Friday Digital Roundup
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Blogging For Business Works: Here’s Why – Plus An Awesome Action Plan To Get It Right
I’ve been blogging for as long as I can remember. In fact I think I blogged at school in image form. That’s the thing about blogging you know; it can come in all sorts of formats. You may already be very close to blogging yourself and not even realise it.
Blogging for business works. It sends leads and interest to your business and it generates awareness of you. My blog gets viewed by thousands of people and then a few choose to use our services. This humble blog starts conversation across the world and converts interested people into paying clients.
But enough about my blog… how can you do it?
Firstly, let’s look at why you should blog in the first place. So often we career off onto a new path blindly. So here’s a few good reasons to start blogging or why you should step it up a little.
Blogging For Business Works: Here’s Why – Plus An Awesome Action Plan To Get It Right
Why should you blog for your business?
1. Blog to show you’re an expert in what you do.
2. Blog to share the simple stuff, then lead in to selling the complicated stuff.
3. Blog to give yourself content to share on social media.
4. Blog to help your website get traffic.
5. Blog about your keywords to help with Google rankings.
6. Blog to attract attention to your brand and build a following of interested people.
7. Blog to generate new customers.
8. Blog to build your email list, and then email them and engage them and start building rapport.
That’s a few of my favourite reasons to blog – and ones that really have worked for us.
So that should get you excited and ready to blog. But how do you blog well – and how do you make sure your blogs are read, convert and work for you?
Titles: the most important part of blogging
I don’t know how many times you’ve walked past a newspaper stand and not read the headlines – but I bet you find it hard not to. We’re conditioned to read headlines and they’re crafted to attract our attention. Use this in your blogging.
Your title is the most important part of your blog – without it, no one will read it.
It’s a sad truth, but in this world no one has the time to read everything.
Without a strong and compelling headline your blog may well go unnoticed. Sure, if someone you respect tells you to read something then you probably will, but until you have huge respect in your industry headlines are your way in… your way in to the click.
Emotive words work.
Strong emotional words work in blog titles. Words like need, love, hate, trust, belong and feel really make us relate to the title. We’re an emotional bunch and a well-written title can really appeal to us.
Action words work too.
Words like get, now, make, use, try, can, do, tell the reader what to do. Titles like “XXX tips you can do right now to make your business rock” or “Here’s XXX reasons you’re failing to succeed in life and XXX to help you win” really grab us and tell us something, don’t they?
XXX tips and tricks titles works well.
While we’re on the subject, the “XXX things you need in your life” or “XXX changes you can make to your social media to generate leads” style of titles really do work.
There’s no surprise to me that the most read blogs or the trending blogs in my RSS and blogroll emails are littered with them. They tell you how much you have to read.
“Only 11 tips? Oh, I have time for that.”
“Wow, 79 ideas? That must be saved to read on the train later.”
Telling people what to expect from your blog via the title is a powerful and successful tactic.
Descriptive titles explain your blog.
Just like numbering the tips, you can also explain the blog in the title. Don’t forget that the title may be your only chance to attract the attention of your readers. Describe the blog in up to 17 words (the most you should ever use).
Your title is the ONLY thing that stays with a share on social media.
When you share this blog – which I’m sure you will, won’t you? 😉 – the only thing that stays with it is the title. It won’t tell the audience of the sharer anything else. Your title has to carry your entire content with it.
Speak to your audience with Your and You.
It’s a personal thing. When content reads like the author is talking to you in head it resonates better. Words like you and your bring it all back to them.
Simple step-by-step blogs perform well on Google
When you’re stuck with a task it’s so simple to Google the answer. More often than not someone has already shared some content online that can help you.
Help people with simple stuff – stuff you can’t really charge for anyway – then blog about it.
Be the answer and gain some traffic and fans.
What do people struggle with in your world? Blog about it.
I bet you’re constantly telling your customers, followers or colleagues how to do something in your business. I bet it’s a common problem and you have the answer. That’s a great blog right there!
Just because you think something is simple doesn’t mean others do.
Some of my most-read blogs have been simple things that I take for granted that I know.
You know your stuff. You work with it all day. Don’t ever undervalue that knowledge. Blog about it (even if your competitors already have) get that simple trick on your blog and help people. You never know where it will lead.
K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid).
Not everyone is an expert in your field. Help your audience but do it in simple terms. Drop the complicated terms and phrases and they’re more likely to understand it and then more likely to share it.
Simplify your blog and make it easy for the skimmers
We have an attention span of less than 7 seconds online. We’re less attentive than a Goldfish. If you’re still reading this means that I’m doing my job well – you’re still here! Thank you!
Keep your blogs easy to read by offering shortcuts and easy-to-navigate pages.
Add sub-headings (with keywords for SEO).
Sub-headings break up the content of your blog and allow skimmers to easily find the part that they want.
Not everyone will want to read your blog from start to finish. Plan for that with sub heads. As an added bonus, having your keywords in your sub heads helps Google send people to your blog too as Google looks at titles and sub heads for clues about the content of your blog.
Give your blog a beginning, middle, and end.
Tell them what the blog is going to tell them, tell them what you’re telling them, and then sum it up to tell them what you told them. It helps the skimmers and it helps the readers too.
Use images to draw the eye down the page.
A whole page of words looks like a lot of hard work. We can’t all read as fast as Jo can. Plan for this and make it easier on the eye with attractive but relevant images to break up the copy.
Keep your images on the right if you align them though; we read left to right and images on the left interfere with this and make our eyes move all over the place.
Also, if you’re going to place large images in your copy only put images above the relevant copy not below it. Our eyes will naturally skim the words to get to the nice shiny image and we’ll miss the important text.
Blog about influential people and tell them
I like to blog about events, products and articles I’ve read. When you do this (or when you start) make sure you tell the person or organisation that you’ve mentioned them. If they share it then you’ll get more well-earned traffic.
Been to an expo? Blog about the speaker or event and share it with them.
Blogging about insight from your industry is important. If you go to an event then share the tips and news, cite the speakers – and tell them on social media.
Write content inspired by others and share it with them.
If you’ve read a blog and want to write your own views on it then tell the original author when you have. If you have an answer back like this great response from Russell Brand to an open letter then do it – and tell the author of the previous article.
More often than not the original author will share your content and if they’re a powerhouse on social media then more people will listen and read it.
Don’t blog too niche
Blogging about a niche can work but if you’re just starting out you’re better aiming for a big audience to get some well-needed traffic to boost your enthusiasm.
1. Find a large audience.
Think about the simple solutions that we talked about earlier. This means you’ll have a large audience of people you can help giving you a large audience of potential readers.
2. Find a large problem.
Find a problem within that large audience and think about how you can offer them help with it.
3. Offer a fix to a large problem.
Create a blog that fixes the large problem in the large audience and you have a large readership out there all ready to read your blog.
Give your thoughts on a large issue (especially if it’s topical)
Add into the mix that the problem is also topical and you’re onto a winner.
Recently Facebook broke for business Pages. I had a phone call from someone on Twitter and I worked out how to create a workaround it until it was fixed. I shared this on my blog and then on Twitter, but more importantly on the forum on Facebook who were all talking about it. Simple.
Be topical but relevant
Topical content really helps to gain traffic because everyone is interested in it. At the time of writing this Page 3 is trending on Twitter due to the #NoMorePage3 campaign. If my industry could benefit from blogging about this then I would. The power of hashtags could be an angle for me?
Blog about relevant and topical stuff in your industry.
But keep it relevant. If the page three campaign wasn’t based on a Twitter hashtag then it wouldn’t be for me. You must have a focus on your blog and keep the direction towards your business and your services or products. The Buffer blog is a great example of this. They offer all sorts of tricks and tips but always bring it back to their product – a social media scheduling tool.
People look for up-to-date stuff and Google shows the more up-to-date content.
Google something now and you’ll probably find a news article on it or a Wikipedia result. People like up-to-date content and so does Google. Blogging about topical stuff can help you get higher up the search results for some time.
If everyone is talking about it – hop on the bandwagon with your opinion.
When there’s already a big crowd you can tap into the interest with your timely content. If it’s the topic that everyone is talking about then get that on your blog and gain some well-earned traffic.
Be different – everyone else is already doing ‘normal’
One thing about blogging though, is that lots of people are doing it.
There’s no point in trying to topple Seth Godin with short and concise marketing snippets as he’s got that down. There’s no point in trying to create a lifestyle video series for coaching as Marie Forleo has got that mastered. Be different, be you and stand out from the crowd.
Be a Purple Cow.
While I’m talking about Seth Godin you should read his book The Purple Cow. It’s a really simple read and it talks about being different (amongst other things). Think about it. Amongst all the black and white cows why would someone notice you?
Controversial titles get clicks (but back it up in the copy).
Controversy rules. It’s always attention-grabbing to see a controversial title. Be careful though, and always back it up in the copy with a blog that supports that bold title – no one likes click bait!
Having an opinion shows you give a shit.
You know, if you just agree with everyone else it’s kinda bland. If you have an opinion about something and you’re prepared to share it on your blog it shows you care. If you care about your industry and business your customers will know that you work hard for it and feel a real connection with it. That’s important damn it – show them you care!
Passion and enthusiasm draw people to your business…
Sharing your blog on social media
Blogging ain’t nothing if no one knows you’ve done it. There are many ways to share your blog with others but social media is a real simple and effective way to do it.
Number 1 tip SHARE IT ON SOCIAL MEDIA.
Simple tip but make sure you do it. Don’t hit publish and wait – share it with everyone.
Share it more than once (about 20 times on Twitter).
It’s busy on social media so don’t expect one share at 3pm to do it. Share it on each platform more than once. On Twitter 20 times is not as many as you think.
Post it later on Facebook for the sofa surfers.
Facebook users are skimmers in the morning but readers at night. We all seem to surf social from the sofa and you can tap into that audience by appearing when they’re there.
Yes, the stupid Facebook algorithm might stifle that as it could hide your content – but try it and test it anyway as it can still work well.
Re-share it again in a few weeks.
You will gain followers and fans each week so if you share a post today then new connections in a month’s time won’t see your blog. I re-share old content occasionally (especially the popular stuff!).
Post it on Facebook and Google+ with ‘Friendly URL posting’.
When you share on Facebook and Google+ you don’t need to leave that ugly URL in the post.
- Paste it in.
- Wait for the link to load.
- Then delete the pasted text.
It looks nicer and everyone knows that you click the image and auto-generated content in the box to read the link.
Share it on relevant media.
Facebook blogs on Facebook – Business posts on Linkedin – Simple reads on Twitter – Visual posts on Facebook. Know your audience and share relevant content there. If you’re a member of a group on Facebook, community on Google+ or group on LinkedIn and the content is relevant to them then they might want to read it.
Drop your content into relevant hashtags. Add hashtags to your share on social media especially on Twitter and reach a far greater audience.
How do you come up with ideas?
So all that is all very well but what happens when you simply can’t think of anything to blog? You’re staring at a blank page on blogging day and you can’t think of anything to write.
Well I have the perfect answers for you.
Firstly keep a Word document on your computer or note in your smartphone and add the ideas as they come to you. Writing is a creative thing and often the creativity will come when you least expect it.
Stop walking. Pull your car over. Stop running or playing tennis. Stop writing that email and add that idea into your phone or computer. Save it for later and then carry on. When you get to blogging day you’ll have a starting point and a route to go back to in your old brain!
Some content ideas that come from everyday life:
Emails to customers explaining how to do something can become blog.
You probably email customers or friends with simple helpful guides or how to tips about your area or business. These can be copied and pasted in your doc or note and fleshed out as a blog later.
Blog about your talks… or talk about your blogs.
This blog is actually a talk. I’ve fleshed out the slides and created some content for you to read. If you’re giving a presentation then consider sharing the content on social media via your blog after the event.
Blog about topics of conversations on Twitter.
If you’re anything like me then you’ll be chatting on Twitter today about something to do with your business. Sometimes these conversations can make you realise that not everyone knows something or that you could help a lot of people with a simple hack or guide.
Blog about phone calls with customers who have problems.
I’m not suggesting that you write out the minutes from your phone calls! No, I’m suggesting that you make simple calls about client’s problems into anonymous self-help blogs.
Like I said before – just because it’s simple to you doesn’t mean it is to everyone else.
Simple daily tasks are perfect ‘how to’ blog posts:
I bet there’s something you do every day that you could share in a blog.
How to create an Excel sheet for phone calls.
How to organise your books and invoices.
The best way to schedule your work.
Anything that directly relates to your business, services and products is a great blog.
If you’re always explaining something then you should blog about it.
You know that thing that you’re always telling people how to do? (Mine is stopping Candy Crush invites on Facebook.) Well you should blog about it. This might even be a time saver if you can email or tweet it to people instead of keep explaining it.
Topical stuff in your industry (phone call about the Facebook break).
From time to time you’ll have a conversation with a client or colleague about a topical event in your industry. This is perfect blog content and if you can pen it down quickly and get it out there then you can gain some traffic like I did with the Facebook blog.
Re-purpose old popular content.
You don’t even need to write new content all the time. Go back to popular content and re-purpose it for the current time.
Take tip five from that popular blog and flesh it out into a whole new piece of content.
Update the info in your most popular blog of 2014 and call it the 2015 edition.
Go back to a self help blog from yesteryear and bring it back up-to-date and create a whole new title and add new images and then re-share it. It’s up-to-date, it’s topical it has a compelling headline and you’re sharing it social media and sending it to your list – it will work!
Blogging made simple (a summary for the skimmers)
So there you go. Blogging can really help you get more traffic, more leads and more customers. It takes time and it takes effort and strategy.
The best thing you can do is have a day where you blog and block out the time. Keep your ideas on a document and add to them when they come.
We’re not always ready to blog when the ideas come, and the ideas don’t always come when you’re ready to blog.
- Write compelling headlines to entice people in.
- Write about simple stuff that you know the answers to.
- Write useful step-by-step guides that Google and readers will love.
- Simplify your content to make it an easy read. Give shortcuts, images and sub headings.
- Blog about events and influential people and tell them.
- Be topical, relevant and not too niche so you appeal to a wider audience.
- Be different. You need to stand out in a large online crowd – be purple!
- Share your content everywhere and harness the social media power.
- Keep a document of ideas and find new ways to come up with ideas. Everyday life can really inspire your blogging if you let it.
Good luck and thank you for reading. I know your time and attention is limited.
Blogging has pretty much shaped our business here and if you need any more help then give me a shout right now.
Now it’s your turn…
What do you think? What are your tips or what do you find the hardest about blogging for your business?
Please comment below as we love to hear about your stories.
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