Jean publishes a blog called the Enterprise Corner. It features articles on entrepreneurship, local industry trends, manufacturing news and periodic ‘toolbox’ articles showcasing assistance, incentives and other resources for local businesses.
Blogs provide business owners with an unprecedented way of reaching and engaging large audiences in a way that traditional marketing pushes can't match. Blogs can help put a human face to your business while showcasing your knowledge and passion for your chosen field. For example, a landscape owner can showcase plant maintenance and fertilizing tips, a restaurant owner can share recipe secrets. Just about anyone can share tips of the trade that connect them with their customer base. There are no constraints to the ideas you can generate and engaging content you can solicit from your customers. Of course, if you are thinking of starting a blog you need to have an underlying strategy in place to ensure it is a success.
1. Keep it short and sweet –Keep your posts brief most of the time. You can pop in a longer post on a topic that your passionate about occasionally but readers like it short. A great way of doing this is to use “fillers” (posting links to other blogs, event pages, YouTube videos, and so on) and frame them with an intro. Don’t do it all the time but it’s certainly a way to keep content fresh without spending too much time researching and writing.
2. What are your customers saying? –Your customers, and potential customers, are your target audience and a great source for blog topic ideas. Listen to them. What are their challenges? How can your skills and expertise or product help them with their pain points? Focus on your area of expertise and write about what is relevant to your customers. You don’t need to do a deep dive into a topic, keep them interested and then link to your website or better yet you or your staff.
3. Need Inspiration? – Inspiration can come from a variety of sources, and don’t feel that you have to reinvent the wheel with your blogs. Take the time to follow and read other blogs that relate to your field. What’s going on in the news? Is there a new industry development that’s worth writing about? Oftentimes you can spin a different angle on a topic that’s already been written about, or even reference that blog and weigh in with your comments (but never copy the article). If you need a kick starter this link to Small Business Trends will give you 100 great ideas.
4. Showcase People & Feature Guests – Why not feature willing customers? What they do, why they use you, real simple stuff. What about your team? Do you have any quirky characters or rock star employees that your customers love – let readers get to know the faces behind your business. Open the door to guests or featured experts to write a blog for your readers. It keeps it fresh and lets customers know you have resources at the ready.
5. Create an Editorial Calendar – This is an absolute must and can really make the process of writing much easier because you do all the planning in advance. Use a simple spreadsheet to schedule your blogs. Get your plan scheduled out quarterly if possible, but a monthly plan also works. Make a plan to post once a week, then add more frequently as needed. Your calendar should identify your topic, describe the angle you are going to take, and assign an author (hint, engage your staff) and a due date. Before you hit post be sure to check for any industry or market updates that might impact the angle your blog takes.
6. Keep it Focused on Business –The number one golden rule of business blogging: never veer into personal interests. Your favorite breakfast cereal and your kids’ soccer trophy are not topics that should ever hit your business blog, save that for your personal facebook pages. Keep it focused on your business and bringing value and interest to your clients.
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