New to the world of business blogging? Sometimes it takes awhile to figure out the right style and tone for your blog posts. A little lost on where to start? That’s ok. Not sure what to write about? That’s ok, too.
It’s true with a lot of things in life: sometimes the trouble is just getting started. Blogging for your business is no different. While you might be ready to roll, when the time comes to sit down and write your first blog post…maybe nothing comes out. Or maybe you’ve been dreading the process entirely. Hey, it happens.
It’s time to take a step back and start at the very beginning. Let’s get the process of writing that business blog off to a great start!
Finding Your Voice
The first step is to determine your exact target audience. Hopefully you already have a marketing team or an external agency that continuously reevaluates exactly who you’re marketing to. Your target market should be a group you’re quite familiar with. You should know their likes and dislikes, their unique demographics, and why they’re interested in your products or services. Picture your ideal customer in your head. Ok, now you’re ready to move forward.
Next, you need to determine who will be authoring your blog. I’m not talking about who’s actually doing the blog post writing. Instead, I’m referring to finding your voice.
- Are you sharing your experiences as a CEO with 25 years of experience in small business?
- Is your company’s fun, talking kangaroo mascot offering kids tips on healthy eating?
- Are your interns blogging about their day-to-day adventures working in your start-up company?
All of these are great, blog-worthy ideas, but do know that once you chose your voice, it must remain consistent in tone and language throughout all content derived from that voice. So your blog is either CEO or kangaroo, not both.
As I mentioned in Why You Need a Blog for Your Business, authenticity is key. But that doesn’t mean your blog is a tell-all tabloid. There IS such a thing as being too honest. Be honest within the framework of your voice. Yes, a talking kangaroo might not be “realistic,” but the information you share can be honest within that framework.
What Do I Blog About?
Cooking up a list of possible blog post topics is often a concern among business owners—and that’s fair. Blogging regularly can be challenging, even if you enjoy writing. The trick is to do a little brainstorming before you sit down to write. Writing a blog post from scratch is hard (sometimes even for us, and we’re writing blog posts constantly). Writing a blog post after a little brainstorming is a LOT easier.
Think about that ideal customer again. Now ask yourself: what problem(s) does your company’s products and/or services help your ideal customer solve? What questions do your current customers ask the most? These are called pain points. Think like that customer. For example, if you own an auto repair shop, a common question might be, “How often should I replace my air filter?”
Ta-da! That’s a blog post idea. Write a post answering that question. Be specific and be sure to explain why. When you explain the answer clearly, confidently, and comprehensively, your potential ideal customers will keep coming back to your website for more. Why? Because when you’re right on the money, those customers will grow to trust your expertise. So the more you build that following, the more you nab eventual sales.
Trade Secrets: Up for Grabs?
This comprehensive blog writing approach based on authenticity and knowledge is worrisome for some business owners. After all, if you’re answering all your customers’ questions, then why would they bother purchasing your products and/or services? (This is especially true for service providers.)
Allow me to be blunt: if you are truly an expert in your industry, there is NO amount of knowledge containable in blog post form that is capable of allowing your customers to surpass your level of expertise. And if you’re not the most knowledgeable, no one will know the difference, because you’re the most helpful. Plus, your blog posts need not contain technical details—and even if they do, it’s likely you’re not providing enough information to make an impact.
For example: I’m no auto repair expert, but I’m going to guess that each car’s make and model, available parts, mileage, age, and much more affects that air filter change. Are you really going to write a post explaining what to do in ALL circumstances? I doubt it. But you can certainly provide some general information on air filters.
You may even find the MORE information you provide, the more likely you’ll get that new customer. Because, let me tell you—I am a voracious learner. (Hey, I have to be to do this job!) But when I’m perhaps a little overwhelmed, yet impressed, with a particular knowledge base, it’s very likely I’ll say, Hey, YOU take care of it. After all, YOU’RE the experts!
…and that’s exactly the point. Blog right and watch those ideal customers come to you.
In short, be the expert you are—begin blogging! Once you define your voice and build a list of topics, you’re on your way to starting a great business blog.