The single best tool I have used for my business is blogging. Like many business owners I was hesitant, worried I was blogging all wrong, no one would read my blog or all the work put into my blog would go to waste.
After writing well-over 100 blogs, what I have discovered is that blogging is an effective way to reach your audience and share a point of view. It positively impacts SEO (search engine optimization) from both a search word perspective and because well-received blogs can rank high in organic search results. Best of all, blogging it great for lead generation.
Hubspot did some research on the strengths of blogging and here is what they found:
You want to write content that is of interest to your customer base. If you don’t have your target audience defined, I would suggest starting with a discovery process in defining your Buyer Persona. Determine what issues and topics your potential buyer will find interesting, offer advice that solve their problems and stories that inspire.
So you know who you are writing to, and what to write about, now you need to know how to write to your target audience. This is not a high school essay, press release or case study. Blogs should be light and conversational.
Even for the driest of business topics you will want to start your blog with some engaging hook. If your reader can’t get past the first sentence your blogs will be a flop. I suggest starting with an industry or client based story, personal experience, inspirational quote or statistic.
Business blogging requires that you stay professional, so stay clear of blogs that only highlight yourself. Rather speak to what interests your audience. However, making a connection with your audience is a great way to start building trust.
It took me a while, but I do add some personal information from time to time. Stay clear of TMI (too much information), but adding a personal touch about your life, business, struggles, successes and goals helps you to better connect with your readers.
I read so many blogs, but most don’t get more than 30 seconds each; an in-depth read may get double that. Forget what your English teacher taught you about paragraphs. You can actually write a full paragraph that is only a single sentence.
Consider using lists, bolding text and using short paragraphs to make your content more readable, or ‘snackable’ as some say.
There is a fairly strong opinion among those considered experts in Search Engine Optimization that both extremely short and extremely long web pages are not ranked as highly as pages that are of a reasonable length.
Of course no one really knows how many words are ideal – but the general opinion seems to be that a page of at least 250 words are probably a reasonable length. Similarly, many advise keeping pages under 1000 words. I usually split the difference and aim for 500 to 700 words.
The more you can blog the better. I try for four times a week, but I realize that is aggressive for most business owners. If you can blog once or twice a week, that is best. Whatever frequency you choose, be consistent. Find your blogging rhythm and stick to it. I usually try to find the balance between helpful and fun to read, marketing vs. entrepreneur, in-depth vs. something light. It’s ok to share different topics, but don’t be all over the map your writing ‘voice’.
Throughout your website add backlinks to your site that will lead your readers to additional helpful information. This can be other blogs, web pages or even landing pages. Also include a call to action where your audience can exchange their contact information for an offer.
This is where your blog turns into a lead magnet with a conversion path.
Running out of content and ideas is common. Though my family might not agree, I do sometimes run out of things to say. If you start to come to an impasse, get a guest blogger. There may be someone else in your business who would like to share their insight. Make sure it will be of interest to your readers and give them credit.
Another idea is to write about a book you have recently read, a recent study that has been released or about a client success story. Make sure to give credit and stay positive. This is a way to have the heavy lifting of a blog done for you. I wouldn’t use it for every blog, but it is good from time to time.
The most difficult thing about blogging is actually starting. You will get better with practice, so go ahead and jump into the fire. Unless you are super controversial, most people will give you a thumbs up just because they like your effort in joining into the conversation.