Hello and welcome to the next installation of our blog series regarding online tools to help your business thrive in an ever growing digital environment! This week’s topic of discussion: Blogging. What is it? Why is it important to your business? Where do I start? We will be answering all these questions and more below!
What is Blogging and Why is it Important?
As mentioned in our blog about search engine optimization, blogs are an excellent form of topical signals on your website through internal and external links. Search engines are greatly fond of websites with good topical signals, which would increase the likeliness of your website appearing higher in search results. Also, blogs are a form of providing your website with new refreshing content. Having at least one blog post a month provides your website with content that could draw in potential new clients or have your existing clients coming back to find out more.
Starting a Blog
Blogging may seem like a chore but it doesn't have to be. Blogs are the best way to express yourself and provide insight to your consumers. They also don't need to be a gigantic piece of text. It's the quality of what is written that is more important than the quantity!
Types of Blogs
Before you jump into blogging, it is important to know that there are different types of blogs. Go through them below and determine which would be best for you.
How-to: In a how-to blog post, the blogger explains the steps the reader needs to take to complete a task. (e.g., “How to Bake Chocolate Chip Cookies from Scratch”)
List-based: A list-based blog post is one that’s organized as a list of related entries. This could be a list of products, historical events, quotes, images, or unusual and intriguing facts. (e.g., “The Top Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipes”)
News Article/Trend: A news article blog post links to a trending news article and provides the blogger’s thoughts on that news article. (e.g., “World’s Largest Cookie” / “The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipes From This Year”)
Interview: In this kind of post, the blogger introduces a person they’ve interviewed and provides some background information about the interviewee and their work. (e.g., “Interview with Mary Campbell, Record Holder of World’s Largest Cookie!”)
Review/Advice: As implied by the name, this type of blog post reviews a product or service. Advice blogs give advice on a particular subject. (e.g., “Which Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe is Best?” / “Tips for Making Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies Extra Gooey”)
Personal: A personal blog post, like a personal essay, is where the author discusses their personal experiences, thoughts, and/or opinions. Usually better for a personal blog and not a business blog, but in some cases this may be an option for a business blog also. (e.g., “My New Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe Revealed”)
Explainer: An explainer blog post is similar to a how-to blog post in that it provides a thorough, objective explanation of its topic. The difference is that this kind of blog post isn’t necessarily presented in a linear, step-by-step format and doesn’t necessarily explain how to complete a task. (e.g., “What Are No-Bake Chocolate Chip Cookies”)
Image-based: As the name implies, an image-based blog post is a post that focuses on images. The post could be an infographic or it could be a post consisting of multiple images. No matter which it is, it contains at least some copy to give the reader some context for the images—that’s what makes it a blog post and not an image gallery. (e.g. “Comparing Cookie Textures. This Cookie or That Cookie?”
You can always utilize a few different types (ie. how-to/personal hybrid, etc.). Just keep in mind that consistency is important, therefore, using all the different types or changing up too frequently may not be a good idea.
Determining Your Target Audience
Next, you need to determine who it is you are blogging too.
Determining who your target audience helps decide what topics you will choose that interest both you and your audience. For tips on determining who your target audience is, view our blog regarding personas, a way to give your audience a face; here: Who What Huh? - Target Audiences
Choosing a Topic
Choosing a topic is the first step in the blogging process!
What can you easily and passionately write about? If your blog is affiliated with your business, brainstorm ideas for blog posts that provide value to your target audience while promoting your brand.
Useful tips to find topics when you are stuck:
Browse other blogs within your niche. If you’re starting a travel blog, for example, simply Google “travel blog” to see what your competitors are writing about.
Use Google Trends to find out which topics are trending.
Look for current events and recent news stories related to your field.
Write an Outline
List your working title (should catch the reader’s attention) and the key points you want to hit in your post. These key points will likely become separate sections, each with its own header and subheaders.
It should be completed in a basic essay format: an Introduction, Body text, and a Conclusion (should be a call to action)
Example: Implementing and Monitoring Social Media
Engaging your audience
Be prepared for the bad comments/press
Change up your content
Now it’s time to write your first draft! Google Docs is a nice, free resource for this.
Ideal blog length should be 1,500-2,500 words but as mentioned above, it is more about the quality of the blog vs the quantity!
Blogs should be written as though you are speaking to the reader. They should be a fun piece of writing that isn’t super formal or full of technical words.
In the first few sentences of your article, you should already grab your readers’ attention. Begin with a relevant quote or statistic, tell a short story, or share an interesting fact. Then, set the tone for the article by sharing a brief summary of what you’re going to talk about in the body text. This gives your readers a reason to keep going.
The Body text is the “meat and potatoes” of your blog. This is where you fill in the main parts you mentioned in the introduction. In this section, you want at least 3 hyperlinks to external sources that back up what you are discussing. Don’t just write giant blocks of text. Utilize bullet points and/or quotes mixed in with your paragraphs.
The conclusion will wrap up your blog and usually include a “call to action”. This could be as simple as getting the readers to subscribe to your blog for the next installment.
Example from outline above: https://meaganjc1.wixsite.com/weeklyblogs/post/implementing-and-monitoring-your-social-media
Note: some of the elements discussed above aren’t implemented in this particular blog (i.e. bullet points/quotes). Also because of the platform used, images couldn’t be inserted in the text, but it would have made the blog a whole lot better if it was possible.
Proof read and edit your blog before you publish it! Grammarly is a useful free tool to help with grammar and spelling errors.
Add relevant photos to your blog! Images make a world of difference to the readers.
Blogging may seem like a lot of work but the rewards can be quite beneficial to your business. Not only does it help with your search engine optimization, it also provides you with an outlet to provide your existing clients or potential new ones with insight on your business’ knowledge and/or a peek into what your business is up to.