There may be no tool in an entrepreneur’s kit more valuable than the internet. It’s the only real way to level the playing field with the big boys, with access to a massive audience of potential customers right there at your fingertips. If you play your cards right, with an attractive mix of strong website and steady social network presence you’ll be able to establish yourself as an expert in your field, and a brand that the general public connects with. Although not all businesses will take the time to tackle every possible online platform, one of the more useful entries is a blog. With a well designed small business blog you can share details about new product releases, exciting hires and general commentary about your industry that will be tracked by customers, discussed by industry experts and picked up by the press. A big part of the process is complete after the launch, which needs to be done right if you expect to leave a real mark. So here are some tips on how to successfully launch a small business blog.
First of all, make sure you populate your new blog with enough content to draw interest right off the bat. Launching an empty blog won’t do you any good. You should have somewhere in the neighborhood of eight to ten compelling posts that will draw a new reader in. You never want your blog to feel brand new, even when it is. As long as your new content is good, people will come back regularly and look for more. If you’ve never blogged before, try to create some sort of template to help navigate the process. It’s actually fairly standard. Every blog post begins with a problem or a question. You go from there to explain why this problem needs to be addressed. Then you go over how that problem is solved by your business (or in general, if you’re trying to build expertise), and finish up with some sort of call to action. You want to create interaction, so ask readers to leave comments and share the post.
Now that you’ve got some quality content up there, make sure you’re ready to keep it up going forward. Make a schedule you and your associates can follow. Brainstorm dozens of topics, and assign them to various staff members. Create an editorial calendar, so everyone knows when their first drafts are due, and when they need to be finalized and published. Have some people act as editors, or man that end of the process yourself. But with this background work done, you can be sure your blog will grow in exciting ways.
Before you finally launch that blog, make sure you have the tools in place to track your results. While writing a small business blog can be enjoyable, it’s not an entertainment exercise. It’s got to work for you, so at the very least set up Google Analytics to track your traffic. It’s easy enough to do with most standard blogging software, and will help you understand which posts are successful, and how you need to change to help interest increase.
Finally, don’t forget about promotion. There are literally hundreds of thousands of blogs out there. If you simply launch yours and don’t tell people about it, you won’t be terribly thrilled with the results. Make sure your new blog is listed on all of your printed promotional materials, and added in the ‘about’ section of every social media page you run. Consider sending out an email blast to your existing customers, and to include the blog details on your packing slips for any delivered products. You could also take out a little bit of paid advertising through your social networks, including sponsored posts on Facebook. And if you used a FireBubble blog template, reach out to them as well. If you did something cool with it, they may feature you on one of their own posts.