A successful blog will bring you tons of free traffic and leads. You started one and then this happened
I do not write blog articles solely for my audience to read and learn from them. I do so in order to get people thinking whether what they are doing adds value to their lives and makes them happy.Alwi Suleiman
The milestones on the path to building the ideal blog for your small business
You might be hesitant to start a new blog for your business because you don’t know where to begin. You are the owner of a small business or maybe even a “solopreneur”. Your resources are limited and you want to put your time and money where you see immediate results right?
Checkout: 5 Digital Marketing Challenges for SMBS
However, you do also need to put in the effort for long-term benefits and ROI and that’s why you need to be creating your tribe of loyal content consumers.
The good news is that you do not need to do this overnight. This is a journey and like any other journey, it starts with you putting one foot in front of the other and hitting one milestone at a time.
You should view the list below as a checklist. It is the spine of your efforts but it is not written in stone so you can add to it depending on the nature of your niche.
1- You actually start your blog
Overthinking and not allocating time to start is the main cause of procrastinating. Do not get caught in the trap. Roll up your sleeves and get to work, as an entrepreneur you already know that there is no other way.
2- You write a breakthrough first blog
After researching your audience and relevant topics, choose a content format, your word count, and headline type that works. Make sure you address your buyer persona’s pain points and that you describe the issues using the same words he/she uses so that they can relate to your content.
Here is an excellent guide for creating content that resonates with your audience.
3- You share and let share (like live and let live; get it? 😉 )
Share your blog content on as many relevant platforms as possible. You should also make it easy for others to share by using social share buttons on every post.
By the way, if you are an excellent wordsmith, go ahead and use tweetable quotes in the body of your blog articles.
4- OMG! Your first blog comment (not from mom)
As a blog owner you should perceive getting your first comment from a stranger as a sign that your content is resonating with your audience. Well done!
For the best results, make it easy for visitors to comment. You should also visit other blogs in your niche and leave insightful comments.
5- Your first email subscriber
This is a big deal because this is where you build your list of potential clients or customers.
- Display your opt-in form prominently to make it easy for wanna-be subscribers.
- I personally use MailChimp forms as they are easy to create and because they integrate with WordPress seamlessly.
- Don’t forget to warmly welcome your subscribers and thank them for taking the time to subscribe.
This is my actual opt-in form so please subscribe if you haven’t already done so. Thanks:
6- Your first (high-quality) backlink
A relevant backlink will help search engines understand how your content is related to other content pages in your niche. This means higher ranking and more traffic.
Read: How to Get High-Quality Backlinks by Kim Kosaka at Alexa.
7- Your First Fan Mail is not just a day dream anymore
There is nothing more satisfying than receiving an email from someone who reads your blog and wants to thank you for helping them solve their problem. If you have reached this milestone it’s because you are:
- helpful, and
Keep it up!
8- Your first negative comment is keeping you up at night
Getting your first negative comment is a good thing. Now you can engage in deeper conversation with your audience (as long as the comment is not from a troll).
You don’t necessarily have to prove them wrong but be open to what they have to say and reiterate your point so that other users who view the discussion understand what you stand for. In fact, trying to prove them wrong and getting into a bare-knuckle argument will discourage other users from commenting.
9- You land your first guest post
The best way to broaden the size of your audience is through getting your hands on audiences of bloggers who are way more established than you are. It is also one of the best ways to gain backlinks.
Here are 10 Proven Steps to Snag a Guest Post on an A-List Blog by Jordan Cooper down at copyblogger.
10- You just hit the 1000-email-subscriber mark
When you hit that sweet 1000-email-subscriber mark, you know that you are now starting to be recognized as a player in your niche online. Now you have a tribe that will help you rise through the ranks. You are able to generate substantial traffic to your site simply by emailing your subscribers.
Now your blog is a brand with repeat visitors who engage with your content. Do you have any idea how much Google loves brands?
11- You find out your post has gone viral
One of your blog articles went viral. This happened because you have created share-worthy content with great visuals and captivating headlines.
You often stand out because what you write and how you write it does not always fit the status quo. You are not just another parrot-blogger repeating what everyone out there is saying.
12- Your leads that came in via your blog actually start buying your product(s) or service(s)
You have proven to your audience that you know what you are talking about. Better yet, you have shown them that you have their best interest at heart. So what’s to keep them from believing that the product or service you offer will solve their problems?
One more thing
Do you notice how far down the journey I actually mentioned selling? That’s because the main purpose of your blog is to create engagement and build a tribe of loyal listeners. You are educating and helping them solve their problems.
Do you notice how many times I used the word ‘you’ in this article? One hundred and thirty-nine times, that’s how often ‘you’ is mentioned. That’s because it’s all about you (there I go again) and not how awesome I am as a content marketing expert. Make sure your articles are about your audience and they will love you.
For those who already have a blog but have ignored it for months
I am 100% sure that many of you are reading this article and thinking: “well I already have a blog but I haven’t posted anything since Obama won his first presidency”. Not to worry, I have something for you too.
Here is a quick list of what you need to do:
- Start by re-engaging your neglected list: win back their attention, trust, and respect by apologizing for having left them stranded.
- Tell your audience how it’s going to be different this time and what they should expect in the coming months when it comes to content. So you are basically enticing them to look out for your email in the jungle they call ‘inbox’.
- Keep an eye on your open rates and make sure you resend to those who did not open your emails. This is especially vital for the apology email and the email about upcoming content.
- Write an article, or even better yet, make a video that explains what you and/or your business were going through when you stopped blogging and how you made your comeback. Make sure you highlight lessons learned and show your audience how they can benefit from those lessons.
- Start reconnecting with other bloggers whom you had a working relationship with. Write an expert roundup peace and involve as many of them as you can. Go a step further and approach new bloggers too in order to create new relationships.
- Finally, make sure you do not slip again. Don’t do it all by yourself, get someone to help: offer guest post opportunities, work with interns, etc. That way you will have a steady flow of content. You can also send out weekly roundups of the best content in your industry so you are always on their minds.
With over a decade worth of experience working with small businesses on different aspects of digital marketing, I have come to realize that content should be at the heart of every small business marketing strategy.