Small Business Blogging Content Strategies

One of the challenges facing someone when they first decide to start a blog is figuring out what to write about, whom to write for, and how to incoporate blogging into their daily routine. This is true for businesses that to decide to add a blog to their website as well.

Coming up with a blog content strategy can make those challenges much easier. The first step involves asking yourself why you’re considering blogging to begin with. Why blog?

Blogging Objectives

One of the first steps you want to take with a business blog is to define what you want it to achieve. That might include:

  • Bringing local people and/or businesses to your shop or office
  • Increasing sales or generating leads for services you offer
  • Attracting potential clients/customers from outside your local area
  • Helping your audience understand what you do
  • Promoting your business locally/nationally/globally
  • Keeping your customers informed about what your business is up to
  • Building a brand – a mindset that people enter when they think about your business

An important next step is to think about the audience that you’re writing for.

Identify your audience

Whom is it that you’re writing for? You may want to educate, entertain, and engage an audience, but to help your blog achieve its objectives, you need to have an idea of who that audience is. This can also make it a lot easier to write blog posts, because it can give you some ideas on what to write about.

For example, if you’re a real estate agent, you want people to learn about the community they might be considering moving into.

If that area is attractive to younger couples who might have children, you’ll want to share information about the local schools, and events and attractions that may interest parents. If the area is a bedroom community that many commute from into an urban area, you might consider blogging about public transporation opportunites. If you’re offering resort properties to an older crowd, you’ll want to let your audience know about things like social events and recreation facilities. Both groups may be interested in things like local museums and attractions, and local history.

If you run a lumberyard/hardware store, you may have two different audiences – contractors and people interested in home DIY projects. Your blog posts may include things like tips and blueprints for building birdhouses and gazebos and sheds, or provide some information about zoning laws and architectual review boards, different architectual styles, choosing paints, working with a lathe, and so on. You might want to describe why certain woods tend to be used for certain projects, and tell us more about those woods.

Most audiences don’t want to read blog posts that are thinly veiled advertisements for business services. If you run a bakery, there’s nothing wrong with a blog post, for instance, that announces that it’s the start of peach season in the area, and that you’re going to be serving fresh peach pie for the next month or so, but make it entertaining. Show pictures of some local peach orchards, and a little history of the peach industry in the area. Educate, entertain, and make your audience hungry.

If you run a travel agency, you could write about the travel tours that you offer, but…

Your blog doesn’t necessarily have to be directly about travel. For example, you could create a blog about maps. You could blog about the London Underground, the route of the Tour de France, a concert tour route for the band Wilco through the deep south, a street level map of Mardi Gras attractions in New Orleans.

Your audience may want to know about things like extra baggage fees on flights, hotel amenities, and other mundane details about travel, but those are things that you can tell them in person. Use your blog to create excitement about traveling to new places, and having experiences that are new and exciting. Some of your audience members may be interested in specific locations and history, in museums, in immersing themselves in another culture.

Others may be more interested in new experiences such as whitewater rafting, skiing, taking a cruise, and so on. They might be excited to read about things like outdoor survival tips when camping out.

When to Write

You don’t necesarily need to write a blog post every day, but some consistency can be helpful in getting an audience to come back for more regularly.

If you decide to blog once a week, or once every two weeks, make it a meaty blog post with lots to chew on. If you decide to post more frequently, keep in mind that it can take some time to create entertaining blog posts on a regular basis.

You may want to have more than one person writing posts for your blog, and that can be a great idea if your shop or office has people who are knowledgeable about different things. For example, if you run a web design business, and you have a few designers, developers, and IT people on staff who might all be willing to blog, they might consider focusing upon different categories of topics. Tom the designer might post HTML and CSS tips weekly. Carl the IT and Network expert might write about networking and security topics. Jim the developer might write about Drupal and Joomla and other platforms. Overall, the impression that you may end up creating with multiple authors is that you have an active, engaging, and capable agency with expertise on a number of subjects.

Blogging Resources

To a degree, what you blog about is going to be colored by who your audience is, and what you might write about to attract them, and keep them coming back for more. Once you’ve identified what your audiences interests may be, you may want to start looking for resources to use as springboards for your own posts.

I wrote blog posts for a Delaware based law office for a number of years, and decided to focus upon writing about local and national legal issues in a language that was accessible for most people who weren’t attorneys. I also focused upon interesting Delaware events, history, and culture. To find inspiration for posts, I set up a number of RSS feeds which included other legal blogs, and monitored online news resources for legal and Delaware related issues.

Another audience for the legal blog were attorneys from other states who might be interested in working with a Delaware attorney for one reason or another. One of those reasons is that many businesses are incorporated in Delaware, and the contracts that they use often followed Delaware law, so it could be helpful knowing someone who was well versed in Delaware laws. A number of Delaware government agencies provided news feeds about new laws and regulations and changes to the ways that they were doing business, and blogging about those provided those other attorneys from outside of Delaware with a well known resource to contact if necessary. By finding and aggregating information from helpful resources in blog posts, the blog itself became a valuble resource to others as well.

Before You Blog

Actually, it can be helpful to use some of these ideas even if you’ve already started blogging.

Spend some time thinking about what you want to achieve with your blog, looking at the examples of objectives that I’ve listed above. Decide who your audience may be, keeping in mind that you might have more than one important audience like I did with the legal blog – people from Delaware who might want an approachable attorney to work with and attorneys from outside of Delaware who might want someone who knows a lot about Delaware law.

Decide how often you want to write, and who the writers will be for your blog posts.

Find some great resouces as springboards for ideas to write about, and in doing so, become a great resource yourself.

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70 thoughts on “Small Business Blogging Content Strategies”

  1. Blogging is an important element of SEO. However, it needs to be done correctly to be effective. Knowing your audience and providing relevant, quality content for them is the key to success with any blog. It’s not just something that you can rush.

  2. First of all getting small businesses to use blogging as an element of SEO is not the most easy part to implement, as an external consultant. But aside from SEO blogging can have a lot of advantages especially when the content provided has the value to bring potential customers back to the companies website. I still see to many companies that want to blog, but lack a proper strategy in the first place…

  3. I do think that blogging is really an important element, but not only for seo as Nick said.
    I think blogging is an important element for every business, because first it allows you to interact with your customers in a better way than your main site, it allows you to inform clients and visitors with the news about your company, your products, it allows you to write anything you want that will help your site to generate more leads and sales.

    People are often more likely to link to your blog than they do to your main site, because blog entries are not seen by others to commercial as main web site pages, so you can kill many birds with one stone, like: (attracting more links, attracting more leads, helping your site moving up in serp and increasing visibility in search engines eyes, social media, blogosphere, and other media too).

  4. Very smart and to the point post Bill :)

    When I read about blogging idea’s, I often find myself thinking: “Hey if I had a lumberyard, I would know what to write about”, however when I try to apply it on my own business which is (web)design/Drupal, I find it a lot more difficult to come up with topics that are both relevant and informative to my visitors and not slide into tech-talk (because my target group is not searching for those terms anyway). Now I try to write about facebook/social media, blogs, Drupal, e-commerce and even some basic SEO. However my target group is not interested in the latest Drupal module or social media plugin, they need a basic website and often don’t have a clue about anything else.

    So do you have any pointers/suggestions? THX :)

  5. Bill, Great post. I have several clients in the same boat as WebDesign DragolinDesign. I mean what if you sell insurance, or telecommunication services? Sometimes I think you can find other things that your customers may be interested in and mix in those topics. If you sell web design and SEO to small business, write about some other marketing techniques and how they might tie to the web site. Take a look at Inc. magazine and see some of the off topic articles they put in like “tech toys”.
    Thanks,

  6. Ok I will take the bait. :) I think the first mistake many small business make is actually trying to be a brand when they are not. Once upon a time I had fell into the trap myself, thankfully someone put me in check and pointed out that we were a mom and pop and needed to act accordingly, be more personable, etc. I hate to say it, but if we walk across the street and mention each other’s businesses to someone that has not dealt with us they will most likely say… who?

    Sorry but a brand is something that’s universally recognizable in most households. So while your points are all excellent and well presented, small businesses must first understand where they are in the food chain and learn to present themselves accordingly when they blog. If they want their efforts to be effective that is.

  7. Well, you sure showed what “a meaty post with a lot to chew on” means :)

    I loved it and it is obvious that you already know your market and who are you writing for. I also think it is hard to write really great posts every single day, especially if one person is doing all the work alone. Writing a very quality post takes time, and no matter how creative and knowledgeable a person is, it can still be a burden. Thanks.

  8. Great tips as always Bill. I thinking the biggest challenge beginner bloggers face is knowing how much and when to write. I agree that it isn’t necessary to write a blog post everyday as long as you stay consistent your audience will continue to grow.

    I use these ideas everyday Bill but it’s good to see point of view on the subject. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Also blogging about different topics within your niche helps, don’t just let your posts circle around the same topic each time, this may get boring for your readers after some time.

  10. These are the same problems I have faced when I started blogging. As you go along, it becomes more natural and easier. For me, the challenge is how to come up with good content as frequent as possible. These tips sure come in handy.

  11. Hi Nick,

    I agree with your points about knowing your audience, and trying to provide quality content. It really can be helpful to have a strategy on hand as you’re blogging that includes both aspects of those. A blog can be very helpful when it comes to SEO, but I’m hesitant to call it an “element” of SEO.

  12. Hi Ramon,

    Thank you. Blogging can be a time intensive activity, and it can require a business have someone who both enjoys writing and engaging an audience for it to work well.

    It’s not for everyone, but if it’s done right, it can help attract visitors to your pages and have them return on a regular basis. Like any activity worth doing, it can help to spend some time planning before launching a blog. Spending the time working out a strategy beforehand can help make it more likely that a blog will do well.

  13. Hi Besart,

    Those are all very good points. People often are more likely to link to a blog than they are commercial pages of a site. While a commercial website may try to sell something, a blog attached to that site is often more focused upon sharing something.

  14. Hi DragolinDesign,

    One of the things that I like to do when faced with the question of what kinds of things should a blog in a particular market write for a particular audience is to gather together some people and a big whiteboard and do some brainstorming or mind mapping. Have everyone share their ideas, regardless of how good or bad those might sound at first, and write them down. Repeat every few weeks, or once a month.

    For example, on a web design blog written for potential clients, I’d start coming up with a list of ideas, and keep the good ones, build upon or discard the bad ones. I might try a list like this to begin with:

    - Examples of web designs for the early days of the web
    - Why comic sans is a great font for kids sites, and not so much for bank sites
    - Drop shadows and other passing fads of web design
    - How much should your website look like everyone elses?
    - What different colors might say about your web design
    - Does the size of an image on a page influence whether or not people will read the text on that page?
    - Where should you place your site search box?
    - What makes a good landing page from a design perspective?
    - What are the best nonprofit website designs?
    - Stock photography or self photography?
    - labels on forms – in front of text boxes or above them?

    If you’re interested in attracting clients that work in music, such as recording artists, record labels, agents, and music sites, spend some time brainstorming about things related to those kinds of sites. A start on the kinds of topics that you might begin with:

    - Different ways to present music downloads and information about those tracks
    - How a band’s personal branding can be transferred over to their online presence
    - Best ways to incorporate video onto a website

    Coming up with potential topics to write about in a manner like this beats staring at an empty post text box, and asking yourself, “What should I write about today?”

  15. Hi Jamie,

    When I wrote this post, I had an examples of things that an insurance company could do when they were blogging. I didn’t include them in the final post, but it’s funny that you used that specific example.

    Insurance is about sharing risk, and mitigating it. It’s about being prepared for catastrophe and crisis, and being more secure when bad things happen. Insurance can cover health and life and car and home, and an insurance agency is there to give you some peace of mind.

    One topic that an insurance agency could focus upon is safety. Making your home more secure when your away traveling, putting together home and car first aid kits, being more streetsmart, making your home and car safer, how to organize community watch programs, etc.

    It can help to draw inspiration from other places, and come up with ideas that may interest your readers. I was visiting a site that had their own charge card the other day, and to receive special discounts and bonuses in emails from them, you had to apply for their store card. I know that was a popular approach for customer acquisition and retention for many years, but I started wondering if the practice has become dated, and more of a potential barrier to interaction between the business behind the site I was looking at and their customers than a helpful practice. It has little to do with SEO, but it’s a topic that my audience might appreciate, especially as more businesses are striving to use new channels like Facebook and Twitter and Groupon to interact with potential customers.

  16. Hi Mr. Aloha

    Thanks for “taking the bait.” :)

    When I wrote the word brand above, I was tempted to write “reputation” instead. Thinking about it now, I’m more tempted to include both brand and reputation.

    I think it’s a mistake for small businesses to focus more upon building a brand than it is for them to acquire and retain customers, and I see a lot of businesses that care more about ranking for their business and product names in search engines than the benefits and services that they offer through their websites and storefronts.

    The origin of the term brand is from the practice of putting a mark on livestock using a heated iron stamp, with the purpose of being able to distinquish one homesteader’s property from anothers. It’s grown to encompass the different identities of products and services between businesses, and goes beyond logos and slogans to things that bring a certain set of thoughts and emotions in a person’s mind when they think about a particular business.

    Every business should think about how they present themselves in ways that may stand out to people visiting their websites or their shops or offices. Does the business offer a great value at a great price? Do they ship quicker than everyone else? Do they have outstanding customer service? Are they personable, and attentive to their customer’s concerns and interests? Do they remember you after not hearing from you for a while? Do these values show on their website, and in their blog?

    While I like to go shopping at Borders for books, my favorite bookstore is much smaller and only has one location. When I go there, the people behind the counter greet me by name, and sometimes tell me if a book that I’ve been looking for has come in. They pay attention to what their customers are looking for and try to carry those books. They are quick to offer to special order something if it’s not available. They are personable, friendly, family oriented, and extremely helpful and knowledgeable about books. They’ve built a brand, not with fancy logos, and the use of the same photos and images across 27 different social networking sites.

    They don’t bombard the web or TV or print advertising with their ads, and they aren’t a household name. But they do have a brand. When I hear their name, or drive past their shop, I think of their friendliness, their great customer service, and their attention to details.

  17. I like the post, especially your last comment with real examples of brainstorming. I read a couple chapters of the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog from Problogger and it’s great stuff for anyone running a blog and care about SEO.

  18. Hi Brankica,

    Thanks. It is very hard to try to write a “meaty” post everyday. That’s why it can be helpful to have more than one author, or to focus upon a consistent schedule. If you only have time to blog every two weeks, you should focus upon quality and consistency – post that post exactly every two weeks. Include enough within it so that people look forward to coming back every two weeks. And they often will.

  19. Hi S Emerson

    Know what your audience wants, and strive to satisfy them, which is exactly what Google is trying to do with searchers. It’s very good advice. Thank you.

  20. Bill,
    Thanks for the reply. I look at blogging like cooking dinner. It’s easy for me to cook once a month and be good because I can come up with something new and different, take time to by great ingredients and spend the day. My wife, who cooks every day, has it hard. She has to come up with stuff every day, stay on a budget, keep it interesting and good, without it controlling her life. I like the ideas for insurance, but it’s still tough to come up with 100 of them for the year if your going to post twice per week, which is what many recommmend as a minimum to make it effective.

    You gave me a great set of blog topics – practical ways to get people to subscribe, like, follow, connect, etc… I have some good ideas on that.

    Thanks,

  21. Hi John,

    Thank you for providing your thoughts on this post as well.

    It can be hard and somewhat intimidating to start blogging when you haven’t before.

    I do often recommend that when someone wants to start a blog for their business that they hold off for a while, and start a hobby blog somewhere that isn’t related to their business, and isn’t tied to its success. There are places like wordpress.com or Blogger that will host a blog for free, and which can give people a chance to try blogging out. I mentioned blogging about a hobby, but what I mean by that is something that they find interesting enough to give them the motivation to create a number of blog posts. It doesn’t hurt to test the waters that way, and it can be a great way to figure out some things like how much to write and how often.

  22. Hi Andreas,

    That’s an excellent point. Adding some variety is a great thing, and the kind of brainstorming I mentioned in my comment above to DragolinDesign should definitely include room for posts that provide some diversity in the things you write about.

  23. Hi Steph,

    Thank you. Blogging does become easier the longer you do it, but there are times when it’s hard to come up with a topic for a post.

    I mentioned brainstorming above as one way to try to combat that.

    Another approach that I’ve used and recommended to add some specific themes for posts on certain days. For instance, a friend runs a blog about business, and he asked me for some suggestions. I recommended that he pick a certain topic for a specific day, and write about that. We decided that Thursdays would be the day to focus on local nonprofits, and the days between each Thursday he could think about and look for topics to write about related to nonprofits. All of a sudden, he had one day where he often knew what he was going to write about on Thursdays by Monday or Tuesday.

    A restaurant or bakery could have a “recipe monday” where they spend the time between recipes thinking about which one they might publish next. An internet marketing company could have a “small business Friday,” where they write about topics related to small businesses on that day. By at least coming up with a topic before hand, it becomes easier to come up with ideas for content to create.

  24. Hi Jamie,

    Cooking is a nice analogy, and one that I can relate to. I cooked my way through college and lawschool, and one of the biggest challenges was coming up with specials to add to what we offered on the menu.

    It became easier when I started buying cookbooks filled with things that I hadn’t cooked before, and experimenting with those – chances are that I was one of the first chefs in Delaware to start offering things like blackened redfish to diners.

    That’s part of the reason why I mentioned trying to find great resources to use as a starting point for blog posts. I could possibly even return to my post above, and come up with ideas for future posts from some of the things that I mentioned there, such as:

    How do you identify the audience for your business?
    How does someone subscribe to an RSS feed?
    Where do you look to find useful resources on the Web?
    How do you most effectively identify different authors on a blog when you have more than one author?

    It can be challenging and hard to come up with topics to write about regularly. That’s part of the reason why I wrote a post about coming up with a strategy that makes it a little easier. :)

  25. Thanks Bill, that was an actionable reply! Much appreciated :)

    I guess I like your suggestion about writing for a certain target audience instead of writing from your own point of view. So looking for topics they are interested in, instead of finding topics around my own products.

  26. Hi DragolinDesign

    You’re welcome.

    Ideally, you should still be writing about the things that interest you, but keeping in mind who your audience is so that you can write it for them as well.

    If you like working with ecommerce sites, make sure that you use examples that involve ecommerce sites. If you like working with writers and artists and musicians, include examples about sites owned by writers and artists and musicians. Write about things that might interest them, and have them consider working with you, but don’t ignore your own interests as well – you’re the one who is going to write the posts, so you should write about things that you’re interested in.

  27. One should base their blog content on the keywords they are targeting. Find out what the people you are targeting are interested in and what they are searching for online and begin writing articles on those topics. Not only will this draw your target market to the site, but it will also help with your SEO strategies if applied correctly.

  28. I love the fact that you point out to take the time to define what you want to achieve. Many bloggers or website owners jump in without a direction. I thinks this causes more frustration than necessary.

  29. Thank you for the tips Bill! Really appreciate it, I’ll surely keep that in mind and try to create my own schedule for writing articles each week. :)

  30. Nice my question is…is there room for creating an app and running it next to a blog? As in, does that improve the conversions you get from the blog? This site is a good example of what I am talking about

    http://mindflashad.com/branding-concept-quiz/

    You put a cool quiz thing like this next to the blog and source people to the blog and the quiz?

  31. This are really great tips for when someone is deciding to start a blogging business. I can see that you have covered everything that needs to be covered. Bravo!! This post sure is to be shared!

  32. Bill,

    As a new blogger i really appreciate this advice.

    Know your objectives. Know your target audience. Have a plan.

    I also think using another blog as a model can be helpful (i want to be like that blog… but with this difference).

    And better yet if you can get a blog mentor !!

    Thanks,

    craig

  33. Hi Vlad,

    It definitely can be useful to do some keyword research when you’re writing a blog post. Before you pull up a keyword research tool, it really helps to spend time first understanding who it is that you are “targeting,” and what they might be interested in. Once you’ve done that, and you have an idea of things that you might want to write about, doing some keyword research can help in making sure that you’re using words in your post that your audience will use in searching for what you’ve written.

    In addition to using a tool like Google’s keyword tool, you may want to first spend some time looking around to see the kinds of words and phrases that your audience uses when they discuss topics like the ones that you are considering writing about. That can help seed the keyword research that you do.

  34. Hi SteveF,

    Good point. When you’re first starting to blog, the temptation is often to jump right in, and just do something, anything. Sometimes that’s a good way to start because it can help you build up momentum, and get some words on a page.

    For a personal blog, where you may not be very sure who your audience might be, and what you might end up blogging about, that’s not a bad thing at all. Sometimes blogging is a great way of getting in touch with things that interest you. I know I’ve written a few personal blogs that didn’t have a clear plan or direction, and I ended up enjoying writing about some things that I didn’t know too much about. Blogging can be a good way to discover new interests.

    For a business blog, where you offer may offer services or products or both to people, you may already have a sense of who your audience is, and the things that they might be interested in. That’s something that it isn’t bad to explore when you’re putting together a business plan or a marketing plan. It’s also something that’s helpful to explore as you continue to build your business, and let it evolve over time.

    For example, a private school may initially think of their audience as the students who might attend the school. They may quickly decide that it’s just as important to create pages for the parents and guardians of those students, who are often the actual decision makers of whether or not the students attend the school.

    They may end up finding that it’s good to have some pages on their site for present students of the school as well – so that providing information about things like school closings, schedules for athletic events, and other useful information are helpful to include on their pages. Alumni of the school might find some value in pages relevant to them on the school’s site as well. Other audiences may surface as well, such as teachers and staff members, future employees, vendors, people in the community around the school, and others.

    Spending time figuring out who those audience members are, building some pages on a site that are easy for them to find, and providing things for them to do on those pages can be helpful in creating a better and more effective site. If you’ve done that analysis for your website, it can be helpful when you start blogging because you’ve already identified the different audience members that you may want to create blog posts for.

  35. Hi Steph,

    You’re welcome. A schedule and a plan can be really helpful. Build a little flexibility into it though, so that if it makes some sense to write about something else (and sometimes it will), you don’t let your plan keep you from doing that.

  36. Hi Kirill,

    My focus for this post was more upon building an overall strategy than specific individual tactics like creating something that might be considered linkbait.

    You can create apps, write controversial stories, and do many other things that might help draw traffic to a site, but even when you’re doing that, it doesn’t hurt to ask yourself if the application is something that would interest your audience, and help you achieve the objectives you’ve set for your site.

  37. Hi Andrew,

    Thanks. I suspect that there were more things that I could have included, and a number of them are showing up in the comments to this post. :)

  38. Hi Craig,

    Thanks. I think that’s a great point. It doesn’t hurt to spend some time at other blogs, and watching what other bloggers are doing, and use another blog as a model. And a mentor can be helpful as well. :)

  39. Pingback: Blog Posts To Read for January 27, 2011
  40. It is really essential that you have your objective in every blog you create. So many factors have to be consider and the priority is the prospective readers of course and how they could relate on it. It’s great that you had pointed it out all the important matters in blogging Bill. These are great tips. Thanks to you. Keep posting because we learn a lot from your writings.

  41. Hi Bill,

    You’re very correct here, You should always focus on quality post rather than quantity post. It’s the right & best way to create your audience.

  42. Great post, both for the newcomers who only start to consider blogging, as well as people with some blogging experience.

    My primary takeaway is to find some unique and useful resources to use as “springboards”. I noticed you often use SE patents, for example, which is really smart, considering your experience with the legal jargon.

    Gotta get creative and find something unique. Other blogs are an obvious source, but I want to stand out more than just a part of an echo chamber.

    Thanks for bringing this up!

  43. My take has always been that if you have a small business, then you will blog about solutions to potential problems and issues that people may face in your niche.

    For instance, if you have a small business that is centered around renovating homes to make them more efficient, then you might write a post about the benefits of using double pane windows filled with argon gas.

    I have personally been finding success using the problem/solution angle and I try to write a nice collection of “how to’s” and articles that answer questions.

    Mark

  44. Hi Bill,

    Thanks for this blog post. It’s a question I often get asked, and you’ve published an excellent response that I can and will share.

    One of the reasons I’ve become a new fan of your blog is you read the responses and provide feedback — obviously part of your strategy. Can you share why you decided to go that route? When do you stop responding to queries, after a certain number, after a certain time, or do they naturally taper out over time?

  45. Hi Val,

    Thank you. You can get ideas from a lot of places for your blog posts, from your own education and experience, to sources like books and magazines and news articles, to other blogs that you read and RSS feeds that you subscribe to, and others.

    You’re right that I like looking at patents. I was reading them anyway, so blogging about them made a lot of sense when I first started, and it still does. Deconstructing a patent filing is a lot of work, and I wouldn’t recommend it to people who don’t have much of a tolerance for legalese, but I do find them a good resource to start with.

    Regardless of what you might choose to use as a starting point for blog posts, it’s important to add your own voice and views and opinions to what you write about rather than just echoing something you find.

  46. Hi Mark,

    The problem/solution approach is a nice one, and it’s definitely worth pursuing. It’s not the only approach that someone can use, but doing that can help you meet the objectives behind your site, and it provides helpful and useful information directly to your intended audience.

  47. Hi Donna,

    Thanks. When I post a comment somewhere, I really like it when I get a response to what I’ve written. So it’s something that I try to do here.

    Many of the things that I write about don’t have an expiration date – I try to respond to comments on older blog posts even long after they’ve been written. Sometimes when I write about a patent, the search engines may implement that patent years after it’s been granted. For example, Google was granted a patent in 2005 that includes Google Instant. I wrote about it years ago, but I’ve gotten recent and relevant comments on that post. It’s still worth discussing.

  48. Its very common to see clients sites with a blog attached to it. Unfortunately more often than not its very poorly maintained or even worse – just full of promotional content highlighting poor deals or new product additions. Blogs like this tend to rank badly and provide very little benefit to either the site or its readers.

    I like your suggestions on thinking more abstractly when determining the theme or content of a blog. It may also be worth mentioning that there are advantages to be gained by hosting the blog on a separate domain and/or server. From a users point of view, it allows you to be somewhat separated from the main content of your site, and from an SEO viewpoint – its a powerful additional linking source.

  49. Hi James,

    I often recommend that someone interested in blogging for their business who has no experience blogging try out a hobby blog first, completely unrelated to their business, so that they can get an idea of what blogging is like, how blogging software works, and whether or not they might maintain their blog on a regular basis. That can be a helpful step in avoiding the situation that you describe, where a business blog doesn’t get maintained.

    I also try to stress that a blog that’s filled with purely promotional material will likely provide very little value to the business and the site. That’s actually part of the point behind this post – write for your audience, and the things that they may be interested in. As I noted above, thinly veiled advertisements aren’t really the things that people want to read when they come to a blog.

    I prefer to have a blog hosted under the same domain rather than placing it on a different domain. A separate blog on a different domain may be a place to get additional links from, but segregating it from the same domain means that you have additional work to do in promoting it, and your main site wouldn’t get as much benefit from links pointed towards the blog (from an SEO viewpoint).

  50. I’m a bit late in posting a comment, but I can’t without thank for these great tips)))A content strategy is a requirement in today’s inbound marketing world. If they want their efforts in promoting with blogging to be effective they’ll need to create content using the language their audience uses, hold the conversations where they hang out, and stoke the fires of conversation over time with fresh and ongoing content. It takes long time, but eventually meet the expectations … a valuable and high-quality material has always attracted an audience.

  51. Hi Bill,
    Thanks for sharing your opinion. I have one question.
    1. Let say a small local company run a custom kitchen cabinets business. And try to promote a company via on-line channels.
    Run a blog is a good idea, but these guys are to busy and writing level close to zero. Who must to write the blog post for company?
    You think it is a good idea to hire a good writer, who will pay and how much? Me personally, I have a little knowledge about kitchen cabinets, but I’m working in SEO/SEM since 2002. I think you understand what I mean? I can write about SEO, PPC and so on… but not about a kitchen stuff.
    Cheers,

  52. It can be difficult coming up with a blog that is diverse and entertaining. I find that a short blog that is intended for people to read every couple of days and that might have a point on web design, seo, technology or news specific to our local area helps. It keeps people updated on current affairs and information as well as users returning to the website periodically for info.

  53. Hi Toby,

    You’re welcome. For many reasons, a content strategy is a great idea for a blog. One of the best of them is that it can make it a lot easier to come up with topics to write about on a regular basis. I think it also helps to review and update that strategy on a regular basis as well. Looking back at past posts, and seeing how weel they might have been received, how effective they might have been, and how they could have been improved can teach you a lot about what you’re doing.

  54. Hi Dimitry,

    Very good question. It might not be a bad idea for them to consider hiring a writer, or to look within their organization to see if anyone they employ might be both interested in writing for their blog and possesses some talent as a writer.

    If the business has a marketing or advertising budget for print and radio and television advertising, they should consider expanding that budget/marketing plan to include having someone writing for their blog and possibly for social networking as well. That person might be the same person who works on their other ads, too. If they don’t have someone in a role like that presently, they could consider hiring someone part time to begin with.

  55. Hi Simon,

    Blogging, like most other endeavors, can take some perspiration and inspiration to do right. It isn’t always easy, but I think it often becomes easier the longer that you do it. Coming up with a strategy and a plan behind it can help.

  56. Hi Zsolt,

    I agree. Starting a blog is hard to do. Not only do you need to get used to coming up with things to blog about, but you also need to learn how to use the software, figure out who your audience is and what to write for them, and find some way to get the news out about your blog.

  57. Thank you for the great information. As someone who is just getting started in blogging to promote my business, I found your tips very helpful. Great content!

  58. Sometimes a client will want to go crazy when creating a new site and have a page for just about everything under the sun.
    This isn’t really a blogging strategy per say, but I’ve found that it can be beneficial to just create posts and categories for their extra’s they want on the site, but don’t necessarily fit into a solid navigational flow. After the fact, these posts and categories serve well as a foundation for new content to blog about.

    I think a good blog has a solid mixture of self-promotion AND newsworthy material, from which it can easily be sorted through the categories and tags.

    @Mr Aloha, I’ve heard this before.. small businesses make the mistake of thinking that what works for big companies will work for them, but it doesn’t work that way.

    Great topic and different perspectives from everybody here.

  59. Hi Spencer,

    Good points. Blogs do provide you with the ability to cover a wide range of topics that might be related to the content that you place on other parts of your site, but that you may not necessarily want to make an essential part of the hierachy of your pages.

    Blogs do provide you with a lot of opportunities to do things like show off your expertise, to help visitors learn more about you and your business, to provide visitors with reasons to come back on a regular basis, and so much more.

    What works for big companies may not work for smaller businesses, but what may work for smaller businesses doesn’t always make sense for big companies to pursue as well. That can mean, for instance, pursuing opportunities that big businesses can afford to because it would involve too much work to change product lines or the way they perform their services, or developing relationships with other companies that bigger businesses might not be as interested in.

  60. Bill,
    Thanks for the insight i am going to read problogger, my site is very young and i have decided on my strategy but had not considered a schedule for blogs i tend to write a piece as and when.I intend to now put a schedule in place and create enough time for better blogs in future. once again thanks for the advise.

  61. Hi Richard,

    You’re welcome. Adding a schedule to your planning for blog posts can make a lot of sense. A schedule can sometimes make it easier for you to keep in mind what you might want to write when, by helping you plan ahead and keep certain topics in mind, so that you can create them over time.

  62. I used to start my blogs without thinking of the hard core reasons and objectives for it, after all, I only see those blogs as an outlet to express my thoughts about those niches. Now, I have learned to be more organized and objective in starting a blog. I know why I write and publish posts and the things that I want to achieve out of my blogging efforts.

  63. Interesting post :) No matter what strategy you follow for your site, just remember ONE thing that content should be created for visitors not for search engines…

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