“If you have something to sell, you’d better have a story to tell.”
I have been so lucky . . . as I built my business I had a lot of support from family, friends and colleagues . . . most of them women like me who began a new entrepreneurial career after raising a family or working for someone else.
GET YOURSELF A MENTOR is my biggest tip, or commune with other “like” people and businesses to see what they are doing. Attending seminars and meetup groups are so helpful – and you can learn A TON about marketing.
The best tips come from these mentors who have already done it . . . and learned how to market their business from other successful entrepreneurs. One of the biggest marketing tools they use is A BLOG! (SCROLL DOWN FOR INTERVIEW!)
BLOG = web + blog >> is a discussion or informational site published on the World Wide Web consisting of discrete entries (posts) typically displayed in reverse chronological order (the most recent post appears first). Wikipedia
Blogs Help HUMANIZE a Business
Since the dawn of time we passed on our verbal histories, stories and accomplishments, eventually using the written word. We are coming back around to that rich way of connecting through storytelling.
A customer doesn’t just want to see pictures of what you sell, or a list of services, they want to get to know the person behind the business and make a connection with you on a personal level.
I think our culture misses the face-to-face meeting and handshake. You can’t get that same human connection from a computer monitor. Social media has connected everyone on every level, but the posts that are most shared are the ones that tell a story through an image, a video or the written word.
Businesses need to humanize what they do and reach out to people instead of users and buyers. They need to drop the marketing tactics and open up their imagination. Be creative and HAVE FUN!
If you don’t know where to start with blogging, I suggest thinking back to questions your customers, clients or even friends have asked about what you do, why you do what you do and how you began in your career.
Questions need answers, and there lies a treasure chest of stories and blog post topics.
TONE is important too, and a good blogger will insert personality into the post.
WHY Blog for YOUR business?
It’s about making a name for yourself . . . having your company name and website pop up more than your competitors – and that takes content! You need as much information out there as possible being fed into search engines from your site so your company will be more easily found. Not just sales pages and links to more sales pages. You want people to come and visit a while, and for that they need a reason to stay.
BeNanna Bakery is a small family bakery with a strong voice . . . they are a fantastic example of how to focus content, and they have a well-managed website linking the products to stories using social media and blogging. I helped Ben and Anna Van Eck with their FB page and posts, and brainstormed with them about fun marketing projects like the Cake Club, the Birthday Club and Bakery Confessions. Ben recently shot short videos and boosted them on FB getting over 52,000 views!
His message was simple, honest and to the point. His passion for what he does shone through and that is what will grow a loyal customer base. He is all about sharing other people’s stories and business successes too, not just his own, and that kind of confidence and kindness attracts people to your business.
Teresa Funk of Body by Funk began her career as a fitness instructor after placing in provincial and national figure competitions. Her life led her on a journey . . . and her experiences changed her direction. She is now relaunching her business as Rejuvenate Mind Body Nutrition – and focusing on holistic health and wellness. Teresa will need to broadcast on all her channels about the business name and focus change . . . so that current clients and followers don’t get confused or become unsure about the services she provides.
Teresa needs to reassure her clients that nothing has really changed . . . just evolved. It is important for her to share her journey, as well as the stories of her clients so that others are inspired and encouraged. Teresa’s branding might be changing, but the company brand is actually Teresa herself . . . she builds a following through honesty and trust. She is the face of her business and must get used to being seen and heard. She is now enjoying making videos to share on FB and on her website blog, and having fun with that intimate connection she is building with her followers.
Communication is essential and providing factual up-to-date information is necessary to keep it fresh and interesting.
Become Recognized Expert
I’ve written blogs for security and construction companies — not my area of expertise, but by interviewing the owners, researching relevant topics, and answering questions I have about those companies, I was able to write informative, helpful blogs that people wanted to read.
The construction industry is very seasonal, so each quarter there would be a different story to tell. Homeowners renovate during spring and summer, but businesses might choose to build when they experience down time.
Providing blog stories and information for each sector at the right time of year is crucial: decorating and design tips, fencing and roofing, parking lots and business signage, green building trends, info on building codes or the real estate market . . . there are so many topics to cover, it’s just a matter of scheduling relevant blog posts at the best time.
Showcase your website as THE place to go for ALL info about the business you are in.
Use your blog to create a larger picture of your products . . . if you sell clothing, blog about how to expand your wardrobe with single pieces you sell, or share tips on how to accessorize. Feature stories on how the clothing is made or include a customer in a photo shoot: “Day in the life” or “Out on the Town” at local events or businesses – they will be sure to share the images on their social media too. Create a living magazine with photos and stories people can relate to and they will enjoy staying on your site longer.
Remember, when you are sharing info about another business, “What goes around comes around”: if you speak ill of another business, that just drops you down in your customers’ esteem, but if you promote others, they will reciprocate.
We have to toss the word “Competition” out, and warm up to the notion of the new “C-words”: Collaboration, Community, Connection . . . all these words lead to greater Confidence for you and your Customers.
Top 10 Blogging TIPS:
- Use keywords and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) – blogs allow you to focus on attracting new clients by using popular keywords often, but also those less used that other sites might not be using. More Content = MORE opportunities to reach people.
- Write about complementary topics. For example, if you own a bakery, during wedding season write a blog about “Amazing Wedding Venues” or “Top 10 Most Popular Wedding Drinks”as these will be high in search rankings.
- Be creative and have fun with blog titles and subheadings. If you are writing a blog about “Fitness at your Desk”, title it: “Weekend Beach Body While you Work!” Subheads: Exercises for a Beach Butt, Desk Stretches for Better Posture, Water Cooler Lunges, Bathroom Break Biceps, Keyboard Crunches (you get it!)
- Break up the blog posts into “Part One, Part Two” to ensure readers click on another post and visit a while (this is more for a weekly or more frequent blog).
- Use images and videos strategically – people like looking at images rather than reading text so interweave text with visuals.
- LINK to other blogs and services within your blog.
- Share posts from colleagues and credit them (get permission first) and vice versa. “Guest Blogging” allows you to increase content without as much work!
- Create a content calendar. Katt Stearns of Katt Stearns Consulting does this brilliantly with her clients, and she has a great FREE downloadable tool on her website. A “Content Calendar” spreadsheet that you can customize as your own. Use special events, holidays, national weeks, company milestones, and create blogs around these as well as seasonal topics.
- Schedule posts ahead of time. Spend one or two days a month in a blog blitz. It feels so good to get a few months done. Once you get a routine, and do this regularly, it should only take an hour or two per blog . . . research, write, edit, proofread, upload, add images and schedule it!
- HIRE A WRITER like me . . . I’m awesome.
Now, to say “Thank you” for visiting my blog, I would like to offer you a FREE 30 min consult. Just message or email me, and we can pick one subject to focus on: Blogs or Social Media or Website Copy.
Listen to my interview with Sara Troy of Self Discovery Radio and learn MORE about WHY blogging is important, HOW to start and WHAT to blog about!
You can download the SOUNDCLOUD Podcast App for your iPhone or tablet here: https://soundcloud.com/mobile
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