Every business needs to invest in marketing, but a successful marketing strategy is much more crucial to the success of a startup or small business than an established familiar company.
As an owner of a small business, you have to assume that your target audience has not heard of you and your products. This means that your first blog strategy must pander to a wider audience, a lay audience, and a skeptical audience. This article explains why that is, and gives you a number of different strategies you can use to appeal to your target audience. You can build on these strategies and twist them to your benefit for when you start other blogs too.
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Research your competitors’ blogs :
ou understand the concept of developing a unique selling proposition – this is what differentiates you from other companies in your niche. The same applies to your blogging strategy.
In researching your competitors’ blogs, it is important to look at their overall approach:
- Content style and formatting
- Website design and user experience
- Keywords targeted and topics covered
- User interaction
To complete comprehensive keyword research on your competitor’s rankings, I recommend SEMrush. It allows you to get a good idea of which keywords are driving traffic to your competitors, the specific pages that are ranking for them, and what variations of phrases to use within your content when targeting the same terms.
Identify your blog’s goals and target demographic:
Goal-setting is the process of identifying reasons you should have a blog and how to tailor your content marketing to help you reach those goals. Your goals should be difficult, but realistic, and push you to work hard.
Here’s how to set your business’s blogging goals:
Determine your identity:-
Are you the company that doesn’t take yourself too seriously and pokes fun at other companies in your niche for being boring or serious, kind of like T-Mobile does to Verizon and AT&T?
Maybe you want every employee to have a voice on the blog and be able to share their perspective? Or maybe you want total and complete transparency, the way some bloggers publish their incomes and document their progress towards a goal.
Choose a target demographic:-
Before you can start actually creating content, you’ll need to choose who your company wants to serve.
Do you want to target a tiny niche market and become the absolute expert and innovators there, or create a well-rounded product or service that is an excellent resource for beginners who need a little help with everything? Is your target demographic high-end clientele or are they frugal with their spending?
Ultimately, do you have a good product-market fit?
Plan your content:-
Finally, once you’ve taken into account your identity, what you’ve learned from your competitors, and what you want to achieve, it is time to start planning your content.
Consider these points when creating your content plan:
- Are you going to address specific needs? Answer customers’ questions or problems? Provide information about your company?
- The tone of your writing – will it be formal or casual?
- Is your audience’s preferred medium how-to guides, tutorial videos, long informational articles, visual representations of data, etc.?
- Who will be in charge of the blog in terms of content management, scheduling, quality control, and overall maintenance? Assigning someone whose full-time job is the success of the startup’s blog may be critical to building it up quickly and consistently.
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Keep Your Posts Light so That The Lay Community May Understand:
You cannot afford to start targeting an educated or esoteric niche at this point. That is the sort of thing you do when you have two or three blogs. Your first blog (as a small business) should be able to be understood by the lay community. This means that if your industry has highly technical terms, then you need to explain them. For example, if your blog is all about web design, then you need to create a few blog posts about starting a web page from scratch, and how to create a web page body and template.
As a small business, you need to encourage people to purchase your products or services, but you also need to understand that people do not know what you do yet, or how good you are. So, you need to speak in terms that the lay community can understand. This will not bring you as many direct sales, but it will lay the groundwork for when your blog readers are exposed to your website. For example, if you do run a website building company, showing people the basics on your blog will help them to understand how much work it takes to get up to the quality levels that you produce.
Use the Blog to inform People About Your Company:
If you are a small business then people do not know what you do or who you are. Every now and again, you need to post blog posts that introduce you to your audience. It is also a good idea to have a small introduction to your company at the start of every post. Your loyal readers will know that they should skim read that bit, but new viewers will read it and hopefully understand whom you are and what you do.
Your blog should be based on building trust. Every new business in immediately viewed with distrust by their prospective customers. That is why some people will pay more for goods and services, even though newer companies offer the same goods and services for less money. You need to expose your audience to who you are, and what you do, so that their initial abhorrence passes by quickly.
Use Your Blog to Inform People About Your Products:
This does not mean you should promote or sell your products on your blog. Once again, your business is too new and small to be selling things on your blog. If you were running Mercedes, then you could use every blog post to sell your new car, and people would look at your blog weekly to see your posts. But, you are not running a well-known business, and you have to prove yourself first. People will not look at your blog if you are promotional or if you use it as an advertising medium.
You need to expose people to your products as if they are aliens from a different planet. For example, if you are selling compost tillers, then you need to explain what it does, how it does it and why people would ever want one. You could run a post about how the engine is built to be sturdy so that it does not lose power over time, and you could write numerous posts on why people need compost tillers, and how it will help them to rot good compost faster.
Use Your Blog to Educate People and Lay The Groundwork for Sales:
Keep the word “educate” in mind. You are making people more informed, so that when they are exposed to your website, they will not need to do any further research. You can always put links to your website and images of your products at the bottom of your posts, just so long as you are not too promotional in your blog’s content.
For example, if you are selling water filters, then make your blog all about filters, their uses, their design, and how they help the buyer. Do not say how great your filters are, but do mention certain selling points in an educational manner. For example, certain materials may be better at filtering than other materials. You could educate the reader on the best types of filter material. Then, when the same reader looks at your website and sees that you use the best type of filter material, he/she will automatically know that your filters are of the highest quality.
You Simply cannot Afford to Be Promotional:
People do not know you or your products well enough for you to advertise or promote them on your blog. It is just like the Mercedes example from earlier, if you were selling Mercedes cars then people would read your promotional blogs, but if you were selling a new brand of car, nobody is going to read how great they are every week. You may get a bit of “curious” traffic, but no amount of saying how great your car is, is going to keep them coming back every week.
You need to leave the promotional content for your website. You need to make sure that your blog has an appeal, a draw, or a hook, and promotion/advertising is not one of them.
Relate Your Products to The Ones That People Know:
If your company sells things that are new on the market, then people are not going to trust you right away. If your company sells products that are branded and advertised a lot, then there is little for you to worry about. But, if your products are new on the market (or less well known), then you need to build up a level of trust before you start selling. Educating your readers is a good way of doing this, and so is relating your new products to existing ones.
You could start your blog posts with something like, “if you like X then you will love this.” Again, do not write your blog in a promotional voice. Instead, write it as if you have just discovered the product yourself and you are telling your friends. This means that you may be positive in your post, but also slightly skeptical, and a little more unbiased.
Have Guest Blogs if You Do Not Have the Time to Make Weekly Posts:
You can specify topics so that it is like having writers that work for free. This is only something you should consider if you find yourself very pressed for time. Don’t forget that no guest poster is going to speak directly to your audience in the manner you require, because a guest poster is not trying to further your business in the same way that you are.