A small business blog is anything but small. It’s an important business development tool that multiplies traffic to your website, and with a few smart moves, can convert random traffic into potential customers. And for this very reason, your small business blog deserves much attention from your marketing team.
While starting a blog has become child’s play, running a successful blog requires astute strategic planning.
Here are some tips that are sure to help your small business blog carve out a space of its own.
#1. Define Your USP, and Stick with it
One of the best ways to make your business blog successful is to target a specific audience and then make every effort to deliver information which is both useful and interesting to them.
While chalking out your blog’s content strategy, you need to clearly define your blog’s USP and stick with it no matter what – at least in the first few months. With so many websites offering advice on just about anything, having a USP is one way to let readers know what they can find on your blog.
Have you visited WiseBread? While their tagline, ‘living large on a small budget’, strikes an instant chord with the average reader, the content itself carries a universal appeal – learn how to live frugal by cutting costs in everyday activities. Who wouldn’t want to save a few bucks here and there! SocialTriggers is another brilliant example of a successful niche blog that provides information every online business can use – how to use psychology to gain loyal subscribers.
If you’re planning to integrate a blog into your niche website, begin with blog posts that would be of relevance to your existing customers and then take it from there.
#2. Sell Expertise
When users are bombarded with tips on how to run their life and work, it’s the expert advice that cuts through all the noise and grabs attention. When an expert talks, people stop to listen! That’s what differentiates a successful small business blog from run-of-the-mill advice columns.
Get an industry expert on board, or hire professionals to write weekly guest posts, highlight your own expertise, and showcase the experience and skill of your core team through blog posts – your readers would be happy to learn that you know your onions.
#3. Provide Information, but Keep it Simple
You small business blog has a purpose – to reach out to the maximum number of people and convert them into potential buyers. While jargon sounds impressive, it only works well for a handful of your readers. If your goal is to connect with the ‘common man’ so to speak, simplicity is the magic word. When it comes to retaining information, people tend to remember the simple stuff, told in layman’s terms.
A recent blog post titled 14 Ways to Make Your Twitter Updates More Creative, by SocialMediaExaminer is the perfect example of relevant, click-worthy content supported by an intriguing title and a useful compilation of doable tips.
Richard Branson’s blog isn’t a small business blog by any means, but its straight and simple language stands out, as if he is having a conversation with the reader.
When Richard Branson can keep it simple, anyone can.
#4. Maintain Continuous Dialogue with Your Readers
So, you’ve got the pulse of your readers and your blog seems to be doing rather well. This is where many small business blogs fall prey to complacency. These days attention is so short-lived that building a connect with your audience is paramount if you want them coming back over and over again.
There are a number of ways you can pamper your audiences every once in a while –
> Float survey/questions asking your readers to rate the best blog posts
> Seek specific inputs; ask readers to nominate a blog topic to be published in their name (the one that receives the most votes gets published with their name: John Doe’s 10 Places To Visit Before You Die)
> Offer free e-books, webinars, podcasts, expert Q&A as a bonus to the returning visitors
> Start an Expert column where your readers can ask questions (you could set a weekly limit to the questions one can ask)
> Scan reader comments on social media and blog pages, and you are sure to strike gold with real-time reactions
Of course, the brilliant content on your blog is doing its job, but readers want more. Keep giving!
#5. Make Your Own Rules
You’ll always get plenty of advice on how to run your small business blog. However one piece of advice business owners hardly ever hear from experts is to be assertive and confidently implement their own ideas. Every business owner has a vision for their business.
There is a certain way you want your blog to look like and feel; there are ideas in your head that probably make sense only to you.
Look close and you will find that the most successful small business blogs have their own thing going, be it the presentation, content variety, blog layout, or frequency of posts. Go with your gut. Start small if you want. If initially you can do only one post a week, so be it.
Blogging is a wonderful tool to establish rapport with your customers, and your blogging strategy needs to be a happy mix of tried and tested techniques and your own unique ideas.
Bonus Ideas and Tips
Here are some tips to get over the fear that you may not be able to maintain your blog –
> Start small with weekly blog posts resolving the concerns or queries of your most coveted customers
> Get your company leaders and managers to share weekly/fortnightly blog posts
> Give up the thought that no one will read your blog; If it’s relevant, it will be read and shared
> Encourage your teams to share your blog posts within their network
> Brainstorm for blogging ideas your readers would find worthy (if you own a local baking business, for example, a blog post titled 10 Unique Cake Ideas for Your Child’s Birthday is sure to get your readers interested)
Always remember that your blog is your best tool to make your voice heard and recognized among all those large corporations and brands, provided you do it right. So, get ready to give your blogging strategy a serious rethink and use the above-mentioned guidelines so that you can fulfill your business goals.
Feel free to share what you think in comments below.