Should I start a blog for my business?
This is a common question for a lot of small business owners. When running a small business there are so many moving pieces and priorities
that you need to focus on that blogging can seem like a waste of time. However, blogging is a long term time investment that if done properly will bring you a huge amount of value.
When people are looking for a product or service the first thing they'll do is Google it. If you want your business to be found when this happens, this is where blogging comes into play.
Blogging will help people to find your business. Let's say you're a solicitor who's end goal is to get more customers for your practice. Consider what someone who could avail of your services might be looking for online:
"Getting legal help with landlord"
"How to patent a product"
"Free legal consultation in Dublin"
This is where writing a blog helps you to be found by potential customers. Potential customers find this post and as a result, they find your website.
But it's not as easy as writing a blog post and magically appearing on page 1 of Google. You will need to put in some work and research the topics and keywords that you will write about. In other words, you're going to be doing some search engine optimisation (SEO) research.
Blogging and SEO
For people to find your blog posts and ultimately your business, you'll want to appear on the first page of Google for relevant topics. SEO can be a frustrating thing, sometimes you'll put a lot of effort into writing a blog post that just simply won't rank well. The way to avoid this frustration is to research your topics and keywords effectively before starting, and here's how:
1. Create a buyer persona.
A buyer persona is a representation of your ideal customer. The people that you want to get to your site. By considering the goals and challenges that they have you can gain a starting point for your blogging strategy.
2. Write a list of the topics and keywords they might look for.
Using this list begin Googling each of these phrases, taking note of the businesses that are already ranking on the first page of Google. Are they big contenders that will be hard to out rank? If so then it might be worth pivoting your phrasing slightly.
3. Take note of the suggested searches at the bottom of the page.
The commonly searched phrases at the bottom of first page of Google can give you a good insight into what are some similar phrases that are being searched.
4. Use a keyword research tool like SEM Rush
Once you have this basis of phrases and keywords that you could potentially use for your blog posts then using a tool like SEM Rush which allows you to see the volume and level of competition for these keywords. You want to aim for a keyword or topic that's relevant to your buyer persona, has not too much competition and has some level of searches.
Turning Blog Visitors Into Customers
The next question you're likely to have is how do I turn visitors on my blog into customers?
A lot of people add a line like 'Check out our services here' at the bottom of every blog post. While may work on some posts, consider the experience of the visitor to the website. They've pretty much no idea who this business is because they've just stumbled across your website while searching online.
Instead you want to build rapport and a develop a relationship with them by giving them some kind of download like an ebook or guide for free. You could even go so far as to giving them a free 15 minute consultation.
That's right, for free!
Well...they say nothing in life is free, so while your website visitors aren't paying you anything in cash they'll instead be paying with their information.
Use a form to provide this download and once they've filled it out you have a bona fides email address for a lead to follow up on. This is the very essence of why your small business needs a blog, because if done correctly it becomes a way to generate some real business for you.
What I've just described is a very simplified version of what's known as a 'conversion path'. A path created to convert website visitors into leads and ultimately customers.
If you'd like to get much more in-depth into formulating a content strategy for your blog subscribe for blog updates. I'll be releasing an ebook that gives you actionable steps for creating a comprehensive content strategy that brings you real business leads.
Read more about starting your own business here.