The Blog… the great untouched wilderness of many a small business website. Out of all the website projects we undertake, the intention of running a blog is often high on our client’s list of aspirations.
Blogs can be used for a variety of different things. From sharing company news, topical information, tips and tricks, reviews, specials and promotions and pretty much anything else. As is the way with the Internet, your reach is endless, with people being able to view your content from all over the world.
Why Running a Business Blog is a Good Idea
Running and maintaining a blog sets you up as a leader your field, an experienced voice. An expert in your trade if you will. A blog helps answer your customer’s questions and guides them in making the right decisions. When they are ready to buy, you will have the ‘first call’ advantage. It might not get the phone’s ringing off the hook right away, but it’s a slow and steady burn that sets your business apart.
That said, whilst the initial intention of running a blog is good, most customers fail to keep up with their newfound desire. Sometimes it’s an uncertainty of how a blog fits into the overall picture of their business. Or perhaps the thought of writing 300 words on their business makes them want to gauge their eye out with a spoon.
Done right and on a consistent basis, blogging can be a great marketing tool for your business. However, just posting it on your website and expecting the traffic to flow ain’t enough I am afraid. You need to get your thoughts and ideas to the masses.
Let’s look at the various pieces of the puzzle required for effective blogging:
1. Great Content
This one goes without saying. There is no point in blogging on topics your readers will not understand or engage with.
Not sure where to start? Ask them! What are their frustrations? What questions regularly come up in your interactions with them? If you have an active social media presence, what common questions and comments come up from your followers? Understanding your audience is key to writing great content that will be read and relate to.
2. Find an EDM Service
An Electronic Direct Mail service (EDM) is the vehicle to get your words and thoughts out to the world. Most EDM software is easy to use and allows you to type your content into it, then send it to all the emails in your database.
Essentially, they all work in a very similar fashion. Here are a few to look into:
- Mail Chimp (free & paid options)
- Zoho (free & paid options)
- Get Response (paid)
- Constant Contact (paid)
3. Publish Your Content on your Website
Most small business websites these days will support a blogging function. Adding your content to your website is a relatively easy process, especially if your website is built using software such as WordPress. Not sure if you can do this? Speak to your web developer to find out your options.
4. Post to Social Media
Once published on your website, its time to get it out into the wild west. Make sure you Share your published piece on all your social media channels. Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin… all of your followers can then be directed back to your website to read your article. Hello website traffic!
5. Post to your EDM
So your blog is now live on your website and is popping up in people’s social media feeds. It’s time to get it into your client’s inboxes. Many EDM’s come with prepared templates so you just have to swap over your content and images. Personally, I like to keep the same images and text from the ‘web-version’ of the blog. This keeps it nice and consistent.
Things to Consider
Use an EDM. Make sure you use an EDM and don’t just send from your email. This will help prevent your email being blacklisted and also gives your readers the option to Unsubscribe if they don’t want to be emailed (required by law).
Block & tackle. If you are new to blogging, aim for 1 article per month, or even per quarter. Write down your topics and themes for the next 6 to 12 months and block off 1 to 2 hours each month to write your blog.
Don’t sell, sell, sell. Instead, choose topics of interest for your audience. Help solve some of their problems and answer their questions. Remember, this is about trust and relationship building.
- Before you commit to setting up the blog, brainstorm the next 6 topics you could talk about and write them down.
- Open your calendar and block off 1-2hrs each week to commit to writing.
- Go online and find an EDM that works for you.
Need help in setting up a blog on your website?
Give us a call and we can have a look at your current website and get a blog integrated and working for you.