For those avid readers of this blog, you will remember a previous post I did evangelising the joys of the blog. One sharp reader called me to task on the post, claiming it was one thing to wax lyrical, another to actually explain how to do it.
She was so right, regarding the lack of practical detail, which has spurred me on to do a simple mumpreneurs guide over the next 3 posts to what is frequently referred to as the holy trinity of social media: blogs, Twitter and Facebook.
Separately, all of these tools are great. Together, they allow a united force for your business to drive customers to your website, build and spread your brand, and connect to peers, mentors, collaborators and future customers.
To kick off, I present to you the beginners’ guide to blogging in three easy steps.
1. Set up
There are several free blogging tools on the web. Blogger, WordPress and Aussie Blogs are a good place to start. The free tools usually allow you to blog instantly once you have logged in, and chosen and set up a template that you like.
These tools are all designed for beginners, and subsequently are simple and logical, and you can generally easily add photos and links, with clear instructions. If you are blogging for you business, it is a good idea to use your logo and have a design that is consistent or similar to your brand.
Most blogs will allow you to link to your Twitter or Facebook pages, so every time you post a blog, you can click on one of those buttons at the bottom of the page and it will automatically let your followers and friends know you have a new post. Most websites will have a blog function too, so have your blog as a tab on your website, with similar automatic linking tools.
In terms of writing a blog, you can write as little, or as much as you are comfortable with. I find there are two types of blogs. Ones like mine that are very text based and around 400 words a post, or design blogs that are usually a short paragraph with lots of images. How you write will depend on a number of things, and also on what the focus of your blog is.
As a general rule of thumb for content, blogs are not a sales channel, they are a way for customers to get to know you and your business.
If you are a total newbie, you may find it really hard to write your first couple of blogs. I recommend you do them as a word document and then cut and paste over to go live. Many of my mumpreneurs have felt very uncomfortable talking about themselves or writing in the first person, but the thing to remember is that blogs are conversational and also informal.
They are a narrative about you and your business, so you can “speak” in your voice when you write. The other thing to think about with blogs is frequency. It is not uncommon to start off with a frenzy of posts, only to lose steam and write less and less often.
So aim for a number of posts that you can commit to and post regularly, one a week, fortnight, month, whatever. Your readers will want to know they can hear from you at regular intervals, and will be looking for new material.
When you blog, it is great to connect with other bloggers. So search for blogs on Google in your field, read the posts, and comment on them, leaving your web/blog address. Most bloggers are community minded and will then have a look at your blog and link to you potentially, all of which is great for your Search Engine Optimisation.
3: Don’t just sit there, bust a blog!
There are lots of blogs, bloggers and blogging communities out there, and many are friendly and welcoming and will gladly give you tips.
The more you write and blog, the more you develop a style and a confidence, so if it feels uncomfortable at first, persist, and before you know it you will be finding inspiration for posts everywhere – and developing a loyal client base to boot!