by Jenna Kalinsky.
Hell hath no fury like all the work you have to do as a small business owner. After you handle the 87,342 things that must be handled in a single day to sell your product or service, you then have to deal with the equally as many things that need to be done to establish and further your online presence.
While this seems distinctly unfair (you didn’t sign on for running what amounts to two businesses!), the reality is this: while back in the day, websites were used to impart the basic info about your business and perhaps sell your stuff, now customers and clients expect them to:
- Serve as an extension of your business’ personality;
- Promote your brand;
- Be equally as active as your business with new and updated content, visually arresting graphics, and interactive components such as online shopping and linking to other sites;
- Establish and deepen your business’ relationship with clients through its content;
- Be tactically organized and programmed to gain momentum and traction in Google searches;
- Perform like a social media superstar across Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and your mom’s online canasta club.
Active, Up-to-Date Websites Make Customers Feel Loved
Modern customers have come to equate a website’s user-ability with a business owner caring about them. The more the website keeps talking to your customers about what they care about, the more the customers feel their needs are being listened to and met.
What this means as the business owner is that of the 87,342 things you have to do, prioritizing those that give your customers this feeling of connection is imperative.
Providing content to your site, particularly in the shape of a blog, is one of the most vigorous ways to do this.
Ok, Fine … But What Is a Blog, Exactly?
You’ve seen hundreds if not thousands of them: they’re the quick and pithy (or deeper and more thoughtful) reviews, how-to’s, thoughts on a particular subject, announcements or personal journeys through a specific subject.
Similar to a personal essay, the blog isn’t one person espousing on ideas just to hear herself talk; rather, a blog is a purposeful tool for engaging with your client. It’s a conversation, an invitation for your client to share in your ideas and get on board. Because the blog is personal, warm and authoritative, it makes it easy for your client to develop a relationship with your business- as an extension of the human voice behind it.
This conversation is key to business growth: the more you blog, the more your clients engage in that conversation. The more they engage, the more they read your investment in them between the lines. When you’re up against thousands of other businesses just like yours, this interpersonal connection is extremely valuable.
So, rather than hate how you have to squeeze in a blog between the 87,342 things you have to do, hating the task of it, delaying the inevitable and letting it haunt you at all hours, consider if you will a shift in perspective.
In the Bloginning, There Was Love
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First, if you go back to the reason you’re in this mess in the first place, you’ll remember you’re doing it because you love it (at least a little).
When you view your blog as your clients and customers do, you are called into remembering why you went into business in the first place.
True not every blog you write will take you into this same squishy territory, but for the most part, if you treat each of your blogs as a gift, as a way to serve your customers’ needs, speaking to what they would actually want to know about and providing them a much needed service, and doing so from your intimate, familiar perspective, then your blog writing may not hurt as much, and more, it may come to feel like a relief.
This, the conversation with your clients, this passion for what you do or sell, is why you decided to go into business. Only now it’s delivered in handy 300-500 word formats on a variety of very specific subjects that you can put onto your site, share on social media, and excerpt at parties on command.
But I’m Not A Writer!
If you’re concerned your writing skills aren’t going to win you any awards, don’t worry; what people want more than Pulitzer prize-winning writing is a conversation with someone who genuinely cares about them. That written conversation conveys your interest, ideas and insights, and extends you into people’s private spheres. In that conversation is where relationship grows.
(That’s also why we have revision, editors who can take a quick look at your work and make minor adjustments, and friends in the same boat with whom we can create a “Blog Posse” and make a pact to share blogs before they’re posted for the world to see. Doing this enables you to present your very best, most competent foot forward every time).
Writing the Blog
Consider what your client wants to know about (you can also use Google Analytics to see terms people are searching for), your knowledge on the subject, take a deep breath, and start typing. The best-case scenario is you get a full draft in one go (even a terrible draft is a draft you can work with). From there, all you have to do is refine it, post it, and watch how your audience begins to engage.
Engagement isn’t a trendy buzzword. It’s real. And when you can extend your business into people’s lives in a genuine way so they want to engage, that’s where you’re making your website work for you.
Write with the same passion that made you start your business, and soon you’ll see a shift in more than just your own eyes; you’ll see it in how your customers and clients respond, and soon, you’ll be making blogging a regular part of your business conversation.
If the thought of brainstorming and drafting a handful of blogs along with other small business professionals and creatives sounds fun (it is!) join us at our next One Lit Place Blogshop Online. Get support, camaraderie and engage in ideas-sharing with smart, interesting people– plus generate a ton of great work for your blog. Pretty good for two hours!