Blogging for your own business: What do I write about?

Google's top ten results for "blogging for your small business"

According to the web’s most authoritative sites, small businesses would do well to try blogging. The bloggers seem quite adamant about it.

I sat down just now with the aim of diving right into this topic, but as I tend to do before I start writing, I run a search or two to see what else has been written on the topic that turns up on page one of Google. Amidst the ten articles on the topic that came up, this one caught my eye–”5 Reasons Why Your Small Business Shouldn’t Start Blogging.” To save you the time of reading it (not that it’s not worth reading, of course!), it basically says that if you don’t have a realistic goal, if you don’t use social media, if you don’t trust who writes for you, if you don’t like the comments, or if you don’t have the time–don’t bother. It’s a backhanded way of explaining what you need to do when you blog and why.

So before you even start to think about what to write about, you should also make sure you’re planning to use social media, you’re cool with who’s going to write the thing, you’re ready to respond to comments and engage with your readers, and you’re going to make the time to do it. Are you ready to do that stuff? Yes? Then keep reading.

the-blank-page-blogging-version

The writer’s enemy: the blank page.

Now you’ve got to write something. Before you start, make sure you’ve asked yourself: who do I want to reach? Who is my market? Who do I want to care about what I have to say? If you start the writing process by putting your audience first, you’re already on your way to engaging people. This will also help your creativity flow more easily by giving it parameters. It’s easier to choose something when you’re not dealing with too many options.

But there are still a lot of options! So here are some considerations to get you ready to share your expertise.

Stories

Anyone who’s been around the block a few times has stories to tell. You learned your trade somewhere, from particular people–who are they? What made them special? What did you learn from them? How about your co-workers? What lessons have you learned from the things that have happened to you and the people around you?

Your customers

I used to work in retail, and so did my wife. We could post a different story about customers every day for a year with all the crazy crap we’ve encountered. I couldn’t count how many shifts we followed by venting over the day’s insanity over beer and fries. (We worked in the same plaza, where there was a restaurant with a bar. A dangerous, yet awesome combination.) You probably have a lot of stories you could tell. Ask yourself–how do you wish those situations could have been handled differently? What lessons could you teach them so the conflict could be averted in the future?

FAQ you: frequently asked questions

A great assignment to try is a frequently asked questions list. What concerns do your customers have about your product, service or industry? What do you know that they don’t? Do you get the same questions again and again? (Personally, I’d love to see a not-so-frequently asked questions page: what are the most ridiculous questions you’ve ever been asked?) Even writing just a paragraph on a blog to answer a single question you’ve been asked is worth posting. Frequency trumps length when it comes to posting.

Reinvent the wheel

Check out your competition. Do any of them have blogs? Are there blogs about your industriy? Hop ¬†on a search engine and search for “blog (your industry)”. See what sites out there are devoted to your profession. They set the bar. Even if you can’t leap over their bar, you can still write about the things they write about, as you see them. You’ve had experiences. What were they? What did you learn? How did you learn it? You can write about what other people write about if you use your life as your inspiration.

There are lots of ways to come up with ideas for blog content, but you only ever need one to just get that next post written.

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