Clients often ask me why they should bother blogging; so, it makes sense to answer the question with this, my very first blog post!
A blog is a useful way to give your clients and visitors added value through sharing information and knowledge in your field. Additionally, a blog can be a handy way of showing Google you have a regularly updated site — something that will help raise you higher in Google’s search rankings. There is a wealth of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) tips and tricks that will also help boost your profile, and I’ll be blogging about them later on. But, essentially, blogging or posting articles showcasing your knowledge base will add to your sites overall visibility.
You may be reading this and wondering, “If you’ve been working in this industry for 12-years, why is this your first blog, Helen?” Well, I remind myself each week that I should be doing this, and I am constantly embarrassed that I haven’t. But now a friend and I have challenged each other, during one of our lovely ‘walk and talks’, to write our first blog. So here it is.
The first thing I am going to write about is what the barriers are to writing a blog — at this moment it feels a little like procrastinating over diving into icy water. I am, however, not much different from most of my clients, and so feel my difficulties getting started are probably shared by many others. Here are my concerns:
- Am I a good enough writer?
- What should my blog be about?
- Do I have the time?
- What should the tone of my written voice be?
- Will I keep it going regularly?
My clients may also add:
- The technical know-how to do it
I am now going to counter my own barriers – I know the theory!
Am I a good enough writer?
In my case probably not, but is that the point? The purpose of this blog is not to showcase my excellent writing skills, but rather my knowledge. I also know people who are professional copywriters; people I trust implicitly to proofread and edit my first drafts (Thank you Abi Flanagan for casting your professional eye over this). If needs be, they are even happy to write the whole thing from just a subject brief, rather than just edit a first draft.
What should I write about?
This can be industry-specific, and given this, one of the places you can go to find out what others in your industry are writing about is to look at blogs by people you respect who share your knowledge base. In no way would I advocate plagiarism but reading other blogs can help to spark ideas and the best tone to use. Interior designers and stylists may choose to write about the latest trends and colours on the market. Photographers could write about how best to get the most from a photoshoot, or how to present yourself for a business profile shoot.
Perhaps many of your clients ask you the same questions over and over – these subjects would be great to write about as you already know they are popular! A practitioner (nutritionist or physiotherapist) may have key topics that they regularly advise on, that they could blog a synopsis of.
Do I have the time?
We small business owners feel we never have enough time to do our own admin, marketing plans etc., but we know once there is a plan in place how much easier it is to execute these things without too much hassle. The theory is that your writing themes can reflect your marketing aims and objectives so putting those in place first will be helpful all round.
You can, of course, write on the go – who hasn’t got a smartphone in their pocket? You can dictate it first using apps and software and make a written transcript of your words later.
What should the tone of my written voice be?
I think this is entirely personal, but it should suit your ideal client and visitor to your site. I offer my clients a very personal service, so feel the tone should be my usual talking voice.
I recently read a newspaper article by Catlin Moran, a highly successful writer, who to me broke all the rules; using sentences of one or two words, and also using ‘but’ and ‘and’ after a full stop. However, the whole article was enjoyable as it felt personal and spoken.
For another profession, it may need to be less chatty and more directional. Perhaps this also depends on the subject, though? We’ll soon see as I write further blogs on much drier subjects!
Will I keep it going on a regular basis?
Think about blogging once a month or once every two months, which is only 6 to 12 times a year! Again, having a plan in place will ensure this is thought about more often, or preferably ahead of time.
Being able to answer your client’s problems will be a useful back-up of good information for them and being an active resource to share links will be helpful to you, too. You can blog on subjects other people around your industry have written about; linking back to their words and giving your own support or adding to their information. Also, asking guest bloggers to include a post on your site will help your discipline.
The technical know-how to do it
Of course, I am miles ahead of you here! I can, in the blink of an eye, set up a blog on my site, but where do you start? If you have a static site (not content managed), you can use other interfaces such as Google’s blogger to get started and make a link to it from your site. If you are using a content managed site, it should be possible for whoever built your website to add this (or another designer). If you are on a WordPress site it is the easiest of all — I hope your web developer has taken the time to show you, if not just ask them how to get started or get in touch.
You are welcome to email me click here include a link to your site, and I’ll let you know what your options are.
So, my first blog is done and posted, and it’s a good feeling — much better than diving into icy water! I welcome your feedback, but please be kind as it is my first time!
Please feel free to add your comments below on whether or not you have barriers to starting a blog. And if you’re a seasoned blogger, how did you get started and can you share some tips? Wherever you are on the blogging scale, please feel free to add your comments below — I feel they may be helpful to us all. Please also let me know if there are other subjects in my area of expertise that you would like me to write about. Click here to email me.