Get your blog on – a beginner’s guide to blogging

 

Better Google rankings, increased website traffic, improved conversion rates and growing brand awareness. These are just some of the benefits that a blog can give your business and so if you value any of the above, it’s important that you make time and effort to write and publish a blog regularly. But where do you start and how do you make sure, it’s not like 80% of the other blog posts out there which deliver absolutely no value to the reader and leave you clicking on the exit button before you’ve even finished the first paragraph? Well, here at businesshands, we write a lot of blogs for a lot of different clients so here’s our top 5 tips on how to produce a compelling blog.

Tip #1 – Understand who you are writing for

The first thing to remember when you are blogging is that you’re not writing for you. You are writing for the reader. Ask yourself what kind of person do you want to come to your website. What are their interests in relation to your offering? What questions might they have? What topics would they find useful? How can you educate them or excite them so that they go away thinking “I enjoyed that, I want to come back.” What value can you give them? Write down your thoughts. This should give you the basis for Tip #2.

Tip #2 – Write a content plan

So you’ve just completed a brainstorm about your ideal website visitor. You know who they are, what they like and what they might like to know. Now turn all of that into a content schedule. Build a list of weekly topics. Try to come up with an enticing title for each and underneath write a few bullet points to help frame what points you want to get across and any conclusion that is to be drawn.

Tip #3 – Structure your blog

Typically each blog post will contain an introduction, “the meat”, and then a summary / conclusion / call to action. Your introduction needs to be punchy, particularly in the first couple of sentences as this is what will appear in the preview when you post it on social media. For many writers however, it’s these first two sentences that prove to be the hardest to write. If you’re suffering a case of writer’s block, try pretending that you’re already two or three sentences in and start from there. You can come back and add the introductory first sentence later on, once your article is in full flow. If you’re truly stuck, and need the introductory sentence before you can get going, think about using a statistic and then building off it. For example:
“A recent survey found that 88% of B2B marketers see content production as the most important part of their marketing strategy”

Tip #4 – Pack it full of personality

The chances are, your company is not the only one offering the product or service that you do. As an insider in the company, you no doubt firmly believe you are unique, but to an outsider a hat shop is just like any other hat shop. A POS software company is just like any other POS software company, a legal or accountancy firm is just like any other legal or accountancy firm. It’s what you say (Tip #1) and how you say it that will make your business stand out so try and pull your writing away from corporate speak and give it a human touch. The more human and real you can be, the more powerful your blog will become. Don’t be afraid to share your own experiences and relate them directly to your readership… and don’t believe for a second that this tip is not relevant for the industry you are in. No matter how corporate or formal your industry is, adding personality and humanness to your writing will make the information you are providing far more digestible.

Tip #5 – Use great imagery

A good image can speak a thousand words and even if it doesn’t, it will be a powerful lure to bring more readers to your blog. It’s important then, to choose your image carefully. For many bloggers today, the standard practice is to use a google image search to find something they like and then use this on their own blog. But there’s a danger with this. Most of these images are not royalty free. If you are using an image without the consent of the image owner, you are liable and could face legal action or be forced to pay a fee for the use of the image. Better practice is to use a stock image or create one yourself.

Of course, there is a danger with stock images too… in that some of them look too much like a stock image. Shy away from bland, overly corporate or cliché images and try and find something unique that fits in with your topic. In our next blog, we’ll be providing a list of great websites you can use to get truly inspiring (and mostly free) stock imagery so watch this space.

So there’s five quick tips on how to blog for beginners… and here’s a bonus one which is probably the most important of them all.

Tip #6 – Content is nothing without distribution

You’ve done the hard work of writing and publishing your blog on your website but you’re not finished yet. Unless you promote your blog and distribute it to your audience, nobody will see it. A blog is typically distributed in one of two ways.

  1. Through a newsletter to your existing database
  2. Through social media – this can be posted on your company page and also be boosted to reach new audiences by turning it into an ad. Don’t forget with social media, you can post your blog multiple times, simply by changing the headline image and choosing a different message to display alongside the link to your blog

Thanks for reading. If you’ve enjoyed this article, don’t forget to share it with your connections and if you would like to discuss any of the topics covered, don’t hesitate to drop us a line on +44 (0)203 458 4788 or email us at info@businesshands.co.uk.

Here’s how not to outsource your marketing…

I thought I’d break from the norm of our typical “how-to” blog post this week to tell you about an experience I had last week at the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) Small Business Conference.

If you have any involvement in marketing (and maybe even if you don’t) you’ll have heard of the CIM. For over 100 years, they have been supporting, developing and representing marketers, teams, leaders and the marketing profession as a whole. They are in fact, the largest professional marketing body in the world and so you can imagine, the calibre (in the most part) of the speakers on the stage was pretty high and some of the talks that were given, were truly exceptional.

But there was one particular speaker that really stood out…
…and not for the right reasons

The majority of speakers delivered some great key messages to help small business marketers make the right choices around how to get things done… pointers such as:

  • Make sure your website answers the question “why should I choose you?”
  • Always market with the decision maker in mind above that of the user of your product
  • Use stories to convey the value of your offering
  • Create an ‘advantage’ for each product or service you sell
  • Don’t forget the small details — they make all the difference
  • Marry your sales and marketing strategies together to be more productive

This particular speaker however, had no interest in offering advice — only to sell the services of the company she worked for in a 30 minute sales pitch (let’s call the company ‘Marketing Magic’ for the sake of keeping anonymity). With the price of a ticket sitting at a princely £75, you can imagine that a 30 minute sales pitch did not go down particularly well with the audience.

But it did with me and here’s why…

Marketing Magic’s offering was an outsourced Marketing Director service. The speaker initially built the business case by stating that a typical Marketing Manager might earn around £40k per year and once you add on office space, mobile phone, a laptop a company car and all of the other expenses — it would cost an organisation around £80k to employ a full time Marketing Manager and this was quite a stretch for many small and mid-sized organisations.

The solution from Marketing Magic to save money, was to outsource your marketing to a Marketing Director from their organisation for just 2 days per week at a cost of £60k per year. YES — that’s correct. Their solution was to take on a much more expensive marketing manager for less than half of the time that you really needed them in your business.

I was ASTOUNDED to say the least and it made me realise that here at businesshands, we need to shout louder about what we do, to make sure organisations likes yours understand that there are far better options available to fulfil your outsourcing marketing requirements.

How about an entire marketing department from just £1,295 per month or £15,540 per year?

Yes, that’s right. Here at businesshands, we can give you access to an entire marketing department from just £1,295 per month. Here are the skills sets and expertise available to you 5 days per week (and in some cases 7 day per week) with our amazing service.

  • Marketing Director with real strategic insight. Able to understand your organisational objectives and work to define and implement a winning strategic marketing plan.
  • A social media expert — adept at creating inspiring posts. Someone who actively engages with and nurtures your on-line community to deliver real value to your organisation.
  • A content expert / a copy writer / a blogger. Someone to research and deliver passionate and engaging pieces to help grow brand awareness, increase website traffic and drive audience engagement.
  • An email marketing professional. Someone to produce and deliver regular, top quality email content that defines your brand and calls your target audience to action.
  • A dedicated SEO expert who will help your organisation rise up the ranks of the world’s favourite search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing with your own personalised search engine optimisation strategy.

And you can get access to all of this for less than the salary of a marketing assistant*

So my message is simple. If you are in any way looking to expand your in-house marketing skills and expertise, come and speak to us. Whether you have £15k or £150k per year to spend — there is no need to compromise. Outsource your marketing to us and we guarantee to deliver more than the equivalent cost of a salary ever could in-house (and don’t forget  – if you employ someone in-house, you still need to give them a marketing budget to do their job. That’s one more expense).

So get the marketing capabilities and expertise of an organisation with 10 x your budget and contact us now on 0207 458 4788. It will be one of the smartest strategic moves your organisation will ever make.

Thanks for taking the time out of your busy day to read this post . We’d really appreciate it if you would hit the share links below and help us spread the word… and of course we’d appreciate it even more if you gave us a call to chat about our services.

Chris

CEO businesshands

*Prices start at £1,295 per month and are entirely dependent upon your organisation’s needs. The exact pricing to outsource your marketing can be confirmed upon confirmation of your requirements.