Now that your business has been up and running for a couple of years, have you started thinking about adding blogging to your marketing repertoire? Getting started can be hard to do because there is just so much to consider. Here are the first three things to answer when you are starting your blog.
1. Who are you writing the content for?
Clearly define your readers —your target market— before you start. Doing so will ensure the people wanting to read your article can understand it. Your natural urge could be to say you want everyone to read your blog! But look closely at your target market. While the step by step process of how bees make honey gets you excited, not every person who sees it will be interested – some will skim right by your article. Decide if you are writing for people in your industry or outside of your industry. If your article is for bee-keepers, then go ahead and use jargon they would understand. If it’s for beginners wanting to become beekeepers, don’t use industry-specific words without defining them well.
What is the education level of your readers? According to Hollister Creative, “The average adult reading level is that of a 9th-grade level, but most Americans prefer reading 2 grades below their ability.” This may surprise you and you may think, “What if my readers are just particularly smart?” I’m sure they are, but the nature of blogs and articles is generally skimming. Writing your blogs for a 9th-grade reading level is about right to make sure the average person understands your post. How do you know what level you’re writing for? The Hemingway Editor is a great resource for this. Simply copy your content in and it will tell you the reading level! It also gives you tips about how to make particular sentences or phrases more readable.
2. What do you want the blog to do?
Are you selling a product or service? Do you have a website? Do you want your readers to interact with you in some way? Be very clear in your blog about what you want the client to do with the new found information they just obtained. If your blog is on your website, the longer they stay on your website, the more they learn about you and your company. They may not need your services at the moment, but when they, or someone they know, do need your services, they will remember your blogs and come to you first. Brand awareness is an important thing to remember when writing blogs. So, how do you get them to stay on your website? You can put a link to a similar blog on the bottom, or a link to a form, phone number, or email to ask for more information. If you’re selling a product, make it easy to buy your product by putting a link to it. If your blog isn’t on a website, putting your contact info on the bottom, or a link to your website, assures that they can get a hold of you if they want.
If your blog is purely informational — for entertainment or a public service and you don’t want your clients to do anything — at the very least make it so people can contact you, or put some kind of analytics onto it. This way you will know if anyone is reading it! I know you are writing a blog to share information and to build a relationship with readers. You put this article onto the internet for a reason, right? You want to make sure your efforts are not wasted!
3. What are you going to write about?
This is the age-old question. Entrepreneur.com and many other articles out there have good suggestions about what to write about. What are some new things in your industry? Do you have a funny story you want to share with the world? People like to read engaging stories. Some stories are for pure entertainment, while some share in the daily human struggles. Using examples to get your point across is also great.
Even if you are trying to sell a product or service, try not to write every blog like as a sales pitch. I’m sure we all have that one friend who has been trying to get us to buy their product. While you may love your friend, at some point you will either unsubscribe or unfriend them if all they write about is their product. (See, example!!) While you want people to buy your product or service, include education, humor, and stories (both about your industry and outside your industry), not just your awesome product.
What are the most asked questions your customers have about your product or service? Those are great blog topics. If you have an FAQ page, expound on some of those, or explain the steps in your proven process. Reach out to other employees to tell about their job roles; do ‘a day in the life of’ type segments — again, stories. You are an amazingly interesting person, with lots of good information people will read about. I’m sure once your brain starts going, you’ll think of lots of things to write about. Pro tip: when those ideas come across your head, write them down; it’s good to keep a list handy.
Bonus: How will people find your blog post?
It’s been said “Build it and they will come doesn’t apply to blog posts,” which is right. Just putting something out there on the internet doesn’t mean people will find it. Submit your blog to your email list and posting it on social media will help. Also getting other people to post your blog on their website is a great (but not easy) way that tells Google your blog is legit and boosts your ratings.
Know the keywords you want your blog to be the authority on. Building them into your posts will help people find you. This may take a bit of research, but the easiest way is to type in words related to your blog topic into the search engine and review the sites which come up. Do you notice words or phrases which come up multiple times? Try to put those into your blog.
Art Unlimited has 35 years of marketing experience which we are happy to share through education and training. We know a thing or 2 about blogging and what goes into starting a business — we’re entrepreneurs too! The blogging services we provide will give your website fresh content on a regular basis and pairs well with our full marketing package. Give us a call if you want to know more!