What Is a Blog and Why Does My Business Need One?
Blogs! They’re everywhere!
At this point, I’m not sure there’s a topic alive that hasn’t been covered in a blog post by somebody somewhere. From Pop Sonnets to Going Zero Waste, there’s something out there for every taste. But as a business taking your first tentative steps into the world of blogging, it can feel like a whole new world, and perhaps one you’re not even convinced you need to venture into. By the end of this blog post, I hope that at the very least you’ll understand what a blog is and why your business needs one.
What Is a Blog?
Before we move into what a blog is, it’s probably helpful to clear up what a blog is definitely not. A blog is not...
People often refer to blogs as being similar to an online journal or diary entry. Unfortunately, unless you are incredibly famous and/or fascinating, no one aside from your Nanna is interested in reading a blow-by-blow account of your day along with your inner monologue. It’s best to save the ‘Dear Diary’ vibes for a notebook under your pillow!
There are some notable exceptions to this rule. Firstly ‘A Day In The Life Of…’ posts, which can offer outsiders an insight into your industry on a day-to-day basis, or alternatively if you’re on A Grand Adventure! If you’re cycling from one end of the country to the other, backpacking the world solo or living on a barge for a year then yes, you can get away with using your blog as a journal of everything that happens to you along the way and people will still want to read it. (Sadly, being a freelancer with a biscuit problem doesn’t count as a grand adventure, apparently.)
An information dump
You want to establish yourself as an expert in your field, not as an expert in sending people to sleep. Don’t be tempted to write an incredibly long information dump about a highly technical or complicated aspect of your business. The only other people it will be interesting to are those capable of understanding it, i.e. other experts in your field. It’s possible to share relevant information without frightening away potential clients!
A sales pitch
Yes, you want to sell yourself to potential customers but a blog is not the place to do it! By all means, include a Call To Action (CTA) at the end of your blog to let people know how exactly you can help them, where they can get more information or how to get in touch (you can see an example of a CTA at the end of all my blog posts, including this one) but don’t be tempted to see your blog as a way to pitch your business.
Now we’ve cleared that up, we can move on to thinking about what a blog actually is!
A Blog Needs a Purpose
It can be helpful to think of a blog post as an ‘article’ of sorts. The two have a lot in common since they both need to have a purpose. It doesn’t matter so much what that purpose is, it could be to share your Great Aunt Jenna’s Top Secret Flan Recipe along with some family anecdotes to honour her memory or it could be a step-by-step guide on How To Change a Lightbulb.
A blog can be interesting, entertaining, serious, informative or laugh-out-loud funny. It can be written in whatever style or tone of voice you want, providing it’s in keeping with your brand and consistent over time. That’s not to say you can’t write a mix of lighthearted blogs along with more serious ones but your readers will want some idea what to expect. It will be jarring and off-putting for them if they read two quirky blog posts written in a jovial tone, followed by something heavy and serious that bores them to tears.
Another important point about readers is that when they finish reading a blog post, they should feel as though they’ve got something from the experience. It doesn’t always need to be profound, it could be that you’ve made them laugh, told them something they didn’t know, raised awareness of an issue or given them a couple of tips. Whatever it is, they need to feel that your blog added value to their day...or else they won’t be coming back for more.
The best blogs have a clear takeaway message for the reader. After reading, a person should understand why the blog post was written, which means that you should understand why you’re writing it before you begin! This applies whether it’s a write-up about an event you recently attended or a highly technical news article relating to your field.
Before you put your fingers to your keyboard, ask yourself ‘Is this blog-worthy?’ It may be something that’s fascinating to you but not necessarily related to your business, in which case, will potential customers or clients care? Or it may be that it’s worthwhile sharing in a different format. Not everything suits 800 words of text! Could you share it as a Facebook post, Instagram caption, quick tweet or a paragraph in your newsletter instead?
Why Your Business Needs a Blog
We’ve established what a blog is but why does your business need one?
Blogging regularly is good for SEO for a variety of reasons. Not only does it show search engines that your site is active and directs potential customers to your site, but it also provides links. You can link your blog post to your service or product pages and vice versa. This all helps establish your credibility to search engines such as Google.
Establishes your expertise
Aka it allows you to show off your knowledge! As a business owner, you will have a lot of specialist knowledge and skills stored away in your brain that you take for granted. Sharing some of it in blog form is a great way to demonstrate to anyone reading that you do actually know what you’re talking about! A well-written blog shows potential customers and clients that you really are an expert in your field.
Blogging can help with your social media strategy. It gives you something to post on social media that then directs traffic to your own website. Plus it can act as a jumping-off point to spark further social media posts and conversation.
Blogging for business is not a short-term, quick fix but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing! Regularly posting well thought out, well-written, interesting new content to your website in the form of an engaging blog post helps to establish your credibility over time. Your old blog posts can work for you years down the line, generating new views long after you’ve forgotten you even wrote them!
Regular blogging keeps your website looking fresh and up-to-date. Unlike the other pages on your website, which are usually static and updated infrequently, a blog show potential customers and clients that you’re still actively engaged in your business. A blog a day keeps the dust away! (Or, a blog a week...you probably don’t need to be blogging every day!)
A way of sharing news
A blog post allows you to easily share news and information with existing clients and customers. If you’ve been to a conference or event, won an award, worked alongside another local business or supported a charity, people will want to know about it and a blog is a great way to tell them.
Still not sure?
If you’re still not sure how to make a blog work for your business, there are a whole host of blogging courses out there to help you get up and running. I like the Grow Traffic Better Blogging course for its no-nonsense, jargon-free explanations and advice. There are also - somewhat ironically- heaps upon heaps of blog posts out there all about blogging!
Alternatively, if you understand that your business needs a blog but deep down you know that you don’t have the time, energy or enthusiasm to make it happen, I can help! I offer one-off blogging services as well as blog packages. Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or give me a call on 07841116012 and we can chat about what you need.