Topic Ideas and Best Practices for the Small Business Blog
BY: JOSEPH MANNA ON TUESDAY, MARCH 05, 2013
Consider Your Blog’s Purpose
When getting started with blogging, you need to understand the purpose of having a blog. Small businesses have lots of stories to tell, and it can be tremendously valuable for your company to tell those stories. Also, it helps to think of your blog as a marketing vehicle for your business and work to serve, educate and provide resources for your readers so that they can ultimately become leads for your business. I’ve read too many lackluster blogs due to the blogger’s inability to stick to a simple and clear purpose, so keep that purpose in mind and stick to it as you’re developing your editorial calendar. Most importantly, remember your small business blog is a place to tell stories.
Determine Your Audience
So, who exactly is your audience? Most blogs managed by small businesses usually have a shared audience comprised of customers, prospects, competitors, media and reporters. The make-up of your audience is determined by the type of content you produce, the frequency with which you post and how your blog is promoted. As you’re thinking about the content you want to produce for your blog, consider who your audience is comprised of and develop content with them in mind. Remember that your blog shouldn’t be all about you, it should really be about them and serving their needs.
Tailor Your Blog For Your Audience
As your blog readership grows, you may ultimately wish to split the audience for your blog and develop multiple blogs to suit the interests of those readers. As an example, at Infusionsoft, we’ve split our original blog into three separate blogs: The Infusionsoft Blog, The Big Ideas Blog and the Culture Corner. We made this decision based on the volume of content we produce and the divergent interests of our readers, and since we made the switch last year, the reception has been great.
It takes time and effort to build your audience for your blog. Don’t be discouraged by a low amount of traffic at first. The more effective content you produce, the more your traffic will grow. This is also why it’s important to build your networks in the social media space and sharing your content with those networks—that’s an integral part of driving traffic to your blog and website.
Blog Topic Ideas
Now that you’ve got the basics in hand, here are some topics to think about developing as content for your small business blog. One tip before we get started—the magic formula for creating great blog content is The 80/20 Rule. Strive to make 80% of your small business’s blog content informational, resourceful, entertaining, and focused on serving your customers and prospects, and only write about your company and your products and how great you are the other 20% of the time. This is often the biggest challenge for all bloggers, but if you can get this right, you’ll be on the path to creating an effective small business blog. So, let’s talk about topic ideas:
- Share insights on recent new hires and how they will help your customers.
- Profile a customer and share their story and how your business helped them.
- Is your company involved with nonprofit organizations in your community or elsewhere? If so, are there groups you’re particularly passionate about and can you share stories about your involvement with them on the blog?
- Be controversial, talk about problems and pain points in your industry.
- Write about things your customers and prospects care about.
- Talk with your sales teams about customers’ most frequently asked questions—then write about those in your blog.
- Talk with your customer service team about common issues your customers experience, then write about that.
- Look at your analytics. Pay attention to what keyword phrases customers use that bring them to your site. Write about those things.
- Write about problems and pain points that your customers experience and provide solutions and resources.
- Share photos and videos. This helps humanize your business for your customers and prospects.
- Provide advice on how customers can use your product or service in a way that impacts their bottom line.
- Write about current events, regulations and happenings in the industries you serve.
- Repurpose content that resonated well with your audience and revisit those topics on the blog.
- Create content that helps position you as an authority in your industry and focus on teaching others where possible.
The name of the game when it comes to blogging for your small business is to be generous with your insights and knowledge. By publishing your small business-focused blog content on a regular basis, you will go far when it comes to earning the trust of your readers, so that they become prospects and eventually, customers.If you find that you can’t keep up with the demand to write blog posts frequently, consider hiring an experienced writer to help. Blogging isn’t an easy task, but it is an important component of your overall marketing strategy and you’ll benefit greatly by telling stories, teaching others and gaining credibility in your market.
At Infusionsoft, our business is small business and we’ve written a lot about content marketing and lead generation for small businesses. If you’d like to learn more about how blogging generates leads and customers for small businesses, download this guide: Magnetic Appeal: How 5 Small Businesses Use Content to Attract Leads and Transform Their Marketing. And if you do download the guide and then put some of the practices mentioned above in place, come back and let us know what you thought!