Blogging is an important part of many small businesses’ marketing strategies. It’s a great way to build SEO, have content to send to your prospects, share case studies, showcase your expertise, and build your subscriber list.
However having a blog and writing a blog post are two totally different things.
You likely started your company’s blog with gusto. You had posts queued up to fill out your first few months, created a template for your subscriber email, and did some research to determine what keywords you wanted to go after.
Even though you began with the best intentions, you just looked at the blog page on your website and realized that you haven’t posted any new content in 6 months! Oops…
While there are many excuses not to write a blog post, if blogging is a part of your marketing strategy, you need to do it well. At a minimum, that means:
- Posting new, helpful content (including updating older posts)
- Having a way for people to subscribe
- Sending frequent (at least monthly) emails to your subscribers
Gut check! If you aren’t going to add new blog posts with some frequency because you can’t or don’t want to make it a priority, there’s no shame in not having a blog. Be sure to take the subscribe form off your website if you make this choice! Remember, it is better to do a few marketing activities well than to do a bunch of them halfway. Despite what the experts may tell you, a blog is not a prerequisite to successful marketing, although it is a common and fruitful tactic to choose.
Great! You’ve recommitted to your company’s blog, and once again you’re staring at a blank page and don’t know what to write…
Here are 6 questions to ask to generate a topic for your blog post:
- What questions are clients asking you all the time? The questions your clients have about the product or service you provide are likely the same questions that your prospects have too.
- What industry trends are you seeing that your readers need to know? If I were in finance, for instance, it would seem tone-deaf to not have a blog about inflation in this environment. There are always industry or environmental trends to blog about.
- What 101, tried-and-true tactical tips can you provide? You may think that everyone already knows the answers to the basic questions about your service or product, but these posts tend to be very popular (and are also a great way to earn a featured snippet).
- Did you contribute to a podcast or give a speech at a conference? Turn these oral thought leadership pieces into a blog post. You likely even have talking points or a slide deck that you can use as your blog’s outline.
- What subjects would your subscribers or customers like to learn about? If you are already surveying your audience, add a question to uncover topics and themes that are of interest to this group. You’ll go into writing the blog post knowing that you audience will already be engaged with the topic.
- What have you recently learned? Perhaps you attended a conference or finished a book — consider sharing your key takeaways from your own professional development exercise. Here’s an example.
Now that you have a topic, it’s time to get to writing. Everyone’s blog writing process is unique, but here’s mine.
- A topic pops into my mind and:
- I write it down on a sticky note. 6 weeks later, I find the sticky note and open a word doc.
- I immediately open a word doc.
- I do a really rough draft. The goals for the rough draft? Get out all my thoughts on the topic. Reach 500+ words. Make sure there’s a bullet point list somewhere. That’s it.
- I wait at least a day and then re-read the post to make sure I have used every appropriate internal link that I can. Internal linking helps with your websites bounce rate, and more importantly keeps readers engaged. The longer you’ve been blogging, the more of these you’ll be able to weave into your new content.
- I copywrite the post. For me, this tends to be 90% moving sentences around to improve flow and 10% fixing errors. Sometimes, I’ll send them over to a professional proofreader. It is very hard to catch your own mistakes!
- Pick a featured image and post. It doesn’t need to be original. I like to think of these as interesting white space.
- Publish the blog. Don’t forget to write a great meta description.
- Promote the blog on social and email. A good rule of thumb is that you want to spend at least as long promoting a piece of content as you did creating it.
Whether you’re struggling with what to write or how to write it, a marketing consultant can guide you. If your company’s blog would benefit from a helping hand, let’s talk. Bright Oath Marketing is skilled at creating engaging small business blog content and developing strategic plans to grow your blog’s audience.