As I hope some of you may know, I have been writing a ‘Hurdles to blogging’ series, trying to help address some of the main concerns people may have when deciding to start a blog. Recently, I published the 10th addition to the series of posts, and so I thought I would put together a short summary of all 10 and offer links to each, should you wish to find out more.
A lot of people don’t realise that just because you don’t have a fancy website (or a website at all) you can still blog – or to put it another way – write articles. Both Facebook and LinkedIn have a blog feature, called ‘Notes’ and ‘Articles’ respectively, so you can get blogging straightaway through your business page or your personal page.
Through WordPress, Squarespace and other DIY website builders, it is also really easy to create a blog and add regular posts. Most have ready-made templates just for just this.
I started my blog on my Facebook business page and then transferred the content once I had my website set up…so there really is nothing stopping you from getting started.
When I wrote this post back in May 2017…I think I was being far to nice to you all! My response to this complaint now would be “Make time!” Why? Because a year later, I genuinely believe that blogging is so good for a small business and it is worth the time you put in from a marketing and sales perspective, as well as for the content and PR opportunities. There are ways of making time and I reiterate again that not only is writing a blog post more than one marketing tactic (i.e. it is also the basis of a social media post, a newsletter feature and an email signature), it is also really long lasting. According to some research, a blog post is still seen as relevant to clients up to 2 years after it was published…by comparison, a Facebook posts last barely 5 hours. Now, where do you think you should be spending your time and energy?
There is a really common misconception about blogging that is has to be posts all about you and what you are up to in your personal life. Perhaps, this is because to many the idea of a blog is a student’s travel diary, or a therapeutic outlet for parents, such as the Unmumsy Mum blog! However, blogging for business is completely different. It is a great opportunity to share your personality – but that is completely different from sharing details about your personal life. Before you start blogging, think about other business blogs you like. What is it about the tone, approach or formality that suits you? Then you can figure out a style of writing that you feel comfortable with and a ‘level’ of sharing that will work well for your business.
In this 4th instalment, I offer six ways to help keep the ideas flowing when it comes to blog topics. At the beginning, it can seem so daunting when you commit to blogging regularly. However, consider just doing one blog a month – regular, well-written, informative – but put in to perspective that is only 12 topics. I promise that it is not a lot and more and more ideas will start flowing as you get in to a routine.
My first reply to this complaint is always – ‘so what?!’. I genuinely believe that the best reason to blog is to do it for yourself. It is a space for you to reflect; to explain more about what you do; to grow your knowledge and prove to yourself all of the things you know about your business and field of expertise. Secondly, growing a collection of blog followers simply takes time. You need to shout about the presence of your blog regularly and you also need a decent ‘back list’ of blog posts to help grow that following. Therefore, you have to start somewhere! It is also not all about regular readers or followers for a business blog. It is there to convert the sale when someone is undecided. It is there for when a website visitor is trying to learn more about what you do. It is there when they are trying to find an answer to their problem.
Continuously coming up with new ideas can be difficult, but there are ways to help the ‘blog mill rolling’. As well as considering different blog post styles (see #4 and #10), think about how you can split long posts, write a series, and write across a number of different topics (or categories). Also, write more than one post at a time, when you are in the mood. Remember you don’t have to publish them all at once and can save them for busier times.
In this post I talk about that horrible time when you feel completely blank. No inspiration. No enthusiasm. And just a white page starting back at you, with the monotonous blinking cursor. Do not let this be the hurdle that breaks the camel’s back! There are many ways around writer’s block, from simply taking a break to having something to eat or switching to another topic entirely from the one you planned. Find what works for you and get writing.
The best thing I ever did was to read up on ‘blog etiquette’. Blogging is a space for sharing views and opinions. The content isn’t always completely objective – that’s fine! It’s often what makes a blog more interesting. However, this does mean you need to be prepared for comments and alternative opinions. Most comments are likely to be positive, but if you do receive a criticism, then address it politely, and if you make a mistake – admit it! One good reason to have a blog is to encourage engagement, so don’t worry about getting comments, embrace them as an opportunity to share your expertise and discuss interesting topics.
Did you know you can schedule blog posts? This means you can publish them whenever you want; whenever best suits your audience and your business needs, even if you have written the physical post days, weeks or even months before. Don’t get bogged down in writing for a specific day or week – you don’t have to!
In this post, I outlined reasons why a blog can work for all types of business to help grow engagement, convert sales leads and increase SEO on your website. The important thing is to identify the style (or possibly styles) that will best suit your business, your needs and your purpose for blogging.
My goal is to continue this series with another 10 perceived hurdles. If you have any questions or complaints (!) about blogging, comment below or get in touch.
If I have convinced you that you can blog for your business and you would be interested in learning more, let’s get together and get you started with my ‘Blog Starter Package’ – it’s just £50 and includes 1-to-1 training and takeaway resources. Call me on 07736942348.