I’m running another of my popular blogging workshops in Exeter this week, and I thought it would be a good time to get one of my own blog posts together about how to blog and what on earth you should be writing about!
It’s one of my favourite things to do, read blogs. I love the thoughts that go on in creative minds, and I love seeing behind the scenes, hearing their experiences and learning some snippets from them. It makes me more invested in them as an artist or business, and it gives me insight and respect, which in turn grows into loyalty and advocacy. I share my favourite blogs, I share my favourite makers and I love that I can introduce new people to my favourites.
That’s the power of a good blog. It can increase your reach, and therefore potentially your sales. But I don’t believe you should write a blog to make sales. Just as I don’t believe you should go on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram to make sales. Those sales should be a result of the relationships you form, doing what you do online. Return customers on average are worth 10 times their first purchase, so that’s why it can be so beneficial for you to create a loyal relationship with your audience. Remember a sale doesn’t end once money has changed hands.
I was doing some social media training last week and the group of women I was with said ‘we need a 20 year old admin assistant to do all our social media – young people know about social media don’t they?!’ And I agree – young people do know a hell of a lot about social media. But most of the time, that’s not what is needed. What is needed is a marketing strategy. What is needed is a content strategy. And then once you have a marketing & content strategy all planned out, you can translate that onto social media. The functionalities of social media are very easy to get to grips with - give it a couple of weeks and anyone can be posting on Twitter or Instagram. But what they don’t have a lot of the time, is a reason or a purpose behind what they are posting.
So, to come back to the blog (and to be honest, any form of digital marketing) you need to have a reason. You need to work out your why.
Why should you blog?
Why do you want to blog?
Why will it help you?
I believe that blogging can form the heart of your content strategy. I believe that if you have a structure and a plan in place as to what you are teaching people through your blog, you can then share that content throughout the rest of your digital marketing – your newsletter, your Facebook, your website.
If that blog is researched, written, and broadcast well, it’s never going to be wasted, and it’s never going to be ‘just that one blog’. It can be pinned on various Pinterest boards, it can form a downloadable PDF available if you sign up, it can form the tweets you are scheduling out over the next month for example.
Like I said – the heart of all your content strategy, and therefore your marketing as a whole.
But why should you blog?
Do you have anything to teach people?
Do you have anything to say?
Do you struggling with thinking of social media posts?
Does your monthly planning go out of the window?
Do you want to form long lasting, loyal relationships with your audience?
I’m guessing that the answer to not just one of these questions is yes?
Please don’t get me wrong though – blogging isn’t right for everyone, and some of the time it can cause more anxiety than is needed – and in these cases then please don’t feel under pressure to blog when you feel like you can’t.
But, in most cases, I do passionately believe that starting a blog can really help you focus your marketing energies in the right direction.
My blogging workshops always start with an introduction to blogging and how it can help your business, and then we move on to what I like to call, the ‘Braindump’. This is when you spend 10/15 minutes just writing down every little thing that you do with regards to your business. I’ll list a few prompters here.
As soon as you start, whatever you think, whatever comes into your head, just keep on writing. It can be the tiniest, supposedly insignificant thing, but it could be the start of something that could be of great value to somebody else.
Also think about;
Once you have a huge amount of scribbling, then you can start picking out some of those gems that come up – the ideas start to flow and you will begin to see how those everyday (to you) processes can be really useful posts that become shareable and inspirational.
Throughout it all, remember your why. Don’t just write a post because you think that you should.
Make it relevant to;
that time of year, the offer you have on, the teaching you are doing, the questions you’ve been asked, the product or process you are passionate about, the people you have met – whatever it is, it needs to mean something, to you and to your audience.
Remember why you are writing – I have 4 key words I use all the time in my training and they are:
Educate – Inform – Entertain – Inspire
If you are ticking all 4 of these boxes with your content then you will be creating something that people will be interested in.
One thing that I haven’t mentioned yet, is SEO; Search Engine Optimisation. It is one of the main reasons that people have a blog on their website – but I purposely didn’t start with that, because I want you to really want a blog, rather than produce one purely so Google may be able to find you.
If you have your own website, SEO is vital for you to be able to be found and so a blog can really help with this – but please be aware, Google will recognise if you are producing a post which is just crammed full of keywords or phrases that your customer might search for and will penalise you for this. It absolutely needs to be authentic. It needs to have real value and relevant links to make it more SEO friendly. But blogging done well will absolutely help your potential for being found because you are creating more and more relevant up to date content on your website, which is changing regularly, and if people are linking to it (because it’s good, it’s shareable, it’s in your newsletter and on your social and on various Pinterest boards) then the chance becomes even higher.
So what’s not to love?!
The heart of your content strategy
Essential for SEO
Builds advocacy and long term trust
Grows your own personal confidence and expertise
Allows you focus and clarity
And on that note, I’m off to share this on my Twitter and link to it in my newsletter ;)
See you next time!
Helen @ The CBN
If you’d like any help with your blogging, content strategy, marketing or would just like a chat, please get in touch. And don’t forget that we have a wonderful Facebook community if you’d like to be part of it.
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