Let’s start with the WHY because it’s a biggie.
Blogs are all kinds of awesome. Your website loves them, the search engines love them and your Super Customers (the people who are the BEST fit for your business) love them, too.
When you write a blog, you create NEW CONTENT to put out there in your marketing and that’s important. Let me explain.
When you run a small business you need to get found on the internet. You’re up against the rest of the world, big brands, other small businesses and the rest of the craziness out there. It’s really hard to get seen and it can be REALLY hard to grab the attention of your Super Customers who are the main source of your income.
How do you get found on the internet?
Well, you need to show up in searches.
How do you show up in searches?
Well, you need to know what words and phrases people are typing into Google so your website can include the things they are searching for.
How do you know what people are typing into Google?
Well, you need to understand who they are, what they need and how you can help. That’s why I bang on about Super Customers ALL the time. Think about your ‘best-fit’ customers – what are they struggling with, where do you fit? Think about the words and phrases they would use. Get inside their head!
By writing blogs you are giving Google and other search engines more ‘stuff’ to look at to find a match. You stand a better chance of showing up in a Super Customer’s web search if you have 10 articles talking about the thing they are looking for, rather than one or none.
Also, depending on your business, some customers want to understand more about you, what you do, the way you work, how you can help, if you have helped people like them before, what the stages are, whether you are a good fit for them.
It might not matter so much if you sell hair bows (but don’t discount it because you still have some great blogs you could write and raise yourself above other bow-makers) but it definitely helps and matters if you sell wellbeing services, dog training, coaching, photography, handmade soap, I could go on – why?
Because people want to know if what you sell is right for them and blogs give you a chance (or many chances) to show them you’re a great fit.
Talking about your philosophy and methods as a dog trainer is a great way to attract people who love your attitude and will pay more to work with you.
Talking about your ingredients and their benefits is a fab way to help people decide if your soap and skin products are a good fit for them. Talking about your style and approach is a wonderful way to attract the right photography clients, especially if you can show them amazing examples, and stand out from the competition.
Talking about what you do and why it matters, regardless of your business, is a great way to filter out bad-fit customers and attract good-fit customers. That is a GOOD thing.
OK, now you know why blogs are wonderful, let’s talk about how to write one.
First of all, think about the BIG topics you can talk about easily.
If you run dance classes it might be the ways to master tricky moves , or how certain dances are great for your health, or case studies on how dance has helped some of your customers.
If you are an accountant it might be tax and software systems.
If you are a virtual assistant it might be productivity, software, organisation.
Think about your knowledge and your passion for your business. What can you EASILY talk about? What got you enthused about your business when you started? What fascinated you? What do you love about your business? What do you explain to customers and clients? What do they find interesting?
Once you have one or more BIG topics, you’re off!
You just need to break them down into smaller topics.
If one of your big topics is REIKI then your smaller topics could be
- Reiki for stress
- Reiki for sleep problems
- Reiki for bad backs
Now, you might know that reiki is reiki and it just works (I know, my mum is a reiki master) but your Super Customers want to know how it can help THEM with their particular issue, so make it easy for them to find you. They might be searching for bad back remedies or stress or both, but you will show up both times.
If one of your BIG topics is HAIR BOWS then your smaller topics could be
- School-day hairstyles (featuring bows in lots of cases)
- Bow showcase
- Party hairstyles (you guessed it, with some bows thrown in)
Every BIG topic can be broken down into several smaller topics and guess what? You only need to find 12 to have a year’s worth of blogs. And if you have a year’s worth of blogs, you also have a year’s worth of e-newsletter content because it’s the same thing – don’t write additional content for your e-newsletters if you can include short blogs or link to your longer ones! Reuse those blogs!
Parts Of A Blog
To write a blog you’ll need a title, an introduction, a couple of paragraphs and a little sign off. Don’t overthink it and DON’T let the mind monkeys tell you you’re rubbish at writing. You can do this.
The Blog Title
For the blog title, you can either go for attention grabbing or search-engine friendly.
Attention grabbing blog titles make people curious to read them, especially if they are a bit controversial. ‘Why training is BAD for your dog’ will get people’s attention, and as long as you follow up in the blog with the reasons why and show them a different way, they will find it useful.
Search-engine friendly blog titles mirror what your Super Customers are putting into Google. This blog is a good example. It’s not attention grabbing but it does what it says.
Write this last if you’re struggling because it can often feel easier to introduce the blog once you know what you are introducing. It doesn’t have to be long, you just need to tell people what to expect or why you are writing this. ‘Lots of people on my Facebook page ask me for ideas on styling their hair with my gorgeous bows, so here are some quick and easy ideas for you’. Or ‘If you have seen the news, you will know that lack of sleep has been proven to be a big factor in weight gain, so let’s see how you can get a better night’s sleep when you’re trying to get fit’. You get the idea.
The main blog content
I reckon 3 paragraphs is more than enough (don’t take my blogs as an example, I can’t shut up once I get started!). A good way to do it is to come up with three stages or three levels or three questions people always ask. Then just write 3 or 4 sentences for each one, based on what you would tell your Super Customers if they asked you about this subject. You know far more than you think!
The end of the blog
Don’t agonise over it. Come up with a little sign-off you can use on each one. It might be ‘hope you enjoyed reading about [topic], I’ll have some more fab facts in my next blog. See you soon!’
If you REALLY struggle with the idea of writing, see if you can record it on your phone and get a friend or family member to turn it into a blog. Loads of copywriters and virtual assistants offer this service too. If your spelling isn’t that great and you’re not sure where to put your apostrophes or you get their and there and your and you’re mixed up, ask someone to check it for you, who knows their grammar.. and switch on your spell-check but MAKE SURE IT’S SET TO YOUR LANGUAGE – American English spelling is very different to UK.
Finally, post the blog in the blog part of your website. Most web packages come with one built-in. If it asks you for key words, FILL THEM IN! You know what they are because you just wrote the darned blog – you just need to pick 2-3 words that summarise what it’s about, to help the search engines categorise it.
Then, post the link to your blog on social media, put the blog in your next newsletter, market it like crazy and if you can, look at your website stats and see how many visitors and readers you get. Once you get started, there will be no stopping you! Happy blogging!
Claire Mitchell is a best-selling author of the Awesome Marketing Planner and founder of The Girls Mean Business, a mum and business owner. She has been featured in Marie-Claire, The Guardian, Closer Magazine, Essentials, The Huffington Post and on the BBC.