How to write, research and plan a blog

You Are Reading: Phase Three Goods Blog What Should I Blog About?

These days, many new clients ask for a blog to accompany their website. In fact, most business websites you visit will probably have a news, advice or articles section.

Sadly, what often happens is that the blog just sits there and gathers dust. It’s a shame, because this is one of the best places for audience acquisition and search rankings.

Today let’s look at the blog. Let’s examine its purpose and potential benefits to your business. Let’s also ponder what topics you could write about, and how you should go about it.

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What Visitors Want To Read

Generally speaking, a business blog should be interesting, outward looking and useful. Readers should enjoy the experience and feel that they’ve been tutored and entertained. The blog is not an extension of your product pitch, and it should not be used for internal company memos. Other pages can do that job just fine. Let the site breathe!

What Blogging Means For Your Brand

When I say that blogs entertain, I don’t mean they are totally selfless. While the goal is to write legitimately useful content, the benefits include bookmarks, shares and juicy links. Great content is passed from person to person and signposted across the internet. While entertaining your audience, you’re also spreading trust and brand awareness.

Blogging For The Search Engines

Keep blogging and Google should recognise that your site is not just a 5 pager but a buzzing hub of activity. Rinse, repeat, and soon enough you’ll enjoy healthier rankings, increased traffic and happier, learned readers.

Example: Mrs. G. Ardener builds a small website to advertise her hedge trimming service. By posting monthly tidbits her site slowly becomes the go-to place for gardening advice in the local area. Readers pour in, customers pour out, and Mrs. Ardener benefits as a result. She maintains her hedge trimming service in real life, but online she’s become a bastion of plant feeding, landscape gardening and organising the tool shed.

Blogging Strategies & Topics

What you write about depends on your strategy, your niche and your disposition. Here are a few tips that might help you strategise what to blog about:

1. Write Yourself Reminders

I have a bulging bookmark folder of troubleshooting and how-to guides for web development. My brain isn’t up to the task of remembering it all, and sometimes it’s easier that I write things in my own hand for reference.

If that’s the case, I may as well publish it for mine and other readers’ convenience. For a case in point, see my oft-Googled guide to setting up Gridhost emails. I’ve actually remembered this now, but it certainly proved its use!

2. Celebrate Your Local Area

Every business is intrinsically linked to its hometown or city. Celebrate this! Write articles about the local area through the lens of your business. For example:

  • Personal Trainers: Ipswich’s Most Scenic Jogging Routes
  • Restaurant: Our Favourite Theatres in Norwich to Enjoy After a Meal
  • Dog Walkers: Our Step-By-Step Guide To The Cleanest Possible DIY Dog Bath

Local news travels fast. Remember to link/reach out to local businesses who’ve had a shout out.

3. Be The Expert

If you’re running a business then you’re an expert in something – be that plumbing, accounting, therapy or ultimate frisbee.

Unpack your work into categories and write about anything that’s remotely connected to what you do. Think beyond the strict parameters of your services page and consider what potential readers don’t know. For example:

  • A builder could pen DIY articles, write about interior decor and make practical recommendations for using the conservatory, spare room or summer house.
  • A tailor could write about historical fashion trends, outfit matching, dinner decorum and washing tips for suits and dresses.
  • An accountant could give advice on self-assessment, personal finance, frugal living and climbing up the property ladder.

Want a good example? Check out these posts from a local “man and van” firm. Is a removal company tied to writing about vans and boxes? Not at all. Their blog is filled with mortgage advice, home decor, app reviews and party planning. All are useful, and all are tangentially related to the company’s core values of home and family.

4. Celebrate & Reflect

Milestones and anniversaries are a great time to ruminate. Don’t just wish customers a happy Christmas; reflect on how your business adapts to the holidays. Show them the office tree, the baubles, the novelty staff Santa photos. If you’re a kooky craft shop and that means showing off your Christmas gifts, then all the better!

5. Review Something

If your business uses tools, apps or software, then you’ve probably got a thing or two to say about them. Write product reviews so that your readers and peers can enjoy (and stay away from) tools of the trade.

6. Retread Past Trials

Remember that time your business overcame a particular challenge? Perhaps you pulled through on a last-minute order, or you went above and beyond to help a customer. Put a positive spin on it and make a case study of trials you’ve overcome. Writing about this gives character to the business and shows readers your professional diligence.

7. Just Write!

All this advice is meant to help, but don’t let it daunt you. If you have something to say, then say it! Find your own pace, your own writing style and enjoy yourself.

Planning & Researching Your Article

We’ve established that you can cast a wide net and blog about lots of topics. Now, consider the fact that people want this information. They’ll search things like How to overwinter chilli plants or Best bicep exercises. On this very article, I’m answering the legitimate question “what should I blog about”. Yes, it’s self-serving but hopefully you’ve learnt something in the process.

While writing your blog article, consider the following:

  • What existing search terms are people using on the topic? Have these been sprinkled into your copy, your headings and your meta tags?
  • Have other people written about this subject? Where have they fallen short? Can you provide more detail?
  • How could the blog topic lead back into your key services? Is there a tasteful way to reel the customer in once they’ve finished reading?

Go Forth And Write!

That covers the basics of how to write and research a blog article for your business. I could prattle on forever about it, but this should be enough for a freshly launched website. Best of luck, and thanks for reading.

If this article helped then feel free to send me links to your blog. I’d love to read it!