Starting your own business is a lot like a celebrity marriage. Lots of money is put into it, lots of people pretend to care, and if your still up and running after a year, you’ve really surprised everyone.
So why the breakups? Why the failures? I don’t claim to know Brad and Angelina’s secret, nor do I claim to have a kryptonite list of successful business practices but I know that when business owners and celebrities get overwhelmed they make some mistakes.
I would like to devote this article to one practice (and usually the first) business owners drop when the feel overwhelmed– the blog.
The internet is not just a place for your business to be accessible, its a place for your voice to be heard. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, too many small business owners, start a Facebook page, a Twitter, a this or a that and end up sharing posts with the 15 people who follow them. These 15 people are the employee’s of the company along side the business owners parents. Sharing posts with these people makes no sense and is a waste of your life.
Keeping a up to date blog with relevant content, a unique voice, and just a dash (not a teaspoon, not a table spoon and certainly not a cup) of fair worded self promotion could end up being what brings people to your Facebook, Twitter, or even better, your store.
Blogging Do’s and Don’ts
Do Engage your visitors with comments and replies in attempt to start a discussion, don’t force it however.
Do spend time building relationships with other business bloggers in your area or within the same niche. This can be accomplished by posting blog comments on various blogs. This tactic also could potentially bring traffic to your blog from other blogs.
Don’t fill your blog with ads in attempt to make a little something on the side. your blog is your company’s voice, this will just hurt your credibility.
Do reach out to other blogs and ask if you can guest post. UNLIKE YOU some businesses get behind on their blog and will operate under the belief that any post (a guest post in this circumstance) is better than no post. I’m not here to say this is wrong or right, but regardless, its wise to take advantage of this opportunity. Granted, higher authority blogs will almost always be posting frequently but until your blog has some authority its self, this is low hanging fruit that builds your blogs authority and drives some traffic to your page.
Don’t write with an insincere or fluffy tone. Too many businesses have a blog because its trendy and end up posting content that is unoriginal and rote. If your blog has become a burden as opposed to an expression outlet then take some time to regroup before posting something just for the sake of posting.
Do Share your blog through social media. Whether it is through your businesses account or your own, if you are creating original content it has all the more chance of being shared or retweeted.
Case Studies: Good Blogs
“Delicious Days” is an exceptionally well done and well rounded blog. This is not, however, a blog promoting business but the look and feel of the blog is worth highlighting and worth mimicking for your own blog.
Notice how the content does the talking. This should always be the case. There is nothing flashy and showy and the only ad on this blog is very relevant to what the blog is about.
The navigation bar at the top makes it easy to find what you are looking while having a unique traditional look. I am a 25 year old male and I enjoy this blog, but look at how well the design, the layout, even the font caters to to the audience of women from late 20’s to early 60’s. The pictures alone are enough reason to be on this blog.
As you may know already, Southwest is a massive airline service. I am highlighting their blog not only because is it well done but they are a Goliath airline company engaging in a practice that some would say is insignificant or of little consequence in a market like theirs.
I like this blog so much because there is a lot of incognito self promotion. Instead of saying, “Fly with us! choose us! Hey over here!” They are posting about moments and events that could not have taken place without their service. They also stay relevant; for example- on memorial day they allowed someone to guest post about how they flew Southwest so they could visit their father’s grave, who died after serving in the military. Spot on!
They also deserve kudos for having links galore (but not overwhelming) that all point back to Southwest: some back to their website, their various social media platforms and even pages to “meet” their management. They allow their customers to get personally attached to their brand by how much they have to offer on their blog.
The last highlighted blog is that of Firepole Marketing. This is a grassroots company that blogged successfully to get to where it is today. I hate their homepage, but their blog is well done and over the years it has attracted a lot of attention.
As marketing has evolved over the years, this blog has stayed with it and kept its content relevant and smart. I am not crazy about how large their display /navigation bar is as well as the rest of the design, however I believe it has been the fresh content that has gotten this blog to where it is today. This blog is a perfect example of how blogging can not only help you gain a following, but rather loyal customers.
So Leave the break ups to the celebrity couples, not you and your business. Sure running a business is overwhelming but don’t let something as game changing as blogging slip through the cracks.