Don’t Blog Just to Blog, Blog to Grow Your Business
If you’re serious about growing your small business, and potential customers are looking for businesses like yours on the internet, you need to be blogging. If you’re running a convenience store, you probably don’t need to spend time blogging. But for almost every other type of small business I can think of, you need to be blogging. It’s the quickest way to share your expertise with the world while helping people know, like and trust you. The number one reason people don’t buy is they are afraid of making the wrong buying decision, that they will spend money and not get the solution they’re after. You can reduce that fear by showing up and helping out through blogging.
But what makes a good blog post? One that helps your readers get information they need to make an informed buying decision while getting to know, like and trust you. If you just sit down, write and publish anything that comes to mind, you aren’t likely to get what you really want out of blogging. If you’re like me, you probably don’t want to spend time blogging if there is no return on your investment of time, so if you’re going to spend time blogging you might as well do it right. If you want to engage with your readers, your blog post should be a good read. Here are some important things to consider.
Identify Your Audience
First, and most important, you need to make sure you have a identified your audience—who is reading your blog and why? Ask yourself what your audience wants to know about. This is similar to identifying your target market. I recommend you decide on a specific avatar or persona you’re writing to and write to that person. Pick a prototypical customer and create a story/scenario around them. For instance, if you’re a business coach you might decide that your avatar is a 43 year old single mom with 2 teenagers, a 13 year old boy and a 16 year old girl. She works full time selling residential real estate and makes $54,000 per year but wants to make six figures by the time her 13 year old is ready to go to college. Your avatar/persona is smart and hard working but she has a hard time staying organized and has not idea how to make the leap from $54K to $100K or more. Now, when you’re writing your blog post, write to that avatar.
- What does she need?
- What is she thinking about?
- What are her pains and how can you help her overcome them?
- What are her goals and how can you help her achieve them?
Once you pick your avatar/persona, remember that you’re having a conversation with her/your audience, so you want to keep it conversational. Write as if you are speaking to someone. I think it’s helpful if you read your post out loud before publishing to see if it goes along with how you would talk naturally. Would you really say things like that in real life? If not, consider revising. I will admit this is hard for me. As a guy with an English degree, I was taught to write very differently. Remember when your English teacher told you to write only in the third person (“one does not use ‘I’ or ‘you’ in a proper essay. One uses the third person only.”)? I do, and the writing was awkward and ridiculous sounding at times. Don’t write like that.
Choosing a Topic
I recommend you start with a topic and even pick a working title. This isn’t necessarily the same title that will be put on the final post, but it helps to identify what you are writing about. Perhaps you want to write about making more money by improving your business skills (your topic). That’s pretty broad, isn’t it? So, let’s narrow down a specific challenge that people who want to make more money have, such as staying organized. Your working title could be “Staying Organized Can Help You Make More Money.” Your title may end up being “10 Tips for Staying Organized So You Can Make More Money” or “Organization Hacks for Busy Real Estate Professionals.” Your working title doesn’t have to be your final title, it just has to help you focus and narrow down your topic for writing.
Don’t Forget: Organization
Now that you have a title, do you start writing? Almost, but not quite. You need to organize your information next. Try using an outline before beginning to write. It doesn’t have to be hand written; just a guide of key points you want to go over, organized so that it makes sense to your reader. Now you can start writing. Expand on the key points of your outline and, if you need additional information, you can research and find more articles help your content feel full. Be sure to give credit where it is due if you quote any material or use a particular piece of data. Don’t forget to include a call-to-action for your readers. This is simply something to engage them and can range from entering into a contest to taking a survey to simply commenting on the subject below your post.
Polishing Your Blog Entry
Lastly, before posting your blog entry, you want to proofread and edit it. This kind of editing isn’t just for grammar and punctuation, though you need to do that too. Make sure your blog looks pleasing to the eye by including an image relevant to the post. You also want to keep the style of your blog post consistent with the rest of your blog. Don’t forget about optimizing your blog post for on-page SEO. I’ll be talking more about that in upcoming blog posts.
Publishing Your Work
Now you can publish your blog post. If you’re a perfectionist, you may not want to publish. You may be waiting for the golden light of Shakespearean inspiration to fall on you. You may may want to do 10 or 20 hours more research to make sure that your blog post is exhaustive and covers your subject from every conceivable angle. Don’t do that. Your blog post should be good, but it won’t be perfect. And if a reader complains to you because your blog posts aren’t perfect, you may not want that person as a customer anyway. Perfectionists can be really hard to please. Also, keep in mind that very few (if any) things you write will go viral. That’s OK. As long as you’re sharing your expertise and getting your potential customers to know, like and trust you, you’ve written a good blog post and your readers will appreciate you for it.
Finally, keep in mind that you don’t have to publish everything you’ve written. If you don’t like what you’ve written, set it aside and work on something else, then come back to it to see what is workable and what needs to be tossed. You want to be selective and post quality content. If you publish stuff that’s boring or badly done, you’ll lose your readers and maybe even turn off your potential customers.
If you’d like some help with your blogging, let me know. I’d be happy to read a blog post and give you some constructive feedback free of charge. I am here to help you. Really.