Should I start a business blog?
When I began to rebuild my freelance copywriting business, after taking some time out to clean small faces and bottoms (never with the same wipe) I repeatedly asked myself the same question.
‘Should I start a business blog?’
Everyone from my next-door neighbour to my kids’ teach to my window cleaner seemed to think I should. But I resisted, for a really long time.
As a freelance copywriter, writing a business blog is a bit of a no brainer. Firstly, it allows me to showcase my talent, putting my money where my mouth is. Secondly, posting regularly is writing regularly, so even if I’m not swamped with work, I’m flexing my creative muscles on a daily basis. Finally, even tortured writers, starving in garrets, need to advertise their services online, paying attention to keywords, meta tags, page ranking and all that SEO jazz. A blog helps drive traffic to my website and improves Google ranking. More words, more eyes. Fact.
But, like most of us, I can be lazy. I struggle with commitment – starting out with great intentions, but losing interest, and focus, as time goes by. Even though I try to sell myself to potential clients as ‘the perfect freelancer,’ I’m only human. And the thought of chaining myself to a weekly blog has always been daunting, particularly as the day-to-day running of my business already eats up so much of my time.
There’s also something permanent about starting a blog – immortalising your viewpoint online, sharing your thoughts with potential clients – it requires a level of confidence and faith in your abilities that even seasoned freelancers struggle with, at times.
Quality blogging, that’s relevant to your target audience, that answers their specific questions and speaks to them in the right tone of voice, is not an easy, or a quick thing to do. It takes time to filter through potential subject matter and come up with engaging titles, craft compelling arguments that you can back up with facts from reliable sources and to find an original take on, often, well-trodden material. You must also ensure that your posts are well structured, well-written, error free and SEO optimised. Oh, and then you’ll need to source appropriate images, come up with eye-catching headings and sub-headings, research keywords and ensure they appear frequently enough……
Blogging, when done properly, requires sustained effort. And for a long time, I wasn’t convinced that the results a blog yielded would be worth the investment.
Eventually, however, I sat down and wrote my first post. Mainly, I was sick and tired of people telling me to write a blog. Getting started would shut them up, sure, but I was also curious. There had to be something in this blogging business, if so many people thought it was a great idea. I also often found myself a little bit lost, when in-between jobs. I needed an outlet, somewhere I could focus my efforts and energies. Starting a business blog felt like the obvious choice. Finally, my website wasn’t turning up anywhere near the top of Google rankings for my chosen keywords (floundering way down on page eight or nine, despite my best efforts at SEO.) I needed something that might appease the hungry SEO monster, to help move things in the right direction.
Taking that first step was difficult and building momentum was a slow process. But over time (and somewhat begrudgingly) I began to realise that writing a blog can hold many benefits for a business of any size, in any sector. Some are immediate, some long-term – but when all is said and done, a business blog is a sound investment in the future of your brand.
Though my first few posts made little impact, my second and third saw me begin to build an embryonic following. I began to notice peaks in site visits whenever I published a new piece. Comments began appearing beneath my posts – people were actually engaging with my content and sharing with friends and colleagues – that felt pretty good. After a couple of months, I began to receive enquiries from people who had come across my blog, liked my writing style and were seeking a quote for my copywriting services. This was tangible proof that my business blog was actively creating more leads – whether or not these are converted into paying customers is entirely down to my efforts! Either way – the blog was here to stay.
Starting a business blog isn’t a quick fix, and it’s often difficult to measure its impact on your business, over the long-term. But there are many solid reasons to add it to your marketing repertoire.
Here are just a few…
Talk to your customer (and listen, too)
A blog is an open channel of communication between business and customer. It’s a place where you can share timely, useful and relevant information. It’s also an opportunity to engage with visitors on a deeper level, creating a community around your brand and responding to comments, questions and complaints in a personal way.
Of course, all this takes time and effort. But a blog can be a fantastic hub for your brand, gathering customers together to engage with you, each other and, ultimately, your product or service.
The heart of your business
Your blog is at the heart of all your marketing endeavours. Once information is published here, it can be used to feed your social media profiles (posts can be shared easily on content hungry platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.) Blog posts can also be sent as emails or converted into content for an eBook, making them a highly versatile marketing tool.
View your blog posts as books in a library– if they’re well-written, interesting and useful, people will want to borrow them. Like taking books from a library, sharing content from a blog is free – so if the quality is right, people will share your posts with others on social media, helping to spread your message (at zero cost to your business.) That’s got to be a no brainer.
Toot your own horn
A business blog can, and should, be used to let people know about the benefits of your product or service. Shamelessly showcase whatever you’re selling – whether it’s your own freelance services or a range of handmade jewellery. A blog is a great place to show customers how your product or service could improve their lives (and I use the word show, rather than tell, because you’ll need to back up your claims with evidence.) Using testimonials, statistics and case studies are great ways to prove authenticity and build trust with your reader, so don’t forget to include these.
Getting creative with your business blog is also a great way to stand out from the crowd. From inviting ten strangers to review a product, or challenging Instagram influencers to style your best-selling dress in ten different ways. The more interesting and unusual your method of presenting information, the more people will pay attention (but never sacrifice clarify for cleverness – your method of delivery can be quirky, but your post should contain substance too.)
SEO. A baffling concept for many website owners. Like it or not, your google ranking is important (where better to hide a dead body than page two of a Google search, right?) Anything you can do to increase your chances or a high rank, for your chosen keywords, is a worthwhile investment of your time and effort.
In simple terms, writing a business blog should help your website perform better in rankings, over the long-term. When crawling the web for search results, Google bots favour content that is new and fresh, believing this to be the most relevant to users. A regularly updated blog, packed full of quality content, should encourage those pesky little bots to show a little love to your site. Over time, a great blog may even help you to achieve that elusive page on rank for your chosen keywords (though this won’t happen overnight, or even particularly soon.)
Be warned that plagiarism, reusing content repeatedly and keyword stuffing blog posts (packing them with the search terms you’d like to rank highly for, making them read like a robot swallowed a dictionary) will all be picked up on by Google bots, and your site penalised. It’s better not to post at all than to post poor quality, cut and pasted content.
Show your expertise
Blogging regularly is a great way to show visitors that you’re committed to your business and immersed in your field. Anyone can set up a stall to flog their wares via the internet, but it takes a dedicated professional to diligently produce good quality blog content, that places them at the forefront of their industry, and ranks them as an expert in their niche.
People buy into people, not products. So if you can prove that you’re truly passionate about your offering, web visitors will feel warmer to your brand (and warm hearts lead to open wallets, my friends – I made that saying up, but the concept is good.)
Wear those big boss pants with pride
Starting a business blog is a fantastic way to share the wealth of specialist knowledge you’ve accumulated within your industry or niche. Blogging about topical issues in your chosen field will help you position yourself as an authority, someone who really knows their stuff within a particular area, and isn’t afraid to show it. As long as your content is well-researched, reliable and written in an engaging way, you’ll begin to develop a loyal band of followers that use you as their ‘go to’ guy or gal.
If you can establish your name, or the name of your brand, as the top dog within your industry, people will begin to seek you out, bringing new leads to your site without any extra expense or hustle.
Stay on your toes
Coming up with useful content for blog posts is a great exercise in getting to know your target market. You’ll need to carry out research around your customers – what they like and dislike, what keeps them awake at night, what problems do they need to solve and what questions might they ask in order to better understand or appreciate what you’re selling.
Time spent researching your business niche and looking at what competitors are doing can never be time wasted – the resulting blog post is a bonus!
Answer questions – get found
Google is the place where people go to ask questions. Instead of searching for ‘wool detergent’, someone is much more likely to desperately type ‘How to get a ketchup stain out of my jumper’ – particularly with the advent of voice activated search engines. If your blog post can answer a relevant question, it may well lead someone to your product (in this instance, if you sell stain remover for wool garments, you have a good chance of a hit, potentially leading to a sale.)
Keep this in mind when coming up with topics for your blog content, and you should find traffic to your site increases.
Start a business blog TODAY
So there we have it – my next-door neighbour, my kids’ teacher and my window cleaner were all 100% right about me starting a blog. On reflection, I wish I hadn’t been so rude when they suggested it.
Still not convinced? Here are ten quick, simple reasons to start a business blog on your website.
- Writing a 500-word blog post, or making 500 cold calls? Which would you rather be doing?
- If writing isn’t your thing, hiring a ghost writer is an effective and affordable way to create quality blog content (considering the ROI you can expect from professionally written content.) Check out some examples of my work in this area, all of which were commissioned by people like you.
- Each blog post is an opportunity to include a call to action, asking the reader to visit a certain page of your website, or view a specific product.
- Tech geeks will enjoy using analytics tools to examine blog statistics, as the online behavioural patterns of users can reveal important information about your target customer base (I have no idea what this means, but I’m 100% sure it’s true.)
- Become a celebrity within your business niche. I can’t promise you an Oscar, or that you’ll grace the cover of Hello next month, but a blog is a fantastic place to showcase your personality and reveal a little more of yourself to customers, helping them discover the face behind the brand.
- Starting a blog is quick, simple and free. Hosting sites like Wix and WordPress include a blog, with a standard template for posts – so all you need to do is cut and paste your content and a very basic business blog can be yours in minutes.
- It’s fine to start small, with short, simple posts that cover one clear topic and ask the reader to carry out one, simple action. You don’t need the best business blog in the world. But you do need a business blog.
- Use your business blog to tell your brand’s story – letting customers know why you’re in business, what makes you unique and how you can help them.
- Blogging is inspiring. You’ll start to see ideas all around you..talking with friends and colleagues, watching movies, reading, and just walking down the street.
- Starting a business blog creates free PR. Business bloggers are often interviewed by journalists as industry experts. Get some press!
Know when to outsource
Some people were not born to blog – and that’s fine. If you can answer yes to any of the following statements, it might be wise to invest in a professional writer, who can quickly create high-quality content for your blog, without any extra stress for you.
- I have no time in my schedule to research, plan, write and publish blog posts
- I hate writing and struggle with basic spelling, grammar and structure
- I love writing, but tend to ramble on for pages, without any direction or focus
- I lack creativity and would love to blog, but go blank when considering what topics to cover
- I feel like nothing much happens with my business and struggle to make the mundane seem exciting
- I know absolutely nothing about SEO and panic when I hear it mentioned
Using a professional writer to produce regular blog posts for your business isn’t cheating – it’s a worthwhile investment in the future of your brand. Many of the blogs you currently enjoy reading may well have been ghost-written (produced by someone other than the published name, or written by a professional writer if posted anonymously.) Outsourcing the writing of blog posts is standard practice within many industries, with many business owners choosing to play to their own strengths and leave blogging to the professionals – while reaping the many benefits of a decent business blog on their website.
My blog post and article writing services
As a freelance copywriter, I’ve written hundreds, if not thousands of blog posts, for clients ranging from restaurants to childcare providers, marketing agencies to travel companies and chocolatiers.
My blog posts and articles are guaranteed to be:
- Thoroughly researched, with citation from only trustworthy sources
- 100% original
- Packed with SEO goodness
- Interesting, informative and engaging
- Written in the right tone of voice and style to engage your target audience
If you’re stuck for ideas, I can do the appropriate research for you, coming up with a selection of titles that will work for your business. You can also ask for support with researching keywords, should this be needed.
I regularly create content on topics including:
- Health and beauty
- Family and childcare
- Business, marketing and social media
- Food and drink (including the restaurant / catering industries.)
- Art and culture
- Property (real estate)
- Dating and relationships
- DIY and home improvement
But my strong research skills allow me to produce content in any area, from fly-fishing to fashion.
Here’s what a couple of clients had to say:
“Rowan came back to us with a series of well-researched, engaging articles that surpassed our expectations. She asked the right questions to get to grips with a very loose brief. A fast and effective service. We no longer use anyone else for copywriting work.”
Chris Jaggard, Realy, Australia.
Blog post writing
“Many writers talk the talk, but Rowan actually delivers. Clear, engaging, interesting copy that’s a pleasure to read. On top of this she’s warm, witty and by far the most delightful freelance copywriter we’ve worked with.”
Kat Quinzel, Vintage Cash Cow.
Blog post writing.