“Do I have to write blog posts?
I don’t even know what a blog is.
I don’t have time for that.”
We hear this often, especially from clients that are just starting out with a new website. The short answer is YES! Yes, you should write blog posts. Yes, I will explain blogging to you. And, yes, I guarantee that you will have time for it. For starters, let’s cover some blogging basics.
Blogging Basics – What are blogs even for?
- Explaining your business to new customers
- Providing knowledge and solutions to a problem
- SEO (Search engine optimization)
- Showcasing your company culture
- Highlighting networking and social events
- Sharing out-and-about posts
Explain your business to new customers
Your website’s homepage should do all of the explaining about your business and services, but blogging about your company gives future and existing customers a little more insight on your specialties. Choose topics to write on that involve describing a product or service in depth, how your business started, the area you serve, why you are the best at your business, etc.
Provide knowledge and solutions to a problem
Most businesses offer a product or service that is a solution to a problem. What is your solution? Explain it and how you can serve your customers. This may be an opportunity to give away free industry information or insight as well.
For example, say you are a licensed electrician in Cary, NC and one of your most common job requests is wiring and hanging ceiling fans. Write a blog post about how you do it. Take some pictures on-site and document your steps. In that blog post, you are offering the do-it-yourselfer some insight on how to hang the ceiling fan from a licensed professional’s perspective. Be sure to throw in the importance of why you should have a licensed electrician install the fan instead. The blog post could end up getting you the job once the customer sees the steps it takes to run the electric line, install the fan, how long you will need to stand on a ladder, etc. The blog post could ultimately prevent you from getting the job because it is a DIY post, BUT, you are sharing your knowledge that could in fact prevent an injury or accident from occurring.
Search engines are your friends – say Hi!
Blogging isn’t the only way to optimize your site or get Google to recognize you. In fact, when you first build your website, the search engine bots will see you and will start crawling your website within the first week, if not within a few days. Any information you add to your site (your company name, address, phone number, email address, website tagline, etc.) will all be visible by the search engines. When someone Googles that specific information, you will likely appear somewhere in the results.
Blogging in general gives the search engines more information on the specifics of your business and services which will increase your rankings for specific keywords, topics, services, or products that you offer. Search engines love to see original content, images, and videos. We tell our clients to write blog posts the way you would speak to a customer about the topic. Your posts will sound natural and honest – you will be surprised to see how much knowledge you really have about your business when you go back and proofread your post.
You can link to your own product pages, social media posts, other credible websites, and even local companies. The search engines will acknowledge all of that and your rankings will be boosted eventually with more and more posts. Search engines are your friends. Give them the specific information they (and your customer) are looking for!
Let your company culture shine
These next three categories are a bit more casual and don’t fit into every business, but don’t be afraid to give customers a glimpse of your company culture. If your company volunteers or gives back to your community in one way or another, blog about it! Post the funny group pictures, link to the organization you are supporting, and write about why you do it and how it came about.
Does your team attend industry trade shows? Do you offer continuing education programs? Do you have an employee of the month? Do you participate in college color day during football season? Take company retreats? These are all excellent blog post topics that should be fairly easy to recap and write about. Don’t forget to document these events with photos and list the names of your employees that participated.
Highlight networking and social events
Many small to medium sized businesses designate one marketing or sales professional to participate in networking events, represent the company on a board, or attend local charity galas. For other companies, it’s the owners doing all of this networking. Either way, documenting these events on a blog gives customers another glimpse of the company – how they run their business, where they spend their time, and how they are striving to make a difference in their community.
Documenting where these events took place is also good for local SEO. If your business name appears online in several nearby cities, your chances of being found as a product or service provider in that area on the Google search results will increase.
Out and about posts on a whim
Sometimes you are just in the right place at the right time. If you happen to run into a local celebrity or public official, snap a picture (or selfie!) and document it. Notice something new in town that is related to your industry (or not) and think your customers or network would be interested in reading about it? Take a photo and blog about it, or upload it to social media in a pinch. Sometimes the most-read and shared posts have nothing to do with your business. However, they create buzz that could put your business on the map.
Finding the time to blog
You may not know it, but you have the time to blog and frankly you need to start somewhere. I would recommend working through this list backwards. Start with a post on a whim, or a recent social event. This way, you are starting out blogging about something fun and you most likely have pictures on your phone from this function. Take five minutes before your lunch break to create your blog post, upload a few images, and write as little or as much as you can before you have to slip out the door. You will be surprised how much you can write in 5 minutes. Then, when you are waiting for your food to be served, or standing at the deli line, share your blog post on social media.
Once you see how relatively easy it is, you can start to map out a blog posting schedule and assign topics to days. Write the informational posts ahead of time and schedule them to drop. Continue to write and post your out-and-about and other social networking posts as they come up. When you get into a routine, the groundwork will be laid to pass off the project to an assistant or hire a digital marketer to do the writing for you.