Blogging made easy – an idiot’s guide

Marketing / 19.08.14
Mark Vaesen

You’ve probably already heard a lot about the benefits of writing a blog.  The vast majority of new clients I talk to are aware it’s something they should be doing.  But in our already busy lives, the prospect of having to squeeze in yet one more thing can be so daunting it prevents it ever getting off the ground.  So this blog post is for all you busy bods out there; 6 steps to follow so you can enjoy the benefits of blogging with the minimum amount of effort.

I often find I get asked the same questions about blogging:

1. Why should I blog?

There are a number of very good reasons for maintaining an active blog.  All of them have sound financial reasons behind them that will directly benefit the bottom line of your business:

It drives traffic to your website via search engines

Blog posts are considered as individual pages on your website and they’re indexed by search engines very quickly (often within hours or even minutes).  A properly structured post can appear on Google for your favoured search term and soon start driving customers to your website.

It establishes you as a credible expert in your field

Good blog posts will be discovered and shared by those that are interested in the subject.  As a result the post reaches a wider audience.  Over time, you’ll become known as an expert in your field, which reinforces your credentials when a customer chooses to buy from you.

It raises your brand profile and gets your name out there

As well as establishing you as an authority in your field, by producing good blog posts that get shared by others your brand profile is raised and your name is exposed to a wider audience.

You can use the content of your blog in other marketing activity

Coming up with content or topics for other marketing can be time-consuming.  If you’ve already written a blog post about something, why not use this as the basis for your next presentation, social media update or email newsletter?

It’s a great way of giving something away for free

Customers appreciate getting something small for nothing.  If you give away a bit of advice of insight that they might find beneficial, you can bet they’re more likely to remember your brand when the time comes to buy what you’re selling.

2. What should I blog about?

Top tip – plan ahead

Coming up with suitable topics to blog about seems to be the thing clients find most difficult.  To help, I suggest making and updating a list of potential subjects and making sure there are always at least 12 things on the list.  If you see something on Twitter or on another blog that inspires you, add it to your list.  Make sure when the time comes to sit down and write your blog post, you’re not spending the first half an hour thinking about what to write about.

Make sure you always have an updated list of at least 12 topics to blog about

A list of 20 ideas for blog post topics

  • Review a product
  • Opinion on a hot topic within your industry
  • “How to” topics – “How to plan your pension”, “How to install a shower tray”, “How to choose a good designer”
  • A recent business event – include images and/or video
  • Something about your staff
  • Recent new business or completed projects
  • Share a solution to a problem you recently had
  • Compare products – “Top five microwaves for 2014” or “Apple vs Samsung”
  • Top 5 or Top 10 products for a particular use/market
  • Industry news stories – but don’t just copy and paste from elsewhere, you should add your own angle or thoughts
  • Company news – promotions, new staff, new arrivals, significant milestones etc.
  • Recruitment – use your blog to advertise for staff
  • “What we’ve been up to this month” – round up of company news, new business, completed projects etc.
  • Client case study, including a testimonial
  • PR piece about your business – have you appeared in the local or national press?
  • A question you’ve been asked by a client/customer, and the solution
  • Change of rules or regulations in your industry
  • Involved with food? Write or share recipes
  • Christmas or Summer Holiday opening hours
  • Seasonal promotions for Christmas, Valentines, Mothers Day, Easter, Summer Holiday, Back to School, Halloween and Bonfire Night

Top tip – write in batches

If you find it hard to dip in and out of writing content, but find it gets easier once you’re “in the groove”, write a number of blog posts in one longer session and store them up to be published at a later date.  That way, if you don’t have time to write anything for a couple of weeks you’ve got a library of posts you can fall back on.  Most blogging software will enable you to set a scheduled publish date in advance, so you can set it up to go live and then leave it, knowing it will be online at the time you planned.

3. How long should a blog post be?

There’s no hard-and-fast answer to this one because it very much depends on the topic, but as a general rule:

“A blog post should be like a miniskirt; short enough to keep it interesting, but long enough to cover everything”

I would suggest a blog post should be at least 250 words long or you might as well not bother.  750 words is probably long enough for most topics, but for something more detailed or technical, fill yer boots.  You might also consider breaking a longer post into two or three parts, published a week apart.

4. How often do I need to write a new blog post?

The more often you blog, the bigger the rewards.  If you consider that each blog post has the potential to pull people in to your website, it follows that the more posts you have about different topics, the more people will find your website.  The most important thing is to be realistic; set yourself a target you know you’ll be able to maintain.  There’s nothing worse than an initial once-a-week burst followed by nothing for six months – that just looks pathetic and does you more harm than good.

Whether it’s once a day or once a month, set a realistic goal and stick to it

Go for quality over quantity; a useful, interesting blog post about a well-chosen subject can result in significant sales.  Masses of useless, boring posts won’t get found, won’t get read and will have been a waste of your valuable time.

5. How do I write a good blog post that people want to read – is there a template I can follow?

Ideally, your blog posts should have your own style and tone to them but, seeing as this post is supposed to be about making your life easier, we’d love to point you in the direction of our three part blog post about “How to write a good blog post”:

How to write a good blog post – Part 1: Getting started
How to write a good blog post – Part 2: Writing good content
How to write a good blog post – Part 3: Finishing touches

6. Who should write my blog?  Can’t someone do it for me?

It’s perfectly feasible for someone to write blog posts on your behalf, and is something we regularly do for our clients.  They tell us roughly what they want to blog about and we go away, research the topic and draft a post for their approval.  We’ll take into account the aims of the blog and construct the posts accordingly, with emphasis on online marketing and brand awareness as appropriate.  If you just don’t have the time or inclination to tackle a blog yourself, this is a feasible option.

Get in touch

Want to chat about your blog or any other aspects of your website? We’re always happy to offer informal advice, get in touch now.