You know you should be blogging for your business. Do you spend more time worrying and procrastinating than actually doing it? Perhaps you are like most business owners who start emptying trash cans and cleaning the top of your desk when it’s time to write.
Why is this? Most people think they just sit down and write. No wonder nothing comes to them. Understanding the purpose of blogging will help you get started.
Is it as simple as stuffing your content with keywords? Sadly, Google is much smarter than you or me. The Google algorithms, with the advent of Panda in 2011, recognize the ploy of lousy content paired with tons of keywords. Not only will you fail to make it to the top of the list, Google will punish you for trying to fool it and send you to ranking Neverland. ( see http://www.copyblogger.com/page-rank-vs-author-rank/ )
Blogging is the single greatest driver of traffic to your website. How can you use this to your advantage?
Blogging is not selling – directly. Writing to sell is something you can do on your website. Blogging is educating. Your website is where people go after reading your blogs.
Blogging is NOT ABOUT YOU. It’s about your audience.
Offering free education creates many of the marketing ‘Tools of Influence”, such as authority, loyalty/liking, commitment/consistency, and reciprocity. Robert Cialdini was one of the first to catalog these and why they appeal to our emotions (http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/six-principles-influence )
1. What do I write about, anyway?
- Make a list of your most frequently asked questions
- Make another list of questions you wish your clients and prospects would ask
- Give your audience content they want to know about
Blogs should include:
Attention Use compelling headlines
Problem Acknowledge a problem, concern or goal of your reader
Solution How can their problem be solved?
Proof Give links to resources or research, or use stories (http://www.wildwomenforbusiness.com/2013/please-tell-me-a-story/ )
Action Let them know how they can learn more about your product/service
Don’t go out in the world naked! Poor writing is like forgetting to put your clothes on and going to an important meeting.
Use proper spelling and grammar!
- Leave out acronyms and trade language
- Edit Edit Edit
- All written content needs a Headline, Introduction, Main Body and Conclusion
- Did I mention Editing? ( see http://thewrittenword.biz/editing-dont-let-it-frighten-you/ )
Effective Content is Education Delivered in a Conversational Tone.
2. How can I get better mileage out of my blogs?
Learn to leverage your blogs to get the most readers.
- Post it on your own site (obviously)
- Share it via social media, using great headlines
- Create reciprocal arrangements with others
Think of it like sharing time in Nursery School. Reciprocal arrangements are those you have with other related or complementary business owners to ‘guest blog’. You provide your select blogs to them to post on their sites; in return, they give you great blogs to post on yours. Write an introduction when you post someone else’s blog on your site – talking about their qualifications and thanking them. This will increase traffic to your site and theirs. People love it when you say something nice about another business owner! Now you have their readers as well as your own.
3. Why you need a blog plan
Making a blog plan allows you to prepare in advance. Say you have a dog training business. You likely collect articles about the latest research on new training methods, the psychology of dogs, re-training problem dogs, and studies about the intelligence of dogs. Save these to use as launching pads for your blogs. You can create a file for each blog subject on your plan, putting articles and links in it as you go about your normal work day.
Having a plan gives you logical building blocks. It will make it more likely that your reader, having loved your current blog, will want to go back and read your previous ones.
4. What should your blog look like?
People don’t want to read long paragraphs with no breaks.
- Make strategic use of photos
- Use bullet points or numbered lists
- Make your blog easy to look at visually
- Use bold typeface to highlight stand-out sentences at the beginning of paragraphs.
- Try to keep your blog between 400-850 words
Most people are predominantly visual when it comes to learning. Breaking up text and adding colorful charts or photos will keep their attention.
5. How often should you blog?
Weekly or bi-weekly is best. Use guest blogging to fill in when you don’t have time to write your own.
6. Who reads these things anyway?
You’d be surprised. The Wild Women have gotten clients from New York State as a result of our blogs and social media efforts. We’ve received comments and requests for information from Africa and Australia. It won’t happen all at once, but with consistency and frequency, it will happen over time.
7. Where should my blog live?
It should be on your website. The purpose of your blog is to create authority, loyalty and liking, thus driving traffic to your website. Visitors who already feel they ‘know’ you (because you have had a conversation with them via your blog) are more likely to spend time learning about what you offer.
Go for the Manatee, not the Pronghorn Antelope. The average web visitor spends only 2.4 seconds before deciding whether to stay or leave your site. If you already have created a ‘relationship’ with them via your blog, they will stay much longer. A Manatee is slow and curious. A Pronghorn Antelope is easily distracted and runs at over 61 mph. Need I say more?
If you still don’t like blogging, the Word Wizard at Wild Women for Business can help. Call us to get started on your own custom designed marketing/blogging/social media plan and change your business!