Blogging For Your Business
Want to know how to blog for your business? Check out how we do it here at the SBDC. I'm gonna take you through the process of content creation that I use for the SBDC. So this is so much a step-by-step guide as a “how I work” type of video. I’ll throw in tips and tools that I use and I hope you get something great from it. This is going to be part of a series of marketing your business with the latest techniques like video production, webinars, podcasts, and social promotion campaigns.
IdeationYour first step when creating a business blog is: What are you going to talk about and why? Is it to build awareness or SEO? To help customers purchase or for customer service. This will influence what topics and format you are going to choose.
BrainstormingOnce you have an idea of your audience and how you want to talk to them, let’s brainstorm some topics. If you are just starting you want to create a bunch of topics at the start so you have a variety of topics to pull from when you need to, but where do you start?
Well like I said, if you are just starting, try jotting down your top 10 or 20 questions you get from customers. This should give you a good list to start. How I usually do it now that I've been blogging for the last couple of years is using a framework or a set of tools I'll show you right now.
ToolsIf brainstorming ideas is harder than just asking your customers or searching online then you may want to check some online tools. The website Quora is a question platform where you can ask questions on basically anything. You can search different content areas, see the questions people ask, and formulate your blog about your answers.
Answer the Public is another online tool you can use to generate some framing for content topics. Let me give you a little note about framing. Framing on a topic is about how you decide to cover the topic. You can create a list of tips, explanations, authoritative/education, etc. What Answer the Public does is that when you put in a topic, it gives you a web of framing like “your topic” or how “your topic” works. “Answer the Public” is a paid tool but you can get a few searches for free each day.
I use a framework based on a blog post I read in 2020 and I’ll link that in the companion article below. You figure out what your target is looking for or the service areas you offer. Let me show you what that looks like.
On this sheet, we have 4 general service areas we help clients with. Once you have those 4 buckets. The next step is to find 3 solutions you can offer in each bucket. For example, the SBDC helps start businesses. We will do that in 3 ways: Business planning, licensing/permitting, and buying a business. Where I deviate from the blog article I mentioned is it gives you very broad instructions:
A how-to guide that addresses Starting a business clients challenges from the perspective of what licensing permitting consulting offers
PlanningWhen creating these ideas, you may want these efforts to coincide or integrate with stuff you are already doing. This may mean you don’t blog every week but every other week or once a month. This means planning.
There are many different planning tools like Trello or Asana that you can track the progress of publishing your articles. Be sure to set time aside on your calendar because what gets on the calendar often gets done.
ResearchNow that you have your topics and your planning tools up and running you need to do research. If you ever read our blogs or see our content videos, you may think I’m the expert. I’ll let you in on a little secret, I'm no expert. To help our small business owners, I research and consult our advisors or other resources to gather the information I need.
SEOThe other information I research is for Search Engine Optimization. SEO is a set of techniques to increase the visibility of your blog and articles. My first step with SEO research is for keywords. Having these keywords in the article will increase the likelihood of being found online through google. You can use several tools like Google Keyword Planner to identify these keywords.
The other research I do after I write the article is the headline. I don’t always do headline research because of the nature of our program. It can't be too witty or tongue in cheek that many other blogs can get away with, but I try to make the headline as interesting as possible.
WritingBefore you start writing your masterpiece of a blog you need to create a quick outline to gather your thoughts. Let me show the outline I use. It’s an amalgamation of a bunch of different templates that I've used, incorporated, and refined.
Here’s the outline, It’s broken into 5 sections normally. The introduction includes a “what’s in it for me” statement to focus your blog post and a way to form the introduction paragraph. Each paragraph is broken into 3 sections to explain the concepts that you can flesh out later. Finally, the conclusion will sum things up and prove the WIIFM from the introduction.
WritingIt’s time to write! Writing is probably the easiest thing to do once you have all your prep and research completed. As you are doing this prep or outline you may have thoughts about this topic flying out; write them down. These thoughts can be incorporated and edited in the article once you start. I have a notebook I use to write down my thoughts because that’s just how my brain works but you can use a google doc or EverNote. Whatever works for you.
The actual writing of a blog post doesn't necessarily need to be “professional”. Remember, you aren’t a journalist. You don’t need to be. So the language doesn't have to be super formal. My best advice is to write how you speak. Check out any of my blog posts to get an idea of what I mean. If this means using dictation tools or using voice memos and then transcribing it, then do it. Whatever works for you. Another big question is how long does it need to be? SEO-wise it should be 900-1200 words or more. Don’t get too hung up on the number of words, but just use it as a check. Your true goal should be to get your point across.
EditingThe final process of writing is editing. Once I finish writing an article I read aloud a couple of times to ensure it sounds natural and I use Grammarly to fix any problems before it gets published. The other resource I use, and one that you should consider, is having it reviewed by a member of your team or a trusted partner. You can forward your finished blog to them by email or share a google doc and allow comments to get suggestions and incorporate those accordingly.
ConclusionBlogging for your business doesn’t need to seem daunting. With the proper preparation and strategy, any company can use blogging to grow its business. While the reach for social media posts will decline soon after you publish them, blog posts can be discovered weeks and months after they’re posted. Don't get me wrong, blogging is going to be work but it’s an investment that will pay dividends as your business grows and your audience grows.
So Let me know what you think. Do you feel like you can start a blog for your business? Have you used these tips to write your blog articles? Let me know down below.
View the video and original post here.
by Joshua Botello
La Verne Chamber of Commerce
2332 D Street, Unit E
La Verne, CA 91750