If you run a business of any kind, you know that you need to market that business in order to attract customers. Marketing is a HUGE topic, and there are endless ways to market, but today I'm going to focus on just one (and one of my favourites!); blogging.
I can see the eyes rolling already.
"I don't have time!" "I don't know what to say!" "No one will read it."
Trust me, I understand. Those are the things I said to myself for years. I started endless blogs, only to get bored and delete them after a few weeks. It wasn't until I really understood the benefits of blogging for my business, and approached blogging with structure and purpose that it became a real joy.
So why do you even need a blog if you're a creative business owner?
1. Search Engine Optimisation:
Heard of Google? Or maybe you use Bing (if you do, who are you?). These are search engines, and they're where your customers tend to go when they're looking for something! Let's say you're a jewellery designer in Cornwall, and you make sea glass necklaces. If someone types in " Cornish Sea Glass Necklace" into Google, you'd like to show up in the first few results, wouldn't you? Blogging helps you get there!
But how does blogging help you rank higher? Because Google has little robots who are continuously scouring the Internet for specific Keywords and phrases. If the phrase "Cornish Sea Glass Necklace" comes up numerous times on your blog and website, you will be more likely to rank higher for that term, because Google believes you are a relevant to that term (and rightly so).
Google is also looking at how many people visit your website, comment, and share your posts. The more popular your website is with visitors, the higher Google believes you should be ranked. Pretty cool, right?!
2. You Can Build "Know, Like and Trust"
In marketing, the term "know, like and trust" is something you'll hear over and over again. But what even does that mean?
It's quite straight forward, but essentially, you're looking for your customers to feel like they know, like and trust you. They should feel like they could walk up to you on the street and feel comfortable doing so. Or they should feel like they understand your business ethics in and out. Or maybe they trust you to be ethical, 100%. Whatever form of "know, like and trust" you build, blogging can help you do that.
When you actively blog, you're showing that behind your business is a real, approachable person. You make yourself far more personable than if you were to be a scary business person, sitting behind a screen.
People also absolutely adore to see the behind the scenes of a business! Humans are naturally nosy, so if you are a jewellery designer, sharing how you make your pieces will fascinate your customers. Or if you're a graphic designer, sharing how you got from start to finish with a design will also be highly of interest.
3. You Can Share Valuable, Helpful Information
Do you want to know one of the key ingredients for getting people to read your blog, and keep coming back to it? Giving them something of high value.
Think about it this way: if every single blog post you write is about YOU and how YOU feel... does that benefit your customers in any way? Not really. Don't get me wrong, the occasional personal post is fine (I write them too!) because like I said earlier, people love behind the scenes. But if you never give your readers anything that will benefit them, they'll stop coming back.
What is valuable content? Anything which educates, inspires or entertains them. Essentially, your readers need to be able to get something from your content.
You need to establish what kind of value your blog will bring your readers right from the get go. You can work that out by knowing who your ideal client is. By focusing on bringing value to your ideal clients, you'll build trust, they'll come to know you (and hopefully like you!), they'll keep coming back to read... and hopefully, when the time comes, buy from you!
How Do I Set One Up?
There are plenty of ways to set up a blog, and it can be done in under and hour if you need to! Platforms like Wordpress.com and Blogger.com are simple to use, easy to set up, and great options if you haven't got a website up and running yet, and you just want to get going right now. However, both are very basic, not very easy to change the look and feel of, and aren't easily integrated into websites.
However, seeing as this blog is your business, and not really for personal use, I'd recommend investing a bit of time and money into your blog. Even with investment, it doesn't need to cost a lot.
If you already have a website set up, it most likely comes with a blogging option in build. I use Squarespace, which comes with a blogging platform ready built into each template. It's simple to use, SEO friendly, and always looks great!
Another option is Wordpress.org (not to be confused with with free version "wordpress.com"). This is possibly the most versatile of all the options, and pretty much whatever you envision your blog to look like, you can make it happen with Wordpress thanks to plug ins, and adaptability. That being said, Wordpress is the hardest to set up, and definitely requires you to be quite "tech saavy," or hire someone who can do it for you. I personally like to do everything myself, because I don't like the idea of not being able to quickly change something myself.
Should my Blog And Website Be All In One?
Hands down, yes.
For a long time, I didn't have my blog and website meshed into one, and it meant that I was constantly trying to point my customers to different websites. That can be exhausting, and confusing for both your readers and yourself. Save yourself the time and frustration by embedding your blog into your website from the get go!
And if you remember what I said about SEO at the start of this post, then you'll know that half the point of having your blog is to draw people to your website through Google rankings! Better have that yummy SEO juice taking people straight to your website, and not just your blog.
That is why I love Squarespace so much, because it's so easy to set up a website (anyone can do it!), its quick, I believe that they're much more cost effective, and always looks beautiful.
What should I write about?
This is actually the fun part, but its also the part that scares a lot of people, and makes their mind go blank! The truth is, you have SO much you can write about. If you're a wedding business owner, I actually put together a free download with 50 blog post ideas for wedding businesses, but the ideas in that download could be adapted to any business as well!
To get you started, answer this question: What are questions that your clients ask you about your business over and over again? Start by answering those questions in blog posts! In my instance, it's questions like: "Why do photographers cost so much?" or "What is photography so important to businesses?"
In the instance of the Cornish sea glass jewellery designer: "How do I know my ring size?" or "Where do you source your silver?" or "How do you find your sea glass?"
Take some time to think of all the questions your customers could possibly ask you, and answer them in depth in a blog post!
Think about the blogs you read, and why you read them. Do they provide you with value? What is it that you like about them? Take note of those things, and think about whether you could inject elements of that into your own blog.
In case you're really struggling, here are 10 blog post ideas to spark some ideas!
1. Why I Became A _________ (wedding dress designer, florist, jewellery designer, potter, business coach, etc)
2. My Favourite ________ (dress, necklace, project) I've Ever Worked On and Why
3. 10 Things I've Learnt Since Becoming A _____________ (photographer, cake maker, shop owner)
4. Behind The Scenes Of My Office Space
5. My Favourite Podcasts To Listen To
6. A "How To" post. ie. How To Find Seaglass On The Beach, How To Hem Your Own Dress, How To Forage A Cornish Summer Bouquet
7. 10 Things You Might Not Know About Me
8. A Case Study on a Recent Project
9. 5 people who will inspire your ideal client
10. Tell a funny story about a recent project you worked on
How Often Should I Share A Blog Post?
It's a question that I'm sure has come to mind by now, and you might be worrying about it.
Let's get clear on one thing: the more frequently you post, the more frequently people will be visiting your website. When there's something new to read that is of interest, they're going to click! So if you only post a new blog once a month, you're definitely going to get less interest from your readers.
But it's extremely important to be realistic about how often you can show up and create content for your blog. If you can only manage two blog posts a month at first, make that your goal, and stick to it! Slowly work your way up to one new post a week, and if you can continue to build on that, do it.
The key is consistency. If you start off blogging three times a week, and then get overwhelmed, so stop blogging for three months, that doesn't look so good to your customers. You're far better off starting small and building onto it, than getting carried away and putting too much pressure on yourself to begin with.
What do I do? I blog twice a week, consistently (Monday and Friday). If I can manage three times a week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday), I do my best to do that! But at the moment, twice a week is my happy place, and continues to provide me with fresh website hits.
So there you have it, why I truly believe that your creative business should include blogging as part of its marketing material. It can seem extremely daunting to start, but if you follow the steps here, you'll be on the right track! Remember to start small, and build on that.
In the coming weeks, I'm going to be sharing more posts on the topic of blogging, how to use your blog to grow your business, and much, much more!
Do you have any questions about blogging for me? Ask them below and I'll be sure to answer them for you!