How Do I Start Blogging for My Business?
Blogging for your business can seem intimidating, but the value for your business is immeasurable. Actually, that's not true - you can measure it by tracking your Search Engine Page Rank and your new business inquiries. Why?
Because blogging, both on and off your own website, positions you as an expert in your field which will build the trust factor so critical in getting your website visitors to decide to contact you. Blogging also keeps fresh content, which you can keyword optimize, in front of Google and as we know already - Google prefers sites with fresh content over those that never change. You can read my article about getting your website in front of Google to learn more.
Did you notice that I said blogging both on your site and off? When I say blogging, what I am really saying is writing - either on your website, on another reputable website or even in a printed publication.
I know you feel like you don't have time to write, but I going to provide you with some really easy steps on how to come up with things to write about and actually get writing. If you are going to choose to do anything for your business in regards to marketing, I would urge you to make blogging your single priority. When you blog, you build content that you can share out on social media - Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Linked In AND you build content you could send off to your loyal newsletter subscribers. I call that a win-win!
Now for those tips to get you started!
Easy steps to start blogging on your website for your business
Blogging is just about getting your words out there. - in whatever way is comfortable for you. Even if it's video, you will still want to go through these general steps to produce great content your readers will love.
Here are some easy steps to help get you started with finding the words and putting them out in the world:
- To start, brainstorm a list of 20-25 questions and topics you think your clients would love to pick someone's brain about.
- Choose 3 of those topics and draft outlines for the main talking points you would share with your readers.
- Now chose the 1 that was easiest for you to outline and draft a blog post - don't try to write the final version, just a messy, yucky draft.
- Sleep on it.
- Return to your blog post and read it. Now clean it up a bit and see if there are links to other websites/resources you can share that will be helpful to your readers and find a way to incorporate them. These external links add validity and weight to your post in the eyes of the search engines. Also your readers will be thankful to you for sharing such valuable resources.
- Sleep on it again.
- Return to your blog post and read it. Clean it up one more time, grammar, spelling and evoking interest - make sure your personality shines through some. People are working with you, rather than some gigantic stuffy business.
- Now you will want to add your original outline elements to build in headers because you will want to use that Heading2, Heading3 formatting to make it easier for your readers to skim and it will tell the search engines which parts are important.
- Sleep on it one more time.
- Take one more read through and make any final tweaks. Write your blog post title now - be descriptive and think about how you will hook your prospective reader in - what will make them want to click, read and share your article.
- Publish and share to social media and with other relevant platforms and websites.
That wasn't so bad right? Now, make a plan that you can commit to for writing - twice a month is a really good goal. Your fresh new content will keep you in the forefront of the Google bots and therefore ahead of the non-bloggers in search. (Even once a month is pretty good - you have a business to run and surely can't spend too much time writing. I think writing more than twice a month is not realistic for a solo entrepreneur)!
Using your "plan", repeat the cycle with the next post that you outlined.
When you've published all 3 of those originally outlined posts, start with the remainder of your brainstormed list. Don't forget to keep adding to your list (you'll come up with great ideas randomly as you get going).
But how do I start writing on other websites and in magazines?
That is a great question and it's not as hard as you think, but you will need to put yourself out there.
Reach out to magazines and websites that customers in your area read and offer to guest write articles. Think of how often they publish, they need content to keep their paper going - just remember to keep it relevant their readership. We have a few such magazines here in Raleigh and I bet you have some in your area. They are those "lifestyle mags" that are available in the grocery store lobby and pizza joints. But don't forget about those freebies you find at REI and Lowes Home Improvement.
If you want more information on how to approach magazines to get published, I recommend you check out this Jeff Goin's comprehensive article How to Get Published by a Magazine.
You don't have to re-invent the wheel - go back to your blog brainstorming list and choose something from there. Then you can actually share the article on your blog too!
This gives you good local PR, gets your name out there and if the magazine link to your website in their online version - SEO gold.
It's true that keeping fresh content on your site and getting good external links back to your website are the only free ways to keep you in front of Google. Paid ads on platforms your potential clients frequent is always an option, but even if you choose to spend the money, make sure you are using your blog to position yourself as an expert so they will want to stay on your website when they get there.
If you aren't comfortable with writing, I highly recommend you start a free membership at Copyblogger to get access to their eBook Copywriting 101. It really breaks down how to craft a compelling story for your readers.