Have you got burning questions about the blogging world? Some of the most common questions I see are:
- Is blogging really worth it?
- Is it right for my industry?
- What would I even blog about?
In this beginner’s guide to business blogging, I aim to answer these common questions to help you get started.
1. Is blogging really worth it?
Blogs – do you really need them?
You may have heard businesses banging on about how they’re a “must have” for your website but perhaps you’re not entirely convinced.
Understandably, if you’re not familiar with blogging and content marketing in general, it might seem a bit unnecessary to post free information not directly related to selling your products or services.
However, blogging for your business is a step in the right direction which will help you boost your online presence, increase traffic and therefore sales.
The benefits of regular blogging for your business
Search engine optimisation is the process of boosting your website organically to the top of the search engine rankings. Google picks its select few at the top for a number of different reasons. One thing they look for is regular, rich content being uploaded. Blogs are a perfect way to fulfil this requirement.
Blogs posts that offer genuinely helpful advice may not result in 100% direct sales but they may be shared with others who are interested in your goods/industry.
The more content you can encourage people to share, the better Google will think of your website and elevate it appropriately.
This leads to a snowball effect, more shares = more traffic = more sales = better ranking (and repeat).
Position your company as a leading expert
One of the purposes of blogging is to build authority and trust in your industry. If someone sees that you have a blog all about their industry, with tips and tricks, advice and analysis – they’ll know you’re experts.
This goes a long way in developing trust between you and your potential customers.
Say you have a choice of two companies to go with. One regularly blogs about the industry you’re working in and seems to understand the challenges you face. The other doesn’t bother. Which are you going to trust more?
Pull over traffic
Many businesses want 100% sales pitches because they think that’s what brings over customers. However, time and time again we see that people don’t respond well to them. No one likes a pushy salesman.
The same goes with online marketing. While sales pitches aren’t wrong, having only sales pitches is.
Blog posts that offer helpful content are much more likely to get interested people over to your site – because there’s already something in it for them. Not everyone will end up a customer. But some will convert while they’re there, providing your website offers something they want.
Provide value even before you sell
Everyone likes a freebie. When people get something for free, they’re more likely to reciprocate and pass business your way.
Writing blogs that give people free, genuinely helpful content helps to establish this valuable connection before they even buy from you.
Again – would you rather buy from a company that has already helped you out or one that hasn’t offered you anything yet?
The sad fact of marketing is that it’s never as simple as writing a post or posting on social media and getting hundreds of sales as a direct result. A lot of businesses expect blogs or social media to be their golden ticket to boosted sales. While we can certainly work hard to improve sales figures, content marketing is often about the bigger picture.
Getting your brand out there and seen is incredibly important to establish connections, familiarity and trust with your target market. Blogs and social media can help you to do this by widening the reach of your brand. This will result in higher traffic and conversion rates.
2. Is a blog right for me and my industry?
“Blogs are fine for some, but are a waste of time for my business/industry.”
Raise your hand if you’ve ever thought this.
You certainly wouldn’t be alone in your blogging-scepticism. Blogging may be an obvious benefit for something like a digital marketing agency who’s all about the value of content marketing, but what about other businesses?
I write and have written for the following types of companies, many of which are completely different:
- Digital marketing company
- Accountancy firm
- Bookkeeping software
- Drainage company
- Eco-friendly water bottle retailer
- Islamic pilgrimage travel agency
- Branded materials company
- Wedding celebrant
What do they all have in common? A blog I can work with. While I wouldn’t go so far as to say the drainage company has gripping content that everyone wants to read, I’d say that it has some useful, practical tips on the common problems in the drainage world – which fits their target market.
Now, are there any businesses out there that you think wouldn’t benefit from the above? Perhaps a corner shop in a village somewhere that doesn’t have a website. But for those of you who are online with a website, blogging can do wonders for your business.
Who can benefit?
Anyone with a website
If you’ve got a website, you need it as far up in the search engine rankings as possible. Blogs can help with that, to ensure your website is seen by the right people – the kind who are likely to buy from you. Blogs can also pull over traffic from like-minded people by offering them help before they even buy.
Businesses that value branding
Having a brand that is recognisable and consistent is important in today’s market. There’s so much competition out there, that if you can offer something else, that strengthens your brand – can only mean good things for you.
3. So, what the hell do you blog about?
This is one of the most common blogging-based questions floating around there – what the hell should you blog about? No one has any one-word answers unfortunately but that doesn’t stop people bouncing from website to website looking for The Answer.
So, let’s cut to the chase. There isn’t one. I know it’s not what you want to hear, it wasn’t what I wanted to hear either. But when was the last time you found something you wanted to hear on the internet anyway?
Please don’t write about yourself
Are you starting a business? You might simply think – “I’ll write about my business”.
Stop. Does anyone know who you are? Has anyone heard of you before?
I’m sorry to be harsh but no one cares what you’re up to when they don’t even know who you are. No one, besides maybe your mum, is going to read blog posts about your personal journey as an entrepreneur unless you’ve got a mind blowing story. Even if you do have a great story, keep hold of it for later when people know who you are. Don’t waste it all on the void that is a blog’s early days.
What should you write about?
If you’re working in an industry that people are interested in, have needs in – then that’s where your focus should be.
Rather than writing about yourself, write about them, your customers. What do they need to hear/read? What will entice them to come over to your website? Always bearing that in mind will help you fill your website full of fresh, useful content that people will appreciate and come back for.
People like free information that meets their needs or wants. This is why blogs are popular in the first place. Who doesn’t love a good old list post relating to their interests? Plus, people are more likely to buy from you in the first place if you’ve already given them a lot helpful tips and advice.
“Give me some examples” I hear you say.
Say you’re a fancy home décor brand. You’ll benefit from writing posts about stuff like:
- Top 10 accessories to make your house a home
- How to do more with little space
- Best paint colour combinations for redecorating
Visitors may originally come onto your website after seeing the redecorating post, but while they’re there they may see something else of interest and something else after that. Keeping people on your website for as long as possible increases the chance that they’ll buy from you. A consistent stream of relevant content helps enormously with this.
On the opposite side of the spectrum. Are you an accountant? Try posts like:
- Ways to keep bookkeeping simple
- What expenses can you claim?
- How do you register for Self Assessment?
These blog posts appeal to what people want to read and also what people need to read.
I like to do a mix between the two – pair something serious with something light e.g. a “How to register for Self Assessment” post followed by “top morning routine tips for entrepreneurs”.
This appeals to people who are looking for an answer to a specific question and also those who are casually reading around. Both of them can end up buying from you.
What if you run out of things to write about?
This is unfortunately one of the things people are most scared about before they start a blog. Sometimes it even stops people from starting it in the first place.
But, reality check – we all run out of things to write about. Absolutely all bloggers run out of steam and have that panic, no matter how good they are.
However, it’s not a permanent thing. The world’s a big place and there’s always something to write about, even if you write about a similar topic you’ve covered previously.
This is why I regularly keep up with the news and read other blogs in the industry I’m writing about. This can help inspire new ideas and angles to give you a stream of fresh ideas to write about.
I also use Trello, which is like a virtual cork board of ideas. Any time I get an idea, no matter how many I’ve already got, I’ll pop it on the Trello board. One day I’ll start running out of ideas and past-me will get a lot of appreciation in that moment.
Do you need help?
Do you know you need a blog but don’t have the time, talent or resources to blog on a regular basis? Hiring a freelance writer to take care of all your content needs is your best bet. If you’re interested in hiring me, head over to my blog post writing services page to find out how I can help you. Alternatively, get in touch directly via firstname.lastname@example.org.