Last week I shared my secret for rapidly growing my business. Many people are often surprised to hear that blogging has been fundamental to growing an audience, developing a loyal following, making the leap to full-time, and gaining credibility in my industry. The benefits of blogging are numerous, but the hardest part of blogging isn’t in understanding why it’s important; it’s learning how to approach it and come up with a way to diversify content from the millions of other blogs out there. So today I’m sharing some tips for how to successfully blog for business.
Align your ideal reader with your ideal customer
Successfully blogging for business all begins with this change in perspective. Your blog has the opportunity to attract the people you want to work with and in turn, book clients and sell products. Last week I shared how most storefronts don’t have the same people coming back week after week, but a successful blog can keep people coming back to your site day after day. And the more familiar people become with your business, the more likely they are to buy your products or book your services down the road because you’ve built trust with them.
So when you’re writing and preparing blog content, align your ideal reader with your ideal customer; if you want your blog to generate business, the two shouldn’t be separate. Consider
which content will be most helpful for your customers and clients as you’re preparing your posts. What information do you have that they need? What can you offer them that will benefit them and keep them coming back?
When I first started Elle & Company, I blogged about personal things: recipes, funny stories, my faith, etc. But those things didn’t appeal to my ideal design clients, so my ideal reader and my ideal customer were completely different. It wasn’t until I started generating content that would benefit other bloggers and business owners that I began to book clients and profit from the blog. I lost some of my previous audience at first, and you might too, but the audience I gained is full of creative entrepreneurs that I would love to work with. My blog and business success all began with this change in perspective.
Blog for your audience
Readers are selfish. This might sound a little harsh, but it’s true: Readers don’t initially care about you. What you ate for breakfast, what you wore yesterday, and what you did this past weekend is of no value or importance to them (especially in a world where everyone is striving to be noticed). You have to give people a reason to care.
Instead of blogging for yourself and your interests, blog for your audience. This runs right alongside #1, but it’s important to consider how you’re benefiting your audience with each and every post. Whether it’s education, insight, or entertainment, give your readers something that’s worth their while.
Once you begin posting for your audience, it’s much easier to promote your products and services because your audience trusts you. We have a 95/5 rule around Elle & Company where we strive to provide helpful content 95% of the time and promote the business 5% of the time. When I share design projects, I try to educate my audience on the design process so that even those promotional posts provide value to my readers.
If you’re thinking first and foremost about your audience, they will be sure to follow along, share your posts, and eventually work with you down the road.
One of the largest mistakes I see in the business/blogging industry is an attempt to do what’s already been done before. You’ll never get ahead by following, and look alikes never stand out. In oversaturated markets, the last thing you want to do is blend in with the crowd (and I say this because I learned it the hard way). The most memorable blogs are those that break the mold and do something different.
You have an awesome opportunity to differentiate yourself from others in your industry through blogging. Instead of looking to other blogs within your field for ideas, get creative and highlight your own strengths. Take the road less traveled and give your audience a reason to remember you.
I realize that this is an area where many of you struggle and while I wish I had a direct answer for each of you, this is going to look different for everyone. But instead of getting discouraged by this aspect of blogging, use it as a creative challenge. If you’re stuck, recruit the help of some business-minded people outside of your industry to brainstorm new ideas. If you struggle with looking to others within your field for ideas and inspiration, I would encourage you to stop following along with them; it’s hard to get those ideas out of your head when you’re constantly surrounded by them. Instead, start following leaders in other industries who are business-savvy and successful. Observe what they’re doing and think through ways that you can implement a similar approach in your own blog and business.
Share your expertise
It can be difficult to position yourself as an expert in your industry, especially when you’re first starting out, but the content you share on your blog gives you an opportunity to legitimize your skills and experience.
If you don’t feel like you have any expertise to offer, you aren’t alone; I hear similar feedback from other creative entrepreneurs on a regular basis. But I’m here to tell you that you’re wrong (in the nicest of ways, of course). For many of you, you’re so wrapped up in what you do that you forget how much you know and have to offer. Instead of comparing your knowledge to that of others in the industry, share what you know. Especially for those of you who work in a creative field, people love to learn what you’re thinking as you’re taking a photograph, creating a bouquet, or designing the layout of a room. Break it down for them and let them in! Not only does this make it easier to come up with beneficial content, but it positions you as an expert in your field and shows your readers that you know what you’re talking about.
Blogging also pushes you to do your research, and if you’re blogging about things that are related to your industry, you’ll end up continuing your own education and becoming even more knowledgeable about your field.
Still having trouble with this step? Turn your FAQs into blog posts or work through this exercise to get your creative gears turning.
You may not see success with blogging overnight, but it’s important to stay consistent. Setting expectations for your readers encourages them to return and continue following along with you. It also shows that your business is professional, dependable, and trustworthy.
Consistency in blogging takes many shapes and forms:
- Create a consistent posting schedule, whether it’s daily, weekly, or bi-monthly
- Stick to a consistent posting time
- Stay consistent in the type of content you’re sharing. Consider your mission statement and check each blog post idea against it
While every blog is different and there’s no recipe for success, these tips can only benefit your business in the long run. By writing to attract your ideal customer, producing beneficial content, differentiating yourself, highlight your expertise, and maintaining consistency, your blog will be bringing in ideal clients and customers in no time.
How has your blog benefited your business?