Any business with a website should be aware that maintaining only a stagnant web presence isn’t good either for improving your reach or customer base, increasing interest in your products or services, or satisfying Google’s algorithm (and improving your chances of being found in Google searches). The shorter of version of this is: if you have a website, update it. Specifically, you should be putting out original, accessible content on your blog on at least a semi-regular basis.
Many small business owners don’t know what kind of content is appropriate, though. It’s more complicated when the business’s specialty isn’t general audience. A dermatologist can talk about skin and skin care for an infinite number of blog posts. All people have skin and have therefore experienced skin problems. A vendor that sells and installs engineering software can only write so many posts about why to purchase that engineering software from that company. Businesses with more targeted products or services must think outside the box more.
What makes a good blog post? This is what Corporate Conversions, a West Michigan marketing company, has to say:
A web post should:
- Be at least 400 words long. SEO copywriting guidelines suggest 250 at a bare minimum, but unless a post has a number of pictures, you need four or so paragraphs to tell a story.
- Center around topics within your industry that people have questions about. These can be news stories, how-to articles, or even items of controversy. People who Google topics involving your industry might find you via those new articles, and you may gain new customers.
- Have pictures. Everyone loves them. The more original, interesting ones you can add, the better. If you can show your employees enjoying themselves or demonstrating what your company does, that’s great.
- Highlight company changes, updates, or interactions with the community. If your company does volunteer work or raises money for a good cause, talk about it!
- Include links - both outside and inside. Link to your own content so that new readers have exposure to it. Link to external articles that illustrate your points or give your readers more to explore.
These are the basics of what needs to be included, but the most important thing is to know your audience and write to engage it. The best blog pieces will be watercooler content - meaning, people will want to talk to other people about it because it either raises questions, is entertaining, puts forward an opinion that can be discussed, or otherwise captures some emotion. The more eyes you get on your blog content, the more people will know your name and what you do.
When you have persuaded people to talk about your content to others, then you have created truly successful, sometimes even viral, marketing. It doesn’t get any better than that. Word of mouth operates as both advertising and recommendation. It also builds trust in your company and your brand - if it’s positive. It’s your job to build and channel positive web content.
If you don’t know what to write, make a list of questions your clients or customers ask about, and address them one by one. It’s also helpful to bring up industry concerns or happenings, or successes your business has recently had. Focus on the practical ways your products or services benefit people. Those things are easy to discuss over the watercooler.
If you feel stumped about what to put on your blog, remember that something is better than nothing, and even simple posts with pictures will be interesting to many people. Talk about your business’s service ethic, highlight your employees’ skills, or link to interviews people have done with other publications. The name of the game is new content, updated regularly.