Business Banter – 5 helpful tips for blogging about your independent business (or, it’s not all about you!)
“Your persona is the basis for everything you create. Writing for yourself won’t always resonate with your intended audience. If you, instead, speak your persona’s pains, challenges, and goals and they feel like you are speaking to them, they are more likely to stay on the page and convert on your offer.”
– Christina Perricone, Content Marketing Manager at HubSpot
Or in other words – It’s not all about you!
These quotes sum up perfectly how your blog should read. As an independent business owner, no one knows your customers and your audience quite as well as you do. One of the greatest appeals of shopping independent is that the customer meets the owner, not a manager and hereafter comes the relationship that drives the business…
You can look at blog content as serving two main purposes:
- Promote your business by connecting with your audience (persona)
- Satisfy Google’s algorithm.
We’re going to show you how to meet the needs of both…
Tip 1. Know your audience and heal their pain (don’t start with a title)
- The marketing professionals will encourage you to write ‘customer personas’. If you want to go that route it’s probably worthy of a blog of its own! But broadly speaking you know who your audience is, and you can figure out their ‘pain’.
- The trick is to do that deep thinking at some point and really drill down into why someone wants those candles, or that cheese – what it is you’re providing them? Winding down in the tub? The perfect partner for wine on their romantic evening? You’re not just selling products…
- Keep that in mind as you write and stick to the point. What often helps is to write those thoughts in place of a heading, including a couple of bullet points to expand on later.
- Let’s talk keywords: Do you know what people are typing into Google (or Bing) in the hopes of finding your blog? That’s what keywords are.
- For example, this blog is about blogs and independent businesses, so those words are in the title (obviously), but they also appear further on in the rest of the content…
- Go back to your title – how can you include keywords to tell Google that you’re answering your audiences’ questions?
- Look at your first sentence – is the keyword in there too?
- Look at your other paragraphs – does the keyword appear anywhere else?
- Very roughly speaking your blog should have a keyword density of 1:200. One keyword per 200 words, which appear higher up in the content.
Tip 2. Think broad (and write specific)
- What are you on about?! Try splitting your month into blog categories to help you stick to the topic. For example UK Business Buddy has 4 categories each month; Helpful Advice and Tips | Tech and Industry | Networking 1:1s | Local and Inside Stuff.
- We’ve decided that we don’t have to write on every category every month but as long as we get a minimum of two, we’re happy (and so is Google!)
- Have a think about what four categories you can talk about each month. Your broad idea could be ‘The Team’, then narrow that down to birthdays, work anniversaries, training or charitable achievements or employee of the month. You’ll figure it out, but most businesses will benefit from including a category that gives more insight into you and the business…
- Google likes websites that are updated with fresh content on a regular basis.
- Most businesses use blogs to achieve this, some will change menus, add or remove products and update a gallery too.
- Whatever the content is, it needs to be of value, to Google and the reader, so include keywords and try to answer questions.
Let’s take a break for a reminder of what our community of independent businesses means to us, before we get the last 3 tips…
OK, pressing on…
Tip 3. Share your values in every blog (don’t be afraid to get emotional)
- Marketing is all about building relationships and sharing your values, so people can choose whether you are the right business for them to purchase from.
- How many times have you made an emotional decision on whether to buy, rather than a cost based decision?
- Independent business rely strongly on that emotional decision making, so being clear on your values; in your own mind, to your team and to your customers, is essential.
- You’re teaching Google with every piece of content you put on your website.
- Sharing your values in blogs is another way of conveying what type of business you are so Google can decide whether to return your pages in the searches or not.
- Do you talk about ‘cheap’ more than ‘ethical’?
Tip 4. Weave a story and leave no loose ends
- OK, so this goes back to school lessons on answering exam questions…
- Ask the question in the title, answer it in quick summary in the opening, go into detail in the body and then tie it all together in a neat little conclusive bow at the end!
- Your readers will appreciate being led through a story, rather than having to wade through jargon and boring detail. Here’s where you can write the way you talk, give little titbits of what’s to come if they continue reading, tempt them to keep reading and reward them with answers or humour, BUT make sure you return to the point and prove it!
- Google likes quality writing that is helpful, not stuffed with keywords and gets read!
- The more your content is clicked on, the more likely it is that Google will class it as useful to others and return it the searches.
Tip 5. Calls to action (or the sales message, conversion tactic or friendly nudge, if you will)
- This is the bit lots of people hate, the ‘selling’ part of the blog where you convert your readers by telling them exactly what you want them to do once they’ve read it.
- Calls to action (CTAs) can look like stickers with a slogan, large pictures containing email addresses or phone numbers, or straightforward sentences explaining what to do next.
- Blog posts can contain all three types, there’s probably more if you put your mind to it!
- Be careful not to push for a conversion though, you’ve spent enough time crafting a beautifully woven story in your own way of speaking, full of your values and being very insightful that you don’t want to appear like a phony with your CTA! (See what I did there?!)
- The important thing is to remember why you started and make your point, not just trail off…
- You can amend the metadata of a blog post when you write it. This data includes the URL (or slug), and the meta-description that is shown in the search list, just under the title and link.
- Here you can include your keywords, and in the description, the call to action too.
- The CTA here might not be the same as in the blog itself, but simply be to get someone to read it in the first place. The blog can take care of the conversion.
And there you have it, 5 tips to get you blogging about your independent business. We guarantee, once you start talking about what you love and what’s important to you and your business, you’ll find it easy to come up with fresh content. If you have any of your own tips that you’ve found worked in the past, please feel free to leave a comment below, or share them on the Independent Oxford Facebook page. Just look for the posts about this blog and leave a comment!
Happy blogging, you awesome bloggers…