Words, benedict smith, hubbul
Blogging might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but done well and it can be another string to your business bow. For some people, writing comes naturally. It's a gift they are born with. You know, the kind of people whose fingers dance naturally across the keyboard as they turn thoughts into sentences, using words to make their ideas fly.
For others, writing is a chore. It's difficult and time-consuming. And the very thought of staring at a blank page and not knowing how to fill it is the stuff of nightmares. These are the guys who wouldn’t write an article if you paid them. Believe me...
But the fact remains. Content is pretty important in business today. So if you shy away from putting pen to paper - or fingers to keyboard - a blog might just be the best way to sharpen up your writing skills, market your ideas, showcase your portfolio and let that personality of yours shine right through.
If you're after a more professional blog, you might be best off building a website, or if you already have one, simply adding a blog section to it. Grab your domain name from GoDaddy, and have a play around on Squarespace, which has tonnes of simple but beautiful themes that even an idiot like me can get to grips with.
There are heaps of other sites to help you with this, but these guys keep it cheap and simple. For around ten to fifteen quid a month you'll have yourself a professional website. Ideal. For the cost conscious, there are plenty of free blogging sites out there. Check out the top ten here.
If research into blogging is anything to go by, it pays to invest time in. 79% of companies with a reported a positive return on in-bound marketing, and experience a big increase in the number of people visiting their website. Then it's just up to you to on-board them as customers. Simple. Theoretically...
First off, if you’re going to kick off a blog, commit to it. Consistency is key. Nobody likes a sporadic blogger who enlightens you with a thought-provoking article only to then fall off the face of the earth for a few months. Try to set yourself a realistic target number of posts that you can stick to even when you’re busy.
Find your own voice and try to inject some of your personality into each of your blog posts. Newsworthy articles offering opinion and analysis make for far better reading than middle-of-the-road, uninspiring blog posts. Don’t be scared to choose a topic and tell it how it is. After all, you’re the expert. That said, don’t go fishing for controversy. You've seen what happens to attention seekers on the internet.
Once you’ve got the ball rolling and a few blog posts under your belt, think about how you’re going to market it. While nobody expects you to devise a full-blown marketing strategy for your weekly blog post, it’s no good writing quality content only for it to go unread. Driving traffic to your website will get you noticed, improving the likelihood of turning these visitors into new business.
Take full advantage of social media. It's free and the biggest and best way to share content. Promote your blog and build your brand through Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Gmail, Instagram and so on, before tracking its performance with the help of Google Analytics.
With a fairly rounded idea of what type of content works and what doesn't, you'll be in a good position to put together a really simple, very flexible content calendar - if this is a route you fancy going down. Do a little keyword research to understand trending topics and words that are most searched for by your target audience. Spend a little while on Google Trends.
To gain traction and to pull in the punters, a blog needs to be interesting, interactive and informative. If the content is shoddy you'll never get a loyal, engaged following. That said, it's got to look the part too. If the stats are anything to go by...
Blogs and articles accompanied by images attract a staggering 94% more total views than those without. That said, don’t sacrifice good quality in favour of flashy images – strike a healthy balance between the two. But as a writer, I suppose I would say this. Ask a designer, they'll no doubt say otherwise.
77% of the internet consider themselves regular blog readers. So put simply, there’s every chance that setting some time aside could open new doors for you - as long as the stuff you write is original, shared in the right circles and who could forget, awesome to look at. If all else fails, see it as a great way to rid yourself of those writing demons once and for all…
Write a blog? Share the link. Let's chat...