If you’re a business owner, you’ve probably been told you should be blogging. You might have heard that a good blog pushes you up the Google Rankings. Helps establish you as an authority figure. Builds your relationships with customers. And lets you bring a bit of your personality into your brand.
Yet the majority of businesses still aren’t blogging as effectively as they could. Or just aren’t blogging at all.
I speak to a lot of businesses of all sizes about this, and from what I can tell there are 4 main reasons people put off keeping a good blog. So this post is a quick look at what these are and how to get around them.
Why’s this important?
I’ve seen just how powerful blogging can be first hand – my side project tech start-up Johnny on the Spot is now top 3 in the Google Rankings for both our name and product category -‘surf diary app’. And that’s solely through keeping a regular and engaging blog. It’s helped us build a following of over 1,500 fans, and has helped us make some really great connections for when we finally launch our updated version.
In short – regular, quality content is important – so here are my tips for getting around those barriers to blogging.
Reasons not to Blog #1 – Time
When you’re running your own business there’s never enough. (I hear ya!). You’re so busy keeping all your customers happy that there’s rarely space in the day to focus on developing your own business.
I’ve become ever so slightly (OK, quite a bit) obsessed with time management over the last couple of years. I won’t go into the details of all my ‘schedule hacks’ now – but one thing I’ve found really useful is to put aside a block of time every week when I know I’m going to be writing my blog. So every Tuesday morning I know that’s what I’m doing. Putting a limit on the time allowed for it is really effective too – remember Parkinson’s Law: ‘Work expands to fill the time allotted to it’. You don’t have to do it every week either – once a month is better than not at all. Can you find 3 hours every month? Schedule it in now and book a seat in your favourite café!
Reasons not to Blog #2 – Confidence
Not everyone feels confident in their writing abilities. It can be a nerve-racking process, putting your writing out there in the world. (Again – I hear ya!)
In my experience, most people are more worried about this than they need to be. Your writing doesn’t have to be profound and literary – just to communicate your message in a clear and friendly way. One of the main reasons for writing a blog is to let your audience get to know you and your brand a little better, so it’s much better to just be natural and use your own voice than to try and replicate what you think ‘good writing’ should sound like. If you’re still unsure, get a second opinion before you post.
Trust me, it gets easier the more you do it.
Reasons not to Blog #3 – Subject
Even if you’re confident writing, knowing what to write about is a whole different challenge. So many businesses make the mistake of confusing a blog with a series of advertorials, racking their brains to think of ever-inventive ways to make their product or service the hero of a slightly contrived story. That pretty soon becomes tedious for people reading – not to mention for the writer. No wonder people give up on their blogs!
Instead, try and think around your subject a bit more. When I’m thinking of different content to put into a blog, I often use what I call the AEIOU formula – it looks something like this:
- Advise – Sharing knowledge and information provides real value to your audience. What do you know about that they don’t? The ‘6 Top Tips’ style of blog fits into this category – it gives you a clear structure to work with and gives your audience a clear promise of a benefit for reading. And you can definitely think of 6 things you know about your subject area that your audience doesn’t. Answer their concerns and you’re creating real value.
- Entertain – Think about what your audience really enjoy. This one is key – if your audience enjoys the content you put out, it builds the kind of positive association that will serve your company well in the long term. You can go pretty ‘off-piste’ here as well – by which I mean you don’t have to stick strictly to subjects directly relating back to your business.
- Inform – More in depth than the ‘Advise’ or ‘How to’ style of blogs, I see this type of post as giving a journalistic style report into a certain area. You might have to set aside more time for this but it can be a really useful exercise, and one that can help establish you as an expert in your field.
- Opinion – these pieces can really stir up some good engagement. The great thing about opinions is that everyone has one, so pick the right topic and you can generate some great discussion.
- U – Stands for You. Don’t be afraid to get personal. At the end of the day, people buy from people, so don’t just tell people what your business does. Tell them what you do. What are your passions? I find I get much more engagement from blogs about things I’m interested in than my blogs about my subject.
Reasons not to Blog #4 – Results
You might have tried blogging before, but become disillusioned when you saw that it didn’t bring immediate results. True, blogging might not be the same kind of adrenalin shot a direct mail campaign can, or have the same kind of conversion rate that a powerful sales funnel on your website might. But over time, blogging builds credibility, visibility and authority, and is one of the most effective marketing channels a business has. Once a blog is posted, it stays forever, and it’s just another way for potential customers to find you.
My advice? Commit to 6 months and see how you go. I’m almost certain you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Can I help?
I’m always happy to chat through ideas and help with strategy if you’re thinking of starting a blog for your business. If you’d like to book a free, 30-minute call drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org