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.

5 Business Blogging Tips for Beginners

So you’ve finally made the decision to write some regular content for your website. You don’t know where you’re going to find the time to do it and you’ve no idea what you’re going to write about but the important thing is, you’re going to do it… the only thing is, you made that decision 3 months ago and you’ve yet to publish your first piece. Sound familiar…? Then here’s some handy blogging tips to help you on your way.

Figuring out what to write about

This is the first and biggest stumbling block. There you are, allocating a couple of hours in your diary to writing your first piece – only when you come to sit down, your mind is as blank as the screen in front of you… so what should you write about?

A good idea is to make a note during the week of any great articles you read which you think might help or influence the topic of your blog post / article. Here at businesshands – we keep a notepad file in a shared location and copy and paste the URL of any good articles into it, to review when we come to writing our own.

We’ll also write down any ideas we have during the week, no matter how random so that when it comes to the time for writing – there’s plenty of material to kick start the writing process

Be consistent – diarise your writing time

The time you can dedicate to blogging will obviously depend on your resources but it’s vital to make a commitment to blog consistently – whether that be once a month or once a week. Set reoccurring appointments in your diary and honour them as you would any other business activity.

Think of the bigger picture before you start to write

One of the great bonuses of writing regular content is that it can help with your website optimisation. That means it can improve the chances of your website showing up on the first page of Google when people search for a particular search term. Your job is to think about what those search terms might be so that you can begin to include them in your posts going forward.

Think beyond the type of company you are (i.e accountant London) and think instead of the problems you solve – for example “how to fill in a tax return”. You might want to make that a blog in it’s own right or at least have the word tax return within an article a number of times.

The truth is, if you start to think about the problems that your target audience is facing – you can build a content strategy entirely around this and that means you’ll struggle less on a weekly basis to figure out a topic for your post.

Understand the overall objective

Apart from website optimisation, the main reason for producing content is to increase the number of visitors to your website, which in turn you hope will increase enquiries and drive sales. With that in mind, simply placing a blog post on your website and waiting for someone to pop along and take a look is not a good strategy – you’ll need to promote your article or blog post. This can be done through social media, pay-per-click campaigns, email marketing and a range of other products and services. The goal is to ensure as many relevant people as possible click on the link to your content and visit your website.

But don’t fall into the trap of thinking the journey is over when a person visits your website. Once they’ve read your post… what do you want them to do? Adding a call to action in the guise of a buy-it-now button, an enquiry form, a newsletter signup box or a link through to your products and service section will help to convert your visitors into leads or maybe even customers if you’ve done the job well.

TOP TIP: Don’t just post your article once through social media. We publish our articles around 15 times over the course of 3 months using slightly different titles and imagery to engage with different people.

Make your articles visually engaging

The use of quality imagery is vital to the success of your article. Web users are fickle people and short on time. Articles with images draw 94% more views than articles without.

To add further clout – make sure you choose a short catchy headline. Remember that readers are likely to share your article if they like it and a short headline means more room for them on twitter to share their comments.

Another important aspect not to overlook is the content itself. Giant columns of unbroken text don’t make for inviting reading. Make sure your article is properly formatted and split into bite-sized paragraphs.

Measure your results

This is crucial if you’re to improve the success of your articles going forward. If you think back to your objectives, the core goals were probably website optimisation, an increase in website visitors and an increase in enquiries / sales.

RankScanner is a great free tool to monitor the performance of your website for a set of key words over time. It’s important to note that website optimisation takes time so don’t expect results in days or even weeks – think long term.

To measure the popularity of your posts you can use the in-built analytics tools included in all of the major social media platforms. They will tell you how many people have looks at your post and who has liked, favourited and reposted it.

And lastly, to measure the amount of traffic that has come to your website and the behaviour of the visitors once they arrive – the best tool by far is Google Analytics. Google Analytics is a free tool and provides invaluable information about how visitors interact with your website so you can take advantage of this in future blog posts.

Finding the time to write and creating content of high enough quality are key hurdles when it comes to the success of a blog and that’s where businesshands content marketing services can help. We offer a weekly, well researched, high quality 600-word blog post for a monthly fee of just £395 and this can be combined with our popular social media management services to give your organisation a great value, professional and productive online presence.

To learn more, contact us today on 0207 458 4788 or email info@businesshands.co.uk.

Thanks for reading – Don’t forget to share this article with your connections using the buttons below.