Blog post checklist: 5 must-haves for your small business blog
Are you ready to start blogging for your small business? Yes? Great! Blogging is a wonderful content marketing tactic that can work so well as part of your online marketing strategy. It's a way of getting your brand's voice out there and showing how informative you are about your service and/or product. And, it's brilliant for SEO - AKA getting found on Google. But have you thought about a blog post checklist, before you hit publish?
As tempting as it can be to dive straight in and just get writing your blog post (after all when an idea hits you how good does it feel!?), you'll benefit from giving it your blog post writing a bit of thought first...
Why structure your blog posts?
Well, blogging could just be a hobby. So you could just be writing for fun.
But chances are you’re actually writing because you want to market your business to potential and existing customers.
Blogging is a great way for small businesses to not only appear knowledgeable within their industry but also to boost their SEO (Search Engine Optimisation).
It’s also a platform to subtly sell your products or services through content marketing. You know, without screaming "buy me, I’m great!"
It’s more like, "trust me because I’m really knowledgeable in this subject. Oh and I can give you lots of information. So, if you do choose to buy a product or service within my industry you can rely on me to deliver."
So to make your blog post work hard for your small business you’ll want to make sure you’re considering the following....
5 things to have in your blog post checklist
Headings are important for SEO. So much so I’ve written a whole blog post on why you need you use header tags & how you can use them throughout your website.
So why use headings in your blog post, specifically?
Headings tells Google what each paragraph in your blog post is about. Imagine if Google were skim reading your article. Well it would notice the headings first and get a feeling for what your blog post is about. The easier Google can read this then the more likely your blog post will rank for the relevant topic.
It’s not all about ‘technical SEO’ though when it comes to using headers in your blog post. You’ll also be improving readability for your readers. A blog post that is easy to read and easy to digest is likely to be more popular with your audience.
Because let’s face it we haven’t all got time to read the whole thing, have we?
And... did you know that thinking about PEOPLE reading your website inadvertently improves your Google ranking?
Well, the more people enjoy your website, the longer people spend on your website. Then, the more Google likes your website. And the more Google may bump you up in the rankings for seeing you as high quality website.
If you’re writing a blog post about doggy daycare services you’ll want your blog post to be packed full of keywords surrounding doggy daycare services.
I guess so!
But when we are writing it’s easy to wander away from these keywords, go off piste and then before we know it we’ve only mentioned the phrase ‘doggy daycare services’ once... in your concluding paragraph. NUOOOOO!!!
To make sure you are using keywords in your blog post follow these steps:
Pick a keyword/ keyword phrase that you’d like your blog post to rank well for on Google
Imagine you’re the Google searcher and all the things you may type in to find this. Think ‘doggy daycare services’ = dog-sitting, dog walker, dog care services, daycare for dogs, dog carer, dog nursery, dog babysitter...
Then, key these terms into Google Keyword Planner. For those who aren’t familiar with this amazing tool, get yourself on it. Fast. It’s a great way to understand Google search terms and their competition. Trust me - it’ll think up combinations you wouldn’t have thought of.
The bad news? Google Keyword Planner is a little bit tough to access nowadays ever since Google restricted its use to actively paying Ads customers.
The good news? It's not impossible to access it. It just needs a little workaround. Unfortunately I can't find a really good easy-to-follow guide on this at the moment that I can link you to - however, I'll be making my own soon so bear with me!
You may find writing with keywords a little difficult at the start. Sometimes it feels a bit static. Or you may not feel the text sounds natural.
I sometimes feel like this.
So, what I do is write my draft blog post first (with my keywords in mind) then go over it and edit it to insert/ replace and edit keywords where necessary.
Just be careful to not keyword stuff. No one likes a spammy blog post.
Using hyperlinks in your blog post is a wonderful way to create really informative high-value content.
Internal links are hyperlinks that go to a web page within your domain.
So within your website.
Why? Because if a reader is interested in an SEO audit they know where to go for more information.
External links are hyperlinks that go to a web page OUTSIDE your domain.
So another website. Like me linking to Moz's great article on creativing effective content.
So for example, if you’re writing about the latest skin care advice, you may want to link to an article that supports your claim. Or a brand that you trust.
Remember always make sure your sources are reliable. And that you trust these websites as your reader will trust you to provide a safe click-through.
Linking to websites with a high authority is great. That’s to say, a website that is well liked is well known on the internet. It can help increase your own authority online. Your blog post will be seen as Google as a very valuable and informative piece for a reader.
Just make sure the link is relevant. Again, never be spammy!
Top tip: when formatting external links always select ‘open in new tab’ as you don’t want the user to leave your website. NUUUOOO!!!
Call to action
A call to action (also known as a CTA) is a great way to tell your reader what to do.
Us readers can be lazy, y'know.
Sometimes we just need stuff pointing out to us.
So, if you’re telling your reader the benefits of candles for relaxation, tell them that YOU in fact sell candles and they are available to buy on YOUR website.
Even if your piece has a more informative aim, make sure you prompt your reader to simply get in touch with you for more info.
Making it easy for your reader is so important.
Think of it as at the end of an email it’s natural to say, "any questions, get in touch" when we are wanting to be friendly, open and helpful.
Your brand personality
Finally, your sometimes overlooked 'voice'.
You need to check in with your brand. Specifically, your tone.
Your tone when writing is a huge part of your brand. Think of it as your brand's voice.
Many people automatically assume that logos and colour schemes are the most important parts of your brand. And of course, they are really important.
But never underestimate the sound of your voice, small business owner. It's so important!
Before writing your blog post have a quick reread of your previous posts. Get that voice in your head.
How do you sound? Casual and chatty? Or more serious and formal?
What kind of words do you use? Do you say ‘simply fabulous’ or do I say ‘really impressive’?
Do you use short sentences? Does it sound like you’re having a chat?
Or is my style more formalised? Maybe you need longer sentences as your audience values this more challenging style.
Having a consistent tone that reflects your brand will help build a loyal audience who likes your style. Don't confuse your audience by changing your voice.
Your style is one of your biggest brand assets, so own it. Love it. Live it and breathe it.
Blogging strategy for your small business
Blogging is seen as a creative process for many. And, it certainly can be a wonderfully fun side of your business if you enjoy that side of things. However, it can and should be so much more.
Writing blog posts successfully requires a little bit of strategy.
Ugh, strategy. I’m not a fan of that word. Such marketing jargon.
What I mean is - you need a plan to follow. A few rules will help you transform from blogging for the sake of blogging to blogging for the sake of marketing your business successfully online.
Doesn’t that sound great?
Start with these simple 5 tips and they’ll soon become habit. Trust me, I’ve been doing it for years now and this little mental tick list helps me keep on track and produce blog posts that work for my clients.
Hire a professional copywriter to write blog posts for your small business
If you’d like more help and guidance when it comes to writing blog posts, I offer 1:1 content marketing consulting sessions.
My sessions are designed to help you market your own business efficiently and effectively.
Get in touch to see if it could be something that can help you.
Or, are you thinking a big UGH to writing blog posts?
I know. They can be time-consuming, especially when your aren't quite sure what you’re doing.
Well, I can help you.
I offer a blog writing service which includes all keyword research, SEO optimisation and topic research. For a no-obligation quote, get in touch for a chat.
Outsourcing your blogging can be a great way to UP your online marketing efficiently. So you can spend more time doing what you’re good at.
Did you know I'm based in Northwich, Cheshire but can work nationwide with businesses across the country?
Isn't the internet just wonderful!