So... you want to start blogging for your business? You heard it gets you more traffic, leads and of course customers? Your competitors are out-ranking you in the Google search results, so you need to blog.
You know at least 2 people who blog: maybe your niece, your cousin, even your dad has started a blog?
And even though, you haven't written anything longer than an email since your English class in high school, you take heart. Writing a blog can't be that hard, right?
And with Google's latest algorithm update, Panda 4.0 having a blog with fresh and informative content is more important then ever.
Business Blogging 101
I'm Not a Writer
Don't worry, a lot of professional bloggers out there weren't (or are still not) good writers, but they wrote, and still write. They found a subject that either wasn't being written about, or put a new spin on it. But they keep on writing, no matter what.
So how do non-writers write?
First Thing, Don't Plagiarize
No matter how stumped you are for an idea, don't take someone else's and call it your own. It's totally fine to use statistics, quotes and information from other sources, but give credit where credit is due.
After all if you write some amazing piece of original content, wouldn't you want to get the credit for it? Also chances are you will be caught sooner or later, and if Google knows you are stealing, it won't help you much (or you might even get penalized and buried on page 98)
Summarize Industry News
Wait, you just said don't plagiarize. Yes, but taking industry news and articles, and making quick easily digestible summaries is perfectly fine. Make sure your reference and give the link to the article you are summarizing and add a thought or two of your own about it.
For instance if you are a small pharmacy, write about CVS's decision to stop selling cigarettes and tobacco products. If you are a lawyer, write about law cases making the news. Even major news events that aren't in court but could have legal ramifications.
Write about an industry event
Conventions, trade-shows, charity, awards or any other type of event you are attending, write about it.
Promote it before you go, let your audience know where you are going to be, i.e. booth 58.
While you are there take pictures and notes, even video. Then write a blog post about it after, give a little summary, people you met, share a few of the pictures or stories. You are going there anyway, might as well make it worthwhile.
Also maybe there is a weekly or monthly place you go to for your job, like a used car auction, so write about that. You could possibly make it a series, and write about it every time you go there (if there is enough content).
Brainstorming & Editorial Calendar
That's great. No, honestly it is. Take all those ideas banging around in your head and do a "brain dump". Write them all down on a piece of paper or on a Google Drive sheet, or even better into an Editorial Calendar.
Stay With One Topic
Pick a topic that is easy for you to write about. Sure you might have a lot to say, and it's all important, but take one idea per blog post. This will not only help you focus on one long-tail keyword, but also will allow you to have more blog posts to write and be informative without being too long to read.
Write a blog outline
Now that you know what to write about, write a blog outline. Every blog should have an introduction, a body (more to that in a second) and closing comment, summary or bottom line statement.
If your brainstorming gave you several points you want to make in one blog post, write out some bullet points to help you structure your thoughts and then build them out into short paragraphs.
These bullet points will also help you to tell your story in the blog post. When they are written down in front of you, you can see the order they need to be in and rearrange them easily.
Make your content scannable
Unless your reader is very engaged with you already, you have a few seconds to convey your content and help the reader decide if it's worth reading the entire article. Most people will skim first and then (perhaps) read. To help your reader, format your blog posts into several headlines or bullet point list.
Remember the bullet points from before? Those will become your H2 headlines for your blog post, which helps your readers scan your article.
The whole point of your blog is to attract more qualified traffic that will eventually become a lead then a customer right? So write about your customers, don't give out any personal information (unless the customer consented to it), keep it professional and try not to be too emotional.
If you write about common problems that your customers face, help them solve or preempt them, don't you think they would want to come to you. Also by giving examples of what not to do, they will be better customers for you when they do come in.
For instance, a hardware store blog could talk about common mistakes when taking measurements, or taking pictures of what is around the door frame before coming in for a new lock.
Don't Publish Immediately, Sleep On It
You just spent 4 hours writing the greatest post. It's 2,000 words long, tells a great story, real life examples, conveys emotion, formatted, spelling and grammar checked and awesome pictures. You are ready to hit "Publish" after all that hard work.
Why? If a post is that big or emotional, you should take a step back and sleep on it. Review it the next day and maybe even slash half of what you wrote.
Really? Slash half? Why, more content is better right for Google right?
Google might like the longer blog post, but if it is repetitive and unclear to the reader, Google won't like it either.
After your review if you can't find anything to cut, good job. So you might want to consider to break it into smaller parts, if it makes sense. Or leave it as it is, and then later expand on it even more and make an eBook out of it.
While having Google Authorship won't help you write, it will help your writing rank over time. Whether you write for one or multiple websites, letting Google know and keep track of everything you write adds up. It is definitely taken into account as a ranking factor and will be a more important factor in the future.
Plus having your picture and byline next to your article helps for click-through rates, and who doesn't like seeing their own picture staring back at them from the search results page?