This post is by special request. I write a lot of business posts (don’t worry, brides, the rest of the week is all weddings so please do check back) and have had quite a few emails since my last round of advice asking about how to go about blogging for their business.
First of all, if you’re really serious about making blogging your thing, or you want some more in-depth advice, I’d like to direct you to Kat of rocknrollbride.com who runs courses and is one of the headmistresses of the famous Blogcademy. I’d strongly advise signing up, I have personally been on one of her previous courses and plan to go on more, there’s no such thing as too much learning and she’s a fabulous teacher. So anyway, for now here is my take on blogging for your business:
Businesses that blog: how to get started
Create your blog
If you or someone in your household or business is the techy type then fab, you’ll know what to do. If not, outsource. Seriously, from experience, it’s better to get it right than try to do it yourself if you don’t know what you’re doing. A few words of advice though:
♥ Do work with someone with a great reputation and try to go by word of mouth. Compare quotes and make sure you’re not being ripped off.
♥ Don’t use a platform that you’ll find difficult. WordPress is pretty easy to use and is what most people I know end up with, definitely don’t use Tumblr unless you’re a teenage girl or a site about funny cats.
♥ Do attach your blog to your existing site or at least try to link the two seamlessly with clear links between them and complementary / matching design.
Decide on your aims
How serious are you about blogging? Are you trying to be a blogger or are you just trying to keep your content fresh on your site, generate better search results, show that you know what you’re talking about as a wedding professional etc? Think about what your aims are and how often you want to blog / what you want to blog about. A few tips:
♥ Do place yourself as a voice of authority and wisdom in your field. Brides reading your blog should feel validated that you are an expert at what you do, your blog is your chance to demonstrate that.
♥ Don’t stuff your blog with keywords. Well-written, informative and interesting articles are all you need, don’t get so hung up on SEO that you forget to talk like a person.
♥ Do blog regularly. If you want to be a blogger, then blog every day (and more than once a day, if you can). If you want your blog to be a supplement to your business and show that you are an authority in your field then blog once, twice a week (and however often you feel inspired to outside of that).
♥ Don’t blog for the sake of blogging – blog when you have something interesting and relevant to say.
♥ Do think about your audience and the type of client you want to attract with everything you write.
♥ Don’t forget about copyright issues. That means don’t lift someone else’s design or content (ask if you want to reproduce something) and ask photographers if you can use their work and credit them correctly for it.
♥ Do show off your work! If you’re a photographer, show off your pictures. If you’re a stationer, show off your stationery. Even if you’re writing a piece, use your work to illustrate it.
Present the best side of yourself. Left – look, new hair and lipstick! Right – look, I’m a scary bridezilla lady! There’s a difference between being personal and being offputting.
How to talk to your audience
♥ Do think about the way you’re speaking. Tone of voice sounds like a marketing buzz word. It’s not. My one and only piece of advice about tone is to be yourself – and the only way to do that (I’m giving away my trade secret here) is to write as you talk. When I’m writing, I do one of two things (depending on what I’m writing and what mood I’m in). I either say a sentence before I write it, or I read it back to myself out loud – or both. If it sounds weird out loud, like something that someone wouldn’t actually say, I change it.
♥ Do get personal, but not too personal. There’s a skill involved with talking about yourself in an engaging and real way without coming across as moaning or looking for attention. People want to get to know you but they don’t want to know all about your last menstrual cycle, who’s pissing you off or how nobody likes your business. Keep the message inspiring and upbeat and, if you’re going to blog about yourself, make sure that people can relate to you and that you’re actually helping them, rather than crying out for help yourself. That’s what your friends are for.
♥ Don’t get into arguments with people who comment on your blog. People might disagree with you. Be professional about it, it’s your brand name at stake.
Don’t worry if you make mistakes with any of the above. I certainly did – my blog grew organically and it was as much a learning process as it was a business. But benefit from the experience of others, try to get it right the first time and don’t beat yourself up if you don’t quite manage it! I hope that helps!