- How to Optimize Your Small Business Blog
- Be Strategic About Your Content
- Outsourcing your blog content
Q: How can you make a small business blog the best it can be and effective for your business?
A: Small businesses need to optimize their blogs with strategic and engaging content, brand awareness, and SEO best-practices.
Blogging is the third most common content marketing strategy used by businesses, and for good reason. A small business blog can help your company increase brand awareness, establish trust and authority, attract new leads, and keep customers engaged.
What’s not to like?
But business blogging isn’t as simple as adding a blog feature to your website.
Ever heard of the phrase content is king?
But here is the catch:
Not all content is created equal…and in order to experience the benefits of business blogging you need to create great content.
Creating Great Content: What You Need to Know
If you are a small business blogger or if you are interested in starting a business blog, you must learn how to create great content that is relevant and engaging.
Great content is important for a few reasons:
- It will engage your target audience.
- It will help your business stand out from the crowd (everyone has a blog; you need to cut through the noise).
- It will help increase brand awareness.
- It will help position your company as an expert or thought leader.
- It will help your website’s search ranking.
So, not only do you have to create unique content, but you also need to create content that is optimized to perform well for both readers and search engines.
How to Optimize Your Blog: Key Elements of a Successful Small Business Blog
In this section, we will discuss the different strategies you can implement to optimize your small business blog in 2021.
- Post consistently
- Identify your target audience
- Establish your business brand voice
It’s All about Consistency
For your blog to be successful you need to create and publish content consistently. While you do not have to post every single day, you should establish a consistent editorial cadence for publishing posts to your blog. Inconsistency can affect your ranking and decrease the amount of leads you are able to generate.
If you are new at business blogging, there will be a learning curve. There are many guides available online. Look at what your competition is writing about – as well as related businesses. The more you blog, the more comfortable you will feel with it, and the easier business blogging will be for you.
While studies show that posting at least 4 times a week gets the best results, make sure that you commit yourself only to what you can manage. If you can only write and publish 1 blog a week, stick to that until you can manage more. If you want to publish more but you do not have the time or expertise, consider outsourcing some of your blogging and other content marketing needs.
However, consistency is not only about how regularly you post. It’s also about keeping your brand voice consistent across channels.
One goal of a having a blog for your business is to help your target audience recognize your brand. If your voice and messaging vary by channel, then potential buyers might be confused or find it more difficult to recognize you from all the other blogs in your industry. When developing your small business blog strategy, make sure that all posts and key messages are delivered with a consistent brand voice.
Pro tip: to help your brand voice stay consistent, identify 3 adjectives that describe your tone you want your business to be known for, and stick to those three adjectives whenever you’re writing. For example, your brand voice could be lighthearted, insightful, and casual; or it could be serious, punchy, and thoughtful.
Don’t Underestimate the Power of Customer Personas
One key component of successful business blogs is that they provide content that is interesting and informative to a target audience.
To do that, you need to first identify and outline your company’s target audience. The best way to do this is to create customer persona profiles. These profiles can help you and your team better understand your customers and prospective customer, and this will make it a whole lot easier to create and tailor content that is more likely to resonate with them.
Be Strategic about Your Content
Once you understand the needs of your target audience, you can start planning the type of content and blog posts that will appeal to them.
Make sure that your editorial calendar aligns with product launches, important industry events, and your company culture.
The most successful business blogs are the ones that can engage your readers without being overly sales-oriented – or only focusing on product features and your business objectives.
Pro tip: before you sit down and start writing content, consider setting up an editorial calendar with a list of small business blog topic ideas. This will help prevent gaps in your content creation or a blog that quickly becomes dated and of little use to your business’ target audience.
On the topic of being strategic about content, make sure that whatever you are working on and publish is well-researched and accurate.
Trust takes time to build, but it can be destroyed by a single piece of content.
Brand authority and trustworthiness are among the top benefits of small business blogging; publishing false information can quickly destroy your company’s reputation.
Optimize for SEO
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can help increase your business’ visibility by improving your company’s search ranking — and overall website and blog traffic.
SEO can be an artform and can get quite technical extremely fast. For blogging purposes, you’ll want to pay special attention to “on-page SEO,” but many small businesses also greatly benefit from local SEO best-practices.
There’s a lot to be said about this topic, so we recommend you check out this guide. However, below are some key things to keep in mind.
SEO Best Practices: Tips to Consider
- Prioritize website design; you want to make sure that your site is responsive on mobile, desktop, and tablet.
- Site speed is important
- Include an “about us” section with updated contact information, especially if you want to rank in local searches. Be sure to create a contact page with your company name, address, and phone number. Other things to include are business hours, social media profiles, and email contact (s).
- Research keywords. This is super important if you want your blog content to get out there and rank well on search engines. Pro tip: incorporate long-tail keywords into all your posts.
- Link building can help improve your site’s authority and ranking.
- Don’t let your site auto-generate URLs.
- Optimize URLs by a including your keyword in it and avoiding dates and symbols.
- Include images. Blogs that include images tend to get more clicks than those without images.
- Revisit and revise old content—especially if it’s still relevant to your target audience.
Creating Content: Should You Outsource Your Blog?
Creating and running a blog takes a lot of time and effort.
It’s not just about writing enough content to feed your blog regularly. You also need to think about website hosting, installing the right plugins, moderating comments, responding to comments, sharing your content, promoting your blog, and making sure you edit it. You will also want to measure its performance – as well as the amount of traffic you are generating. Finding out what topics attract more engagement will be important in planning future blog posts.
Don’t expect immediate results as soon as you start publishing. This is more of a marathon that a short race.
For small businesses with small teams, it can be difficult to dedicate the necessary time and talent to run a business blog, which is why many small business owners decide to outsource their blogs to freelance bloggers.
It’s a big decision, and one that should not be made lightly. Let’s look at some of the benefits and drawbacks of outsourcing your business blog.
Benefits of Outsourcing Your Business Blog
Running a blog is time-consuming. One of the main benefits of outsourcing it is that you—and your staff—will save a lot of time. This is time that can be spent in other key areas of your business, like product development, customer relations, marketing, budget planning, and sales.
This is especially true if you don’t have enough experience blogging. Coming up with business blog topics, writing, and editing can take a lot of time even for the most experienced of writers. When you’re new to the blogging world, it can take longer to come up with ideas and publish regularly.
Outsourcing business tasks can be much more economical than hiring full-time staff; think of live receptionists, accountants, and customer service. The same goes for business blogging; depending on your business needs, it may make more sense for you to outsource the writing rather than hiring a full-time writer.
If you are not planning on hiring someone to write and run the blog, outsourcing can still make sense. Try doing it yourself for a while and keep track of how long you are spending on it. Also, be mindful that this effort is not your core business responsibility. Time is money, so you can do the math at the end of the day on whether to hire a contractor to do it for you – so you can focus on core aspects of running your business.
If you outsource your blog needs, you will gain instant access to expert writers; writers that have expertise in a variety of topics, subject matters, and writing styles.
This means that you are more likely to provide valuable blogs to your target audience from the get-go.
One of the greatest benefits of outsourcing any business job is that provides a lot of flexibility; you pay for what you need—so if you need more writing done, you can get it; if you need less, you can also coordinate that with your outsourcing company.
If you’re starting a business blog, you are interested in growing your business and your customer base. The more your business grows, the more your blogging needs will grow. Outsourcing your business blog will mean that your company’s writing needs will be met quicker than if you do it in-house and need to go through the hiring process to add new writers to the team.
Drawbacks of Outsourcing Your Business Blog
They Require Management
While you can outsource the writing part of your business blog, you can’t outsource every aspect of it, which means you still must carve some time out for the blog.
It’s up to you and your staff to review and approve the content that is submitted for publishing. You also have to take time to meet with writers and ensure that the content strategy aligns with your overall company strategy. You’ll also want to provide regular feedback to writers.
You will still need to allocate time to manage your blog, even if you’re not doing the writing yourself.
At the end of the day, if you’re thinking about outsourcing your business blog, you need to make sure that you’re partnering with the right people.
Lack of Familiarity with Your Industry
This can be an issue for small businesses in very technical or niche fields, especially at the beginning when a writer is just starting out to work with you.
They may not know the jargon, they may use terms incorrectly, or they could be unfamiliar with industry processes.
This, however, can be solved, especially if you work with someone long-enough for them to learn enough about your company and your industry. You can meet with them, provide reading materials, and even allow them to interview you to familiarize themselves with what they will have to write about.
To Outsource or Not to Outsource?
It really depends.
You can always try to do it yourself and if that’s not working, you can outsource. Or, if you know you don’t have the time, resources, or skill set to start it, you can outsource it from the get-go.
Only you know the right answer for your small business.
You Want to Outsource Your Business Blog, What’s Next?
If you decide that outsourcing your small business blog is the right decision for you, you may be wondering how to go about it and what the next steps should be.
Create Brand Materials
Before you start searching for the perfect writer, you’ll want to gather or create some company materials.
Specifically, you’ll want to create a file that will help you determine the type of writer you need, the tone of voice you’ll look for, and whether the writer needs experience in specific subject areas.
Search for Freelance Writers
Once you have a clear idea of what you are searching for in a writer and what you will expect from them, it’s time to start searching for the right writer.
There are a few ways to approach this:
- You can find freelancers via outsourcing platforms.
- You can reach out to writers you like (cold emailing).
- You can use a job board.
- You can join social media groups of writers.
- You can do a search based on skills in sites like LinkedIn, Upwork, or Fiverr.
Once you have a few candidates lined up, you’re ready to start interviewing them.
Pro tip: ask potential writers to submit a few examples of their work along with some links to their previous online writing.
Start Working with Your Top Candidate
Once you’ve hired a writer, it’s time to get working.
Additional Content Marketing Strategies
Business blogging is a powerful tool; but it’s much more powerful when leveraged together with other marketing strategies.
For your small business blog to be successful, you’ll want to make sure that it aligns well with your overarching marketing and sales strategy.
Below are some ideas to fully reap the benefits of the content you create for your blog.
You can ask visitors to subscribe to your blog and then leverage that email list to send out newsletter campaigns.
You can send out a variety of emails on a weekly or monthly basis. For example, you can send a roundup of industry news every other week, or you can send a marketing newsletter when you’re launching a new product or have a sale going on.
The idea here is to get people’s email so that you can put your small business in front of them and keep your company in your audience’s mind on a regular basis.
Create Exclusive Content
You can create exclusive content and share it for free—all people must do is share their email and some other information with you.
E-books, whitepapers, research reports, and guides are all notable examples of content that is downloadable.
Social Media Marketing
Make sure that you share and promote your content across your social media channels. This will drive more traffic to your website and blog, which in turn can increase the number of leads.
If you have a new product or if you have an exclusive offer, you can create a landing page and create content around it to direct more traffic to it.
Blogging is one of the most powerful marketing strategies available to small business owners today. When done correctly, a blog can help small businesses level the playing field against large corporations. It is an effective way to establish authority, attract potential buyers, and keep customers engaged.
However, running a blog is not an easy task. It can be time consuming, especially for those with no experience with writing.
Many small businesses choose to outsource their blog writing to ensure that they create and publish high-quality content on a regular basis. Outsourcing can also be more cost-effective for some businesses, and it allows small companies to contract their blog requirements based on current needs.