A lot of small business owners shy away from blogging, despite all the benefits it brings.
Here are just some of the reasons – or excuses – provided:
- “I don’t know what to create content about”
- “I can’t write”
- “It’s just not something I want to do”
- “I don’t have time”
- “My type of business is different”
Perhaps you can relate to one or more of those? Or maybe you have a different reason (let me know!)?
Either way, I wanted to show you how you can still blog as a business, and enjoy all the benefits of blogging and content creation in general, without needing to consider yourself as a blogger. In fact, you don’t even have to create any content yourself if you don’t want to.
However you achieve it, once your business starts creating content on a regular basis, you open up a wealth of marketing opportunities for your business.
Here are a few of the biggies:
- Organic traffic increases: more targeted, quality traffic from the search engines…
- Lead generation: capture more quality leads you can then follow up with and sell to…
- Regular list communication: content you can use to share with your email list, keep in touch, and build those all-important relationships that lead to increased profits for your business…
- Grow your social media presence: effective marketing now means multi-touch marketing through multiple channels, and being where your customers are…
- Remarketing: the ability to follow up with visitors to your blog – interested, consumers of your content – with remarketing ads for lead and sale generation…
- Content repurposing: get a ton more value and benefit from your content by converting it into different forms and different media and distributing it across a range of publishing outlets.
I cover all these in more depth in my previous post, Should You Be Blogging As A Business?
Different Forms Of Blog Post
In case you’re unsure about the type of content that could be created on a blog, here are some ideas:
- News and reactions
- Basic content relating to your niche (content directed more towards newcomers to your niche)
- More advanced content for your niche (content that goes into some more depth for more experienced prospects in your niche)
- Case studies – problems and resolutions. For example, focus on a particular customer your business has helped and how you helped them.
- How-To type content
- Opinion pieces (‘our position’)
- List articles (e.g. 10 Ways To…)
- Aggregated content – for a particular topic, find 5 or 6 posts on other blogs you can summarize and link to from within your own blog post.
Need more? Try these 57 different ideas for new content!
Creating Content Yourself
If you’re a small business or lone entrepreneur, let’s firstly look at creating content yourself – hopefully you’ll realize it’s actually a lot easier than you might think!
Just Create Articles…
Let’s go back a few years.
Five years or so ago – when article marketing was still all the rage for helping businesses build online visibility – thousands of businesses used to churn out article content on a regular basis quite easily.
Sometimes it was the business owner themselves creating the content, other times it was someone creating content on behalf of the business (which I go into more below).
It wasn’t always perfect, it didn’t have to be. But they did it, because of the results it brought them.
Blogging is little different.
If you can create 400-500 word articles related to your area of business, you can certainly take advantage of blogging.
What If You “Can’t Write”?
It doesn’t matter.
Some people are just naturally better communicators as speakers than writers. So do it that way instead…
Returning to article marketing, some business owners found it easier creating articles talking and relaying their expertise that way. Someone else would type it up and create the article.
There’s no reason why this can’t be applied to blogging in the same way.
However, I often find that people who say they “can’t write” are actually doing themselves a great disservice. Often it’s little more than a confidence issue.
For example, I once saw a comment on a blog from someone saying they were unable to take advantage of blogging for just this reason – they didn’t believe they could write.
Except their comment was impassioned, well-written, eloquently delivered and two or three paragraphs long!
You may believe you “can’t write”, but you probably do one or more of the following on a regular basis:
- Respond to customer support inquiries…
- Reply to emails you receive…
- Add comments and messages to forums and social media…
Sure, these will often be shorter than article-length content, but you can still write. The rest is simply learning some simple techniques of how to put an article together and then just doing it (a.k.a. practice).
Try this simple article – or blog post – template:
- Use the title “5 Tips For [then something related to your niche, e.g. ‘Better Fly Fishing’]”.
- Brainstorm 5 tips based on your own expertise.
- Each of these tips now becomes a subtitle. Imagine you’re explaining each one a bit more to a friend, and add a basic couple of paragraphs under each subtitle.
- Add an introduction – just a paragraph saying what the content covers.
- Add a conclusion – just wrap up with a sentence or two, you’ll think of something!
Practically everyone can do this – and once done, you’ll now likely have a 400-500 word article you can use as a blog post (and more besides).
To improve it further, leave it a couple days, then come back and read it out loud. Adjust as required.
You’re now a writer, congratulations!
And whatever your level right now, the more you do it, the easier you’ll find it, the more you’ll find your own voice, and the greater the benefits that accumulate for your business.
Still don’t want to write, or feel it’s simply not what you want to do?
That leads me nicely to the next section…
Getting Others To Create Content For You
There are a couple of main approaches here, where someone creates content for your blog in return for some kind of benefit, either monetary or perhaps a link back to their own blog or website.
Paying for Content
This involves either using someone in-house to create content for you – such as an existing employee – or outsourcing the task to a freelance writer.
Using In-House Talent
If you have employees, consider ways in which they could spend some of their time creating content for your blog. Think about who has expertise to share that would be helpful to the type of people you want to attract to your business?
You might like to make it part of their job description. After all, it’s essential for building your business, and in turn helping to make their own positions secure.
Here are three different examples of how that could work:
You’re in the real estate business, and someone on your team puts together a case study once a month of a successful property deal in your local area that your business was involved with.
Use relevant photographs where possible, including your team ‘in action’ on the deal. This helps illustrate to prospects how you could act for them too, and helps them feel like they know you they get in touch – you’re building relationships…
You’re an accounting firm – find one or more people on your team who can put together regular updates that would help clients and prospective clients.
For example, upcoming tax changes, accounting deadlines, case studies (probably anonymous) where you have helped clients save money, and so on.
You’re illustrating your expertise while attracting new clients.
You’re a computer repair company. Case studies are ideal here – it shows prospective customers what you have worked on in the past, building their confidence and trust in you, as well as helping to attract them from the search engines for keywords.
Use before, during and after photographs, along with a basic (not too technical!) outline of what the problem was and how you resolved it to the customer’s satisfaction.
With their permission, add a photo of the happy customer (e.g. in return for a small discount).
Someone could even put together how-to repair articles. For most customers, it will be too technical and they’ll realize they need you. Plus, it shows you know what you’re doing, building up trust and credibility.
See how valuable good content can be for your business?
There are various ways to approach outsourcing, and you largely get what you pay for.
In general it’s far better to spend more and get higher quality content that will turn into an asset for your business, rather than go cheap. If you’re trying to get the cheapest possible content, expect it to be largely ‘filler’ content that will actually be of little benefit for your business longer-term, and may even be damaging.
Here are some ways to approach or utilize outsourcing in your content creation activities:
- Use someone to edit content you give them and bring it up to a professional standard.
- Supply a blog title and skeleton outline, and ask them to research and write the piece.
- Let them know your niche, the type of content you’re looking for, and what you want to achieve – and let them get on with it. For this to work successfully, you have to find an experienced writer who knows what they are doing.
Content Provided For ‘Free’
Try approaching other bloggers and content creators who write in your niche to see if they’d be interested in creating original content for your blog – in other words, guest posting. You might even find someone interested in creating a regular column.
Rather than paying them directly, they would instead gain exposure by being able to link back to their own site from either within the post and/or via a bio section.
Admittedly, the more traffic your blog attracts, the easier it is to attract this type of content to your blog. But you’ll still likely find some interest and people who are willing to contribute who may not have been accepted for guest posting elsewhere. Flattery goes a long way…
There are some downsides to this approach:
- You can’t repurpose the content for use elsewhere, which is a major advantage of using and investing in your own original content…
- They will link back to their own site, and dilute your own ability to generate leads yourself from the content.
However, there are still many advantages which is why guest posting is so widespread:
- You have content to share across social and help keep your business front-of-mind…
- You can still generate leads via opt-in forms, buttons and ads on your blog, including pop-overs and so on (in fact, there are 10 different ways to convert blog traffic into leads); as well as through remarketing to your visitors…
- People who write for you will likely spread their content through their own networks, building your exposure and visibility to new audiences.
As you can see, you might not consider yourself to be a ‘blogger’, but you can still take advantage of blogging for your business in various ways.
It’s a powerful marketing channel for your business, as well as opening up new marketing opportunities with all the other ways in which you can put the same content to use.
However you approach it, the important point is to start somewhere. Try different things. It doesn’t have to be perfect, and it’s perfectly okay to ‘muddle along’ to start with.
It gets a lot more comfortable and easier as you go along, I promise!