So, you need to blog. Whether you’re looking for a way to engage existing customers or prospective ones, improve your ranking in search results, or create a digital database of content you can reference, blogging for small business can help you accomplish many things. There are tons of blog posts across the internet that tell you how to blog, telling you to create content calendars, tell a compelling story, and maybe work in a few tricks to help with SEO. If you aren’t a writer, a digital marketer, or a person who understands websites, all of these things can seem pretty daunting. But blogging really isn’t as overwhelming a task as it might seem!
While there is a certain structure and some things that may help optimize your blog posts to show up early in search results, I’ve always found that answering questions clearly and honestly in blog posts is a pretty safe way to blog and show up in organic search results, which is one of the greatest benefits to blogging. Google and Bing are constantly improving their search algorithms to provide searchers with the best answers – always trying to overcome any dishonest tricks people might use to push lesser relevant webpages to the top of search results – anyways. So here we go with some quick tips that will help you write well for people and for the web on your blog!
1. Frequency Matters – Publish at least once a week
If you’re blogging to boost your organic search results, frequency matters to search engines. The more often you offer something new to the web, the more search engine crawlers will take note and remember that they should crawl your site for new info. So try and publish a blog post at least once – if not twice – a week.
I’ve found that it helps to create a rhythm in my routine for blogging.
If I know I want to publish a post on Friday, I’ll:
- brainstorm topics the Friday before my publish date
- create a bulleted outline by Monday
- write my first draft on Tuesday
- do some revisions (add images and clarify my sub headers) on Wednesday
- let the post sit for a day through Thursday so that I can…
- review my final draft with a fresh set of eyes before publishing on Friday!
For me, the heavy focus days are Monday and Tuesday where I outline and draft my blog post. Otherwise, I space out my time for revisions because time usually allows me to review my writing with a refreshed perspective. By giving myself time to forget the what or why I wrote what I did in my draft, I’m less likely to unconsciously insert explanations and words that aren’t there – I’m able to approach my draft as a new reader and identify any areas where I may not have explained clearly enough! This is just what works for me, other bloggers may find that they prefer to organize their thoughts in their head and can sit down and produce a blog post in a 2 hour sitting. Just find what works for you!
2. Blog about FAQs in 500-1000 words
Not sure what to write about? Start with your frequently asked questions – and don’t be afraid to answer the tough questions that your industry or competitors tend to tiptoe around. Today’s customers are empowered with smartphones, educated, and able to dig for knowledge and opinions. Just because you dance around the answer to a question doesn’t mean they won’t find the truth somewhere else. So be the one to offer the truth and gain their trust!
Try to answer a frequently asked question in 500-1000 words. A 500 to 1000-word answer to a question not only looks and feels like a full and satisfactory answer, it also plays better with search engines. So take the time to explain the who, what, where, when, why, and how. Give background and context where necessary, explain why a question or topic matters, and illustrate your answers and reflections with helpful imagery – be it charts, videos, or other graphics.
3. Organize your thoughts – use sub headers!
If you aren’t sure how to organize your information, try sitting down with someone who doesn’t know your business for 5-10 minutes and explaining what you plan to write about to them. Before you sit down to chat, organize your thoughts as you would for your blog writing:
- Imagine your blog post broken apart with sub headers
- Your sub headers should properly title and describe what you discuss in the paragraph(s) that follow
- Try listing and reading only your sub headers and see if they, alone, give you a full sense of what your blog post is about. If it’s not clear what your post is about from your title and sub headers alone, you may need to clarify them or add in some more information!
When you sit down to talk about your ideas, ask the person you’re chatting with to ask questions when they need clarification or more information. Be ready to listen, make note of times they ask for more information and see if you should be reorganizing your thoughts to include that information earlier on.
Blogging for Small Business: There’s always a way
Blogging once or twice a week is your investment in getting found in organic search results, in reaching more qualified prospects, in creating a digital database of content you can reference in the future. So why wouldn’t you blog? Not comfortable writing? Consider recording a video of yourself answering a frequently asked question or reflecting on a hot topic and uploading it to YouTube. You can then hire a freelance marketer or writer to take the content from your video and turn it into a blog post. And then you can even embed your video into the blog post too for added engagement!