Following on from Small Business Blogging: Your First Post, this time you’ll be thinking about the future of your business. In fact, you’re going to do a brainstorming exercise to help potential customers find you by internet search. (If you haven’t done the first post exercise, it’s a better place to start than here.)
Are you going to draft this blog post as you read? Then grab a pen and paper. (If you like worksheets, you can print this one.)
The “#1 Question” Article
This post will serve you well in many ways, especially to get you thinking about search engine optimization.
Think: I would like to show up in the #1 spot when someone Googles “how to XXXXXXX?”
What question do you want prospective customers to search and find you or your business? There will likely be many – jot them all down without judging. If you’re feeling stuck here, give Answer the Public a try.
Research: Select one of your “#1” questions; search and browse through the top few (non-ad) links. Important – use a “new incognito window” in Chrome to see results that are generic and unrelated to your search history. Make point-form notes about how others have answered this question. Pay special attention to what is opinion and what is fact. Bookmark or record sources you may want to refer to in the future. Repeat this for 2-3 more questions from your list.
It’s important to realize that writing a blog post won’t immediately put you at the top of page 1 on a Google search. But you probably already knew that. Each month, 70 million new posts appear on WordPress blogs alone.
As you’ve been researching, you may have noticed that location has advantages. Obviously, targeting people in a specific geographic area is easier than targeting everyone everywhere. Example:
Anita Kirkbride at Twirp Communications took the bull by the horns with her article, The Best Social Media Consultants in Halifax, and it’s been serving her well for years.
You may also have noticed that the basics of just about anything can be found online already. Showing up on page 1 for “how to blog” is highly unlikely. Instead, you’ll need to get really specific.
This is a very simple start to a deep topic. For info about how to focus on ‘Search Intent’ instead of ‘Keywords’, see Alison K’s most excellent post here.
Review your question list again. How can you make your questions more specific? Jot notes about changes and additions. Select one “#1” question and let’s start drafting.
How will you address the topic? Think about your opinions which are, of course, unique to you.
Start with a bullet point outline and then break out the sections into sentences and paragraphs. Here’s a writing template that’s easy to apply to this type of blog post (source Unmarketing. Stop Marketing. Start Engaging. by Scott Stratten):
- Point – State your main point.
- Prove it – Give an example, scenario or other proof.
- Perform it – Tell people how they can learn from the proof and make it happen for themselves.
In April 2020, Anita Kirkbride suggested I should have a blog post about how to do a newsletter audit. While the information was already on my blog in different places, I didn’t have a concise checklist. So I took Anita’s advice and wrote Newsletter Audit Checklist. It was originally a very short post with a checklist to download. In November 2021, I realized this post was showing on a Google page 1 search so I asked Alison Knott how to make it more SEO-friendly. I expanded the post and included what was in the .pdf download in the body of the post.
Now that post is beating out 458 million other pieces of content for the featured snippet spot (see image below).
It’s a very short article – certainly not rocket science. You can do this.
Ways to Use This Content
Refer back to Small Business Blogging: Your First Post for a long list of ways to use this content even if writing isn’t your thing.
You can repeat this exercise over and over again using more of the questions from your list in STEP #1. This content will serve you well in the long term. And as I did, you can always circle back and improve on it.
The next post in this series will be – you guessed it – Small Business Blogging: Your Third Post. If you haven’t already, be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss it.