Better blogging for small business
Many people think of blogs as “fluff” for their small business website, but in reality, they are so much more. Creating and maintaining a blog for your business site is one of the best ways to establish credibility and drive precious visitors to your website. Think of it like perusing a shoe store - you may have a look around, and you may even leave without buying anything. Maybe they didn’t have the correct size in the shoe you wanted, or maybe the shoes you really wanted simply weren’t in the budget right now - but when the time comes, now you’re familiar with where to go for that perfect pair.
The goal is to create a blog that works in your favor by driving the right people to your site. This is especially true for small businesses or product based businesses who may not have a storefront or brick + mortar, and rely heavily on online sales. The same is true for service based businesses, and even local businesses who are looking to gain more traffic in order to ultimately increase sales revenue.
The bottom line is, every business can benefit from building a blog on their small business website. Done correctly, a blog can help you rank on the front page of google with fairly minimal effort. However, it has to be done correctly in order to maximize SEO before you can really reap the reward! Fluff is really just that..fluff.
What should you blog about?
Time and time again, we see clients and small business owners getting hung up on what to blog about - they can’t fathom coming up with new ideas over and over again. One thing to remember, is that you can always repurpose content later as a way to extend an article's lifespan (more on that later), so you can rest easy knowing that won’t be the case.
When it comes to figuring out what to blog about, the answer is incredibly simple - just ask yourself, “what do I want to be known for?” - and there you have it! Whether you are a product based business, service based business, or local boutique looking to gain notoriety in the neighborhood, you know what you want to be known for. This includes everything from what you sell, to where you sell it and who you sell it to. For example, if you own a gourmet cupcake shop in Santa Monica, CA you might say something like: “I want my shop to be known as an upscale, gourmet cupcake shop in Santa Monica, who also offers delivery. Our cupcakes are great for everything from parties, to weddings to simply treating yourself.”
Now that you’ve got that settled, think about what someone might be putting into Google to find exactly that. The days of googling single words or phrases are over as people have learned to present their question in full sentence form in order to get the best results right away. So, someone looking for this kind of cupcake shop might Google any of the following:
Best cupcake delivery in Santa Monica, CA
Gourmet cupcakes in Santa Monica
Cupcakes for events in Santa Monica
The list goes on, but you get the idea. The goal here is to allow these keywords and phrases to act as a basic outline for your SEO strategy, and then turn them into blogs. Start by narrowing down five core content topics directly related to your keywords and phrases. From here, you simply need to rotate them out. This is where planning a monthly and even quarterly content calendar will come into play.
For this example, our core content topics might be:
Santa Monica, CA or even Los Angeles, CA
Gourmet cupcakes and what sets you apart
Delivery, catering and in-store visits
Shop updates or stories from the staff
Founder features to showcase the folks behind the brand
This allows you to cover all of the bases, ensures that you hit each keyword or phrase that you want to be known for, and allows you enough content ideas to rotate constantly.
Given the topics above, a few blog ideas might be:
“Why we chose Santa Monica for our gourmet cupcake HQs”
“What constitutes a ‘gourmet cupcake’? It’s all about the ingredients!”
“Take a look at this month’s delivery deals, and event catering packages”
“Welcome ____ to the team, she’s cooking up something sweet!”
“What it takes to open a brick + mortar small business”
Pro tip: The article ideas for each of these topics are endless, but each one should still tie in to the gourmet cupcake theme. If you still find yourself wondering what to write about, a great place to start is by looking in your general inquiries inbox. What burning questions are customers coming to you with? Give the people what they want by turning it into a long-form informational piece on your site!
how often should I update my business site’s blog?
Well that’s a loaded question, but realistically, the answer is, “as much as possible”. This can feel overwhelming for many, especially if you’re just starting out and you have a million other things to tackle in order to run a business.
That said, start where you can, but keep it consistent. If you can really only commit to one blog a month, that’s a great place to start. Once a week would be better, but the goal is to maintain the blog. So we don’t want it to become another overwhelming chore that eventually starts to feel like a burden. If this happens, chances are, it will go straight to the back burner. The good news is, once you get started, it will come more naturally. The blog post ideas will just come to you in the middle of the day, and the time it takes to actually write a blog will become less and less as you get more comfortable.
This is also where the content calendar comes into place. Whether it’s a simple Google Sheet, a huge white board in the office, or even good old fashioned notepad - having the content planned out for a while is the key to maintaining a consistent business blog. Whatever your preferred method, be sure it’s something that allows you to see multiple weeks at a time so that you can easily align them with any holidays or specials that may be coming up.
From here, we want to decide what day of the week we’ll be publishing new content. With our core content topics already nailed down, we can easily start to plug article ideas into those days over the next few weeks.
Tips for writing the best blog article
Someone once said,
“write your blog piece with the intention of it being the best page on the internet for that topic”,
and that has turned out to be the best advice. For example, if you were a dog trainer, you don’t want to simply throw a blog up there talking about cute puppies, right? No, you want to give the people what they want - which is likely actionable tips and tricks for doing a little dog training at home with their own new puppy.
The more informational, the better. That’s where the brand “credibility” comes in. Don’t be afraid to do a little research, offer up stats and figures, and even link to other pages on the web that might have more in-depth information, or extrapolate on your point even further. If you pull a statistic from the web, be sure to link to it. For example: “According to the AKC, it’s easier to train and manage one puppy, rather than bringing two home at once.”
All blog articles should be at least 800-1,00 words minimum. This gives Google enough information to know what you’re all about and where it should index the content. Think of Google as the world wide librarian who is forever cataloging articles and indexing them by content in order to reach the most relevant readers. Keeping that in mind, you’ll likely have some competition in your industry when it comes to writing about a specific topic, which gives us even more reason to write your blog as if it’s “the best page on the internet” for that topic.
Be open to collaboration. This means partnering up with someone in your industry whose business or brand compliments your own. You might do a Q&A together, you might round up the top 20 local female owned businesses, or even list your favorite small business podcasts. At the end of the day, make sure it’s something that your partners would feel honored to share with their own networks. This ensures your article will not only get in front of more eyes, but will likely boost click throughs, and may even help you gain some exposure with unfamiliar audiences.
Pro tip: When a website with higher domain authority links back to your site, it’s as if the cool girl in high school just invited you to a party. This basically sends a signal to Google that your website is credible and deserves to be boosted in the rankings, so partnering with folks who have a higher traffic count is a huge plus!
BONUS: How to repurpose content
There is nothing wrong with revisiting an old blog article and giving it a revamp in order to squeeze a little more life out of it. Going back to the gourmet cupcake example, if you already shared a blog piece about how your ingredients make all the difference, you might take that same article and rework it to include how you’re able to modify these same ingredients to accommodate vegan lifestyle clients. And that’s just for writing - you can also repurpose this blog by turning it into a “how to” video for Facebook, YouTube and even LinkedIn!
There are plenty of ways to repurpose content in a way that makes it “new” and relevant. Whatever you do, be sure to rename the article with a different title so Google doesn’t get confused, and there you have it - you’ve now created two awesome articles out of the same topic!
Have any questions or comments about writing the perfect blog? We’d love to hear from you!
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