Blogging tips for small businesses to take on the big boys
If you haven’t got a business blog, or your blogging isn’t hitting the heights you expected it to, then you definitely need to read this article for small businesses. When you get your blogging right, it could prove to be the most cost-effective marketing tool in your armoury. Get it wrong, and it’s time and money wasted.
A great business blog can drive traffic to your website, introduce you and your products to new markets, establish your credentials as a subject expert, and increase sales. Every single blogpost you write should have the potential to do all this for you time and again – pretty much forever. It’s not like a newspaper or radio advert that disappears as soon as it’s been published or broadcast. For smaller businesses, it really is possible to compete with the big boys thanks to the global reach on the world wide web.
In this post, you’ll learn the elements your blog posts need to make them leap off the page and into your visitors’ memory banks.
First off – remember who you’re writing for
First things first, you must always write for your customers. Who are they? What problems do they have? What information do they need to know? What solutions can you provide? And this leads me to the first essential element of business blogging…
#1: Your post needs a point
Plenty of blogs have plenty to say, but no valid point. Without a point, readers don’t engage with the post. Your point will also help to identify keywords, or use already identified keywords.
#2: Your blog post needs keywords
Ah, the old chestnut of keywords. Yes, you must target keywords, but you can’t do what old-style bloggers used to do: keyword stuff. In fact, if you do litter your post with the keyword you’re targeting, Google will penalise it.
Google’s search engines have become intelligent. Now the trick is to use semantic keywords, and make sure you write interesting and informative articles that resonate with your readers.
#3: Include images
Images enhance readability. They help to attract visitors to your blog. And Google loves images, too. When you add images to your blog, it helps your message pop. And add alt text to images, and your images will pop to search engines.
#4: Give your post a structure
Your post must have a structure, and one that urges the reader to read on. Without a structure, your post becomes a mishmash of unconnected thought. With a structure, your post takes the reader on a journey to a promised destination. Here’s the general model that has been shown to produce the best results:
- Let the reader know that you understand their problem or need, and tell them what they can expect to learn or discover
- Make your points, and explain them
- Summarise/Conclude, and always include a call-to-action
Of course, depending on the type of post you are writing, this general model may need to be customised.
#5: Add elements that make your post easy to read
On-page elements such as headings (H1, H2, H3 tags), white space, bullet points, etc. make the piece easier to read – most people scan content, and all of these elements help this reading style. And there’s a bonus, too – they are all SEO-friendly and help Google find your blog and website.
#6: Make your post as long as it needs to be, and no longer
One of the most frequently asked questions about blog posts is, how long should they be? Some experts say 1,500 to 2,000 words. Others say 400 to 500 words. The fact is that there is no set length to a blog post. It simply needs to be as long as it needs to be to get your point across.
This said, it’s my experience that readers tend to think a post of less than 500 words lacks substance, while a post of more than around 1,200 words becomes a chore to read. That’s the long and the short of it!
#7: include (relevant) internal links
Internal links – a link from your blog post to another post or page on your website – are essential to SEO. They also encourage readers to stay on your site for longer, exploring what else you have to tell them. How do you create internal links? Here are a few blogging tips to help:
- Create content to link to
- Link between pages using descriptive keywords that provide clues to the content to which you are linking
- Link to pages that are deep in your site, and not your home page or other major page
- Always ensure that linked content is relevant
#8: Do make your content unique
There are no prizes for producing the same content as you can find elsewhere on the web. Have a unique point to make, or a unique angle to take.
#9: Always include a call-to-action
The point of your blog is to encourage the reader to do something you want them to, and that could benefit you either now or at some time in the future. You may want to capture an email address, sell a product, or give away an eBook. The call-to-action is the key to profiting from inbound marketing.
#10: Write a compelling headline
Your blogpost headline is the hook that hauls in a reader. It compels people to take the first step to becoming your customer: reading your blog and visiting your website. If the headline doesn’t pull people in, all the time and effort you’ve spent on crafting your blogposts is wasted. When we create headlines, we use a headline analyser to test them for pulling power.
#11: Edit your blogpost
Finally, edit your post. Cut out the content that adds no value. Then proofread it. Make sure there are no typos, grammatical errors, or spelling mistakes.
Of course, you’re only human. The odd mistake may be forgiven. But an error-strewn post may say more about you than you suspect. It tells the reader that you don’t care. And if you don’t care about what you put on your website, how can a prospective customer expect you to care about them and their problems?
How often should you post on your blog?
I’ve helped many businesses build their inbound marketing success through blogging, and there is one thing that is consistently proven: you need to post quality content regularly. But you don’t need to post dozens of articles every week, nor even post to your blog daily.
One company that I have been working with for a year just wrote to me to thank me. We produce one blog a week for them, and use all of the above 11 essentials of small business blogging to get their blogs noticed, read, and acted upon. Their thank-you message read:
“Well done sir! With your excellent work we turned a site with 0 organic traffic into one with almost 4000 new sessions per month from search alone!”
Use the small business blogging methods above, and you could have a similar outcome. For a free copy of my eBook “How to write engaging blog posts and grow your online audience” email me today. I’ll reply personally and attach my eBook for you.
Because quality content matters,