Blogging for small business – Where to start?
Introduction to blogging
Warning this is useful information so it may be boring!
It’s been twenty-four years since the world wide web (www) was released by CERN. For many businesses this was a game changer. The companies that included web strategies in their communication plan reached new audiences quicker than their sceptic less adventurous competitors.
Blogging or web logging was a new and exciting development for the less exciting individuals. People shared their skills and experiences with the world and watched their followers grow often for no good reason. By 2006 blogging became widespread and attracted genuinely talented individuals whom shared their intellectual wares. Businesses took note and began to include blogging to their online communication strategy.
The dramatic increase in blogging is perhaps un-surprising since it is arguably the most powerful content marketing tool used on-line today. This article will aim to provide the reader with important tips albeit boring and tedious work preparing a successful small business blog. Please share your thoughts in the comment box and with your friends or enemies!
TIP # 1 Set blog objectives and KPI’s (key performance indicators) as the first step!
Set business blog objectives and KPI’s
The blog should be integrated with the overall business and communication strategy supporting the unique message and value proposition to the customer. The objectives should consider the companies mission, vision and its goals first and foremost. From here a more tactical approach to blog objectives should be implemented. The below table provides an example of what this should look like using the RACE (reach, act, convert, engage) model and SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time scaled) objectives:
TIP # 2 Small business blogs should engage the reader
Make your small business blog engaging for the reader
Now that we have established the very boring but necessary ground work of designing business blog objectives using KPI’s, the blog content should be considered. There is a good reason why the well-known adage ‘Content is King’ is used in digital marketing – content really is the most important aspect of engagement.
Rules of engagement
Relevant content will assist in search engine optimization (SEO) and will engage the reader, promoting an interest in returning to your blog. According to Slate only fifty percent of readers will scroll down an article but most will not finish it.
The research commissioned by Slate also discovered that the number of readers substantially increase when images are used. Heeding their research I have cleverly inserted an infographic below using interesting statistics gained from Hubspot and Slate on the benefits of blogging in the hope an image will keep you interested!
The infographic identifies an important point about blogging frequency. Hubspots research on small business blogs ( 1- 10 employees) identified that they do much better in lead generation from blogging up to ten posts per month than bigger companies, however, they generate more leads when posts = 11 + per month. This makes sense considering the more posts you make the more likely customers will see them and make an inquiry.
TIP # 3 Do a competitor analysis for your business blog
Competitor analysis for your business blog
Now that we have clear SMART objectives and an understanding of the importance of engaging content it is wise to do a competitor analysis for your blog title. The blog titles should be scheduled over three months. Dr. Dave Chaffey from Smart Insights suggests using three month plans due to the constantly changing on-line environment.
An example of this:
|If the blog topic is ‘blogging for small business’ to use a rare example, then a competitive analysis should be conducted on that keyword using Googles’ ‘allintitle:’ tool. The below screen shot provides us with information on the number of search engine pages (SERP’s) for ‘blogging for small business’:|
1,450 SERP’s suggests low competition. The next step is to assess the page rank of the top three organic searches. If the page rank is between 0-2 this could suggest new websites and low competition. There are many tools to investigate a websites page rank, domain authority, back links etc. The below are some useful free sites for competition analysis.
- Google Keyword planner – You need a gmail account that is older than 18 months for this.
TIP #4 Optimize your business blog
Optimize your business blog
If your still reading this than you will have worked out that successful small business blogging is not just about writing an article. It’s a great tool to drive traffic to a website and generate higher SERP’s (search engine results). The below tips will assist in optimizing a business blog:
- Use keywords throughout the blog
- Add social media share buttons to your blog
- Create engaging images that illustrate content such as infographics, slide shares, videos
- Optimize titles with keywords, fonts, colour and graphics
- Include easy to understand instructions in point form
- Insert call to actions (CTA’s) in the blog or in the side bar
- Link the blog to other pages in the website
- Have a dedicated business blog sign up landing page
Summary of the importance of blogging for business
The final tip is ‘don’t make it too short or too long’! Research from Data lab suggests that the optimal blog should read for about seven minutes. According to Clickz this is equivalent to 1600 words. For small businesses this content may contain industry information on products and services that are trending with customers – so make the blog clear and appetizing.
There are so many other factors for preparing a small business blog, such as; identifying customer personas and setting up analytics to measure blog performance. This will be discussed in then next few blogs – so stay tuned!
Be sure to return and thanks for hanging in there!
References and further reading
Blogging for business, http://cdn1.hubspot.com/hub/53/introduction_to_business_blogging.pdf (2013)
How to Get 100,00 readers for your blog, www.Hubspot.ie, Ireland (2014)
Dave Chaffey, E-business and E-commerce management strategies, 4th edition (2009)