I’ve had quite a few questions lately about blogging for my business and as I’m constantly looking for new things to write about I figured I’d make that the topic! Blogging for your business can be tricky when you want to keep it consistent. Finding the time around all the other bits you need to do plus coming up with something to write about every week/fortnight/whenever you decide, is a tough job …but one that is great for SEO.
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I don’t have a lot of knowledge about SEO (The Creative Business Network is the gal to ask for that) but what I do know (the dumbed down version) is that you want to have frequently new content on your site and as many pages as possible. You want to get your keywords in there (mine for instance would be anything around Chunky Knitting, DIY knit kits and Giant knit Blankets, as well as Small Businesses and perhaps the occasional Girl Boss reference cuz why not?!) A blog is a brilliant way to tick all those boxes.
On top of being great for your SEO, blogging is a really nice opportunity to share some ‘behind the scenes’ of your business. The Homepage and shop etc are more formal areas but your blog can be more about you, the people/person behind the brand and all that that involves. It’s a nice chance to introduce yourself to your customers and fill it with some background and colour.
Another marvellous reason to blog is that it can be very cathartic, you can take a few hours every now and then to write about what’s going on – it’s not a diary, there is a line between the two – but it’s a way to take stock of what’s going on and express yourself by writing it down. I tell myself that no one reads mine and it makes it easier for me to waffle on about things without fearing judgement or criticism (which I must say is very rare because more people are wonderful so if that’s what’s putting you off blogging, fear not!…or ‘Feel the fear and do it anyway’)
One of the other things I do know about blogging is that it should be consistent. Whether you do it daily, weekly, monthly, is up to you but try to keep it consistent. My blog is weekly, on a Wednesday. I try not to let anything get in the way of that which means that I spend every Wednesday morning sitting at my desk and writing. It’s about the only structure I have to my week! Of course it changes occasionally when I have other things to do on a Wednesday that I can’t move but in those cases I plan ahead, write it on the Tuesday and schedule it. Job done.
So what to write about?!
Whenever I get questions about blogging from fellow small businesses they tend to always cover ‘what is it OK to write about?’ – I must add here that I’m making it up as I go along, but in general I seem to find something to chat about each week and most of the topics seem to be acceptable, they vary massively in theme and length and some are more provocative than others but hopefully they still link in to my brand well.
My top advice, again, is that it isn’t a diary. It’s a part of your brand and your website to inform and expand. Some posts are more personal than others because being a small business, it is a personal thing but there’s a difference, I believe, between discussing your feelings on image theft vs a blow by blow of your most recent night out.
For the first time ever, I’m giving you homework (you don’t need to do it, especially if you aren’t a small business wondering what to blog about but if you are, then get out your notebook my friend) Your homework is to sit down and write a …is it called a ‘mind map’ these days? about your brand. Write all the words that come to mind that you want your business to be associated with. A few of mine are – Friendly, Happy, Luxury, Creative, Colourful, Small Business, Chunky Knit, Girl Boss…you get the picture. Now when you’re thinking of topics to write about consider if that topic fits with your brand words – It doesn’t need to fit with all of them but does it sit alongside them nicely? If not, maybe it’s not quite right, can you tweak your idea to become more relevant? Or maybe it’s just one to discuss with your pals.
Planning your blog
I also find it SO MUCH EASIER to plan ahead a little so I don’t sit down on a Wednesday and think ‘what on earth am I going to write about today?!’ I discussed this in my blog at the beginning of the year about planning but I try to consider what will be happening at different times – When is my business birthday? When will I release new products? Are then any events I’m going to I could write about etc and write them down on the calendar so you know you have a topic for those weeks. Remember to be flexible, If something else comes up that you want to write about thats OK just shuffle them around a little.
I also like to make lists as I go and when ideas come to me. I also do this for Instagram pictures I want to take, then when I have some time or a lull of ideas I refer back to my list and crack on with one of those. It also normally sparks other ideas which is always a bonus.
Let’s make a list
So anyway, the point was for me to give you some ideas that you could write about so let’s get to it, if you’re ever stuck for a topic maybe have a think about a few of these…..
- New Product Launches – (this is also super useful for your SEO getting those key words in there) I like to do an introduction to new products to share more info and behind the scenes about how it came to be. Do you have any development images you could share as well as writing more in depth about what it is/does.
- How-To’s – Everyone LOVES a how to, if there’s some information you’re happy to share then take some step by step pictures and there’s your blog.
- Behind The Scenes Update – I tend to do this at Christmas as there’s always something interesting or a little bit different going on! It’s also a pretty speedy post to write when your knee deep in Christmas orders and thinking ‘Why am I blogging again?!’
- Your Process – Can you expand on your techniques and your craft/products?
- Your Story – How did you start your business? what led you there? Don’t underestimate how interesting and inspiring you/your story might be to other people. (easier said than done!)
- FAQ’s – Why not answer the questions you always get asked? It’s also REALLY useful when your busy to be able to point people in that direction rather than answering the same Q’s constantly (hello Christmas)
- Interviews – Is there someone you could interview that your readers would be interested to meet or hear from? Be sure to ask questions that they would enjoy and not necessarily the obvious ones. (it’s also a lot more fun for the interviewee to be asked something a little bit different!)
- Image BTS – I really enjoy doing posts about creating images and how I edit them etc, It’s always fun to see the starting and finishing point
- Before and After – on the note above, everyone loves a before and after – whether it’s interiors, fashion, craft, your work etc. the comparison is always interesting.
- Advice – What have you learnt that you could share with others?
- Issues you’re having – Remembering it’s not a diary, you could share some troubles you might be having or things you find hard with running a business. My most popular blog ever was about a reality star who wanted a free blanket I was so annoyed with the correspondence that I wrote a blog and it blew up. It’s not always the answer(!!) but sometimes it can be helpful to you and others to share information like that.
- Events – If you go to any events that your customer/readers/followers might be interested in then why not share some BTS pics and show what it was like or if it was a craft show you could do a round up of your favourites.
- Round Ups – Again, following on from number 12, a round up of your favourite things (that might interest your customers) is always fun. I love sharing some of my creative friends on my blog and showing their work. It’s a great blog at Christmas to help others discover wonderful brands it time for their own gift buying and is always a treat to share your faves with others.
- Styling Tips – Do you have a product that you could style in a few different ways to show how it could be used? I recently did this with my Cropped Jumper so that people could see a few different ways it could be worn and it was so much fun. Another way i’d like to do this is to show it on lots of different people so you can see how it would work with different body shapes.
- Experiences & mistakes – If you’ve had any experiences that have taught you something, mistakes you’ve made and learnt from… I always think it’s lovely to hear from others about things they’ve done and the lessons they’ve learnt as a result, so that I might be able to avoid them in future myself!
- Guest Blogs – If interviewing other people isn’t your thing, is there anyone you could ask to write a guest post for you? A lot of my readers love interior design so I’ve had guest blogs from different Interior Designers and Stylists that were brilliant. (this is also really useful if you go on holiday or have a busy week, prep it in advance and have someone else ‘take over’)
- Freebies – Similar to a How To, is there anything you can share for free whether it be information or a project. I shared a free hat pattern last year and it went down a treat! It’s so lovely to give something away as long as it won’t damage you. People really value being given something, be it help, advice, inspiration, a list of blog ideas :p
A few to keep you going
Hopefully that will help keep you going for a while, you can do lots of them in different ways or with different products/events etc so hopefully it’ll help fill some gaps. Feel free to share any other ideas you have in the comments section below (or anything you’d like me to witter on about in future posts :p)