I’ve been banging on to Swish Design clients for the past four or five years about blogging for business. Each and every time I float the idea, the same three questions get floated back to me. So today, I’m going to tackle all three head on. Hopefully the answers will help break down any mental barriers that are currently preventing you from blogging on your business website.
1. What will a blog do for my business?
In the current climate, business blogging (done well) is one of the most cost-effective marketing exercises going around. Nowadays, people really want to do business with people they know, like and trust. By sharing information on your blog that is relevant to the people you want to work with, you are:
- Creating goodwill (by helping people),
- Demonstrating your knowledge and expertise, and
- (Because you are writing your blog posts in your own ‘voice’) you are showing the personality behind your business.
These three things add up to a significant amount of ‘know, like and trust’ for you and your business.
Blogs are also amazing for SEO. The bulk of traffic to most websites these days comes from Google searches. Google likes websites that are regularly updated with fresh, new content (which is what a blog does) and Google also likes websites that contain useful information – which a blog does.
Finally, a blog allows you to establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry. If you’ve ever wanted to be the ‘go-to’ person when radio stations or reporters are looking for expert commentary on something related to your industry – a well-written blog facilitates this.
2. What will I even blog about?
First let’s start with what you shouldn’t blog about. The biggest blogging trap I see most businesses fall into is blogging about themselves.
I’ve done it; we’ve all done it! We can’t help but think that if someone is reading our company blog, they want to know all about us. Unfortunately, however, they don’t.
Harsh as it may seem, the person reading your blog will only do so if there’s something in it for them. (If you need further proof of this, all you need to do is to look at your own behaviour online.) Everything you read – there’s something in it for you. It might be entertainment or it might be expanding your knowledge on something you find interesting, but you will never read something simply out of the goodness of your heart.
So the best way to determine what to blog about is to think to yourself ‘Who are the people I want to work with, and how can I be incredibly helpful to them?’ For example, at Swish Design, we want to work with established businesses. These people want to know what they should be doing to grow their businesses. So that’s generally what we write about here on the blog. We also use this blog to answer questions we get asked a lot (like the millions of questions we get asked about SEO.)
So, in summary, the best place to start when it comes to topics for your blog posts are:
- Answering the questions you get asked all the time.
- Identifying the things your potential clients want to know about … and writing informative posts about those things.
- And if you’re still looking for inspiration, Darren Rowse shares 56 post ideas here.
3. I’m not a very good writer–I don’t think I’ll be able to blog.
My answer to this is always very simple:
Can you talk? Then you can write a blog post.
Blog posts should always be conversational in style and reflect the personality of the person writing it. So while I do recommend using full sentences and punctuation, keep in mind you’re not trying to win a Pulitzer Prize here. As long as you stay away from jargon and write as if you are speaking to someone, your blog posts will read well and create a nice connection with the person reading it. (And that nice connection is ultimately what you are trying to achieve.)
4. BONUS QUESTION–Where should I put my call to action?
No one ever asks me this question–but I wish they did. We’ve all been well-trained over the years to ensure that every piece of marketing we produce has a great call to action on it. Which is why most people can’t help but throw in a line at the end of each blog urging people to call them … or telling them ‘we offer this or that service.’ It’s a hard habit to break, but the only call to action you should put at the end of a blog post is to ask a question relating to the post (a question that might get discussion going in the comments.) If you put something ‘salesy’ at the end, this will eradicate any goodwill you have built up via the post. In other words, people will leave the page feeling like they have just read a sales letter rather than something useful.
Have you tried blogging for your business? Have you found it helpful for your business?