Blogging isn’t Blabbing: Three Tips on How to Start a Business Blog
Posted By Emily Warn on November 5, 2013
I assumed the woman behind the cash register was talking about a birthday cake. “I want red letters with a squiggly line under them,” she insisted. She was–I soon found out–talking about her blog to a marketing company rep who had promised her social media stardom if she bought the company’s social media package—a new blog built by them and content writing services for six months.
I kept my mouth shut and didn’t tell the toy store owner she’d thrown her money away. I also resisted my impulse to fix her problem for free over lunch. I did offer her a few tips on how to start a business blog that would help her–and you–up your presence on social media. Here’s what I told her.
- Start small–connect with your existing customers. Building a social media presence takes time. The good news is that you already know how. You reach new customers on the Web the same way you do in the real world—a person walks in your door and asks whether Squishables or Eeboo art supplies would most interest your son. You help your customer choose the right toy and she walks out satisfied. Amazon can’t offer that kind of personal attention. You can bet that your customer will spread the word to other parents.
That’s how social media works, too. It lets you interact directly with customers, but on a super-charged, super-fast scale. If you offer advice or entertainment or lots of other types of content on social media, there’s a chance one of your followers will share it with five friends who will each share it with five friends and so on. Who knows how many will visit your store?
- Be a big personality—yours. When you point out the perfect Halloween costume for a kid you’ve known since birth, do you put on scary make-up? No. You’re completely yourself—even if you’re having a bad day. Write blog posts that reflect your personality. If you ordinarily cycle between sweet and catty, write posts that are sugary and barbed.
Hiring a social media company to get you started is a good idea, but only if they help you find your voice.
- Pick topics that establish your authority. Think of all those “round-up” posts on the web. The 50 most important inventions in all of human history. The Top 11 Couch Potato Dog Breeds (seriously). Why do we click on them? They promise to be short, scannable reads. And, there are cute or entertaining photos. (Who doesn’t like to compare mugs of Shih Tzu’s to Chow Chow’s?) And, the most important reason is that someone with authority is promising to share information, making you more knowledgeable, and so more powerful.If you’re a toy store owner, I bet you can rattle off a dozen of the following on your first try: The five most dangerous toys. Great toys for three-year-olds who are bored with three-year-old toys. The 10 ugliest birthday cakes ever. You get the idea.
Other things you need to know when starting a business blog are just as straightforward as these three tips. I’ll share some more in my next several posts. Then, if you do hire a social media marketing company, you’ll know how to boss them around. “I said that I WANT you to write a post on the five worst tutu’s ever.”
(Uh oh. In the preceding paragraph I broke one of my cardinal rules of blogging – never say you’re writing a series. Usually that’s like saying you’re giving up sugar. It ain’t gonna happen.)