This guest post is by Beth Longware Duff.
Blogging for your small business may have started out as a fun project, but like any other worthwhile endeavor it requires effort on your part.
Coming up with fresh and relevant topics can be a challenge, particularly when there are many other aspects of your operation that require your attention.
But keeping your blog up to date is the way to keep and attract visitors and get them to connect with your business.
The U.S. Small Business Administration has come up with the following tips for keeping your blog current:
1. Write within your means. One or two blogs per week is good for starters, and then work your way up, if possible. Can’t handle 500+ words for every blog? Start with shorter posts and gradually lengthen them as you get more comfortable with the format. You can also vary the lengths of your blogs to keep the mix interesting. Along these lines, the SBA recommends using “fillers” like posting links to other blogs, event pages and YouTube videos that you frame with a short introduction on your blog.
2. Listen to and get blog ideas from your customers. After all, they are your target audience, so you want to write about topics that matter to them. Use them as inspiration. Focus on your area of expertise and write about what is relevant to your customers. For instance, if you own a trendy fashion boutique and are constantly offering your customers style tips, why not use your blog to supplement this personal touch?
3. Look at what others are writing about. Don’t plagiarize, but use other online content as a springboard for your own blog ideas. “Take the time to follow and read other blogs that relate to your field,” the SBA suggests. “Is there a new industry development that’s worth writing about? Oftentimes you can spin a different angle on a topic that’s already been written about, or even reference that blog and weigh in with your comments.”
4. Showcase people like your customers, what they do and why they do business with you. Another idea is to focus on your team in a way that makes them more interesting to your customers and creates a bond.
5. Invite guest bloggers to take the burden off you and to introduce a new voice to the mix. Possibilities include your business partner, an industry expert or a favored vendor. Guest bloggers have a different perspective and can cover topics with new insight. Just be sure to give them plenty of advance notice and time to write their blog — and be sure to discuss the angle you want them to take before they invest their time and effort!
6. Turn on the comments section. It’s how readers interact with you and each other. Be sure to monitor and delete any spam and inappropriate content.
7. Develop an editorial calendar. This step can simplify the writing process by giving it some structure. A spreadsheet will enable you to schedule your blogs in advance and keep track of them. Identify each topic and the angle you want to take. Assign an author and due date. Be flexible enough to be spontaneous when there’s an industry update or development that you think deserves some virtual ink.
8. Keep it focused on business. “The number one golden rule of business blogging: never veer into personal musings on how fast your kids are growing up or what the dog got up to at the park,” warns the SBA, which says you can add your personal wit and humor to the tone of your blog, but keep it focused on your business interests and not your personal life.
If you still need some help coming up with blog ideas, the SBA offers this list of suggestions.
Have your say – what have you found to be the best tips for keeping your blog fresh? What are your goals in the year ahead?
Let us know in the comments below…
Beth Longware Duff is a professional editor and award-winning writer whose work on a wide variety of topics has been published in print and electronic media. She currently writes on a wide range of topics including online credit card payments for Merchant Express.