You’re ready. You’ve made the decision to start your business blog. It’s a bit like when you go to put the pen to the first page of a new exercise book. It’s so pristine that you both want to write on it and don’t want to spoil it.at you’re going to start a blog for your business.
And now you’re sat in front of your laptop. Staring at it.
It’s like the moment before you put the pen to the first page of a new exercise book. It’s so pristine that you really want to write on it but also don’t want to spoil it.
Don’t worry, that’s what the delete button is for! So, now that worry is out the way, let’s get started!
Step One: How often do you want to post?
Firstly, be realistic with the time you want, and can, devote to the blog. Maybe start less regular and build up once you’ve hit your blogging stride. Better to get one decent post out every week than to do five the first week, three the second, and one you’re not particularly happy with the following week.
Step Two: Decide when to post
Consistency is really important. When you’ve decided on how many posts, decide on when. It doesn’t matter when, it only matters that you do it consistently. You want people to get to know when you’re going to be posting something new.
For example, I look forward to 6 o’clock on a Sunday evening when the latest newsletter from The High Street Deli lands in my inbox. There’ll always be something in there that I enjoy reading last thing on a Sunday.
Step Three: Make it visual
I want you to get out a printout of the calendar for next month. Commit those posting dates to paper, and pin it up somewhere you’ll see it. You know what they say, whatever you focus on expands! And seeing it is going to help you get motivated to write.
Step Four: Time to start writing (a list or three)
Ok, there are a few things that you need to be clear on:
- Your target customers
- Your competitors
- Your keywords that you want your business to come up for in search
How clear are you on these? If the answer is not really, then don’t panic and don’t give up. You don’t have to become an SEO expert overnight, but there are some basics.
If you only do one thing, then get to know your customer, and get know what they like, what they care about and what they use your product or service for. I’ve often seen this referred to as thinking about what problem you solve for them.
When you’re looking at competitors, then you’re interested in looking at what sort of posts do they do, and which get the most engagement. Trust me, you’re not looking to copy at all, but it helps you understand where your focus might be.
Don’t obsess about keywords, we’ll come back to that. Just think about the key things about your product or service, what questions people might be asking Google that your product can answer.
Step Five: Do (and don’t do) as your competitors do
Have a good look through your competitors blogs, and see what kind of posts they’re creating, and which ones get the most engagement. They might be doing how to’s, behind the scenes of how your product is made, meet the team…all of which is stuff you can do too.
Just as importantly you can work out what kind of posts they’re not doing that you think your customer might be interested in. Of course they might have done them in the past and found they didn’t work. I don’t believe that means that rules it out for ever for every similar kind of business.
Step Six: Write down every idea you have
Sometimes we are all guilty of self-editing, killing ideas before they even get a second thought. Stop doing that for five minutes, and just write down every idea you have, right now. Don’t let your inner editor get to work, just right them all down. Go until you’re completely out, and then put the list down. Go for a walk. Have a cup of tea. Do the crossword. Go to bed.
Okay, I don’t think this is conventional advice, but what’s important here is to come back and look at your ideas with fresh eyes. What you want to pick out when you reread that list is which titles really make you want to start writing, or that get you excited about the story you’ll tell.
Think you’ve got none? Honestly, tweet me or drop me an email or ask your neighbour what they’d choose. I guarantee you’ll have something! Sometimes you just need a reminder about what’s interesting.
Step Seven: Choose your first three titles
I know, I lured you into this thinking you were only going to write one post. But one of the key reasons that blogs, business or otherwise, don’t get updated is that the posting schedule hasn’t become a habit.
A bit like going to the gym. Just because you’ve been once doesn’t make it a new habit. Three times in a week and you’re beginning to make a new habit. By the time you’ve got to the fourth time you’re beginning to understand the drill.
It’s similar with blogging. If you’ve got the first three posts ready to hit the schedule you set in step two before you press publish on the first one, then you’re giving yourself the best chance of making a habit. As tempting as it is to publish as soon as you’re done, it’s also better for your readers if they see a flow of posts from you.
Think of it like watching something on Amazon Prime. You want to know that the new episode will be out every Friday, or you want to sit down and binge watch a whole season. Only getting the first post then nothing for weeks is like getting to the end of season two of Man in the High Castle and having no idea when the next season will be out.
And, in the gap, then something new might come along and I’ll forget that I was waiting for it.
Don’t get an audience and then lose it before you’ve even got your second post out!
So, seven steps to set you and your blog up well for the future. Next time, I’ll share my perspective on how to write a blog post without it taking all day.
Are you ready?