By Tony Messer
If you’ve got a small business website and you’re not getting the results you want then read on because I’ve got 7 ways you can improve your business blog.
But first, have you even got a blog setup for your business?
Whenever I speak to a business owner who’s looking to grow their business one of the first things I ask is whether they’ve got a blog set up for their business.
If they haven’t then I tell them that it’s one of the best ways to get an advantage over their competitors.
It’s a great way to a) build authority in your industry or market b) get traffic from Google and c) get more social media action.
The trouble is that when I find someone who does have a blog they usually claim that they can’t identify one single penny of income to their blogging efforts, despite churning out loads of content for months.
If that sounds familiar and you want to discover how to develop a blog or learn how to make your blog better then read on.
Does Blogging Work For Small Businesses?But before we go any further let’s just address that point head on: Is blogging for small business worth the effort?
Well, the first thing to say is that if you run a small business you’re often short on time and you’ve got a ton of things on your plate. Writing and maintaining a blog is just adding more stuff that needs to get done to your todo list.
So I don’t want you spending time on things that aren’t going to give you a return on your time investment.
But I want to draw your attention to some research that we did earlier this year when we analysed over 540 UK B2B websites to see what set the winners apart from the losers.
The winners are the ones in the top 3 in Google. They’re getting a steady stream of enquiries and new customers every month. ‘Thank you very much Google’ they’re saying.
The losers are on page 5 of the Google results. They’re not getting any new (free) enquiries or customers from Google. ‘Google’s doesn’t work for us’ is what they’re saying.
But we identified 4 key factors that separated the winners from the losers and having more content was one of them (the others were good on page optimization, the number of Google reviews and the number of domains linking to them).
And a blog is probably the best way to add a constant stream of fresh, interesting new content to your website.
If you’re a beginner blogger and you’re still scratching your head, here are a couple of previous posts we’ve written that will show you how to improve your blog:
What Is A Blog And What Should I Blog About?
7 Compelling Reasons To Have A Company Blog
Can’t Blog, Won’t Blog? 5 Simple Ideas To Beat Blogger’s Block
But if you’ve got a blog already and you’re not getting the results you think you deserve, here are 7 easy ways to improve your small business blog:
#1 – Create A Content Strategy For Your BlogI understand if you feel the pressure to produce content – it takes time and effort.
But if you produce content because your competitor is or with the hope that something sticks, then you could be setting yourself up for failure.
A lack of a clear plan leads to lost time and money.
On the other hand, having a strategy makes you more efficient, it helps redirect focus towards your business goals and most importantly it keeps you motivated.
So how do you fix this?
Simple – you create a blogging strategy. Your strategy should be based on an understanding of your customers, align with your business goals and well-documented.
Now pllleeeeaaassseeee – don’t go mad on this.
All I’m saying is you need to understand that you have an audience and you need to create content for them. Don’t spend days worrying about creating an amazing plan. Often you just need to understand the overall direction and you can adjust course as you go.
#2 – Focus On Your Audience (Not Just SEO)Did you know that Page 1 on Google search results gets 91.5% of the total traffic?
A lot of digital marketers do. That probably explains why they focus so much on SEO.
But you can go too far in that direction and sacrifice audience experience for SEO goals. You should never forget that the whole point of blogging for business is to offer value to your audience.
Don’t let your strategy become more focused on keyword-targeting than on addressing your audience’s problems.
While being highly ranked on SERPs is important, there’s no point in having a visitor come to your site just to realise it’s just a great headline with nothing to back it up.
The only way to fix this is to concentrate on helping your audience before anything else. Go online and find out the questions your target audience is asking.
Research the common keywords to know their pain points. After that you can worry about rankings.
#3 – Stop Preaching To The ChoirIs your content only about the latest accomplishment at your company, your product features or the latest industry news?
I’ve got one word for you: Boring!!
So you might want to change that.
Sure, you’ll need to talk about yourself and your industry from time to time.
But think about it – who do you want to be reading your blog? Your competitors or your clients and potential clients?
Hopefully you said clients! If so, do you think they’re really interested in your latest awards or the latest thing that’s happened in your industry?
Of course not.
They’re interested in one thing and one thing only: What’s in it for me?
They’ve got problems and issues that you can solve for them. That’s what they want to hear about.
Of course you need to be sales-y at some stage or another. Content like datasheets and whitepapers have their place but never lose sight of the fact that you have an audience looking to get as many of their problems solved as possible.
Talking shop or using jargon turns people off. People hate it when they read content that’s designed to confuse or bamboozle them with complex terminology.
It also denies you the chance to engage with them as well as creating the opportunity to sell to them when the time’s right.
#4 – Include A Call To ActionEvery piece of content you publish should have a ‘call to action’ (CTA). What would you like the reader to do after reading? Subscribe, buy, share, make a comment, arrange a demo – you need to be clear about this.
This doesn’t necessarily have to be “Buy Now”. In fact, it should only be that if it’s the right stage.
A CTA could be as simple as asking your blog readers to comment on the post, asking them to read more of your content or asking for their email address for a more convenient access to valuable content a.k.a. “subscribe to my email list”.
The purpose of a CTA is to provide the reader with a pathway to another step. If you’re stuck for CTA ideas then check out these 8 types for inspiration.
#5 – Engage With Your AudienceThe hard work isn’t finished once you hit “Publish”. In fact, it’s just begun.
To create and maintain momentum with your audience, you need to be prepared to engage.
Set time aside to respond to reader comments, ask questions and answer more questions.
If your communication is all one-way, not even the best content will save you from being abandoned by your audience.
Also, engaging with them helps you better understand what people want. This way you can create offers that your customers want instead of making them want what you’re selling.
Whether it’s on social media or your blog, dedicate time to respond to and interact with your audience. Use monitoring tools to ensure prompt response to comments.
#6 – Promote Your ContentNo matter how amazing your content is, it doesn’t mean a thing if nobody’s reading it. You should invest at least as much time and effort in content distribution and promotion as you do on creation.
As you get better at blogging you’ll start to get a better feel for which websites work best in terms of getting your content in front of a wider audience. Once you’ve worked that out keep a note of it to make sure you promote every piece of content you create.
You’ll need a combination of paid, earned and owned distribution methods for the most impact.
Having such a content promotion plan is a vital part of ensuring that your small business blogging strategy is comprehensive and that your efforts pay off eventually.
#7 – Optimize Your ContentAbove I said that you need to create content for your audience and not for the search engines. But that doesn’t mean you need to completely ignore SEO.
Before you hit publish on any blog post you need to run through a few checks just to make sure you get maximum SEO impact.
Use this Blog post checklist to guide you:
The main thing is to plan it out and always think of your audience – your customers and potential customers. But make sure there’s an end result whether that’s a comment, a download or a sale. And don’t forget to optimize for SEO before you publish.
With these small tweaks you’ll be able to improve your small business blog.
Catch up on my current posts along with industry articles