Over the past 4 weeks I've done multiple workshops (in person and online) about the importance of having an email list and how to build one. A key element of this is blogging and although it is prolific there are many creative business owners who are reticent for one reason or another about dipping their toe in.
Whether you sell products or services, a blog is a great way to connect with your ideal audience; to keep them updated with new developments and launches and giving them a behind-the-scenes peek into your business (and who doesn't love a peek behind the curtain).
It doesn't have to be 3 times a week or 1000 words long. It just has to be of value to your audience and that value could take on multiple guises.
Here's my top 10 steps to starting a blog.
- Decide on a blog name. It could be the name of your business, your name or a specific subject matter connected to the theme.
- Choose a theme. It doesn't need to directly relate to your products/services. There is a boxed snack company (Graze) that supplies offices with healthy snacks. Their blogs are about the benefits of healthy eating and creating a happy working environment - things connected to the ethos of their brand and their customers.
- Decide where to host your blog. If you have a WordPress site then it's easy to add your blogs to that. If not, you can create a blog on a free site. Check out the top 10 free websites here.
- Plan where to post your blog. If you already have business pages on social media, post them there. Send them to friends and contacts via email and ask them to pass it on. Invite feedback and comments (and always respond to them).
- Write 5 blogs before you start posting. You want to make sure that you have material for your audience to read if they like the first one they come across. Link back to subjects you've written about before to encourage readers to engage with multiple posts.
- Decide the frequency of your posts. It's totally up to you but you're looking to strike a balance between good, valuable content and regular posts. Once a week or twice a month is about right (depending on your ultimate aim). It's surprising how quickly you can run out of inspiration and posting nothing at all is better than something of poor quality or no value.
- Read and comment on other blogs. It's a great way to join the blogging community and connect with new audience members
- Read tutorials on how to write killer headlines. There is so much information on how to write headlines that ensure your posts get opened (and read). I love this short post by Jeff Goins which is headline writing 101.
- Create awesome images. We all know that images are key when enticing your online audience to stop scrolling and click on the link to your amazing blog. Take a couple of hours to create a bank (20 or so) of attractive images using the theme of your blog, adding your logo to a corner and ensuring the sizing is correct for each platform you plan to post on. It will make the whole process of posting so much easier. Use Canva, Pixabay (for free stock images) or PicMonkey.
- Don't compare yourself to anyone else. This mantra could be used across multiple strands in business but is particularly pertinent when starting something new. It'll take time to find your voice, your rhythm and the real purpose of your blog. Try not to be swayed by others out there who might have a different angle to you. It's great to be inspired and of course your blog may well change over time but let that be an organic process rather than a result of chasing the next bright shiny thing.
You'll note that this list just mentions how to get started; I've deliberately left out how to grow followers etc. because I think it's important to concentrate on finding your voice and purpose first. Growing your blog audience is the obvious next step and I'll cover that in the post next week.
NOTE: You don't need to collect emails to write a blog, or use it to directly sell products. If you just want to use it as a way of explaining your business/personal story, creating awareness for your brand or just connecting with your audience, those are all very worthwhile reasons to start an amazing and engaging blog.
If you've started a blog, let me know - I'd love to follow it!
Until next time, keep creating!