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Social Media

10 Things You Should Know Before Starting a Business Blog

It’s probably no surprise that a business blog done well can be a lot of work. You need to post consistently about things your audience cares about. That means committing to it and it may even take research on some of your topics. A valuable blog is time-consuming.

But it takes more than time. If you’re considering a business blog, there are a few things you need to know before you get started. 

Who Is Your Audience?

Most  business blogs make the mistake of throwing punches in the dark. They simply write about what moves them in any given day. The problem with this strategy is that you waste a lot of time trying things that might not work. Occasionally you’ll hit on something that does, but since you’re not being strategic about your approach, you’re just as likely to revert to things that don’t work as you are to figure out what does.

Knowing who you want to target and who makes a great customer for you is the easiest, most straightforward way to know whether your content is registering. It also helps you come up with content ideas because you know who you’re producing for and what they’re struggling with.

The Format

Do your research to see what format best fits for the type of blog you want to do and what your audience appreciates. Know that you are not hemmed in by words. You can easily produce a vlog (video blog) or a podcast as your blog. Nor do you have to choose. The president of our little league organization communicates to members via video and Facebook Live as well as written emails. His audience members are split on how we like to receive communication so he does it all.

Figure out your audience preferences as to the type of blogs they’ll respond to and then publish in that manner.

The Tech

WordPress is the most common for business but some people use Medium, Blogger, LinkedIn’s Pulse, or Tumblr. If you’re blogging for business, you want to make sure you own the site on which you’re placing your content. Sites like LinkedIn and Medium could change their focus tomorrow and your content could disappear with no warning or options to continue.

Consider a self-hosted WordPress blog or something you have created on your own site. That way you’re backing up your content and have the freedom to do what you want, when you want; no concerns with relying on someone else’s site.

SEO

You needn’t be an SEO expert but you do need to know a few things. Back in the beginning of the wild Internet west, you could repeat your keyword over and over again and rank well. When search engines became more sophisticated, people began hiding keywords in font and color you couldn’t see. Google wised up quickly.

Now you must write (or produce) for your ideal audience and search engines. To forget one is a disservice to the other. Search engines also consider shares and interaction users give your content.

Personalization

The most valuable content will inspire, educate, and/or entertain. Don’t write just to write. Create content your ideal audience or niche will find valuable.

Miscellaneous

Here are a few additional things to keep in mind when starting your blog:

  1. Building an audience on social channels at the same time (or before) you begin writing a blog will give you a place to share your content amidst people who will value it.
  2. Copying someone else’s content and dropping it onto your site is plagiarism. It’s better to use short quotes and link back to their article.
  3. Blogging is not free. It will cost you time. Decide whether your time is worth more than your money. If it is, consider freelancing your content creation.
  4. A business blog is different than a personal one. You need a content and posting strategy to make the most of your time.
  5. Blogs are getting longer, but doing what your audience responds to is what matters. Keep an eye on your ideal audience and their preferences. If they want meaty posts—great. Give them what they want. If not, Godin-style short posts may work for you.

Blogging is important. It helps your business rank higher organically and it provides customers with a way to get to know you and have their questions answered. But if you do only one thing in preparation for your business blog make sure you answer…

Who is my audience and what do they need?

Christina R. Green teaches small businesses, chambers, and associations how to connect through content. Her articles have appeared in the Midwest Society of Association Executives’ Magazine, NTEN.org, AssociationTech, and Socialfish. She is a regular blogger at Frankjkenny.com and the Event Manager Blog.

She’s a bookish writer on a quest to bring great storytelling to organizations everywhere.

8 Ways to Get Noticed on Social Media Today

8 Ways to Get Noticed on Social Media Today

© Can Stock Photo Inc. / iqoncept

There's a lot of noise on the social media channels and getting noticed can seem a task akin to pushing a large bolder up an icy slope in gale-force winds blowing down off of the mountain. But it's not as hard as you think. Here are several tips to help you get your business noticed today.

Post the Easy Shares

There are certain types of posts that a large number of people respond to. These include:

  • Funny posts
  • Statistic or data posts (if it's from your business, even better)
  • Inspirational quotes
  • Dramatic images

These sorts of posts are easy because not only are they popular with most audiences, you're not creating them, merely curating them. A quick search will land you several. You can auto-schedule them for times throughout your week.

 Use Images

This is easy if your business is a restaurant but if it doesn't lend itself to images, you can still be creative. Use pictures of your community, the weather, your team, your pet… just give people something to look at.

Ask Questions

Social media shouldn't be your business shouting into a bullhorn at other people. You want to create an environment in your social media profiles that is conducive to conversation.

To do this effectively, apply what you know about starting conversations in the non-virtual world? Begin by asking questions.

Use Hashtags

Hashtags help people find conversations and topics they're interested in. Use hashtags for your industry, business, town or whatever applies to your posts.

If you notice a hashtag is trending on one of the social media platforms use it but be respectful of your audience. Make sure your share is related to the hashtag. People don't enjoy a hasthtag hijacker who uses a trending topic on a post that is completely unrelated.

Think Mobile

If you're sharing something, make sure it can be viewed on a mobile phone. Mobile is becoming the way to access social media and the Internet. Don't tease your audience by sharing something they can't see.

Remember It's About Them, Not You

A good conversationalist does not make it all about him/her but creates a dialogue instead. A great conversationalist learns quickly the interests of the person he/she is speaking and turns the conversation to those. A safe topic is the other person since most people find themselves incredibly interesting. The same is true of good social media practices. The conversation needs to be about your audience 80% of the time. You can occasionally (20% of the time) mention something about your business directly.

Give Them Reason to Follow

The key to getting more shares is getting more followers. If they don't see your content, they can't share it. Most people follow brands and businesses for discounts or coupons. Keep this in mind and offer discounts to your followers or give them information before anyone else sees it, this could be a product preview or access to early buying opportunities.

Use Evocative Headlines and Teases

Imagine you ran a pool company and you wanted people to click on your URL in your social media post. The best way to do this is to use a teaser or appeal to the audience’s natural curiosity. Like this:

"Doctors say if you have this condition, swimming is the best form of exercise for you."

Your audience will wonder, What condition? Do I have it? Maybe I need to swim more.

Click.

Present the reader with a problem, allude to the fact that the clicking on the URL will tell them how to solve it, and then sit back and watch the interest grow.

To improve your social media reach for your business, remember social media is no different than how you build a relationship offline. You want to be a good conversationalist. Talk about something other than yourself; involve the person you're speaking with, have a dialogue, not a monologue; and don't dominate the conversation. Social media takes work, just like building an offline relationship, but a consistent presence and caring attitude will take you and your business far.

Christina R. Green teaches small businesses, chambers and associations how to connect through content. Her articles have appeared in the Midwest Society of Association Executives’ Magazine, NTEN.org, AssociationTech, and Socialfish. She is a regular blogger at Frankjkenny.com and Memberclicks.

She’s just your average bookish writer on a quest to bring great storytelling to organizations everywhere.

 

 

Better Business Blogging Made Simple

Better Business Blogging Made Simple