The word blog first appeared in the Oxford English Dictionary in 2003. It’s fully established as part of our lives now, so if you haven’t embraced it yet, now’s the time.
The dictionary defines a blog as: “A regularly updated website or web page, typically one run by an individual or small group, that is written in an informal or conversational style.”
So, as a business owner, why would you want to write a blog?
The first, most obvious reason is to provide fresh content for your website. Every new blog will give you a greater chance of being found in search engines. More people finding your website can’t be a bad thing…
The second is to give you something to post about on social media. We talk a lot in the online marketing world about the importance of social media as a way of engaging with your audience and blogs are a perfect way to do this. You can post about your blog more than once and who knows, maybe some of your readers will even share.
And while we’re on the subject of engaging your audience – that’s exactly what a blog does. By blogging, you are essentially talking to your customers, giving them something to think about, maybe even entertaining them. A blog gives you the chance to have a personality.
What should I blog about?
The first rule is to be honest. Don’t try to use it as a way of shamelessly plugging your company or your products. As long as you are blogging about something relevant to what you do, that should be enough.
Give your readers something they want – information, top tips etc. For example, a mechanic might give some top tips about looking after your car during the winter months. A dentist could blog about healthy snacks for your teeth.
If you are struggling for ideas, use the news as a starting point. Either the national news or news from within your own industry can give you ideas. Also, try using your own life experiences to start your conversation. Maybe you saw something on the way to work that got you thinking. Or maybe something happened to you over the weekend…
Talk to people – ask your customers or friends what they would be interested in reading about.
How should I write it?
Keep it simple. As the dictionary definition says above, a blog is written in an ‘informal or conversational style’. Your readers aren’t looking for War and Peace. They’re not even looking for an in-depth article or feature. If they have clicked through to a blog page they are expecting something light and chatty.
The tricky question is how long should it be? In terms of being picked up by search engines, it’s better to reach at least 300 words. There are no rules on length generally so just think about your audience, how long they are likely to spend reading, and of course how much you have to say. The main thing is that it remains interesting to read, so that your audience is more likely to come back again in the future.
And last of all, just have fun. If you enjoy writing your blog, there is more chance that your audience will enjoy reading it.