A 4-Step Plan to Building a Successful Small Business Blog
Is creating a successful blog for your small business at the top of your to-do list?
Would you like to build your online presence through blogging, but don’t know where to start?
It goes without saying that blogging can benefit your business.
Not only can it position you as an industry or subject matter expert, but also create social capital necessary when establishing a credible online presence.
If you’re ready to tackle blogging, the four steps below will help you kickstart your efforts!
4 Steps to a Successful Small Business Blog
1. Set Your Goals
If I asked you why you were blogging, would you know the answer? Can you clearly articulate what you’re looking to achieve and how you will get there?
One of the biggest mistakes I see many bloggers make is a lack of purpose. They start out with a loosely defined plan and haphazard content strategy.
If you want to know your blogging goals, answer a few questions.
- What is the number one reason you want to create a successful blog for your small business?
- What will it do for your business? Think ahead 3, 6, 9 months.
- Who will read your blog? Be specific.
- Who will you need to recruit/hire to help you achieve your blogging goals?
- How does a blog support your current marketing efforts?
- What’s your writing style? Funny, data driven, witty?
- How will your blog create business opportunities and drive sales?
2. Identify Your Target Market
Before you sit down to write your first blog post, consider who you’re speaking with.
For example, let’s say you’re a local daycare provider. You use your blog to talk about issues that plague the parents of the kids you spend your time with daily.
As you can imagine, the challenges parents of toddlers as opposed to those of newborns are significantly different. Getting crystal clear on your exact market will allow you to tailor your content and your message in a very specific way.
Take the time to ask yourself a few questions. Once you know your market, you can focus on content creation.
- Who are you passionate about serving?
- What differentiates you from the competition?
- Who is your specific target market?
- What qualities or characteristics define them?
- What’s important to them?
- What problems can you solve?
3. Maintain a Consistent Content Schedule
When was the last time you revisited a blog that hadn’t been updated in months? Probably never.
Staying consistent with your blogging efforts is the only way to establish your reputation and build blog credibility. After all, how can anyone take you seriously if you don’t take the commitment to your blog seriously?
Whether you use Google Calendar or Outlook, pick your reminder system. When you’re first getting started, you don’t need an elaborate editorial calendar. It’s as easy as picking the days you’ll write, identifying your topics and then sticking with a plan.
And don’t overcommit. Can you blog once a week, twice or maybe even three times? Think seriously about how often you will have time to create and publish new content.
Begin with at last one post per week and keep the day you publish consistent. You want to train your readers when to look for your content. Certainly this can and will change as your blogging continues, but for now, just focus on one consistent day.
Remember; always put the quality of your work ahead of the quantity you produce. Only posting one quality post per week is far better than alienating you growing readership with poorly written articles that are thrown up on the blog hastily.
Not sure what to blog about? Here are a few questions to help you get started.
- If you’re a local business, write down what makes your area unique. What do you love about it that your customers will appreciate and respond to in kind?
- Brainstorm questions that clients or customers have asked in the past. You can be certain that those answers aren’t just beneficial to one person, but rather hundreds searching for the same solution.
- Pull all of your testimonials together. Have you help past customers and what did they have to say about your service? Now share that in a way that helps others understand how you help.
- What gets you out of bed and drives you everyday? Write down why you love to help your community and then share your WHY consistently.
4. Map Out Your Promotional Strategy
Simply clicking publish on your latest post is not your final step. One of the key factors to the success of your blog is proper promotion.
If you want to encourage reader growth, blog traffic and engagement, you need to place your content in front of as many people as possible.
Your target market isn’t going to miraculously show up at your blog doorstep. You need to tell them where to find you.
Start with traditional marketing and add a link to your email signature, newsletter and other promotional items.
Now leverage social media. Share your post across all of your social channels, including Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and even visual networks like Pinterest and Instagram. There’s a whole new audience waiting to find you, so let them!
Here’s an example of what your strategy might look like:
No matter if you’re looking to gain new leads or improve online awareness, the benefits of a blog can be far reaching.
If you want to succeed, make the commitment today to stay consistent with your blogging efforts. No blog succeeds overnight. It will take time and perseverance.
But in the end, the results are what make the difference. Take the plunge, enjoy the ride and have fun building your business blog!
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