6 Keys to Writing for Your Small Business Blog

Talking blogging strategy with Shelly Kramer

We’re honored to welcome Shelly Kramer, marketing/brand strategist, idea generator, digital content magician, scribbler, information junkie. She’s been named by a slew of organizations as one of the most influential social media influencers in the world. We agree – she’s pretty darn awesome.

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6 steps to successful business blogging

If you’re a small business owner and haven’t yet considered starting a business blog, hopefully if you’re reading this post, you’re already rethinking that. Blogging takes a commitment and is undeniably time-consuming – but it’s also one of the most powerful, valuable ways to market your business – no matter what business you’re in.

Here’s a 6-step blogging checklist to consult before you hit “publish.”

It’s about them, not you

don't be bashfulWe work with clients on a regular basis on the development of corporate blog content and this is something we wrestle with often. Businesses are used to pushing marketing tactics and a natural inclination is to talk incessantly about your company and how great you are. Wrong-o.

Instead, remember that no matter what business you’re in, your number one business is solving the problems of your customers and prospective customers. Write about those things, not about you. Focus your corporate blog on helping your customers and you’ll be on the right path. Ask yourself questions:

 

 

  • What are their problems?
  • What do they wake up worrying about every day?
  • How can they differentiate themselves from the competition?
  • What tools might make them more efficient?
  • What changes or trends are occurring in the industries they serve?

Write about those things.

Establish yourself as an authority in subject matter that your customers and prospects care about. Trust me, your readers will find that much more valuable and it’ll give them exponentially more reasons to trust and like you, not to mention coming back for more and/or hiring you to help them solve the problems you’re writing about. Way better than a seemingly endless loop of “101 Reasons Why We’re So Great!”.

Headlines matter

No doubt about it, the headline is the trickiest part of a blog post to write. You’ve got limited real estate (Google likes headlines of 60 characters or less) in which you need to quickly ”sell” the topic of your post. If you don’t make your headlines compelling (and keyword-optimized), chances are good nobody will be reading your blog post. Period.

Your first sentence is key

Just like your headline, your blog’s first sentence is critical. Make sure you’ve included relevant keywords in your first sentence and make sure they mirror keywords used in your title. This is your opportunity to hook your reader – if you don’t deliver in those first few sentences, you can believe they’ll likely not be hanging around for the balance of your post.

Subheads make reading easier

bloging as a marketing strategyRemember when I said your blog is about helping your customers? Not only do you want to keep them in mind when you’re selecting topic ideas, you also want to make sure you’re tailoring your blogs to fit their needs. When they visit your blog, they came looking for information and they’re most likely scanning your content to see if it suits their needs. Subheads help people more quickly scan a post for relevant information and make your post easier to read and understand. Additionally, subheads can give you an opportunity to use more keywords, which makes Google happy (one of my main goals in life).

Respect their attention span

To piggyback off of that last thought, your readers aren’t just pressed for time—they likely are juggling a lot of demands and thoughts at once. Think about your own content consumption habits, for example—you probably read a lot of posts and articles and status updates and the like every day, right? That’s why it’s key to respect your readers. Don’t write long-form blog posts that will lose your readers before they hit the halfway point. Instead, serve them the information and resources they need in concise, easy-to-digest paragraphs. Trust me—they’ll be grateful! In fact, this post is too long!!

Deliver what you promise

There’s nothing worse than being drawn into a blog post by a compelling headline, only to reach the middle and be frustrated you didn’t get the information or value you expected. I don’t know about you, but it irks me to no end. Think about that as you create your blog posts, and look at them with a critical eye. Are you giving your readers the information you claim they’ll receive in your headline and opening paragraph? If not, edit until you do.

One additional tip? Blogging is hard work! Trust me – I do it every day, for myself and for our clients and know full well what a challenge it is. Your blog can be one of your most valuable marketing tools, if you let it. But if you don’t feed it with fresh, relevant content, it can’t work for you. For me and my firm, as well as for our clients in both the B2B and the B2C space, our corporate blogs are, without question, one of our most valuable corporate assets that must deliver value on a daily basis.

What about you? Where are you with your corporate blogging efforts? Where do you need help? Ask us here and I’ll be glad to do what I can to help. And if you’re an established blogger, we’d love for you to weigh in – what other advice would you add?

Let’s continue the conversation on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn (whichever one works best for you) or leave a comment below.

About Shelly Kramer

Shelly Kramer ~ @ShellyKramerShelly Kramer is the Founder and CEO of V3 Integrated Marketing. A 20+ year marketing veteran, she’s a strategist, brand storyteller, digital marketing pro, content marketing expert, speaker and corporate trainer – and she’s a well-regarded figure in the worlds of tech and social media. She’s been recognized by Forbes as one of the Top 50 Social Media Influencers, and identified as one of the 150 Most Influential Women on Twitter. She’s also been recognized by Forbes as one of the 30 Women Entrepreneurs to Follow on Twitter and ranked as #12 on the list of the World’s Top Tweeters. She’s half marketer, half geek, with a propensity for numbers, producing results and a dash of quick repartee.

4 Responses to “6 Keys to Writing for Your Small Business Blog”

  1. Shelly and Julia,
    Such a helpful blog! What do you think is the ideal length for a biz blog vs a personal? Also what is your favorite key word or SEO tool?
    Thanks!

  2. Hi Shelly,

    I agree that respecting your readers’ attention spans is very important. I find that I tend to write long form when I’m blogging and an article can easily run into the 900-1000 words range and I have to come back and snip it down to the 500-700 range. It’s easy to just go on and on but we should all remember that it’s easier to write a long piece than to read it, especially when you are just info-snacking or pressed for time.

    Thanks.

    Mike

  3. Miranda Nabers says:

    Hi Shelly,

    This is a great blog! Thanks for all the helpful tips!!! I love blogging and all that goes all with it. I am a newbie blogger, so any tips from the experts are most appreciated.

    Thanks,

    Miranda


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