Business Blog – do it and do it right!
Psst. Hey, you. Yes, you. We love that you have a blog for your business, but the thing is…it’s a little blah.
It’s nothing personal. We get it. As a busy MA & NH web design firm, we know it can be tough to come up with fresh ideas for your business blog when you’ve already got a lot on your plate.
But we also know creating content that is useful, interesting or just cool—content people want to share—is one of the most effective ways to get more eyeballs on your site (that’s SEO) and more sales leads in your inbox. It’s a new year, and it’s time to inject some new ideas, fresh faces and punched-up content into your business blog. Here are a few ways to get started.
Get your team involved
If you’re the only person generating ideas and content for your business blog…stop! Talk to your colleagues and toss ideas around together. Enlist someone with useful expertise to do a how-to post, like this, or an FAQs post, like this. You might even find that people from your community and circle of business contacts would like to guest blog on your site, collaborate on a post, or be interviewed for a post.
Do you have a satisfied customer who talks your business up to all his/her friends? Ask if he’d like to write a blog post about his experience with your company. (A caveat: too many different voices can muddy your branding. Is your blog supposed to be serious? Conversational? Authoritative? Cute? Be sure everyone contributing to your blog knows the answer to this question.)
…And your readers
Strive to write blog posts that encourage discussion, sharing and collaboration. If you have an engaged readership, you’ll find that their questions and comments give you new ideas for other blog posts. If one commenter has a good question, write a blog post answering it–chances are many other readers may have the same query. You can even put out a call to action, asking readers and social media followers to send you questions they’d like to see answered, and then write a reader FAQ post.
Think about things a lot of readers might not know about your industry and write a post debunking myths or simply “ten things you never knew about____”. Write a blog post sharing an experience (ex. “how we finally took the leap into social media” or “our big move to the new office” ) and ask readers to share their own stories. This is not your personal blog, obviously, but you still want people to feel like there’s a human being behind the words.
Don’t limit yourself to text
Make a video—a tour of your office, a step-by-step tutorial, a Q&A session with a knowledgeable person (or, uh…a member of an alley fight club)—and post it on your business blog. This doesn’t have to be TV-ready stuff. Most digital cameras shoot video that appears in decent quality online, and small video cameras like the Flipcam are affordable and easy to use. Two simple rules for shooting good amateur video:
- Keep the camera steady. Get a tripod, a coffee can or a cardboard box–whatever.
- Get shots of people doing things, not just staring into the camera and talking. We told you it was easy.
Don’t know how to edit and upload the video you shot? We can almost guarantee you know someone who does. (Try your nephew.)
You can also add galleries of still photos to your business blog using tools like Flickr, Picasa or Photobucket—great for sharing pictures from events, candids from around the office or shots of an exciting new project. Adding multimedia elements like video and photos to your blog enhances the human side of your site: readers will feel like they have faces and voices to go with names. Before posting, include a brief text explanation and don’t forget your SEO keywords.
Take your creativity for a walk
Artists, writers and musicians know that creativity isn’t a lightening bolt or a muse whispering in your ear: it’s a muscle that needs regular exercise. We know you’re busy, but if you want to bolster your blog’s general oompf, take a little time each day to browse the Web in a focused way. Look at what other companies in your industry and companies you admire are doing on their business blogs, and spend some time looking at creative inspiration sites like the ones listed below. You aren’t looking for stuff to copy, you’re looking for things that inspire you to make something new, different or better. (Note that very few people get their creative “aha!” moment from Facebook or videos of kittens in top hats. We’re talking about actively searching for inspiration, not promoting procrastination.)
And if you’re feeling truly stuck, don’t aimlessly surf the Web or stare at your computer screen in frustration, get moving! Taking a walk around the block or doing some yoga poses can unclog your right brain and get those creative juices flowing again. It’s science.
A few sites to visit for outside the box inspiration:
TED Talks – Like having the world’s best and brightest as your cool college professor. Sort by theme to find the inspiration you need.
Dribbble – “Show and tell for designers.”
Visual Thesaurus – Spiff up your sentences with this inspiring, playful tool.
Pinterest – People all over the web post what’s inspiring them today on virtual pinboards.
Co.Design – More great design inspiration.
GOOD – People doing interesting, important or just plain cool things to help out the planet and the people who live there.
What do you do when you need a little creative spark? What sites do you visit? And how are you planning to spice up your business blog posts in 2014? Tell us in the comments, and happy business blogging! As always, feel free to contact us with any questions (or if you’re interested in the raw video of the #Alleycam fight club).