6 Steps to Starting a Business Blog
One of the most effective ways to market your small business or freelance skillset is by starting a blog. Not only will it give you a venue to share your expertise and products/services, but you’ll also be able to drive traffic to your website, increase your customer base, and grow an engaged community of readers.
In fact, Huffington Post reports that 6 out of 10 U.S. online consumers have made a purchase based on recommendations from a blog. And companies who blog get 97% more links to their website in comparison to those who don’t blog, according to Social Media Today. Plus, small businesses that blog get 126% more lead growth than those that don’t (Source: HubSpot).
But even though most people have read a ton of blog posts, it’s hard to know where to start if you want to build your own. So here are a few simple tips to get your business blog started off on the right foot.
1. Decide on your blogging goals
What’s the main objective of your posts? Do you want to get new customers? If so, create posts about how your products or services can help fill a need in their lives. Do you want to create and foster a community? Write more lifestyle-focused posts and encourage comments and conversation in the comments section by asking questions in your posts and responding to comments. Do you want to build an email list? Build email capture forms into your blog, or use pop up forms to offer blog readers free downloads of interesting content in exchange for their email address. If you want to be seen as an expert in your field, post often and thoughtfully on issues or news that’s relevant to your business. You can achieve many things by blogging, but if you set your goals before you begin, it will be easier to achieve them.
2. Create a posting schedule
Decide how often you want to post to your blog. Pro tip: when you post consistently, your readers can always look forward to reading new content. This will help build your audience. On the flip side, blogging isn’t all about quantity—quality is important, too. If you’re rushing to post content every day, your post content may suffer. Even if you post just once a week (or less!), if your content is well thought out and well written, you can still gain traction and get lots of views.
3. Use relevant keywords
You can have the most amazing content on your blog, but it won’t help sell your business offerings if no one sees it! That’s where SEO and keyword optimization come in. Take some time to do keyword research before you write your posts. That means looking up popular words or phrases that people are typing into search engines. For instance, you may discover that lots of people search for “Easy chocolate chip cookie recipe.” If you owned a small gift shop, you might want to create a post called “Looking for an easy chocolate cookie recipe?” Then incorporate products from your store into the post. Viola! You’ve got content that’s relevant to your audience and will draw in new readers!
4. Add images
Studies have shown that people remember information more easily when it’s paired with visuals. In fact, Jeff Bulles points out that articles with images get 94% more views than those without! Using feature images at the top of every post will draw people in and make them more likely to engage with your content, and by adding images into the posts themselves, you’ll help break up content into more digestible sections. If you’re looking for resources to find stock imagery for your blog posts, we’ve got you covered.
5. Invite guest contributors
Blogging can take up a lot of time, and as a small business owner, you don’t have much to spare. This is where guest posts can come in handy—ask colleagues, partners, clients or industry leaders to write a special guest post for your blog. This will not only give your readers a fresh perspective from your usual posts, but it will save you time and energy! Plus, if your guest blogger has their own platform, you’ll gain extra exposure. Just be ready to provide a guest post for them in return down the line! You can also do a semi-guest post, by posting an interview with another business person on your blog.
6. Use your blog to announce news or new products
Once you’ve built up an audience for your blog, It’s an extremely effective tool for reaching engaged, passionate followers of your business. Don’t be afraid to post about your own business, products or services. Blogs are great places to post about new product releases, share successes like big projects or awards, or post about how your services can help fulfill customer’s needs. Your business blog is your place to engage with your community—so it pays to share.