Blogging for business works…
“Businesses with a regular blog on their website get twice as many email enquiries than businesses that don’t.”
“Small businesses with blogs get 126% more lead growth than those without.”
But only if you do it well.
And so you don’t end up with naff content or take eons to write something you should always ask six questions. Before putting pen to paper.
6 honest serving-men
Do you know the poem “I Keep Six Honest Serving Men” from Rudyard Kipling’s “The Elephant’s Child”?
“I keep six honest serving-men
(they taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.
I send them over land and sea,
I send them east and west;
But after they have worked for me,
I give them all a rest.
I let them rest from nine till five,
For I am busy then,
As well as breakfast, lunch, and tea,
For they are hungry men.
But different folk have different views;
I know a person small –
She keeps ten million serving-men,
Who get no rest at all!
She sends ‘em abroad on her own affairs,
From the second she opens her eyes –
One million Hows, two million Wheres,
And seven million Whys!”
And there you have it. Your six questions: “Their names are What and Why and When and How and Where and Who.”
So ask yourself…
1. What do I want to achieve?
Presumably you’d like more people to engage with your business or you wouldn’t write a blog in the first place. So you need a topic that will grab your customers.
But once you’ve hit on that topic dig deep. What exactly do you want to achieve by writing about it? Do you want to start a conversation about something – say healthy dog food? Would you like to rank first on Google when people search for your business – an eco-friendly pet food store? Or are you raising awareness of a new product – the trendiest canine cuisine in town?
2. Why am I writing about this?
Blogging is a brilliant way to keep in regular contact with your customers and build relationships with them. And good relationships lead to sales. So this could be your ‘why’.
But can you be more specific? Would you like to be known as a thought leader or become established as the expert in your field? Do you want to help people, giving out free advice or resources? People respond extremely well to help, will be drawn to your business, start to trust you and see you as the go-to person in your niche.
3. When do I want to post it?
The date may not matter, depending what you’re writing about. But by linking to a specific event or day you could have a greater impact.
Going back to our pet food store, they might post during Crufts, the well-known British dog show. Lots of the people attracted to Crufts are also pet owners who need to buy their animals food. So linking the two is a no-brainer.
4. How will I write it?
Is your blog post going to be mainly opinion or information? Both can work well, as can combining the two. But do consider your ‘what’ and ‘why’ when deciding how best to write your post. And what works well for your topic.
Our pet food store wants to start a conversation, so they’ve chosen to write an opinion piece. But if they were only interested in boosting their SEO ranking a blog with lots of well-researched information would work very well.
5. Where will I post it?
Will you blog on your business website or somewhere else? Perhaps you’ve got a separate website or intend to write articles for LinkedIn. Or want to produce long posts on Facebook.
Wherever you’re going to post, please do your research first. There’s no point writing a series of eloquent and engaging articles for LinkedIn if your target audience doesn’t use the platform!
And you need to shout about your blog so people can find you. So make sure you have a strategy for sharing your posts, particularly if you’re publishing on your website. Will your target audience be able to find your posts through a search engine? Will you alert people to new posts via email? Or do you need to share via social media too.
6. Who is my audience?
If you’re going to engage people, hook them and reel them in, you must know who your target audience is. And the more specific you can be the more likely they’ll notice you. So again, do your research.
Our pet-food store could easily target anyone with a pet. But actually, a female dog owner, age 40, with plenty of spare cash to splurge on pampering her beloved pooches is their ideal client. And you can focus your writing much more effectively when you know exactly who your target is.
How to focus your mind further
So you can organise your thoughts and keep on track while writing, here’s a handy template. You can use it to plan a series or for single posts. Just don’t make the mistake I’ve made many times – answering the questions, starting to write, then an hour later after getting excited about the subject realise you’ve written something completely off piste! Do keep your plan in sight while you write to stop the drift.
When you do, asking these six questions will laser-focus your mind so you can write a nifty piece that grabs your target audience superfast.
Happy blogging 😊