We know that providing great content is important to our online marketing strategy, but writing that content can be a burden. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 76% of small businesses (under 100 employees) have one or no dedicated content marketers. And when you are a small business owner responsible for running all aspects of your business, time is a precious commodity. Setting aside time to write a blog post is not high on your list.
But with all the benefits of blogging for a small business, we need to overcome the objections and add this task to our marketing activities.
Without content, there is no inbound marketing
When implementing an inbound marketing strategy, most small businesses begin with creating content for a blog. And there are reasons why this is popular.
- Adding content to your website increases your digital footprint. Search engines have more content to index. If optimized properly, your business will more likely to be found by people searching. A website with a blog has 434 percent more indexed pages than websites without. (Techclient.com)
- 44% of buyers say they typically consume three to five pieces of content before engaging with a vendor (Demand Gen Report). Blog content has become a fundamental part of the buying process. If you are providing a service, whether B2B or B2C, you can demonstrate your expertise through your posts. But this also means your content needs to keep your readers coming back for more. If they do, they are more likely to contact you to help them solve a problem.
- 65% of B2B buyers cite vendor websites as one of their most highly influential content types. (Ahrefs blog) When a business is looking for a solution to a problem or need, a website with educational content is more likely to gain the trust of the buyer.
Why do we create blog content in the first place?
When you write your blog content, you realize major benefits:
- Attracts our ideal clients. Helping people solve their problems with no strings attached helps build trust.
- Establishes our expert reputation. Content that helps your audience solve a problem makes you memorable. When the challenge is bigger than they can handle on their own, they will turn to you for help.
- Educates our audience. When you publish content that helps solve their problem, they tend to come back for more, strengthening the online relationship that is building between you and your readers.
- Helps with search engine optimization. Writing unique content that relates to your audience helps your blog gain visibility within the search engines for your top keywords.
- Makes it easier to get inbound links. Having a blog encourages inbound links from other blogs that find something you say interesting. I love to find a great post from someone I never heard of before. Providing a link helps them and helps my readers.
- Helps us stay up-to-date within our field. Researching and writing a blog post helps you to stay current on what’s new. Your clients see you as the leader in your field.
- Makes us the central source for quality content. Content marketing includes creating your own content and sharing other people’s content. If people are following you on social media and you share other useful content, it positions you as a content hub.
- Keeps our website fresh. People are looking for the most up-to-date information. Some content is evergreen – i.e. never goes out of date. If your industry doesn’t change rapidly, your content can stay fresh for a long time. If you are in an industry that changes constantly, you need to date your posts and update them often
Dispelling the blogging myths
Now that you know the value you get from blogging, let’s dispel some of the myths. For small businesses there are 3 myths that are still circulating.
You have to blog everyday
Although it is true that businesses that blog 15 or more times a month get substantially more traffic, you don’t need to blog 3 times a week to gain visibility in the search engine results. With the amount of content being created today, creating higher quality content less frequently is a strategy that works.
Frequency is important so your blog doesn’t get stale. But you need to pick the right amount for your business and be consistent. Set the expectations of your readers. It is better to know you will provide quality content once a month than get a lot of posts then silence.
You don’t write well so you can’t blog
If you understand your industry, you can create content for your blog. Writing isn’t a skill that many have naturally. This is where many small business owners need help.
You know the topics that your target audience needs. Get that information out as an audio file, a video or record the information and have a writer create the post. It’s your knowledge that is still being displayed in your blog. Just because you have a writer, doesn’t make it any less valuable.
No one will read it so why bother?
When you first start out blogging, if feels like you are speaking into a black hole. and even though 90.63% of pages get no organic search traffic from Google, having quality content you can use to promote your business is vital.
But with the right promotion, you can help gain visibility for your posts. It does take time for your optimization to take effect, but you can help it a long.
- Use social media to share your post. Pick the right platforms and share them.
- Upload your posts to Google Business Profile. Your posts now become part of your profile and are displayed when someone looks at your knowledge panel.
- Send your posts out to your email list (if you have one). You want to stay in touch with your subscribers and having your posts sent out is a good way to do so.
Many people in search of a solution will read blog posts to educate themselves on the topic before choosing a vendor. If they read your post, you have a better chance of them contacting you than your competitor.
Tips to write your blog post faster
Get organized before you write
Some people can just dive in and write a great blog post. But that may not work for most of us. You need to be prepared and organized before you start writing.
It’s important to have a list of 50 to 100 blog post topics before you start to post. What often happens is that new bloggers get excited about blogging, write a few posts and then stop. They’ve run out of ideas.
- Maintain a topic list – it is best to never start with a blank page. Get ideas by searching the web and reading other blogs. Look at Google Search Console for keyword phrases that people use.
- Develop a content calendar and keep adding to the list. You don’t have to write them all, but having a list of ideas can spark that creativity when you are struggling to put words into a blank post.
- Research before you write – eliminate disruptions that break your concentration
- Eliminate distractions – close your email / social media sites and don’t answer the phone
- Write where you get inspired – outdoors, a coffee shop or quiet office; pick what works for you
Organize your content into topic clusters and focus on one topic at a time. Start writing the pillar page that will link to other pages covering various aspects of that topic. This pillar page should give you enough ideas that can keep you writing for a while.
Having a solid list of topics also helps you pick the one you are energized to write about. The more interesting the topic, the easier it will be to focus on researching and writing about it.
Create an outline of your post
Now pick a topic and before you start writing, research your topic using Thruuu, an analysis tool that scrapes the top-ranking pages in Google for a specific keyword. It gives you comprehensive insights about your competition content and details about the Search Engine Result Page (SERP) of Google.
Using this data, you can now create an outline. It will help you write the initial draft faster than if you write aimlessly. Your outline should include at least the:
- Introduction – The opening of your post, after the title, is the next area to draw in your reader. Use emotion, statistics, a famous quote, ask a question or tell a story.
- Supporting content – Write the rest of the post sentence by sentence, making sure there is relevance to the topic at hand. Make sure each sentence passes the “So What?” test as this will make sure each sentence adds to the value of the post and isn’t just fluff.
- Call to action – What do you want your audience to do? You can ask them to share the post on their favorite social platform, provide them something to sign up for your email list or you can direct them, using related post plugins, to other posts on your blog.
Feel free to add more areas to your outline if that helps. Check out Thruuu – a tool to help you write better content and achieve greater organic search results. It now integrates with ChatGPT to help you write better content briefs.
Write your blog content
The most important aspect of your content is that it provides value to your audience. Writing thin, short content or long, confusing content is not going to help you. Don’t waste your time trying to implement SEO on this type of blog content. Instead, write something that is easy to consume but provides the answers to the reader’s questions.
It takes some work to write compelling blog content. Your content should grab the attention of your reader and encourage them to take action. Write content that educates your visitors and helps them better understand the solution to their problem. Content that attracts more traffic will get more visibility and therefore, will encourage more backlinks.
Create a targeted post that helps your audience find the answers they need. Write as many words as you need to completely cover the particular aspect of your topic. And then add the right media – images, video or podcast recording – to enhance the experience.
Choose the right format for your post. Is your post a how to guide, a comprehensive list, a tutorial, case study or a review? Here are some popular blog post types and formats to help you determine which one is right for your topic and audience.
Review other posts on the same topic. Make sure what you are writing is somehow different than what is already published. By different, it could be more entertaining, higher quality, more in-depth or written from a different perspective.
Write your content without thinking about editing, formatting and SEO. Worrying about making it SEO friendly while you are crafting the piece will slow you down.
Craft post titles that get attention
Once you have your content written, now create a title that makes it stand out. This is usually the hardest part of writing which is why I recommend you leave it until the end. If you start with the title, you may never get to the body of the content. Plus many times, the title changes after the content is written, organized and edited.
Your title will determine whether anyone will read the post. If you learn how to get your reader’s attention quickly, you stand a fighting chance of keeping their attention a little bit longer.
Unfortunately, most of us spend more time on the post content and very little on the title. But the title is what will help people find your post and click through the search results to learn more. Your title should:
- Be simple, grab attention and provide some help in meeting a need
- Be short and to-the-point
- Include the keyword that you want the post to rank for
- Provide the reader information on what the value of the content will be.
- Be unique for each page or post. If you are using WordPress, your content title will naturally use the H1 heading tag.
Stay away from titles that are click-bait. Nothing is more frustrating that clicking on a title and the post doesn’t fulfill the need. Tell readers what to expect and deliver on those expectations.
Dictate your content rather than type
Most mobile devices have a speech to text feature. If you use Evernote, it also has a feature that converts speech to text. Dictate your content and Evernote will record your speech and convert it into a text note using Google’s text transcription service (which requires that you connect to the Internet). It also saves the voice recording and attaches it to your note. When you need to create that blog post, just copy and paste the text and edit where necessary. I have started using this to record my thoughts while I am away from my desk to ensure I capture content when it happens.
Take advantage of AI
Using AI tools to help you eliminate writer’s block can help you get your blog post written fast. I don’t recommend you use the content that AI provides directly as you may find yourself accused of plagiarizing. But, AI can certainly help you with the topic outline and get you started.
Don’t be afraid to use AI to help you write your titles. Give ChatGPT your title and ask it to improve it. You will be surprised the quality of the titles that AI can generate.
Create content from presentations
Do you have a folder of presentations? Many of us present regularly and have many presentations that we’ve created for different audiences. Chances are you not only created the slides for the presentation but also have notes created to help you with your flow.
Repurposing content is a useful strategy for producing more original content that will appeal to different audiences. Take a presentation and turn it into a blog post, an eBook or a video presentation that you can publish and share. Using the material from the slides, your notes for presenting, the questions asked during the presentation and the conversation that occurred during the networking time, there is plenty of content available that can be turned into a series of blog posts using different media.
One thing we all need to do better is to consciously record questions, ideas and information so that we always have topics to write about.
Schedule time to write and set a deadline
If your goal is to publish two blog posts a month, adding structure to your schedule is important. Pick a day to publish and schedule your time a couple days in advance to write the post. Without the deadline and the scheduled appointment to write, you will always have something more important to do. Time management is a critical skill that we all must learn.
When you schedule your time in your calendar, treat this appointment with yourself as you would a client meeting. You wouldn’t arrive late, cancel it at the last minute or take phone calls while meeting with a client. Respect yourself as you would your client and do the same with this time.
Writing takes discipline
Any area of your business that requires consistent and regular implementation to realize a benefit needs a disciplined approach. Schedule your time, find your ideal location to write and start keeping a list of topics that your audience would appreciate and writing content will become less painful. Content published consistently will pay you back with increased traffic, new leads and ultimately, new customers.