Writing a blog is difficult. It seems simple on the surface, but a lot of time and effort goes into creating quality content. Difficult or not, blogging is a great way to get your customers interested and excited about your products. But why start a blog? What kinds of content should be on the blog? Isn’t blogging a bit outdated? All good questions! Answers to these, as well as tips to getting started on the right foot, are what this article is about!
Why Start a Blog?
You may be thinking, “my business already has a Facebook page, Twitter, and Instagram. Why would I start a blog on top of that?” Starting a blog is a commitment, yes, but it allows you to show off your product or service in ways that other social media can’t. Blogging, unlike other social media, is more long form. Can you imagine having this blog post pop up on your Facebook feed? You’d scroll right past it, wondering why we ever thought you’d read such a long post! But on a blog, it doesn’t seem that long. It’s expected that blog posts are going to be several-hundred words long, so readers go in with that mindset.
It’s important to remember that, while your readers are going in expecting longer-form writing, they are still there because they are at least somewhat interested in your product. Your blog is a tool to sell, first and foremost. Your content should always be selling your product, either directly or indirectly. We’ll discuss this in a moment.
Blogs allow for a wide array of content. You can have videos, write anecdotes, interview other people…any number of things can count as content for your blog. This variety can either be freeing or daunting, depending on how you look at it. On the one hand, you can seemingly post whatever you want. On the other, which do you choose?
Content for Your Blog
Before you dive in to blogging, you need to ask yourself: What kinds of things are you going to post? This is one of the many times your customer avatar will come in handy. What interests does your avatar have? What is your product providing them? How can you mesh these two?
For example, let’s pretend that you own a home improvement store that specializes in lawn maintenance. Your customer avatar is a man aged 35-55 who loves to be outdoors and keeps a meticulous garden. During the summer, he’s out every weekend cutting the grass or getting rid of weeds. Maybe his wife has an area where she has flowers and statues of forest animals. What kinds of content would they enjoy?
Not every blog post is an advertisement for the products and services you offer. You can make mention of it, but it should rarely–if ever–be the focus of your posts. Instead, you want to focus on making you sound like an authority on what it is you sell. In the home improvement store example, you want to make sure your readers walk away trusting you to help them when they come to your shop. So, posting articles about the latest gardening trends, interviews with professional landscapers, or tips for starting out can be great article ideas to get you started.
Planning Your Content
Once you know what kind of content you want to have, it’s time to start planning your posts. Try and categorize the types of content you are going to post (interviews, how-to’s, etc.). Having a running list of ideas ensures that you always have a topic and your posts are varied. If you’re ever stuck, look at similar blogs to see what they are doing. Don’t copy them directly, but maybe you can talk about something from a different perspective.
Use a Content Calendar
After you have a list of ideas, put them in a content calendar. Again, this is so you are not trying to come up with your idea as you sit down to write. Take the stress out of writing as much as you can and plan ahead. When setting up your calendar, take into account what time of year you are posting what. For example, you’d probably want to hold off on a blog post about getting your backyard barbecue ready for closer to the summer. Posting that kind of article needs to be timely, so having a calendar to plan accordingly helps you stay on top of everything.
Content calendars are also good for showing gaps. Being consistent with when you post content is extremely important for growth, and knowing when you are about to have a content drought can help you plan for that. Your readers are going to expect a new article on your specified days. Not having an article for three weeks and then three in one day will do more harm to your numbers than good.
Starting a blog is a big undertaking. It requires lots of planning and thinking ahead, but is a great way to get people interested in your product(s). When done right, your blog enhances your customer’s interest by getting them excited about the lifestyle they could have with your product.
Having trouble with your blog? We can help! Contact us here for more information.