Running a small business blog is hard.
Of course, you start full of hope and optimism. Then, you can start to feel that the return you are getting from your blog cannot really justify the time investment needed.
At this point, it is easy to see why many people give up.
Just why should we continue when we feel that our words of wisdom are having little impact?
And sometimes it can feels worse than that…
...it can feel like no one ever even notices what you are doing with your business blog.
I have written many articles about small business blogs on my own blog and also via guest posts for other blogs (see 10 Things I've Learned From Blogging For My Small Business).
So, it probably comes as no surprise to anyone that I believe that you should continue writing for your business. I believe that if you keep going, keep producing value and keep promoting your posts your blog will deliver the ROI that you need.
Why do I believe that?
Well, I can point to my blog and say… that post attracted that client. That was the post that got me talking to that customer. That was the content that prompted those website visitors to sign up to my newsletter.
This is not to suggest that blogging ever becomes a breeze… but I have found ways to make my blogging strategy easier and less time consuming.
So let’s look at what has worked for me. I have narrowed it down to the top five hacks that make small business blogging easier.
#1 Content Scheduling
To start, let's look at how blog planning can save you valuable time and effort.
My business blogging life became so much easier once I implemented an editorial schedule. First, I worked out what topics I wanted to include. I then used a calendar to plot when I should write those topics.
This strategy can really help if you want to ensure that you cover a certain number of topics equally throughout the year.
For example, I want my blog to include posts about blogging, social media and website design. Sometimes, I can get a bit fixated on one topic and that becomes all that I want to write about. Having an editorial schedule ensures that I don't ignore any topics.
Looking at your content over the year can also help you to become more topical. You can plan blog posts to coincide with industry events or anniversaries. You can even use the seasons to inspire your content.
Getting more strategic with my blog has also helped me to avoid writer’s block. Once I know what I am about to write, I can gather my thoughts and mull over ideas in advance of actually starting the writing process.
#2 Find Your Blogging Voice
Don’t try to be someone else - be yourself.
Let's face it... it can be really hard to pretend to be someone else. For one thing, you have to remember who you are trying to be every time you start to write. For another, your posts can start to seem impersonal.
I have found that, by being me and allowing myself to write in my own voice, has allowed my blog writing to flow much more naturally. As soon as I did this, I saved lots of time.
Tell your own stories, share your own experiences. Your readers will be interested by your successes and (probably more so) by your failures.
Don’t be afraid to be yourself on your blog (for more tips on how to find your blog’s human voice just click this link).
#3 Design Speedy Blog Images
I always aim to create three or more images for each of my blogs.
I place the first (a square image that works well for Facebook sharing) at the start of my post and then scatter the rest at regular intervals throughout the text (the amount of images I create usually corresponds with the length of my post).
I find that adding visuals in this way helps my visitors to have a positive and enjoyable experience when reading my blog.
However, creating blog images can become time consuming. The good news is that I have found ways to create blog visuals, quickly and easily (and for free!). Here's what I do:
I keep the same visual design theme throughout my blog so that I know the exact image sizes
I will need to create in the future. For example, I use the Facebook square image at the start and then use Twitter-appropriate image sizes after that
If I am pushed for time, I customise a visual layout that has already been created by my
favourite online design tool, Canva
I keep a list of the fonts that I like to use in my images. That way, I don't have to
waste time scrolling through the font options available. I usually use two complementary fonts in each image. Canva has a great article on this: The Ultimate Guide To Font Pairing
In a similar way, I have a list of the colours that work best for my blog. This
saves me time when I am searching for pictures or selecting image backgrounds
By finding a couple of great image stock libraries, I am able to nip to these libraries quickly, get
what I need, and scoot away knowing what I have permission to use. For my business blog, I use Pixabay and Canva’s photo library
- I batch my images. Once I have created a layout that I love, I use it again and again by changing the background image and the text.
#4 Blog Promotion
I used to think, once I had published my blog, that was the end of the story.
However, this just made my blogging life harder and I found that people were missing my new posts. I soon realised that successful bloggers spend almost as much time promoting their blog posts as they spend creating them. So I decided to focus more on ways to promote my blog by:
Informing the subscribers to my email lists that I have published a new blog post that they might find of
Copying my post’s top takeaways and sharing them on my social media platforms
Sharing my blog's images with a link back to my post via social media
- Sharing my post several times (at different times of the day) in order to get it noticed by as many people as possible
I have also found that creating a Slideshare presentation from the information in a blog post can be really effective if you want to get your content
To save time, I promote my blog using social media scheduling software. I use Buffer to schedule my blog posts (and other content) on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. I am also starting to use Buffer to schedule my Pinterest pins.
#5 Blogging Data & Analysis
Do you make a point to check your blog analytics? Far from being a tedious task, your blog’s data offers you a fascinating insight into what topics are attracting and engaging readers and what subjects are proving less interesting.
I check my blog's analytics on a regular basis. I see if I can spot any patterns in the data. If one particular post has attracted a number of readers or been shared on social, I plan to cover it again! This will ensure that I am writing posts that have the maximum ROI potential.
I try to be guided by my readers.
I believe that, by creating content on my blog that is useful or helps to solve problems, I stand a greater chance of becoming a trusted information source in my field.
Having provided consistent value in this way, I think that my readers will not mind when the time comes for me to market the services that my business offers.
I hope that these five tips are useful as you continue your business blog. If you have any other tips or questions, do feel free to let me know in the comment section below.
Take care, Jane x