033: THIS IS WHY YOUR PRODUCT BUSINESS ABSOLUTELY NEEDS A BLOG
Today’s talking point:
I'm a college student. I'm considering getting my four year degree in marketing. Do you think starting a blog would be beneficial to me if I were to pursue that degree and if so, where do I even start?
Blogging is not dead. Today I'm going to walk you through why: why blogging can have a place in your business and why it should be a priority in your business. I'll walk you through:
How to get started
How to actually make money blogging
What goes into writing the perfect blog post that will benefit your business for years to come
So let's get into it.
THE VALUE OF BLOGGING
I have published so many blog posts. When I first started, I used to blog every single weekday (and never missed a day for about two years). Let's just say I don't exactly do that anymore, but it served me well and it became a part of my brand. Now, I’ve restructured how I focused on blogging and prioritise quality over quantity, posts that aren’t super time sensitive and will live on long beyond the publish date.
Blogging is alive and well, it's just grown up with our generation and with that we have to adapt. Now, I have over 30,000 people visit my blog each and every single month. That’s over 30,000 eyes being exposed to me and my content on my site.
WHY BLOGGING MATTERS
My blog is what helped me launch my business. And at the time I didn't use anything other than a blog to start.
#1| Content Lives On
Blogging content lives on longer. Instead of thinking of my blog as a journal where the posts are read and then forgotten, I think of each and every post as an opportunity to attract new people to my site that may be interested in a very specific topic, such as: “marketing activities in one hour or less.” Then, I can serve them up great content and ultimately invite them to go deeper with me and my brand.
I recently checked out my 10 all-time top blog posts. Some of them were published way back in 2016; that means work I did three years ago is still attracting new people to my site each and every day. To me, that tells me that blogging is 100% alive and well.
#2| Control the Audience Experience
Besides attracting this new audience to your site with specific content, once they're there, you're able to better control their experience than anywhere else online.
What journey do you want the reader to take?
What do you want them to feel as they visit your site?
How do you want them to connect with you beyond the post that they're currently reading?
These are all things that are in your control on your blog, that you can't control on social media. I always teach my private clients that social media should be the handshake or introduction. The real invitation is where I invite people to land on my corner of the web, to my blog or my website where we have the opportunity to go deeper and continue that conversation.
Now I don't have to worry about pesky algorithms or not getting my work seen or the reader to get distracted by other things trying to get their attention. I get to be in charge of that user and how someone interacts with me or my brand.
#3| Blogging Data
Blogs provides enough valuable data to direct your priorities. Numbers give certainty and they help guide business decisions. One of the best ways I decide what my audience wants from me is by looking at what posts they are clicking on the most.
Dig into that data and think:
What were the most popular topics?
How can I create more of that type of material?
Do I see any trends that would give me insights into future podcast episodes or products or services or courses or free content that I should create?
This information will help you serve your target audience even more. Unlike social media and the algorithms, we actually have control here.
HOW TO START A BLOG
Are you reading this and panicking because you're only relying on Instagram as your main form of marketing right now, and you don’t have or use a blog? Don’t worry. Here are the exact steps that I would take today if I was just starting out with a blog.
#1| Choose Your Platform
Popular blogging platforms to choose from include: Squarespace, Wordpress, Wix, Blogger, and Tumblr. When you go to choose a platform, make sure you are asking yourself these questions:
If it's one you have to make, how easy is it to set up?
Is there a big learning curve?
Would the setup need to be outsourced?
Where do you want to take your blog in the future and does the platform have the functionality to support that?
Sometimes it can be difficult to transfer a blog, so it's best to really weigh these things now and make the best choice for your business.
#2| Design Your Site
The next thing you need to think about are the other elements you want to add to your site. Elements basically extend the functionality and add new features to your blog.
One of the key elements you need to think about is SEO. Make sure your blog posts are SEO-optimised, and connect your email list to your site. So connecting your email service provider, installing Google Analytics. There's all kinds of things.
#3| Plan Your Content
Without content, everything else is meaningless. You can't just create a presence online and think people will come.
That's the number one mistake business owners make is: they think that “I build it, then they will come.” You have to build it and then maintain it. The content you write is going to be what makes people come back for more and more and helps grow that trust and relationship between you and the reader.
CREATING A CONTENT PLAN
Here’s the secret: approach a blog with strategy and have a plan.
So let's talk about some content ideas to last all month long so that way you can rest easy knowing you have something amazing to share. First you simply want to commit to creating new content, even one day a week. Start small and work your way up.
It's not as complicated as we make it out to be. The best part is these ideas aren't just for your blog. You can use them on your Facebook, Instagram, Podcast, YouTube channel, whatever medium you choose. They can be repurposed and translated across different platforms. You want to create powerful content that can be repurposed. Each of these posts help write a bigger story for you, your business and your brand. They're not random. These are strategic.
Topics to Help You Get Started
Personal Post Inspiration
There is a difference between a business and a true brand. We want your audience to get to know the person behind the business. How can you share more about you, your life, your family, and your passions? Think of what you can do to connect yourself to your audience. These are easy post ideas, so here are some examples.
10 things most people don't know about me
How I prepare for my job
A tour of your workspace
What's in your bag
5 things you can't live without or different products
What I love about being an XYZ
What I love about creating XYZ products
How you became what you do
What goes into the creation of your products
Behind-the-scenes look at life beyond your work
My top 10 favourite images of summer (autumn, winter, spring)
The last five books I read
Your go to recipe for a dish that you're most known for
Product Post Inspiration
After the personal ones, here are some product ideas. You sell a product. These ideas might get your creative juices flowing.
10 reasons to fall in love with ______ (your product )
How to pick the right _________ (product you offer)
Things to consider when planning ______ (whatever your product relates to)
Feature a client using your product
Spotlight a new product that you're selling
Five creative ways to display, use or enjoy your product
Frequently Asked Questions
There are probably a handful of questions that people ask you all the time, and your blog can be an amazing place to answer those common questions. Turning questions into blog posts can provide valuable answers and drive more traffic because people are curious about the answer. That's why you get asked it all the time.
Top 10 questions I get asked
What clients have said about working with me
What to look for in a product business coach
What's your process? Provide a peek into what it looks like to work with your company or be a part of your offerings
Share what the experience actually looks like
Client interviews: ask your favourite clients questions about their experience with you
Client interviews: ask your favourite clients questions about their experience with you.
why they chose you; fears they had; what their results or outcome was; and why they would recommend you to other people.
Share the barriers to sales
I know that probably feels scary, but put yourself in the shoes of potential customers and think about the reasons why they may not hire you. Then answer to those fears to show that you've really understand how to make their life easier.
Not all blog posts need to be elaborate and content heavy. Pick some of your favorite images, add a quote or a and hit publish. You can keep these types of posts in your back pocket for times when you're too busy to put together a longer article.
Create an Instagram collage each month and show your readers what you've been up to
Create a mood board that inspires you
Share inspiration for your clients.
Lastly, repurpose things that you've already done. Do you send out newsletters? Do you post out loads of content on social media? Use that content in a new way and repurpose it for a post to direct people to a new way to hear from you without adding any extra work.
THE ANATOMY OF A PERFECT BLOG POST
I've written an entire blog standards guide for my business, for when I hire future employees to keep everyone on the same page. I thought it would be perfect to just share my guide with you, to give you an idea of the components that go into a blog post.
Is the title something that will make people want to click? Does it share the promise of the post, or tell people what to expect if they open it? Think clickable paired with a promise that will over deliver.
Is the featured photo either the same, or aligned with the content inside of the post? I want this to feel cohesive. If someone clicks on the preview of the post from Facebook, they feel like they've landed on the right page. Opt for colour images are clean and compelling and either use a stock photo or yourself.
Does the introduction inspire someone to keep reading? Those first few lines can make or break the entire post. Is there a compelling question or relatable sentiment? We want to pack a punch because this line can show up as a preview on Facebook when the post is shared. So don't neglect the importance of this line and then use this first paragraph to give readers a ruler of the promise of the post to make sure that we're measuring up.
Are all of the headings formatted the same? Do they contain the same punctuation and the same amount of words? Do they stay on one line? Make sure that these headings are like a roadmap for the reader so that they can find the information they need quickly and that they're all formatted cohesively and correctly.
Break Up Paragraphs
The number one way to make a post and more readable is to not have super blocky paragraphs. There have been visual studies that people will keep reading if paragraphs are similar sized and not super long.
Basically anything that would pull people away from our post: are they all opening up to a new tab? Now remember, we want as few external links as possible because the goal is to keep people on our own site, so we only include necessary links and save a running list of them for the bottom section of each post .
Are we an affiliate for anything that is hyperlinked? If so, are we using our affiliate links to collect commissions? We want to make sure we take advantage of any opportunity to use links that provides results and still making sure that they're opening into a new tab out of the post.
Keep the bottom of a post for any sort of additional training or sponsors for the podcast. This area should be as clean as possible, don’t have a super long call to action, but a direct invitation. Nothing vague, no fluff.
Is The post search engine optimised? Is it formatted correctly? Are the images loaded with the correct keywords? Is the URL something that makes sense for the post? You want to go through that SEO checklist and get every single box ticked so it's got the best chance of ranking on Google. Check out episode 32 to get more of an idea of what needs to go into a blog post when it comes to SEO
Is there an option to join your email list? what opt-in will perform? How can we add value to the content with a call to action? Every single post should have an opt in strategy that includes either an affiliate link page or a Freebie that compliments the subject of the post.
Be sure to check that you credited our any sources used to create the post. I want to make sure we are doing diligence and creating: if we don't want to originally create, this is super important to give credit where credit is due.
Ensure that Grammarly is on and run it through the post. Check any errors that are coming up, correct punctuation and grammar before publishing. Before you hit publish, triple check the formatting in preview mode. Make sure all headings are loading correctly, make sure the photo looks good, the paragraphs and line breaks are all correct.
SHARING YOUR POSTS
Now it's onto sharing your post. So here are some of my tips for launching your blog post, both for the first time and for promoting posts into the future.
Stack Up Content
Try to have three initial blog posts for people to dig into before you start promoting a new blog. We always want readers to be able to continue their journey on our site. Incorporate batch working into your creation process. When I'm on my game, I can be months ahead. It's a great way to continue to show up for your audience even if you're not actively working each and every day.
Get Platform Specific
Now, when you share a blog post, always think about your audience on each specific platform. For example, you may share it differently on Facebook than you do on Instagram. On Facebook, we might write a compelling question that the blog delivers on to entice our audience to click through. On Instagram, we might instead share a story around the topic on my Instagram stories and direct people to read through that. On Pinterest, we're focusing more on the pin graphic and thinking through keywords to include in the description.
Capture the Traffic
It's so great that so many eyes read the blog, but if you're not converting that traffic either to your email list or to actual paying customers, then you’re kind of doing all this work in vain. The best way that I know how to convert them is to invite them to subscribe to your email list, make it super clear how they can do this, whether it's a call to action in your post using a popup or a sidebar on your blog. I'd like to encourage you to not just have a generic “sign up for my newsletter box,” but to actually have some sort of offer that people are going to be willing to exchange their email address for.
HOW TO MAKE MONEY
How does blogging actually make people money?
#1| Affiliate Income
Affiliate income or sponsorships, recommending products and services that or this create in order to make a percentage of the sale. This can be a great option for people just starting out who don't have their own products or services to sell yet. The key with this is creating content that relates to products or services you're promoting or pushing out. Such as “the ultimate guide on how to use ____”
#2| Promote Yourself
Sell and promote your own products or services, so blogging can allow you to serve your audience with free content. Blogging can build trust, educate and set you up as an expert. You don't have to wait until your product is ready. You can start blogging and building an audience long before you're ever ready to sell anything. Then, you can generate income from your blog in this way with coaching services, selling ebooks or courses, or products.
#3| Move the Needle Forward
Have the ultimate goal in mind to help direct your blogging efforts in the beginning. While you build your audience, you want to be able to set up a ruler to decipher how your blog is moving the needle for you, whether it's through traffic, affiliate sales, email list growth, or more bookings.
It's not too late to start a blog. You're not behind the curve. Just follow the steps listed in this post. Map out your next 4, 8, 12 posts, sit down and start creating.
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