one of the questions i get asked the most at build a little biz is “what are some inexpensive ways i can promote my business?” and one of my most common answers is “start blogging.” to read more about why i think you should start a blog, click here.
the main thing i always tell little biz builders is this:
having a blog is like getting to stand at the front counter of your shop, chatting with the customers. it is a chance to TALK to them: to help them, answer questions, ease concerns, demonstrate expertise, tell stories, share your passion & brand message…
every business owner should take the opportunity to ‘front counter chat’ with customers. a blog is your chance to do that. (click here to tweet that!)
but even if i have you convinced that blogging is great for any biz, i do realize there are still a number of things that hold little biz builders back. so i am going to try to ease your concerns and change your mindset.
NOTE: i have pulled all of these comments straight of my facebook page and email. see how i have turned the common objections of my customers into a blog post? if i could chat with people at the front counter of my shop, this is what i would tell them…
i don’t have the time.
yes. i say this too, all of the time. it is my first ‘jump to’ reason for anything – it is one of my mindsets. but you know, i have the same number of minutes each day as anyone else. it is all about how i chose to spend them!
most of the people i chat with are sinking time into one strategy or another that is not actually bringing traffic to their biz, or turning that traffic into sales. i know i spend all sorts of my daily minutes checking my email compulsively, reading ‘helpful’ resources, wandering around on social media, fiddling with my website… i tell myself i am ‘working’ but really it is just bizzy work. it makes me feel like i am working but really i am avoiding the harder, scarier work i need to do.
blogging is marketing. if you need a way to market your business that does not cost a lot of money, then blogging is a fantastic option. blogging is great because you get to do it your way, make it “you”, make it awesome, make it something you love. but you have to get ‘real’ about it, and invest the time. that means giving up bizzy work. that means investing in expertise to help you with things that are time sinks for your biz, that you don’t enjoy, or that you are plain not good at.
plus, keep in mind that blogging is not a stand-alone task. it ties in really well with facebook, twitter, pinterest, email marketing and more. what you share & talk about in one place you can do in the other. it is not necessarily a task you must add to everything else, it can be a natural extension of what you are already doing.
you need to market your business. you need to budget your time wisely, and include time to market your business. if you can’t make time to do that, then please don’t tell me "i need free ways to promote my business." they will cost you time or money. so get serious about investing.
i am not a writer.
i totally get this belief. i am not a writer either. i have a bachelor degree in science! and i went on to become a science teacher. i was a substitute teacher for a high school english class once and i was terrified that i would pass on my bad grammer, spelling & slang habits to those kids!
but i can talk. i can very easily talk about the stuff i am passionate about, the stuff i believe in. and that is what you do with your blog. you talk. write like you talk. pretend a customer has asked you a question or commented on something that interests you up at that front counter. answer them. write that.
the more you write the better you will get. and there aren’t really any rules when blogging, there are no blogging police who will tell you that you are doing it wrong. it’s yours. you are the boss of your blog, just write for your right people. the rest don’t matter.
by the way, in 18 months i have had maybe 5 people tell me they can’t stand the way i write with no capitals. and i think 3 people have told me they don’t like me because i say stuff like ‘kick ass’. i have had more readers than i can count tell me they love the way i write, that i am approachable and i make things make sense for them. those people are my right people. the rest can go eff off and find some other blogger to nitpick about grammar and swear words.
i am not a writer but i do have something to say. my blog, my way.
i don’t know what to blog about.
yep, this one feels tricky too, because we tend to think of our business as being about what we sell (and what else could we possibly say about what we sell?) but it is not, it is actually about who we help; the people whose problems are solved and needs met by our products.
your website is for your products. your blog is for your people. (click here to tweet that.)
i could go on and on about all of the things you can blog about. in fact i do in the blueprints for building a blog, where i take readers through a number of brainstorms to come up with a huge list of topic ideas and post types. but quickly, here are some ideas to get you started…
be helpful. tell stories. demonstrate your expertise. share your passion. share your interests & talents. spread your brand message. solve problems. be funny. be entertaining. be controversial. answer questions. ease concerns. provide additional support. comment on trends/news items etc. oh, did i mention, be helpful?
i would just use it for specials or to show new products.
your blog is not really the place you sell your stuff. that is what your website (shop) is for. your blog is the front counter. and just as you (hopefully) wouldn’t stand at the counter shouting to the customers – “hey! look! here is this new thing!” or “hey, guys! this item is for sale!” – don’t do that with your blog.
if people want to look at your products they will go to the shop and do so. your blog is to let those people know they are in the right place to have their problems solved. that you understand their dreams and their fears. that you are the ‘go to girl’ to help them.
i don’t know how to keep it fresh.
your blog does not have to be the same style of written paragraphs every time. you can share images, videos, infographics, music, or inspirational quotes. you can post tutorials, instructions, check lists, links to other blogs, polls, reader submissions… the sky is the limit really.
to come up with fresh ideas, look outside of your niche and your marketplace to see what bloggers in other circles are doing. and look at what is popular on your facebook page, twitter, pinterest or other spots where you interact with fans. take the conversation from one of those spots onto your blog!
to see 15 inspiring examples of blogs run by little businesses click here.
i don’t think anyone would read it.
yep, i can relate to this one too. when i first started blogging the only reader i had was my mom. i thought no one would read my blog. i wasn’t sure i even had anything to say that wasn’t already being said by a number of other bloggers, with way more experience than me.
but i listened to my gut and just decided to try it. i gave myself 6 months to see if i had something of value to offer and if there were people out there who cared. i shared my posts on facebook and twitter. i commented on other blogs and found other blogs to guest post on. i asked other bloggers to guest post for me.
at first i didn’t have many readers, but slowly i gained more. i kept at it, found my groove, and found things to write about that people really needed. when i get it right, my posts get shared and I gain more readers.
if you just pop up your blog posts and don’t do anything to share those posts then no one will read them. if you don’t practice and try out different things until you find your ‘sweet spot’ then you might not find many readers. but if you keep at it, and listen to your fans, and treat your blog as your way to interact with them, you will find readers. if you believe in the value of what your business has to offer then you have something valuable to offer them.
i can’t make money blogging, it is a waste of my time.
the second most common question i get asked by readers is “how do i turn traffic into sales”. your blog can help you do that, your blog can help you increase sales. you can use it to ease fears, answer objections, demonstrate your expertise & build trust, show that you ‘get’ what your right people need. you can even use it to help you come up with new ideas for products to sell.
your blog will also help you gain traffic to your site. a blog can improve your search engine optimization so your website will show up in online searches. and a blog post can easily be shared by fans on facebook, twitter, pinterest, google+, and email – so if you write something helpful or entertaining it can ‘go viral’!
lastly, you can use your blog to add additional income streams to your business. you can become an affiliate for other products and use your blogs to introduce those products to your fans. you can do sponsored posts or paid advertorials for products & services. and you can use your best, most informative posts to create an ebook, ecourse, or tutorial that you can add to your product line.
note: if you do add affiliate sales or sponsored reviews to your blog, be sure that you do so with the best interests of your reader in mind. you don’t want to lose their trust and readership that you have worked hard to gain!
i tried using my blog to answer customer questions, but i still get contacted with the same questions. it is a waste of time!
you know this happens to me too – i get asked questions all the time that i have already addressed on my blog, sometimes a number of times. i wonder actually if anyone uses the search box i included on the blog! but i get it, people are busy, or they know what they are looking for but don’t know how to find it, or they don’t realize they can search the blog… or maybe it is just easier to ask than to do a search. and for me, it is a lot easier to answer the question with a link to a well written, well thought out blog post than to try to type out a quick response while my kids are screaming for a snack. my blog makes it easier to help my right people.
the thing about blogs is that the newer, fresher content seems to get ‘seen’ and promoted the most and the older stuff can be a bit forgotten. but it is still there, and it is still very valuable to you. you can refer the old links to customers, you can repurpose and republish them as guest posts on other sites, or as i suggested above you can compile them into an ebook which you could sell or give away.
i don’t know how to get started.
but i know how hard it is to find the right information, in a simple format, which is why i wrote the build a blog blueprint. whether you haven’t started blogging yet or you have a blog but feel stuck with what to do with it, the blueprints have all of the information you need, in one spot, so that you can make blogging a successful strategy for your biz.
you know what i always say: do what you love. and then kick ass with it. blogging certainly isn’t for everyone. but it is one strategy that you can be creative with and turn into something you love. and for a low cost marketing option, it is a pretty fantastic choice. if you are going to blog, make a real go of it. don’t just let it sit there, saying “i have no time” or “i don’t know what to write”. get serious about it! your business deserves it.
click here to have a look at the build a blog blueprint.