Today I gave a short talk to the Lakeland Businesswomen’s Network as part of its April meeting ‘Meet the Member’. For the presentation I introduced my business as well as my local blog, Lake District Gems, and went on to share some tips I’ve learned from blogging, in the hope other members would find them useful in their own business.
If you came along, thank you for listening, and here are the notes as promised! And if you weren’t at the meeting, I hope you’ll find some of these ideas useful too.
1. The benefits of blogging:
- SEO (search engine optimization)
- To raise your profile
- To get across your personality to potential clients
- To increase your credibility and authority
- To build trust
- It’s a great part of personal development
- You don’t know what opportunities it may lead to
- Increase your web traffic
- Generate leads/sales and increase customer retention.
2. Make sure you have a strategy, including:
- Understanding the goals you want to achieve by blogging (both financial and non-financial).
- Use SMART objectives (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time-bound).
- Understand your user flow – where you will find your readers, and what you want them to do after they have read your post.
- Have a content strategy, detailing timing of posts, subject matter and planning ahead.
3. Some people perceive obstacles to starting a blog including that they’re boring, and ‘imposter’ syndrome:
- Even a boring business or product is usually of interest to its customer. There’s always an angle.
- ‘Imposter syndrome’ – You don’t have to be the world’s greatest thought leader to have opinions!
4. Idea generation techniques:
- The good old brainstorm.
- Google a phrase or keyword, and see suggestions under ‘What other people are searching for’.
- Use Google Keyword Planner by signing up free to Google Adwords.
- Focus on what questions your customers ask you. Use their questions as post titles.
5. Give value. Share valuable information, which is particularly important as a business where readers may feel cautious of you. You will stick in people’s minds as the place to go when they need you.
6. Style tips:
- Write as you speak. Aim for warm and professional unless your business uses a particular ‘tone of voice’.
- Research before you write.
- Write for scannability (headings, sub-headings, lists, bullet points etc.).
7. Visuals and photography:
- Free image banks are available, but use good graphics or photography – preferably your own.
- Inexpensive cameras/smart phones are often fine.
8. Learn a bit about SEO (search engine optimization). It’s not always as technical as it’s made out to be, but there are plenty of things you can learn. Write for your reader and the search engines will respond favourably. Don’t keyword stuff or use ‘dodgy’ tricks!
9. Wherever you have a choice on something, put the reader first.
10. End each post with a ‘call to action’.
11. Share content widely and repeatedly on social media – not just once. For ideal sharing frequencies see my post, How often should I share a blog post on social media?
12. Don’t just share on social media – get to know people through conversation too.
13. Install and use analytics on your site.
14. If you receive comments, always reply.
15. Be consistent – visually and through brand, behaviour, tone and timing.
16. PR, marketing and blogging all cross over. Mention the blog wherever you can, e.g. on business cards.
17. Persevere – even when it seems no-one is taking notice.
18. Just do it – don’t wait for perfection, as there’s always something more any blogger can be doing.
19. Have fun – it takes time and commitment, and if you enjoy what you create, others will enjoy reading it!
I hope you enjoyed the meeting today and that you feel inspired to put blogging to use in your own business. If I can be of help in any way, please don’t hesitate to get in touch! (The ‘Call to Action’ I mentioned…) 🙂