We all know that blogging is important for maintaining a thriving business in today's age. But knowing and understanding are two very different things. Without understanding the "why" behind maintaining an engaging blog, it can seem irrelevant or even a waste of time. Let's face it - as a business owner, you already have your hands full juggling more responsibilities than you may have even thought possible.
However, blogging is one of the best ways for a small business to build and maintain a thriving presence online. Being present online ultimately means that your business is more accessible to a larger audience, which opens the door to increased traffic, engagement, reviews, sales - you name it.
Though it takes time, it's a worthy endeavor to become consistent with your blogging game. Check out the following answers to some commonly asked questions and learn how to take your small business blog to the next level.
1. What in the world do I write about?
Before you sit down to write a blog post, you need to do some research and think about who your target audience is. If you have already established your main buyer personas, great! You can jump straight into outlining your blog content.
If not, we recommend tackling this important question before doing anything. If your content isn't geared toward the right audience, you will only be wasting your time. Use Hubspot's free Buyer Persona Templates to get started defining who you want to attract to your website.
Once you have established your core buyer personas, pick one to hone in on first. What does this buyer persona struggle with and where does opportunity lie?
Think about how the answers to this question connect to your business. For example, if you are an interior designer, your buyer persona might have trouble knowing where to shop for materials for their home. They also might struggle with home design, need tips for starting a DIY project, or simply need some inspiration. Think about things this person would search on Google and try to answer those questions. A good way to connect with this persona, for example, would be writing a blog on "top interior design trends of 2017."
To learn more about search engine results and how to guide your audience to your blog, check out question #3.
2. How often should I post?
In an ideal world, you would have a new blog post on a daily basis. Just remember that a good, in-depth post takes time to create. Depending on your writing skills, you might spend anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours on a single post. And in addition to the words themselves, you will want to include pictures, links, and other engaging content to keep your reader entertained.
In reality, not many of us are privy to having that kind of time every day. So if you can't commit to a rigorous daily publishing schedule, we recommend starting with a goal of either one post per week or one post per month. Whatever schedule you choose, it's of utmost importance that you stay dedicated to it.
Every time you post new content on your website's blog, you help boost your website ranking. Google takes note of when you add a new page or blog to your website and logs that activity into their search algorithm. Without consistency, your ranking is at stake.
3. How do I get people to read my blog?
A blog is nothing without readers. This is where your website ranking comes into play. Take some time to research "search engine optimization" or "SEO" to further understand ranking. Your goal is to maintain a website and/or blog that is optimized for search engines. In other words, when people type specific queries into their Google search bars, you want Google to list your website as one of the first results. For example, if you own a pet food company, you would want your business's webpage to pop up as a result on Google any time a person searches for information on pet food, such as where to purchase it.
How do we accomplish this? A key component of SEO is keywords. Keywords are single words or phrases that people search for online. To boost your online visibility, it's crucial to know which keywords would likely drive people to your site and just how to incorporate those phrases into your web content. This is why blogging is so important. When you write blogs that feature focused keywords targeted to your ideal audience, it can help move your website up in the Google ranking so that potential customers can more easily find it.
To sum it up, write blogs that include keywords to help advance your SEO rank and boost the likelihood of your website showing up at the top of Google search results.
Note that this does not simply mean stuffing your blog with keywords. Google is smarter than that and has a wealth of behind-the-scenes tools designed to filter out web content that isn't actually interesting or beneficial to readers. Your blogs still need to be informative, easy-to-read, and valuable to your audience.
Learn more about researching and selecting keywords for SEO by learning to do a keyword search.
4. What should I do to capture my audience?
Once you've got people on your page, you want them to come back. To truly capture your audience, let your brand's voice and personality shine through in your blog writing. The more authentic your blog feels, the more likely people are to follow and share it.
In this day and age, with a social media world full of videos, selfies, gifs, and memes, it can be quite challenging to hold someone's attention for more than a few seconds. Don't let this discourage you; this is a perfect opportunity to flex your creative muscles!
Adding images and video content is a great way to keep readers on your page. The average person often gets overwhelmed or bored with large blocks of text, so adding visual elements will make your blog easier to read and more appealing.
Another good way to do this is splitting up your text with bullets, numbered steps, bolded text, and headers. Not only does this make your blog easier on the eyes, it helps organize the information so that the reader can get the information they want with minimal work.
Last but not least, make sure to share your blog in newsletters and on social media platforms. It's also a good idea to highlight your blog on your own website so that it is easily found
At the end of the day, your main goal is to engage readers and provide a solution to their problems. Don’t focus too much on selling yourself, but don’t be afraid to tie in your products/services and how you can help them with their struggles.
Still have questions? Send them our way!
October 2, 2017