Most small- and mid-sized business owners realize that adding dynamic, interesting content to their website will help them rank higher in internet search results, build a strong reputation for their brand, and set them apart as an expert in their field. When starting a blog, we all have the best intentions to write regularly, feed our blog posts to social media networks continuously, and keep the content fresh. But we all know too well that the daily grind of running a business fills our time, and our blogs lag embarrassingly behind. Eventually, we stop writing all together, leaving a blog page with a last post from six months ago (or longer), and that has the exact opposite effect as the one we originally intended.
Having said that, blogging is really important. Generating fresh content drives traffic to your website and creates clout for your brand. It makes you an industry expert and helps you attract qualified leads. So how do we overcome the writer’s block so often associated with keeping an up-to-date blog? Here are five proven tips to keep your marketing content current and important:
1. Answer questions that your customers commonly ask, or that your customers should be asking. Position it as a Q & A column. For instance, a financial services company’s blog post might look like this:
Q: What rate of return do I have to earn on my investments to be able to retire at my current standard of living and have my money last through my life expectancy?
A: <Insert a 3 – 4 paragraph answer here, and end the post with information on how to contact a representative at your company to further evaluate a potential client’s individual needs>
2. Tell a story. Social media gurus call this “emotional marketing.” Your clients want to like you. Relate to them by giving an honest account of a client you have helped. For instance, if you operate a medical equipment rental service, share a story about the shut-in you recently helped by working with her insurance company to find a qualified home health care assistant. Or if you own a landscaping business, tell me why you bring treats for your favorite clients’ pets. These narratives give your business a personality, and they’re generally easy to write about.
3. Stalk your competition’s blog. It’s not as evil as it sounds. Gather a list of five to 10 company blogs that you can follow, and get ideas based on the topics they’re writing about. Never plagiarize, and do give proper credits and references as appropriate. Reading your competitions’ blog sites will undoubtedly help you generate content to write about, as well.
4. Follow the news and share your opinion. Subscribe to news feeds on topics that are relevant to your business and to your prospective customers. Then share your opinion on recent legislation, news stories, and upcoming events. If you’re a chiropractor, perhaps you’ll write about a new health study just released or new dietary requirements announced by the FDA. Always review your message before hitting the “Publish” button to be sure it doesn’t rub someone the wrong way. But it’s OK to show your human side by displaying an open-minded opinion to current events.
5. Write a How-To. How-To’s and numbered lists are always popular blog posts that score big points with social media. They are the most shared types of content on places like Facebook and Twitter. They also demonstrate your expertise in relevant topics.
Keeping your blog up to date can sometimes feel like a daunting task, but it’s a proven method for driving more traffic to your website, generating exposure for your business on social networks, and setting you apart as an industry expert. To keep your creativity flowing, try a change of scenery from time to time. Coffee shops, libraries, and coworking spaces are always good places to get away from your regular office distractions. You may also consider hiring a freelance writer or creative communications agency to do some of the work for you, as well. After all, you do have a business to manage!