Does Your Business Really Need a Blog in 2018?
You’ve got a business or a business plan, at the very least, and you have some social media platforms . . . perhaps an email list for newsletters, and you attend about a million networking events per month (feels like it, right?!). Business is going pretty well, and you have a loyal following. Do you REALLY need a blog?
I mean, it’s 2018, and Elon Musk is talking about going to the moon, so blogging is totally 2012, right?
me. It's easy.
Blogging is still just as relevant and important today than ever before. In fact, it’s so important that, when I was an English Literature teacher in California, I taught 11- to 14-year-olds how to blog—and made them do it as a yearlong assignment!
I understand and appreciate that blogging can be quite daunting and feel like a huge commitment—one that perhaps you’ve been trying to avoid—but I promise you it’s totally worth it, so I’m going to share my TOP 3 reasons WHY you should blog and TOP 3 ways HOW-TO get started. Ready? Let’s go!
Top 3 Reasons to Blog
1. Communicate Information about Your Business. By blogging, you create a space where clients, potential clients, and people who are interested in your business or expertise can hang out and get information. Great content to put on your blog includes evergreen topics—also known as topics that are always relevant—along with information and specifics about your business that you’re an expert on.
For example, you may know how to fix a bicycle with only a screwdriver and piece of chewing gum, so your readers would be delighted to have this information shared with them! Topics like how-tos, Top 5, or information that solves problems are all topics that consumers want. So keep this in mind when brainstorming what to write about.
2. Create a Captive Audience (a.k.a. Capture Emails). Once you have web traffic, you need to actually do something with it. Getting your readers to convert into loyal fans (subscribers) is the best thing you can do with this traffic. Have them subscribe to your email list (you can use a service like MailChimp) so you can then direct them to where you want them to go.
For example: if you’re having a flash sale or an important event, and you actually want people to take some kind of action, you can send them a quick email. You can also do other things like cross sell or give them tips that they’ll be more than happy to read. Just be sure to be consistent with your contact, just as you need to be consistent with blogging.
3. To Set Yourself Apart from Others. Just like your brand, your blog can help to define your business and what you want to be known for. Think of it as a very helpful and crucial extension of your brand and overall strategy. In fact, before launching a blog, figure out your WHY—why do you do what you do? Why should people know about it? Why are you awesome? Figure it out and then relate it to why you should blog for your business.
Great, so those are my top 3 reasons to blog. But now the real work comes in: how do you get started? As the Queen of How-to at my day job (Sticky Steps), I wouldn’t be a good example if I only told you what and why. So, let’s get into the HOW-TO.
3 Ways to Get Started Blogging
1. Brainstorm! This is probably the easiest and most fun part about blogging—the dream stage. There are so many ways and methods people use to brainstorm, but I recommend a few things:
Go for a walk (with a notebook and pen in your bag or pocket) to find inspiration and let your mind relax to get into a state of flow. Just allow thoughts to come and go until something really sticks.
Once you have what you think is a great idea for a blog topic, write it down in your handy dandy notebook. Just a topic or a few bullet points is fine. You can flesh it out later.
After your inspiration walk, it’s now time to make more connections and supporting sub-topics for your main topic. I personally like to use a large sketchpad (A4 size) with markers or Sharpies to create a mind map. I put the topic in the center, and then write out/draw ideas related to that topic and go from there.
2. Write a Catchy Headline. This is probably one of the hardest things to do, but fortunately, I have a wonderful cheat/hack for you! If you’re not yet familiar with Derek Halpern, he is an absolute genius in guiding entrepreneurs with communication that’s effective and gets people to act. Check out his amazing video on YouTube, where he breaks down how to write an awesome headline: http://bit.ly/2saAcJ4
3. Stick to the Rule of 3’s. Have you noticed I’ve stuck to my own “rule” with this post? I really like things in 3’s, especially because it’s typically easy for people to remember, and it’s not an avalanche of information. Sure, I like Top 5 or Top 10, or even “101 Ways to . . .” and that can all come later. When you’re first starting out, you need to keep things simple. So try the rule of 3’s and break things down into thirds: 3 things to support your main topic, 3 things under each sub-topic, and so on. You’ll find it will help you immensely during the writing process.
For example, if my post is about how to make the perfect taco, I might outline it like this:
Topic: make the perfect taco
3 points: use a crispy shell, insert a lot of cheese and meat, add fresh veg for crunchy factor
3 more points: wash down with a margarita, enjoy with friends, eat on Taco Tuesday
And so on . . .
Keeping things confined in that way will actually give you the right kind of structure to release more creativity in your brain, even if you think you’re not a good writer. If my 11-year-old students did this, so can you!
I know blogging can be a bit intimidating when you first start, but I promise it gets easier! If you have the resources, I highly suggest having someone in-house or freelance to help you get started or even write posts for you so you can focus on other moneymaking activities. The extra help can also put your posts on social media and business sites like LinkedIn so your business and brand gets more exposure. I personally do this and actually get PAID to post blog articles written specifically for my website and target audience. #winning
Since there’s a whole world of information about blogging out there, I’ve curated some very useful resources for bloggers. You can visit my website to get your hands on these free resources to get yourself started: http://bit.ly/2BVfdJx
What’s next? Well, that’s easy! Take ONE step to get started. It could be anything, but my suggestion is to find your WHY for blogging. Once you do this, you’ll see how much clearer everything else is.
By Tamar Hela
Tamar Hela is a California girl but currently lives in Shanghai, China, planning world domination one day at a time. She’s the Queen of How-To for STICKY STEPS, a digital education company that teaches young professionals essential skills for the workplace. Her latest project is HELAhealth, where she aspires to connect travellers and expats to natural and alternative health options in Asia. And as if that’s not enough, she also moonlights as a freelance editor and writer (with over 40 edited novels under her belt and 4 published works of her own), loves traveling and reading, and runs natural health and creative workshops in Shanghai. WWW.TAMARHELA.COM.