A few weeks ago, I examined the apprehension most small business owners cite as their rationale for bypassing a blog in this post. The entire team at High Level Marketing strives to be small businesses’ lifeline, so we felt it important to address each of their common blogging hurdles.
The focus of this post is to address the misapprehension, “I don’t know where to begin; about what to write or what the format is.” Let’s get started.
Step One—Breathe and Brainstorm
Take a deep breath and exhale. Acknowledge the fact that just as when learning how to do anything else for the first time, the first few posts will be more challenging. Blogging will become easier—even exhilarating.
Open a new Word doc. or take out a blank sheet of paper. Write down at least five questions customers ask you most often. If you have an existing Frequently Asked Question document you tend to use as sales collateral, grab it. Jot down at least five facts you’ve recently learned, perhaps in an industry trade publication or a case study you perused. Think about that podcast or presentation you recently heard.
List at least ten epiphanies you gleaned, e.g. a shocking statistic regarding the use of your product or growth of your service; new applications for your product and additional benefits of your product or service you never considered.
Step Two—Reflect, Write and Revise
Congratulations! You now have twenty topics about which to write. Start with the easiest topic, perhaps a common question posed by your customers for whom you have a thoughtful answer readily available. For example, most HVAC companies are asked how their customers’ new AC units will save them money over time. A strong title for this topic would be, ‘Five Ways to Cut Your Cooling Costs’ or ‘Put Your AC Unit to Work and Save Money.’
The entire purpose of a blog post is to address a topic, or in this case, to answer the question. Respond to the question in 450-500 words from the reader’s perspective. For example, don’t just list facts highlighting improvements in air conditioners’ efficiency, size, capacity, etc. Explain how each fact BENEFITS the reader. A fact such as ‘In the last decade, air conditioners have become 20% more efficient,’ must contain a follow-up benefit statement such as, “Homeowners love saving money with their new AC units and enjoy staying cool no matter what room they are in at home.”
Once you’ve completed the full post, send it to someone who will take the time to read it and provide you with comprehensive feedback, most likely a co-worker or friend. A friend’s input is important even if he or she is unfamiliar with your industry because you are writing for the masses, so you want to appeal to that friend.
After the review is complete, revise your post accordingly. Consider organizing your content with headings such as the steps outlined in this post. Anything that will make the information easier to digest will encourage your audience to read the entire post.
Alas, I’ve exceeded 500 words, so I will address the third step next week, ‘Post, Push and Pursue.’