How to Start a Small Business Blog

create engaging blog posts for your business

Creating engaging blog content is something that can actually drive conversions for your small business. However, it’s not as easy as it looks and there are several steps to take before publishing each blog post.

In this article, you’ll learn about how to create an engaging blog people will come back to. You’ll see the steps to create engaging blog content, including what needs to happen before you even start writing.

Before the writing begins

The work you do before you begin writing your posts shapes them into useful parts of your website. Often, engaging blog content is part of multiple marketing plans ranging from SEO marketing to social media. By clarifying these points before you start, you can save a significant amount of time in editing and remain faithful to the purpose of the blog posts.

Website setup or rules check

Before you begin writing, you should check that your website is optimized for sales and SEO. Your company website should have mobile-optimized SEO content with all of the optional fields filled in to maximize the benefit of your blog posts.

If you are creating guest blog posts, you should confirm the rules for the website your post will appear on. Even small items like double spacing, the oxford comma, and whether you need to include an image can prove problematic later on.

Audience research

In order to write engaging blog content, you must understand the audience who will read it. Trying to reach everyone means no one will connect with the content. Instead, focus on a single purpose to make the content more likable for the intended audience.

For example, let’s say you sell children’s toys. You want to focus on parents who are probably in their 20s or early 30s. A little research on the internet tells you that these potential readers prefer their content short and to the point.

Keyword research

While your goal may be blogging for marketing and engagement, your website’s SEO should always be in the back of your mind. A little keyword research around your topic tells you what words you might want to integrate before you start writing.

It’s important to note that keyword research does not necessarily mean that you end with a list of a dozen keywords long for a single piece. When creating blog posts, many of which are short, one or two keywords are enough to deliver benefits without making your writing robotic or challenging to read.

Establish a consistent structure

Your readers will value consistency, even when you’re writing multiple types of blog posts. Establishing a format for each type of post helps your readers feel familiar with your website and company as they read. It also demonstrates your professionalism.

For example, Avery blogs for a variety of purposes. The informational blog posts look different from creator spotlight ones, yet their category has consistent formatting. This consistency helps readers like you use the content.

Build a presence

You could write the most engaging blog content in the world, but it only works if people see it. Building a presence outside of your website where you can share your content and engage with it creates new opportunities.

Options for building a presence include social media, forum comments, commenting on other people’s blogs, getting posts republished, writing guest posts, and more. What works best for your company will vary, so try out a few options at a time.

Writing engaging blog content

Now that you’ve laid the foundation for a successful, engaging blog post, the next step is writing. During this step, it’s more important to focus on the audience and how you relate to them in the words than it is to worry about grammar or professionalism.

Choose a relatable point of view

Blog content can be written from every point of view. However, specific audiences and purposes lend themselves to different points of view. For example, this blog is meant to be informative but relatable, so it uses the second person.

Some topics, like explanations of your business process, may lend themselves to the first person (our process use x) or third person (the process uses x for y result). As long as you keep your audience in mind, there is no wrong choice.

Keep it simple

Everything about your writing conveys a message from the words you use to how long your paragraphs are. With blog posts, the goal is not to show how complex the topic is. Instead, it’s to break it down into simple parts readers can readily understand.

Now, that doesn’t mean that you need to write like you’re talking to a two-year-old. It simply means writing in an unconfusing and relatable manner. It also means never using a four-syllable word where a one-syllable one will do.

Be a little controversial

People read and engage with blog content that is distinct from all the other pieces. Even if your topic is uncontroversial to start with, like bath bomb colors, you can make it a little controversial by inserting an opinion on what you think the best one is.

A little controversy does your piece good without bringing it into the polarizing territory. Additionally, aiming for small controversies also protects your company from the issues of alienating parts of your customer base.

Don’t be afraid to personalize it

Humans have been telling stories for millennia, and stories are how we connect with each other. Adding a personal story to blog posts turns it into engaging blog content because people can now relate to the situation.

For example, imagine a company that sells spice mixes is running a blog. Adding stories about how the oregano takes them to their grandmother’s kitchen or the garam masala is so close to mom’s helps customers connect with the content and the company behind it.

Ask for engagement

One of the things you may notice about engaging blog content is at the very end. It is traditionally called a call to action, and it tells the reader what you would like them to do now that they’ve read the piece. A common one for blogging and marketing is ‘tell us about your experience.’

Calls to action are traditionally short and direct. Since they’re the last thing people read, they’re also what they remember most clearly. Adding a call to action tends to make engagement rates soar on blog posts, and those engaged customers are more likely to purchase from your business.

Polishing blog posts for maximum benefit

After you’ve written the headline and body of the text, there are a few more steps to take before you hit publish. These steps ensure that your writing resonates with readers and reaches the widest possible audience.

Spelling and grammar checks

At the top of the list are spelling and grammar checks. Ideally, you’ll have a time gap between writing the piece and when you do this so you can see your mistakes as well as use the tools available to you. From Grammarly to your web browser extensions, there are many systems that make this process easier.

You should also check for flow and visual appeal while you’re editing. Usually, these issues become clear as you revisit and reread the piece to edit it. If possible, having someone else edit can also dramatically improve your blog posts.

Part of blogging is being in the community. Adding mentions and links out to other websites helps you create a bigger presence since people typically want to return the favor. Even if you do not want to link to your competition, many options exist.

For example, a woodworking company might write about building different pieces and what that entails. While they might not link to another woodworking site, they could mention their favorite finishes and stains.

Filling in the metadata fields

Metadata is things customers do not always see, but that help the search algorithms determine where to serve your content. These include your alternative text on images, the excerpt field, the URL, and the meta description.

Now, you cannot simply stuff keywords in these fields and expect results. Instead, write them like they’re an extension of your piece. For example, an easy way to write a meta description is to summarize what you already wrote.

Create a response plan

Figuring out how to create an engaging blog will not help your company if you do not respond to that engagement promptly. Engaging shows customers that you value their input and want to talk with them, which builds trust.

If you’re a small business, maybe you assign someone to monitor the comments on the days a new blog drops. It could be part of the writer’s job description or the social media community manager’s for a larger company.

Parting thoughts

Figuring out how to create an engaging blog is the first step in a larger journey to enhance your company’s presence. However, without the foundational steps to engaging blog content and exposure, your efforts will not be rewarded as quickly as you would like.

If you like what you’re reading on the Avery Blog, let us know in the comments below.

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