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  • Dr. Ipshita Basu Guha

How to energize your small business blog post in 10 easy steps

Updated: Aug 28, 2020


INTRODUCTION


If you are one of those individuals who run a small business; and want to start their company blog then you are not alone. You might be held back by inaction simply because you find the whole thing overwhelming.


You probably want to write regular blog posts and connect with your customers, draw in prospects towards your brand and products, educate them. If I am correct then you are at the right place.


Really?


Yes. In this post, I am going to share with you 10 quick steps that will help you write regular content for your blog or social media channels to create awareness; develop engagement, and educate your audience to help them decide effectively.


You might be thinking 10 steps!!! I don’t have that kind of time.


I am a small business owner like you. Believe me when I say that I understand the challenge with time and commitment for something like a company blog. So, what I am sharing with you here really works.


It might take you 5 – 7 days initially as you perform the steps. But, I can assure you that by the 5th or 6th post, you will be cracking it in less than 3 days. This is assuming you will be managing your core responsibilities and write on the side.


How can you make the best use of this blog post?


The first time, just read it from start to end. Or just skim through the introduction, highlighted sub-heads, and the conclusion. If you are convinced with the contents, try it out.


Follow the steps one by one like a recipe. Commit to doing it at least once. See the results. But you cannot skip any steps. They are there for a reason.


One more thing, you do not need any smart tech skills for this. Just a fair knowledge of the language in which you wish to write, plus you have Grammarly and the Hemingway app in case you need any help.


Are you ready to start?


STEP 1. CHOOSE A BROAD SUBJECT


Imagine you are the owner of Protexn. It is your small business involved in the design, manufacture, and sales of personal protective gear for retail and institutional use. You want to connect and engage with your prospects through your blog to increase conversion.


What should be the overall theme of your blog?


Protection? Well, that can mean anything like protection from infection to protect your car from harsh weather or protecting your chickens in the coop. You need to narrow it down.


Okay, I got it! Hand gloves.


Are you kidding me??? (Massive eye roll) How many posts on hand gloves will you write in a year even if you intend to publish 1 post a week? And is it the only protective gear that you manufacture? What about face shields, ear muffs, harnesses, and all the other stuff?


Find a blog theme
What is your theme?

Why is the blog theme important?


If your subject is too broad like diet or protection, you will end up writing all kinds of stuff and fail to build a connection with your audience.


You must communicate with your prospects and buyers and talk to them about things that matter to them. If your products can solve their pain points, they will buy and tell others too. What you write should make your readers feel you are talking to them about them.


But if your subject is narrow like hand gloves you cannot write a lot of stuff or solve a lot of problems. And at some point, even your audience will stop reading.


Here’s the thing. You need a subject that is broad enough such that you can write regular posts on it (at least 26 to 52 a year) and still manage to hold your audience captive.


Before I tell you how to let me tell you that your theme is not cast in stone. It is a starting point. A year down the line, as you engage better and have a stronger reader base of your blog; you can slowly widen the net. The reader’s comments or questions, social media chatter, development in your industry, innovations will give you ideas to expand your theme and continue to WoW your audience.


How do I establish my blog theme?


If I were in your place, I would do 2 things.


One – identify your theme and two – test if it is broad enough.

Ask yourself - what is your business? Who are your customers? What are you offering to your customers? Why are they interested in your offering? What would they like to know about it? Why are you competent to write on this subject? How will I demonstrate your authority? How will it enable you to grow your business?

Take a day to calmly ponder on the above questions and remember to jot down your thoughts in bullet points. For every answer, think of a counter answer. Play the devil's advocate.


At the end of this exercise, you will zero-in on your theme. This is a one-time activity in a span of 9 – 12 months. So, take your time and do it well.


How do I know my theme is good enough?


Open a Google Sheet/ notebook page whatever works for you. Write down your proposed theme. Now list 1 – 26.


Start writing some rough cut blog post ideas around your products, product range, comparison between variants, product benefits, ways of using them, the target market, how to choose the appropriate product, latest innovation, improvements, global trends, market research insight, advice on maintenance of the products like how-to manuals on DIY, post-sales service, instructions on environmentally sustainable ways of disposable or recycling.


If you can fill the 26 slots with relative ease then you are All Set with your theme!


If not then go back to step 1 and redo the exercise. If you are getting stuck, involve your teammates or employees. Or else drop me an email and I will spend some time brainstorming with you. Free of cost.


STEP 2. IDENTIFY A SHARP, SPECIFIC IDEA FOR A POST


You know your theme and have a list of 26 rough-cut ideas for blog posts. You are now ready to write the first of your many posts for the company blog which brings me to the next step.


Identify a sharp and specific angle for your post. This is a repeated exercise which you will do for every blog post.


The key message of your blog post
Focus on an idea

Why do we need a sharp and specific blog post idea? Our blog posts and all other kinds of content are fighting for ever-shrinking human attention span.

According to Wyzowl.com, average attention span in 2015 was 8.25 seconds because we are too distracted with our smartphones and laptops.

If you stuff too many ideas, thoughts, angles, and views in a single post, either your audience will get confused or lose concentration while reading it. Either way, you will be the loser as your readers bounce off. The masters at Copyblogger always insist on being ultra-specific and I trust them.


Pick only one topic or message per blog post and provide value to your readers.


You can always write 5 posts to send 5 different messages and link them.


Focus on the user-friendliness and readability of your post.

One of the key result areas (KRA) of your blog should be customer experience. Each post must be an eye-opener such that they crave for more and keep coming back.

STEP 3. CONDUCT AN EFFECTIVE KEYWORD RESEARCH


Your target audience is searching for information to solve their problems using certain words, phrases, or sentences. You need to know them.


Why?


Because you must include them in your content so that search engines can find you whenever someone searches for information using those words or phrases.


Primary keyword research
Keyword Research

How do I find the keywords?


It is not as difficult as it sounds. You can check out Ubersuggest, which is Neil Patel’s keyword tool. It will take you a few tries to get the hang of it but it is simple and easy to use. There are other tools like Ahrefs.

You can use it to find out your competitor’s keywords and use them too.


Another easy way is to perform a search on Google using the generic names of your products or words from your industry. Google keeps making suggestions. Make a note.


You should also scroll down and see the “searches related to <word>” results. It will give you a good idea about the common words that people use.


Shortlist 3-5 keywords and rank them.


If you get stuck, send me a line. I will help you with it.


Identify your primary keyword and ensure it appears in strategic places of your content like heading, title, introduction, sub-head, etc. The post should revolve around the keyword but the content should not seem overtly keyword dense. This is important for on-page SEO. But don’t try to write that word in each sentence. Google will know.


Take an organic approach - subtle and elegant yet omnipresent Are you slowly getting the hang of it? If you have any questions, ask me. I will be happy to help.


Before I go further, I have one small tip for you. Try and maintain a Google sheet with these keywords. Each time you do keyword research, add them to the sheet. It will be a handy repository. Soon you will find that the keywords are common and repeated.

STEP 4. WRITE A STRONG, PERSUASIVE HEADLINE FOR YOUR POST


Since I cannot state the extreme importance of a strong and persuasive headline enough, I will let statistics drive home my point.

Moz states that “80% of readers never make it past the headline”.

Hostingtribunal estimates that 10 million blogs are published every day.


Your readers form an opinion on what to expect in the post based on the headline. If it is promising and persuasive enough, they will scroll down else click on another link. There are millions of other blog posts waiting for their attention.


Persuasive unique headline of your blog post
Strong, persuasive headline

How do I come up with strong headlines?


When I seriously started writing, the first resource which helped me with headlines is the free ebook from Copyblogger called How to Write Magnetic Headlines. It was a revelation of sorts. I have it in my Google Drive for easy access. Each time I go through some sections; there is a new perspective or insight.


Start by writing 5 headlines, and another 5 maybe after half a day and then another 5. So now you have 15 different headlines. If 15 is too much, at the least write 10 by switching words or changing them entirely. You can run it with your friends and see how they react.


If you do not want to do that, try using Coschedule’s Headline Analyzer. It is a good tool for beginners. You can try various combinations and see the results.

My advice would be to keep your headline simple, informative, promising and precise.

Come up with an effective headline that draws your readers deeper into your post. Buzzsumo has conducted some intense analysis of 100 million headlines and has listed worst-performing headline phrases too.

If you want to know more about the importance of headlines, I recommend you read this.

Once you freeze your headline, give yourself a pat. You have made some serious progress.

STEP 5. DIVIDE THE CONTENT INTO SUB-HEADS


A 2017 article in the Independent found that British persons have an average attention span of 14 minutes. I too have stated earlier in the post that attention-span is fast diminishing due to digital distractions. And your post is fighting with 10 million others for attention.


Optinmonster’s post in January 2020 pointed out that “43% people admit to skimming blog posts” and “36% prefer list-based headlines”.


Sub-heading in blog posts to improve reader experience
Improve reader experience with sub-headings

How do I overcome the challenges of short-attention-span?


Start identifying the main sub-heads of your post. While writing, use different font sizes (h1, h2, h3 ..) to highlight each sub-head and body text.


Break the content into small portions so that it is easy to absorb. Use bullet points, small sentences, and short paragraphs.


You don't want to cram too much into large paragraphs which will overwhelm readers and turn them off.

Remember the objective - you want your readers to feel that they got something concrete from the post not a hodgepodge of nothing.

Just like your headlines, play around with the sub-heads and then choose the most attractive ones. Do not forget to keep them short and focused.

Finally, your keywords, headline, and sub-heads must have a logical flow and connect seamlessly as a whole.

STEP 6. CREATE A MIND MAP


This is my favorite part of any type of writing.


I am a big fan of Tony Buzan’s mind map technique. It brings “mind-blowing” clarity to our thoughts and enables us to systematically put it on paper.


Grab a cup of coffee, open your notebook, and write the headline at the center of the paper. Write the sub-heads discussed earlier in step 5 as shown in the representative image below.


Source: Designed by Freepik


Draw connecting lines from each sub-head and write 1 – 3 points on each. There should be only one point for one idea/ message.


The reason I suggest writing in a notebook is to avoid any distractions, pings, or tings on your device.


Source: Photo by Lisa Fotios from Pexels


Take your time to write down your points with the utmost concentration. This is the cornerstone of your entire effort. Once this step is done with surety and clarity, you are simply ready to roll.

Since this is step is where you are laying the foundation of your content, give the step time to cook.

STEP 7. RESEARCH THE POINTS OF YOUR SUB-HEADS


Unlike keyword research, here you have a plan. Just flip through to your mind map discussed in step 6.


Start searching for expert views supporting your statements or making counter-arguments. Search for statistical data to validate your claims. You can also grab screenshots or find good YouTube links to add to the visual mix of your content.


Source, citation of data
Backup your claims with references

One important thing at this stage is to record the source of every piece of information, image, video, etc. Because you must mention these sources in your content. There are websites like Pexels which give you access to free images but you must follow their image attribution guidelines.

When you mention the source of content that you have used but not created, it gives authenticity and authority to your post.

There are two benefits – you demonstrate your expertise of the topic and there is the likelihood of your post receiving social shares. This can lead to backlinks to your post which again boosts your domain authority.


Before we get down to writing the actual content, there is one more step.

STEP 8. CREATING THE GRAPHIC ELEMENTS


You have got the headline ready, sub-heads in place, and even the points for each sub-head. Now it is time to gather the visual elements in one place along with their source.


I am not graphics artist.


Neither am I.


You can use Canva (even if you are a rookie) and create an eye-catching header image for your post. I often use Canva for my blog posts. It takes me hardly any time to create an image using all the free stuff on their site.


Visual elements in blog posts
Brighten your blog post with visual elements

So, you can find or create at least few visual aids for your post. Neil Patel has mentioned using one after every 150 words. You can go with whatever feels comfortable. Strike a fine balance. So, 4 different types of visual elements in a 1000-word blog would be good but you can always have more.


Make it a point to use the keywords in the alt tags of these images. It will help you improve your SEO outcome.


Your choice of visual elements could be images, graphs, screenshots, presentation slides, animation, video, and infographics. Whatever you choose to use, get creative.


Why?

1. They grab reader’s attention. 2. They are shareable on social media. 3. You can use them to present your content in a palatable form. Not everyone might go through your 1500-3000 word content from start to finish.

STEP 9. START WRITING YOUR BLOG POST


You are now all set to write your blog post.


Open a word processing document or Google docs. Write down the headline that you have chosen in Step 4. Punch in the sub-heads. Now go to your mind map in Step 6 and enter the points for each sub-head. Bear in mind that this is just a quick draft to create the skeleton document before you write to add the tendons, ligaments and muscles and give it a final shape.


Blog post document with headline and sub-headings
Write the post

But before you do that, plug in the visual elements gathered in Step 7. Give each image a simple but descriptive name. Use simple English, not Klingon.


Refer to Step 3 and see that the keywords have been used (all or at the least one) in the headline and the sub-heads.


What does your document look like? 50% ready?


Are you now feeling motivated enough to write?


Simply start writing.


Depending on how much time you write per day, it should take you between 2-5 days. Once done, see the result. You will be amazed at how much you have managed to achieve. Do not bother about grammar, spellings, etc. Leave it aside for a day or two.


In the meantime; watch a movie, read some good blog posts, or catch up with friends. Do not think about the post.

STEP 10. EDIT, EDIT, EDIT, PUBLISH YOUR BLOG POST


What you have produced in Step 9 is your first draft. You just need to do few more things before you can hit Publish.


Pick up the draft with a fresh mind preferably with another cup of coffee. (Yes, I love coffee but you can have a cup of Earl Grey or chamomile. Just saying)


You are now going to edit your post.

  • Read it at one shot. Highlight the areas that seem odd, wedged or uneven. Go about correcting them.

  • Ask yourself, does the headline indicate exactly what you have written? If not, you have 14 other headlines to choose from and replace.

  • Perform a detailed spell check.


It will be kind of embarrassing if you have grammatical errors or spelling mistakes in such a painstakingly done job.

  • Now edit for the second time by reading the whole post. And perform one more round of spell spell-check. You can rearrange your sub-heads or the points inside each sub-head. You can even cut out some parts which do not seem to add value to your post.

  • One last round of edit and you are good to go.


Just for academic purposes, compare your first draft to the third edit. You will be amazed to see the improvement.


Finally, we are here. Now your final version of the blog post is ready to be published. Go ahead and hit the publish button.


Edit, spell check and publish your blog
Hit Publish!

Congratulations!

How do you feel? Sit back and breathe. Savor the moment.

This is just the beginning of many more such amazing posts.

CONCLUSION


If you search the Internet you will find a lot of different advice on how to quickly write blog posts. I am an advocate of structure. I believe that if we divide a task into smaller achievable steps, it is easier to complete them and attain the goal. And as you attain each step, the release of dopamine in your body pushes you to achieve more.


I have walked you through 10 clear-cut steps to write your small business blog post. Initially, it will take you more time to accomplish this but as you write regularly, you will take significantly lesser time to produce effective posts. It is just like how doctors or lawyers gain expertise, through continuous practice.


You need to have faith in the process and keep at it. You will see the results by the time you are on your 5th or 6th blog post.


If you want to discuss further or need help with your company blog, contact me. Let’s talk.


If you like the post, share your views, comments, criticism with me. Please share the post with your friends and social media network. Subscribe to this blog, and get simple, informative, and actionable content that will help you steadily grow your small business online.


(Btw. Protexn is a fictitious company to the best of my knowledge)


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