A blog is a great way to attract potential leads to your business. And while many business owners understand the importance of a blog for lead generation, they often prioritize other business tasks and eventually find that blog content efforts have fallen to the wayside.
There are numerous reasons why blogs are important—especially for small businesses with a local presence. For starters, blogs are the bread and butter of search engine optimization. SEO makes it possible for your business to appear at the top of search engine results pages. And since many business searches begin with a Google query, it’s important for you to prioritize content and ranking results.
Beyond SEO and ranking potential, blogs are a great way to build thought leadership, build brand awareness, and provide insightful resources to your target market. When you create great content, it’s more likely to be shared on social media and linked to from other reputable sources. But while starting a blog is easy enough, maintaining a blog is an entirely different story. Here’s what you need to know about creating a successful blog for you small business:
Use Mixed Media
Infuse your blog content with strong videos, images, and graphics where necessary. If you only focus on text in your delivery, you could be missing out on valuable opportunities. For starters, avoid using stock imagery where possible. Use real, high-quality images and your readers will be able to tell the difference.
With each piece of content you create, think about how you can use other forms of content to complement it. For example, let’s say you’re running a local dental clinic and have come across a resource for dental malpractice statistics this year. In this case, you might cite your resource and create an infographic that summarizes key findings.
On the same token, when you’re creating content that’s difficult to explain or visualize, think about how video can communicate that message more coherently. When you use different types of media, you’ll also be able to leverage different social media platforms. For instance, you could post your infographic on Pinterest or your video on YouTube, thereby expanding your audience to other channels—all from one blog.
Invite Guest Bloggers
Guest bloggers can bring additional value to your blog and it requires very little work on your part. Guest bloggers are bloggers who are well-versed in your industry and can write a blog post for your site—typically in exchange for a backlink to their site. Leverage guest bloggers to grow strong industry relationships, get more content on your blog, and receive additional social shares from the contributor.
Create a “Write for Us” or “Guest Blog” page to make it easy for potential contributors to submit applications easily. On the other hand, if you think there’s a guest blogger that would be perfect for your site, you can reach out to them directly and extend an invitation to write for your blog.
Conduct Competitor Research
Competitor research is an important part of developing any content strategy. No matter what industry you’re in, it’s important for you to see what other businesses in your industry are doing with content. There are plenty of tools that can help you guide these efforts, including SEMRush, SpyFu, and many more.
What are your competitors writing about? What is their top-performing content and why? What content is being shared on social media? Start writing down top ideas and use this as a foundation for what type of topics are important to your target market. This doesn’t mean you have to copy them, but armed with a solid framework and starting point, you can alter titles and topics that are working and tailor them to your brand.
Create an Editorial Calendar
One of the biggest struggles business owners have with blog content is the ability to consistently create strong content. What typically happens is that business owners start off with a few ideas for written content and post it sporadically, but don’t create a strategy that’s consistent and organized.
An editorial calendar is a great way to plan content in advance and keep your blog assets, deliverables, deadlines, and writers organized. You can create a content calendar of your own using a tool like Google Sheets and manage execution via project management software like Trello or Asana.