Now that your site is alive and well, you may want to investigate all the ways you can use it as a marketing tool. One of the best time-tested ways for this, is a content marketing plan. In other words: You’ll want to create a blog for your small business.

Here you’ll not only learn the benefits of a blog as a marketing tool, but how to go about running one.

Back to Basics: What Is a Blog?

What is blogging?

If you’re here and still brand spanking new to the web, you may be confused by all the lingo. Do not worry! You are not alone.

The word “blog” originally came from the words “web log”. Say that out loud. You heard it, didn’t you? The word blog just came out of your mouth with an extra noise at the front. Everyone online figured that Blog is a lot faster and easier to say than Web Log. A little squishy squooshy with the words and out comes little baby blog.

Okay, well, what is a web log? What IS a blog?

Think of say, a magazine. Now imagine that you published a magazine article by digestible article throughout the month instead of in one big overwhelming publication.

That is a blog as it applies to you. You have your own magazine to publish the hottest tips, ideas and information for your business and industry.

The Pitfalls of Having a Blog

You could not write in the blog. That’s not really a pitfall, just a sad neglect of an incredibly useful tool.

You could start writing in your blog and then forget about it. That’s not really a pitfall either, just another case of neglect.

People may not always agree with the things that you’re posting. Again, is that really a pitfall? There will always be people who do not agree with you or your business. You just aren’t aware of it until you become a celebrity. (Whoa, celebrity? That doesn’t sound like a pitfall to me.)

In other words, the biggest pitfall of having a blog is to ignore it.

Blogs Are Great for Search Engines

Do you remember how you learned to optimize for search engines in the last few lessons? It’s okay if you need to review.

You learned:

  • How to research keywords
  • How to write content

Each and every blog post opens up a whole new world for keyword optimization and represents a sharpened tool forged specifically for search engine traffic. With a blog you can even more narrowly focus on your main key phrases. With a blog you can expand to specific sub-niche keywords. Rinse and repeat.

Blogs Are Great for Generating Traffic

Sometimes a keyword just isn’t planned, but brings in more traffic than you could have thought. Even if it’s not targeted exactly the way you want, getting traffic is never bad.

For example, you may sporadically write on your blog. You may write about your personal blog, behind-the-scenes information about the company, or just interesting topics related to your business. At first, these posts may just float through the internet largely unnoticed. But one day, there’s a chance that someone will find it and think that it’s pretty interesting. Before you know it, you’ll be getting all sorts of traffic just because of one random blog post you couldn’t have predicted would have become so successful.

This scenario happens all the time. It helps your blog grow, and it helps your business grow.

Blogs Are Great for Building Community

Blogs help you build trust and a community.

It’s hard to build a community from scratch, but having a blog really helps solidify what community you do have and is a great starting point for building a new one.

Even if you never get a lot of comments on your blog post, you may find that your content drives emails, requests, and other types of feedback. Those are all things that let you know that people are paying attention.

Don’t be afraid to reach out to a community by posting your thoughts and opinions in the comments on other blogs. Even if you disagree with the post, everyone will benefit.

Blogs Are Great for Keeping You Focused

Everyone has a general target market, but you can always find more specific ways to define each facet of that target market.

Keeping a blog for your company allows you to publish unique posts that are directed to a very specific group of people. You can get into their heads and focus on keywords that exactly relate to their needs. These posts will help you expand the keywords your site ranks for without compromising the integrity of your site.

Blogs Are Great for Driving Conversions

So if you add focused content, higher traffic and a closer community, what does that mean for you?

If you are strategic and plan things out correctly, that will mean more conversions. The better you get at writing content that delivers for its audience and is properly written for the keywords you’re aiming for, the higher conversions you’re going to see.

How to Plan Your Blog

A blog is a free tool with unlimited potential and very little chance of hurting you, if you treat it like a professional.

There are many techniques for running a blog, but the basics are easy.

Step 1: Create a Content Plan

Overall, writing content for your blog will follow the same principles you learned for creating regular website content.

Only, now you’ll need to come up with a series of blog posts to keep fresh content. How do you do this?

An easy technique to get you started is by looking at your target audience again. Review their wants, their needs, their lifestyle. Ask yourself – what can you write about that also ties in a topic relevant to your business?

Try to brainstorm about 5-6 different post ideas with this in mind.

Step 2: Pick a Schedule

You could post sporadically, but if you want to grow an audience, it’s a much better idea to pick a regular schedule to stick to. People want to know when they can settle in with their coffee to read your blog post.

Start with something easy to maintain, even if it’s just once a month. You can do once a month, once a week, once a day – whatever makes sense for your readers, how busy you are, and how much writing you can keep with.

Step 3: Blog!

The hardest part of blogging is the part where you actually blog.

Once you’ve decided a direction for your content, and chosen a schedule for that content, all that’s left is to actually do it.