Jumpstarting your business blog on a small budget
Running a blog with regular updates of quality content can be a challenge for new entrepreneurs, especially those who think their line of business does not lend itself well to written content.
For content marketing to be effective, content creation has to be an ongoing process. That calls for the investment of a significant number of hours each month. How can someone who has just started their business achieve this? Where is the money, and more importantly, where is the time? What do we write about? Who will write it?
There is no need to get overwhelmed. As a digital marketing expert, I strongly recommend focusing on setting up a blog for your business website. It’s a great vehicle to share your views, educate and interact with potential customers. It has the potential to improve SEO and brand awareness.
If money is in short supply, here are some ways in which you can get started.
Finding topic ideas:
Look at your experience
When starting your blog from scratch, it’s helpful to look at your passions and experience. What drives your business?
It doesn’t matter what business you are in, there is an audience for you. Personal stories always make for interesting reading. When you are just starting out, these are great ice breakers. The audience will want to stick around and get to know you better.
Research your audience
All content is meant for a particular segment of people, so your topics should be relevant to their interests and challenges. Some ways to accomplish this:
Find the right keywords:
Depending on your budget, you can look at a reliable keyword research tool to create targeted content. This is very important for SEO purposes, as it will ensure that relevant people find you online.
If you cannot spend money on such a tool, look at some of the free options. Google Keyword Planner, Ubersuggest, and Soovle are just a few free tools. There are many others that offer free trials. I’d highly recommend experimenting with a few as the right keywords are crucial to the success of a blog.
What are your rivals doing? Check out their most popular content and see what is missing. Address those issues in your content. Make that your starting point.
This does require you to devote a few hours each week to build a bank of ideas that can be used later, but it is time well spent.
Hang out on social media:
Track the most popular content in your field on social media. Read the conversations surrounding them. There’s a truckload of information that can inspire your content!
Share lessons from success stories:
Even the newest of businesses has a successful story to tell.
When it comes to quality content creation, details matter. Bypass the obvious or generic topics entirely and jump straight to the heart of the matter.
For example, for a newly set-up Web design agency, instead of commenting on ‘The challenges of creating a flat and minimalistic design,’ it might be more useful to write about ‘How we created a successful flat UI for our Pilates client.’
Talk about the improved traffic and increased business the redesigned website attracted. Focus on the process that helped you achieve it. Share your expertise freely.
Successful stories make for great content:
Tap into your team’s expertise
Look at your team and all the combined experience and expertise they possess. Ask your marketing manager to write about social media marketing, encourage the Web designers to share their views on the challenges of designing websites. If they don’t feel they can write entire blog posts, encourage them to share their thoughts or at least suggest ideas that can be properly fleshed out.
Everyone can chip in at this early stage when the aim is to get a blog off the ground. The biggest advantage of tapping into employee expertise is that the content will not be inane. Others will be able to identify with it, or learn from the expertise shared.
Who will write it?:
Hire a freelancer or an overseas writer
With all these topic ideas, you are going to need someone to write for you. This will likely be the biggest expense.
Explore your network. Do you know any writers that would be willing to contribute a blog or two at a reasonable rate?
If not, look at local content writers. They should be easy to find. If they seem expensive, look at the overseas talent pool to fill in this very important role. Outsourcing content creation is a great way to save money and bring quality talent on board.
With a dedicated resource in place, you will also be able to create more content per month. You must, however, work with the writer to produce the best topic ideas. Don’t leave the process entirely to the writer, who may approach things from his or her own (often very different) perspective.
Write your own copy
If everything else fails, and you just don’t have the money to pay a content writer, you can always rely on yourself.
I know what you are thinking. You are an extremely busy business owner who has no time to write fancy copy.
It doesn’t have to be fancy. Focus on one or two posts a week, about 500-600 words in length. Honestly, it’s not that difficult. Jot down your thoughts as you go about your day. Get a good note-taking app — Evernote or OneNote, or numerous others of the kind that sync with the cloud.
You may even describe your struggles of not being able to find enough time to create copy as a business owner! There are many who will identify with it. Focus on capturing thoughts, not so much on the structure and grammar, though that is important, too.
In my experience, readers usually focus on the usefulness or the emotional appeal of content. It doesn’t have to be perfect, just honest. Jeff Bullas started with solid ideas and not great literature. His success rests on the relevance and practical utility of his advice, not the perfection of grammar.
Tell us about your business blogging experience Where is your business at this stage and what are your plans for creating a resourceful blog? How much do you think is reasonable expenditure on a blog during the early stages of a business? If you are already on your way to creating impressive content, how did you put it together? Please leave a comment and let me know!
*”Perspective” pieces are submitted by individuals, and lightly edited by StartUp Beat for spelling and grammar. Any claims made or errors otherwise are attributed to and the sole responsibility of the author.