources to hire a dedicated writer, then try to stick to at least three blog posts per month. But the more you write, the faster your search rankings will improve. You can write six articles per month, or even go up to as many as six articles per week.
Disseminate your articles
While blog articles do wonders for your SEO efforts, you need to start generating awareness around the fact that you actually have a blog. As a new blogger, start posting your articles to social media and even put a little bit of money beyond them to get some extra reach.
Additionally, you can start a backlink strategy. Reach out to relevant websites and publishers and chat to them about a link exchange, where you’ll place a link to their website on a blog post and vice versa. This will encourage people reading their content to click through to your blog. If you’re an IT specialist, for example, you could reach out to your local web hosting company.
Last, but not least, remember to have fun with it! Choose topics that you love to discuss and want to educate others on and you’ll enjoy writing for your blog, instead of it being a chore.