Top 12 Rules and Tools for Your Outdated Small Business's Blog

By Steven Mehler

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HIRING A SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER?

Don't hire someone without first tuning in for this essential advice.



Homeowners tend to remodel and improve their homes on a regular basis. They paint, replace flooring, buy new appliances and spruce up their yards. Many car owners replace their vehicles as they wear out. Clothing is discarded as new styles become popular. If you launched a small business blog several years ago, what have you done to remodel it? There are some clues that you have ignored, like a declining readership. Or, like so many others, you have begun to ignore your blog in favor of social media presences. If so, you are making a mistake. A blog is just as important today as it was several years ago.

The Facelift Process

A lot has changed in recent years. Since blogging began, technology, tools, and devices have changed. So have people’s attitudes toward what they will read. And search engines have changed their algorithms. The web has become very crowded, and if your blog has not been updated to reflect all of these changes, you are losing readers, recognition, and potential customers. To remedy this, you have some work to do. It will, though, be well worth the effort.

Content Topics

Because there is so much chatter on the web, your content has to be unique and creative to attract readers. It must also be current. Have you been keeping up in your niche? What are your competitors writing about, and what is your target audience talking about? Here are some important steps to take right now.

Review your customer demographic

Who are your current customers? Are there potential customers who you should be reaching out to? It may time to re-visit the customer persona you created when you first began to blog. Consumer demographics have changed. Millennials are now the largest buying group. Do you know what they value and what kind of businesses appeal to them? Do you know what type of information they seek? Do you know what type of content they want? Do you know the kinds of topics they find interesting, engaging or inspirational? Revising your customer persona will help you make better decisions about the topics you choose.

Use the tools you now have to find topics

There are lots of tools you now have at your disposal to help find the right topics for your target audience. You can use a few of them to get topic ideas. Buzzsumo will let you type in keywords related to your niche and show you the most popular content related to those keywords. You can access blogs and other articles and get good ideas for topics. There are also specific tools that generate content topics and titles based upon keywords you enter.

Spy on your competitors

This is one of the best free tools you can use. Access their blogs and read the content. Check out the conversations that are going on at the end of those blog posts. You will get a clear understanding of the needs of your target customers. Use those needs to generate topic ideas.

Visuals and Media

When blogs were new, they were primarily text. There were two reasons for this: The ability to imbed lots of visuals was limited, and, except for photographs, visuals had to be designed by professionals – this meant extra cost that many small business owners could not afford. All of this has changed, because you now have access to tools to create amazing visuals all on your own, and they are easy to use.

1. Canva is an all-purpose tool to create a huge variety of visuals. They have hundreds of templates and visual elements all for free.
2. Thinglink lets you create great infographics, charts, and graphs. And more recently it has added video and 360-VR (virtual reality).
3. Video: Great videos can now be created with smart phones, and there are simple editing tools to use to spruce them up, many of them free.

Here’s the thing: there has been a lot of research conducted on the appeal of visuals to readers/viewers. Here’s just one statistic. Viewers of product videos are 85% more likely to purchase that product. Adding as many visuals as possible to your content, and using visuals to replace what text used to say is important.

The Content Itself – Structure and Style

When you do write textual content, there are important things to keep in mind as you create it. Here are some basic “rules” and tools to use.

1. While blog posts should be casual in style, good grammar is still important. If you struggle with sentence structure, punctuation, etc., use a tool like Grammarly. You can copy and paste our text, and your grammar, punctuation, and spelling will be checked, along with suggestions for improvement.
2. Writing style should be simple. Short sentences and unsophisticated vocabulary are more easily read by visitors. In fact, you should shoot for about a 7th grade reading level. The Hemingway Editor is a great tool for simplifying your writing and for getting a reading level. You will also get suggestions for improvement.
3. Structure is very important. If you have read articles on popular blogs or those of your competitors, you will have seen catchy titles, content that is broken up into small chunks with sub-headings and lists of things with bullet points. Content should be scannable, so that readers can pick and choose what they want to focus on. Visuals should be interspersed throughout.
4. If you have difficulty with creating engaging content on a regular schedule, then be certain to contract with a custom writing service like EvoEssay.com that has a specialty in the area of copywriting. Your blog must have new content regularly.
5. Variety is important. You want to educate and meet your targets’ needs to have information. Most audiences also want humor; they want personal stuff; they want to be inspired sometimes. Be certain that you provide this variety – it tends to keep them coming.
6. Plugins: You can do a lot more with your blogs than several years ago. Add plugins that will allow your readers to share you content on social media platforms where your audience hangs out. Add a plugin that will allow readers to comment, ask questions, give feedback, and to talk with one another. And you should check those comments and participate/respond. This is how you being to establish your authority/expertise and personal relationships with your readers. It’s important.

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