Writer’s block…have you had it? Know what it feels like? For many, the block never fades away and it prevents many small business owners from getting a blog or content up on their website. It can be hard to get off and writing on the right topic and even on the first sentence. Writing can be a daunting task that requires creativity, concentration and a desire to turn words into poetry. For many small business owners, that is a task often left for someone else or for no one at all.
The truth of the matter is, if you are a small business owner, you NEED to blog. Here’s why:
The internet has not only become a place to share selfies or buy the hottest brand name shoes, it is a place where millions go to search and find information. People are not only searching for answers to silly questions like if Jedi actually exist, but many people really do research information and you can be the authority on that exact information. In fact, you ARE the authority in your field, you just need to blog about it!
So why blog?
The need for small businesses to blog is two fold. First, your blog serves as your stage. You need to get up on it, in front of the people who are interested in your expertise and sing to them (figuratively of course, most of us really can’t carry a tune). Secondly, search engines are watching you. They are creeping around every corner and taking note of the words you are using and how it relates to their very specialized algorithm known as the very confusing and super scary Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Don’t fret, SEO isn’t that scary. In fact, using just a few key phrases and being consistent in your blogging will get that scary SEO algorithm thing to notice you.
When you use your blog as your stage, you are telling the world that you are the whiz, the hotshot, the master and whatever else thesaurus.com tells us is similar to the word, expert. You know your industry better than the average Joe and you just need to show it by having a consistent blog and then by having an audience. Here are the tips to set your stage and fill seats to maximum capacity:
- Just start
Seems silly, but it’s true. You need to just start writing and finding a consistent routine. Monthly is fine, but getting an article out weekly or daily is even more awesome.
Now, if you are the type that finds writing a blog similar to getting a tooth pulled at the dentist, then you are in luck. Blogging can easily be outsourced. There are platforms like upwork.com, which allow highly qualified individuals and people who actually like to write to offer their services to you at killer rates.
- Gather your audience
You can’t just let your blog sit there, you need to make it dance a little to attract an audience. A great way to fill your seats is to share it to your social media accounts. You have social media accounts right? It’d be a shame if you didn’t have social media either. You need both in this day and age!
Hint! Have a signup form for your blog that is easy to find. Subscribers to your blog may differ from your social media followers….you need both!
Hint, Hint! Be sure that your social media buttons on your blog pages to make it easy to share. People like easy, just like you do.
- Don’t be boring
Now comes the fun part. Get a personality and write like it. People want to read a unique piece that captures and holds their attention throughout. Be the authority, but don’t be boring. If you are outsourcing the writing, be sure to let the writer know just how you want it to sound.
- Provide value
Being a little silly, cheeky or goofy is fine as long as it is followed up with valuable information. It is great to paint a funny picture, but you also need to drop the other shoe and incorporate the value you bring in your industry. Personality plus value will equal a blog worthy of many subscribers.
- And now you have “street cred”
Having a voice (personality) and delivering a blog with value (stuff average Joe didn’t already know) will provide you with credibility that is important to have online. You have potential customers in your audience and they are more likely to buy from your business when you establish authority and trust.
That scary SEO thing I mentioned earlier
You pretty much can’t talk about blogging unless you discuss the dreaded SEO thing. You’ll miss the big picture of blogging if you forget about the SEO part because your blog will be just as hard to find as a DMV with short lines. Here’s a quick way to get that SEO incorporated into your blogging:
- Keywords matter
Your blog post should center around a keyword. That keyword needs to present often in your post, but not so often that it seems like you are trying too hard. Keywords should appear in your title, header tags, alt-text and most definitely in your first paragraph.
It is important to research appropriate keywords for your industry. You want to be competitive in your industry and you want search engines to take notice. Lucky for you too, there are tools that help with this. Check out this Ad Words Tool for some help with keywords.
- Even more boring: backlinks
Having other websites link to you is also important for SEO purposes. This is called your backlinks and basically, the more you have, the better. Having attractive blogs with information that customers and other businesses want to share is fabulous.
- The additional boring stuff
If your website uses WordPress, then you have many plug-ins that will make blogging for SEO purpose easy peasy. You will want to take a closer look into internal links (linking your blog to other parts of your website), header tags, image names and alt-tags.
- Maybe not so boring
Additionally, if you are the proactive type, you could offer to be a guest blogger for another (more well-known) business. If you can find an industry leader that is not your direct competition, but related to what you do, seek them out and offer up a contribution to their site. Networking can catapult you into your first sold out show. It doesn’t hurt to ask, right?
Ok, so long story short, your small business needs a blog. Outsource it if you must, but the bottom line is that it must be done. It also must incorporate some of the scary SEO practices as discussed. To be the rockstar you’ve always dreamt about you need to build the stage (your blog) and fill the seats (with potential customers). Be the authority and jam out at the show that was created by you.