In our previous post, Benefits of Blogging for Small Business Owners, we highlighted a few of the reasons that blogging is one of the best ways to market your small business. From boosting SEO and website traffic, to providing lasting value to both your customers and your business well after a blog is posted, the benefits for small business owners are endless.
Even so, you're not alone if the idea of launching a blog feels daunting. Keep reading for a step by step overview of how to create a blog as part of a successful marketing program.
Step 1: Determine the blog's purpose and goals.
The first step in starting any blog is to determine the goals of your blogging efforts. Do you want to use this mainly as a conversion tool to drive sales? Do you want to build better relationships with your customers and improve overall brand awareness? Is it purely SEO-driven, to drive more website traffic? Blogs can take on very different tones for different purposes: friendly, informative, educational or entertaining – or a combination. No matter what your motivation, you’ll want to make sure your blog content aligns with your overarching goals in mind.
Step 2: Develop your content strategy.
Whether your goal is to answer questions customers may have or fit strategic SEO keywords into entertaining and engaging posts, planning your content strategy takes some time and attention. Start by brainstorming a list of questions your customers may have that your business can help answer. You can even think about questions you wish they’d ask, but don’t. Also, think about keywords or phrases related to your business that people may be searching for online. Once you’ve built out your list of questions, words and phrases, you’ll be staring at a sizable batch of potential blog topics.
Step 3: Create a content schedule.
Once your topics are nailed down, the next step is to build out a blogging calendar. The key to an excellent blog is consistency, so having a set content schedule can help hold you accountable and keep your content marketing well-organized and on track. Some questions to consider are: How frequently do you want to publish a new blog? How frequently will you be able to produce new content? Do any of your blog topics overlap with certain holidays or seasons? Will any posts need to coincide with other marketing campaigns? Try mapping out your blog schedule in advance for weeks or months at a time to save yourself any last-minute stress or surprises when it comes time for a new post.
Step 4: Set up the blog online.
One critical piece to the blogging puzzle is actually setting up the blog online. Luckily, whether you want to add a blog to an existing small business website or take a unique blog site live, this process can take a matter of minutes if you use a blog or website hosting service. Both website and blog hosts provide web server space for your blog to live online, will store all your blog’s files, data, and website code and allow your site to be accessed by users around the world. Some popular hosting sites for small business owners include WordPress, Wix, Blogger, SiteGround, Bluehost, GoDaddy and SquareSpace. These platforms allow you to customize the look and feel of your blog, so it can be a true representation of your brand or small business.
Step 5: Write your first blog post.
After the foundation of your blog has been built, it’s time to get writing! Finally putting pen to paper (or keystroke to screen) can often be the hardest part, so start with a topic you’re most excited about or know the most about so it comes a little more naturally. Use this first post as a time to establish the tone and voice you want to carry throughout your blog and remember to stay away from any overly salesy language. Your first post is the first impression of your blog, so make it a strong one!
Step 6: Promote your blog.
Once the blog content is flowing, you want to ensure that people- especially your target audience- see it. Some of the most common ways to promote a blog include social media, paid digital advertising or through email Marketing for small business. Whether sharing snippets of your content in an Instagram post, banner ad or via an email newsletter, the goal is to entice users to come to your blog to read more about your business. Promoting your blog on the channels and with the content you know your customers are interested in helps to get much wanted eyeballs on your blog and your small business.
It can be intimidating to get started, but if you follow the guide above, you’ll be six steps closer to blogging as part of your marketing strategy.
To learn more about how you can improve and optimize a new or existing blog, check out this post.