The Small Business Blogging Conundrum
Before I get into the details of the post, lets go ahead and address the elephant in the room.
I get it.
You’re a small business owner, which probably means you’re also a small business marketer, or you have “a guy/gal” who handles your marketing for you. They’re probably a distant relative that you couldn’t count on seeing at your next family reunion. Or you have a buddy from college who you met through intramural flag football that couldn’t tell you the difference between a page view and a unique visitor.
So why would you want them handling the important task of writing content for your marketing website much less doing any thing else marketing related for your business? They do not have the expertise, so why use them? You simply cannot rely on them to produce anything of value unless you give them something in return. I think you see what I’m getting at. You do what’s convenient, not what’s right.
I get it.
You probably don’t have the time, budget, or know-how to find, hire, and micro-manage someone else to write marketing copy for you, yet understand the importance of high-quality content marketing; blog posts, email marketing, social media, etc. The thing is, you have all of those things, you’re just making excuses and selling yourself short.
You probably have a website, and chances are, you have the ability to publish content to that website. So, why not write blog posts yourself? No one knows your business, and your customers (see readers) like you do. If you don’t have a website that you can edit yourself, check out my recommended list of website building tools. Think about it, if you’re not blogging, and your competitors are, they’re making out like bandits with customers that could/should be yours. Set aside 1-2 hours every week to write a blog post on one of the 13 topics below.
Before you say that’s too much time, consider this stat I found in an recent ebook from Inbound Marketing giants HubSpot:
“Companies with blogs get 55% more website traffic, and that number goes up exponentially whether you post once a week, twice a week, and then up to several times a day – wherein you become a thought leader in your field. Our advice? Blog as often as you can while keeping the content valuable for your prospects.”
Phew..with that out of the way, in the famous words of Mr. Michael Bolton..
13 Easy Blog Post Topic Ideas For Small Business Marketers
- Upcoming/Recent Events – Do you go to trade shows? Conferences? Networking events? Other industry related events? Write a post that talks about what you did, what you saw what you learned, who you met. Give people shout-outs in the form of written praise and link love and don’t be afraid to ask for it in return. Use hashtags from your event to engage others in friendly banter and conversation. You’ll probably enjoy it. Write about your overall experience and give your honest opinions. Here’s an example of a post I wrote after attending Internet Summit 2012.
- Product Reviews – Do you have distinct competitive advantages over your competition? Leverage them. Write a blog post reviewing your product or service alongside others in your industry/space. This demonstrates transparency, and with transparency comes trustworthiness. You’ll also be including crucial keywords in your post without really thinking about it, which is great for search engine optimization (SEO).
- Tips & Tricks – Do you have expertise? Be a hipster and tell your readers about something the probably don’t know about in the form of a tip or trick. Be useful and practical. Have some fun with it, but make sure to get the point across instead of beating around the bush trying to be silly.
- Top 10 Lists – Put yourself in Letterman’s shoes from time to time. Follow the same guidelines as idea #3. Believe it or not, your opinion matters, and people want to hear it, so express yourself! You don’t have to do a nice even number like 10 either, just do as many as you can think of.
- Helpful Tools – Are you using a tool that has made your life easier? Tell people about it in a blog post. Be sure to let the company you’re recommending know about the article so they can promote it via social media. That’s free marketing, and as we know, small businesses love free stuff.
- How To’s – People (potential customers in this case) are always curious about how to do things. When they want to find out, they head to the interwebs, specifically, the search engines first and use search queries that begin with “how to”. This is your chance to help your readers out and hopefully convince them that your continued expertise is worth paying for.
- Hot Industry Topics – Being timely with your blog posts can make a huge difference. Check out trending topics in Twitter (left side of the Twitter user interface) or use Google Trends to search for topics that are relevant to your industry right now and write a post about it.
- Answer Common FAQs – Do you ever get asked the same question over and over again by your customers? Write a blog post answering it. You can then toss a link to the blog post in your replies to folks via email and social media instead of having to repeatedly explain it. People can share that content with their networks as well.
- Client Testimonials – Do you have delighted customer evangelists? I sure do hope so, or else you wouldn’t be in business for very long, that is unless your customers pay you to tick them off. :) Ask for testimonials from your happiest customers and create blog posts about them, quoting their praises and demonstrating how you helped then. Again, you’ll optimize the article without needing to think because you’ll be using keywords that are valuable to your business. Be honest and link to their website and social media outlets, ask them to do the same for you. Pictures of your customers evoke a sense of camaraderie and friendliness too.
- Case Studies – Chances are, the people who love your products and services love them because they’ve helped them satisfy their needs. Write a blog post that shows exactly how specific customers have benefited by using your products and services. Use actual data points that matter to your target market. Use charts, graphs, and other visuals, like videos of your customers speaking. Give readers something to look at other than words. Case studies also allow your readers to learn more about your product or service and how it can help them. That’s powerful stuff.
- Poll Results – You have to poll and survey your customers consistently throughout the year to find out what you’re doing right, and more importantly, what you’re doing wrong. Write about the good things you find out in your polls and surveys. If you can, use larger numbers to get more “wow” factor from the reader. That’s always a plus.You can use a free service like SurveyMonkey to send out surveys via email. Facebook and LinkedIn allow you to create polls you can easily share with your networks. Get some good data and run with it in a mind-blowing blog post.
- Video Posts – Do you own a smartphone or video camera? Start your own “how to” series on topics in your industy. Post your videos to a dedicated YouTube channel, add them to your written blog posts, and promote them via social. Use your videos in relevant “how to” posts if they’re visual. You could also do a regular section where you answer FAQs in a video like an interview or talk show. You can easily transcribe the text of the video and use that too.
- Funny Stories – Did something funny happen to you at work today? Yesterday? This past week/month/year? Write a blog post about it! Make it about industry trends if you can. This will keep the reader focused on the topic, not your failed attempts at comedy. Comedy is based on the distinct commonality the audience and comedian have and relate to those awkward moments we all experience as humans. People appreciate tasteful, smart comedy.
The Small Business Blogging Bottom Line
YOU CAN DO IT!!
If you don’t believe in yourself, you’ll never get anywhere. Geez, I sound like my mom and right on the heels of Mother’s Day too! (That’s a good thing in my opinion..love you Mom!) Your blog posts do not have to be long, in fact, it’s better starting small, finding your voice, and then pushing forward.
Like most things in life, writing blog posts takes practice and patience. Before you know it, you’ll get in a groove and you’ll be well on your way to content marketing success (see traffic, engagement, leads and customers). Whether you write about one of the topics I listed above or something else, the key is, you’ve done SOMETHING, which is better than NOTHING.
I hope my suggestions get your foot in the hypothetical blogging door now, which means it won’t get slammed in your face later. It’s easier to deal with a stubbed toe instead of two black eyes and a broken nose. Trust me, I’ve done both, figuratively and literally. If you need more inspiration, leave me a comment and I’ll pat your back for you!