As you make progress towards incorporating marketing into your business, you will find that your blog becomes the cornerstone of your content. Many businesses struggle to blog on a regular basis, but it is largely about forming a habit. Once the habit is formed, it becomes significantly easier. Below we have compiled 10 tactics toward starting a successful blog for your small business.
Related: Business Blogging 101
Blog posts should not be novels. Readers of your blog have very little time to consume the content that you have written, so don’t expect them to stay fully engaged for more than a matter of seconds or a couple minutes if you are lucky. An ideal length for blog posts is about 600 words but if you can write more, go for it! If you have a lot to say on a topic, break the post up into small posts to stretch the content further.
Like any document, an infinite amount of time can be spent perfecting every last detail of a blog post; don’t allow your writing process to go on forever. If it takes you 10 hours to produce a post, you are going to blog very infrequently. A good blog post should take no more than about 2 hours to create,excluding any research you may have conducted.
People frequently leave the writing of blog articles to be completed during their spare time. But when you’re running a business, free time generally never occurs. By prioritizing blog writing and blocking out time on your calendar, articles are far more likely to get written. The more you blog, the more you can get your business name out in the local market.
Writing a business blog should not usually be the exclusive responsibility of one person. The best content is created by those who are closest to the subject matter, which is often not a person in marketing or the owner of the business. Spreading out the writing responsibility is critical to maximizing the quality and quantity of your content. Use your resources like sales people, who know customers well and may be able to write content that will market your business to your customers.
Ideally a blog is a living and breathing component of your business. Not only does content need to be generated regularly, but comments needs to be responded to and positions need to be taken on issues. It’s important to minimize or eliminate review processes that will impede the ability to move quickly. Lay out a few guidelines and then try to have just one person who is responsible for the blog. Even if there are other contributors in the company or guest posts from influencers, one person should maintain the blog. That responsible person can manage the publication schedule of the blog while conducting a lightweight review of the posts.
Blogs are generally expected to be a less formal means of communication, even for larger corporations. Blog posts don’t have to be literary masterpieces but sloppy writing, poor content, and blatant grammatical errors are not acceptable. Your blog is an extension of your business so write it in accordance with how you want customers to perceive you and your company. Be personal yet professional and your blog will be successful.
Generally speaking, the more frequently you blog, the greater the positive impact will be on your marketing. But, it’s important to set realistic goals to ensure that you don’t fail before you start. Almost anyone should be able to find time to create one article per week if you give yourself 2 hours to focus, organize and write. Keep your expectations realistic in terms of the time you can devote to blogging. Consistency is key in marketing so make sure you can keep up with your goals in the long run.
Blogging is a longer term investment, but it will pay dividends; it isn’t just a time sink. If you view blog post writing as an activity that costs you time without any benefit, your incentives to write will be limited. Staying motivated as a small business owner can be tough but reminding yourself of the benefits of what you’re doing will help keep you on track. Whether it means more web traffic to a person in marketing or a better position as a thought leader to the business owner, don’t forget to consider the benefits of blogging.
Ideas can be the stumbling block for many people. However, once you write one or two posts, you will start to have many more ideas. Keep a repository of those ideas to help you and others in the company keep the creative juices flowing. It doesn’t have to be anything special—send yourself an email when you have an idea, jot it down on a piece of paper or in a document on your computer, or set up a Trello board like we do to organize blog ideas.
Setting up a blog for the first time or beginning to post regularly should not take months of planning. Here are some tips for writing your first blog post and remember that it doesn’t have to be perfect! Having something that’s good is better than nothing that’s perfect. So block off 2 hours this week and get a blog post published!