Every business can benefit from a blog. Regularly posting original content to your website supports marketing efforts in numerous ways. Businesses that blog get 55% more website visitors than businesses that don’t – that’s huge! Blogging also helps you grow your email list and communicate value to your target audience, and gives you tons of content for your social media.
Once you’ve decided to start a blog for your business, you might wonder, “How do I do this?” Let this blog serve as your guide to how you can start a business blog that will help you engage with your ideal customers and turn your readers into leads.
This blog will cover:
- The Logistics: Setting Up Your Blog
- Identify Your Audience
- Develop Your Blogging Goals
- Brand Your Blog
- Plan Your Content
- Write and Optimize Your Posts
- Repurpose Your Content
The Logistics: Setting Up Your Blog
Not every business owner is hands-on with operating their website, and that’s okay! You don’t have to know the ins and outs of your website’s backend. You do need to understand what a blog requires, though, so that you can get the help you need to set one up.
If your website is on WordPress, adding a blog is pretty simple! It’s a matter of following several simple steps to create a blog page on your site. There are a few great resources out there with thorough instructions for putting up a blog on your WordPress website. Here are a couple you can check out:
If you’re not on WordPress, you have plenty of options. There are a variety of hosted and self-hosted blogging platforms available for you to choose from.
With a hosted blog, you are essentially dealing with one company. You get your domain name , hosting, and blogging software all from that one company. While this makes things simple, it’s also restrictive. And, it’s slightly risky since the company technically owns your blog. WordPress, Blogger, SquareSpace, and Wix are a few examples of hosted blogs.
With self-hosted blogging, you buy a domain name, pay for hosting, and install the software yourself. A good host will do all this for you, though, or at least help you to do it. A couple examples of self-hosted blogging platforms are Express Engine, Ghost, and Movable Type.
Identify Your Audience
One of the most important things you need to do when starting a business blog is identifying whom you are writing it for. You might have already created customer personas, or avatars, as part of your business planning. If not, now is the time to develop a clear picture of who exactly you want to engage with.
A detailed customer persona will address your ideal customer’s key characteristics and qualities.
You might create a few customer personas (small businesses often have up to three). Make sure they include:
- Demographics: Gender, location, age, marital status, education, income level, etc.)
- Priorities and goals: What matters to them? What is important to them, and what do they want to accomplish?
- Info sources: Where do they get their information? What accounts do they follow, and what podcasts do they listen to? Do they subscribe to magazines? Is there niche info they’re attracted to?⠀
- Challenges: What is keeping them from accomplishing their goals? What are the struggles they’re facing in their lives, both personal and professional?
- Objections and roles: What might make this person hesitant to work with you? Are they in decision-making roles to hire or not hire?
Develop Your Blogging Goals
Before you dive into creating your blog and preparing a blog for your business, it’s important to establish measurable goals for it. The goals you set for your blog will guide the decisions behind what you write about, where and how you promote and use your blog content, and the time and resources you invest in the blog.
Here are some examples of what your blogging goals could be:
- Establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry
- Improve your business’ SEO
- Engage your audience and develop relationships with prospective customers
- Convert leads on your website
- Grow your email list
- Gather consumer feedback and insights
- Create custom content to help you stand out from competitors
Brand Your Blog
Your blog is an extension of your business. Make that clear to your audience! Use the same fonts and color palette that you feature on your website and marketing materials.
From the colors and fonts in your headings and subheadings to the images you include in your posts, your visual brand elements should be consistent with what you share elsewhere for your business.
Voice and Personality
Branding your blog isn’t just about its appearance. Consider your brand’s tone and personality. How do you speak with your audience on social media or your website?
It’s great to infuse a more personal approach in your business’ blog posts. Just keep in mind that readers should recognize your blog as a communication from the business they know (or are getting to know!) If your content is typically lighthearted or funny, let that be part of the blog!
Logos are one branding element that tends to be neglected on business’ blogs. Since they’re the most recognizable part of your branding, they should be included on your blog!
That doesn’t mean you have to include the whole logo or that it needs to be large or attention-grabbing, though. You can share elements of your logo, for example, or a smaller version of it. Just make sure your readers can see it.
Plan Your Content
Now that you’ve set up your blog and you know why you’re blogging, it’s time to decide what you will blog about.
Brainstorm Content Categories
You’ve identified your ideal customer audience, their priorities, and their challenges. Your blog is where you can demonstrate how your products, services, expertise, or experience can help your ideal customers achieve their goals.
Set aside time to brainstorm all of the different topics, trends, questions, and information you can share to support their interests. Show them why they should invest in your business.
Make a list of three to four content categories that will help your blog readers find the information or resources they’re looking for. On my blog, for example, I share a mix of posts that fall into the following main categories: Blogging for Business, Promote Your Content, and Entrepreneur Life.
Pick Your Topics
Armed with your content categories, it’s time to develop a list of blog topics to get you started. I wrote a how-to blog on picking topics for your blog that you can find here.
There are a ton of different blog post formats you can pair with your chosen topic. However, there are several that tend to be more popular with readers than others.
Here are six types of blog posts that readers love and the benefits of each.
- Lists: Easy for readers to skim and grab useful info.
- How-Tos: People want solutions to their problems. How-tos demonstrate that you can be a trusted resource.⠀⠀⠀
- Case Studies: Use case study posts to show that your business can “walk the walk.”⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
- Personal Stories: Sharing something personal helps readers get to know you. And if they know and like you, they’re more likely to work with you.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
- Round-Ups: Round-ups (or expert round-ups) provide readers with opinions or information from various credible sources in one post.
- FAQ: One post with answers to the questions people ask you the most about your business makes for excellent evergreen content. Plus, you’re sharing content you know people want to know about.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Create Your Calendar
Creating your content calendar is key to staying organized and allowing yourself to prepare and post quality blogs.
Consider how often you’ll post a blog, and be realistic about your time and availability. It generally takes 1-2 hours to write just 500 words. Your blog will likely be longer than that. Will you be writing the blog, will a dedicated team member prepare them, or will you be hiring someone like me to write them for you?
Think about the frequency with which you want to post blogs to your website. The more SEO-boosting blogs you post, the more traffic your business’s website will get. Huge companies sometimes post several times a day, while smaller businesses might opt to post weekly or monthly. The important thing is that you are consistent.
After you’ve decided your frequency and you’ve chosen your topics, you can start setting up your calendar and start creating content. Here are links to a couple of blogging content calendars you can download for free:
I strongly suggest batching your blog posts and the accompanying social media or emails you might use to promote them. You can read more about batching content on my blog.
Write and Optimize Your Posts
Hopefully, you’re following my advice and preparing your first several blogs at once :). If not, don’t worry, you’ll get the hang of it!
Here are steps you should follow to write an informative, engaging, and SEO-optimized business blog post:
- Research your keywords: There are a lot of tools available for keyword research. Use one or two to investigate keywords related to the topic you choose. Then, identify one primary keyword and two to four secondary keywords to use in your blog.
- Do your homework! Locate resources and get the facts and information you need about your topic.
- Structure for optimization: Optimizing a blog post for SEO is setting it up so that search engines and readers can quickly skim it to see what it’s about. I’ve outlined the key points you’ll want to cover to ensure your blog content is SEO-friendly in this post all about SEO.
Once you’ve written your post and set it up for the best SEO and readability you can, make sure the writing itself is good. Don’t rush review of what you’ve written. I like to set my blogs down for a few hours, or even a day, and pick them up to proofread with a fresh set of eyes.
If possible, have someone else review your writing to ensure you don’t miss any significant grammar or punctuation areas. At minimum, run a spellcheck in Google Doc or Microsoft Word before plugging your post into Grammarly for automated revisions.
Get a Free Quick Guide to
Download my free PDF with tips for writing and optimizing blog posts to increase your site traffic and engage the right people.
Repurpose Your Content
Blogs are the gift that keep giving when it comes to repurposing content. There are endless ways to promote and use your business blog content to increase awareness and drive people to your website. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Social Media: Pull excerpts, quotes, facts, and concepts from your blog posts and build social media posts and stories with them.
- Email Marketing: Add sections from your blog to your email newsletters or other emails you share with your subscriber list. Include a call-to-action to drive your readers to your blog.
- E-Courses: Your blogs will be full of informative and exciting content that you’ve poured over and proofed. Grab relevant points and topics to include in your next e-course.
- Workbooks, Checklists, and Guides: You don’t have to start from scratch when you’re drafting content for your lead magnets and freebies. There will be plenty of copy ready to copy and paste in your blogs.
- Podcasts: Looking for episode ideas for your next podcast episode? Start with your blogs!
- Webinars and Videos: Pay attention to which blog posts perform the best and receive the most traffic. They are prime subject matter for webinars and video topics your audience is demonstrating a strong interest in!
Creating a successful business blog is an investment of your time and resources, but you’ll be making valuable, original, and relevant content for your business!
If all of this sounds good, but you just don’t want to write…
Contact me to learn how I can help you grow your business with weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly blog subscription.