Small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) are using the blog format as a way to connect with and nurture a growing online consumer and customer base. Along with a good social media plan a great blog can generate a loyal customer following. But how effective is the typical SMB blog at creating sustained online interest and a client following that converts into a repeat business strategy? Is your SMB blog on track and in tune with your customer base?
The tips and resources provided in this piece will help you get your SMB blog on the right track; it will give you several tools you can use to leverage effective techniques, getting your key content to the customer through your blog.
Find a consistent blogging pulse
While you don't have to blog every day, you do need to find a rhythm that matches with the pulse of your customers' needs and with that of your business offerings. Observing best practices, you shouldn't keep tapping out blog posts that simply drone on and on without a substantive message; however, what you should try to ensure that relevant content captures the audience attention and engages true interest and involvement. Finding the right tempo of blog posts may take some time, but when you find the suitable cadence, your blog will be buzzing along.
Optimize your writing for the web
Textual content for a blog that is fresh, current, and matches with your audience often means that the prose comes from non-traditional sources because -- let's face it -- writing for the web is not like writing a book or conventional print material. Creating an editorial style that fits with reading on the web is one of the challenges facing SMBs today, and converting traditional printed text to online copy is a whole other test of editorial skill. For more details on writing for the web, you can read this post, "Quick Tips: Shape your writing for the web". And here are a few bullet points to consider when writing blog posts:
- Why does the post exist? Be sure to convey to your users why this post is important for them and let them know how it benefits their interests.
- Be direct: Strive to be clear and concise, use plain language that your users can understand, always use an active voice, and make text timeless, e.g., avoid words like recently, today, or yesterday, etc.
- Use descriptive linking: Link text should be descriptive with key words that explain what they will get before clicking on hyperlinked text. Avoid using generic text such as "Click here" or "More...".
- Converse with your audience: Don't just offer a presentation on topics of interest to your customer base. You want to get your audience involved in the discussion, therefore, you want to present your company's expert opinion on a specific topic and then allow the customers to interact in the debate.
Target content to your audience
Maybe your blog attempts to use the shotgun approach where posts strive to appeal towards a wide audience. While theoretically the shotgun style seems like a good concept, in practice, it will not engage your users enough, nor will it attract any new or repeat interactions with users.
Create targeted content with blog posts that appeal to your customer base as it relates to your business concepts, products, and services. For instance, if your business serves the steel construction industry, you would write about steel fabrication, highlight a specific project that used steel in new and creative ways, or maybe write about the economic benefits of using steel construction methods.
SMB Blogging Resources
Resources listed below include more tools that you can utilize to get your SMB blog from good to great.
- Google and Your Business - The blog provides tips and tricks for managing your business with Google's solutions through ideas and inspiration targeted for SMB's.
- Daily Blog Tips -- Daniel Scocco's site offers daily tips on blogging including topics and articles such as Mobile SEO, Blog Design, Blog Projects, and How to make your Blog Stand Out.
- The Huffington Post Blogging Tips - The news site includes article topics for better writing, tips on providing relevant content, and inspiration for building a better blog.
- SBA Article: Thinking of Starting a Blog? -These tips cover getting a new blog started and developing a blog plan.
- SBA Article: Never Run out of Blog Topic Ideas: Here are 36 -This article will give you help you come up with ideas for generating relevant content for your blog.
Do you have or develop for a small business blog? If so, please share your experiences, highlights, and pitfalls of blogging for an SMB.
Ryan has performed in a broad range of technology support roles for electric-generation utilities, including nuclear power plants, and for the telecommunications industry. He has worked in web development for the restaurant industry and the Federal government.