It can be tempting to think that if you’re spending time and/or money on a blog for your business, it needs to be all about selling your products or services. Using a blog as a marketing tool is great, but to have maximum impact, the selling needs to be more subtle than simply telling your readers how wonderful your business is.
In an online world where you can barely take two steps without tripping over yet another food, travel, parenting or lifestyle website, readers are becoming more picky about the blogs they follow. They are looking for content that entertains, informs or inspires them (and more often than not, all three at the same time). Unless your marketing technique is very slick, you’re going to need to offer more than a weekly sales pitch to attract regular readers (aka potential customers). Each time you write a post, try to think about how it will benefit your readers. What will they take away from it? Why would they recommend it to a friend?
So what should you be writing about? There’s no off the peg list of blog post topics that suits all businesses. And for a good reason. In the oversaturated blogging world, you want to stand out and give your audience a reason to remember you and return to your website. Posting the same content as every other small business in your field isn’t going to help differentiate you from the competition.
To generate ideas for blog posts that are individual to you and your business, try thinking about –
The values behind your business
Rather than writing about what you sell, write about why you chose to sell it. What prompted you to start your business, and what guides you in deciding which services to offer, who you work with, or which products to put on your shelves?
Tell the stories behind the things you’re selling
If you’re running a small business, you’ll have a wealth of stories around the provenance and ethics of the products you sell. Introduce your readers to the farmers, artists, bakers, brewers… the people you choose to work with. Give them an insight into how your business is building relationships with your suppliers to ensure the quality of everything you use.
Share your knowledge
Help your readers out with a problem they may be having. Inspire them with ideas and things you’ve learned as you’ve built your business. Tell them about local events, share recipes (especially if they use ingredients supplied by your business…), give them an insight into the behind the scenes workings of a small business.
If you’ve been meaning to start or reinvigorate your business blog for some time now but haven’t got around to it, take five minutes to jot down some ideas for posts. Try to come up with a couple of posts for each of the three categories above. Then choose one to begin with and get writing!
Once you start blogging regularly, you’ll soon see which posts are attracting the most readers or generating the most comments, and can use this information to guide you in your blogging style and subjects. Just remember, it’s not all about you… a lot successful business blogs follow the 80:20 rule. Try to ensure that (at least) 8 out of 10 posts are there to engage your readers, rather than simply sell your business. The other two can be more marketing focused and link to a service or product you want to promote.
Do you have blogging advice to share? How are you trying to balance marketing with engaging readers on your business blog? Leave a comment below.