resources & links mentioned:
Squarespace (use code PAIGE10 for 10% off)
ConvertKit (those are affiliate links!)
Today’s episode was created for a very specific reason: While chatting with a friend, he mentioned his mom was looking to build some sort of online business, and we got talking about the best way to get started.
Start creating content around it! Blogging, You-Tubing, Podcasting – whatever your little heart desires. Just start (like, yesterday).
Today I want to cover what it looks like to (strategically) begin blogging for your business.
So if you’re thinking, I already have a business idea, but I have yet to create any content…
Or, I don’t have my business idea 100% figured out yet, but I know I’m passionate about XYZ topic…
Then this episode is for you!
When I first began my web design business, it was quite a while before I began to create any content. I was busy doing a master’s degree at the time, so spare time was practically non-existent.
During that time, I got almost zero site traffic (because the heck was anyone supposed to find me?)
Then I started to blog, and that’s when traffic started picking up. I could absolutely see a correlation between how much blog content I was producing, and how much traffic my website was getting.
Moral of the story? If you want traffic, create content.
Sure, you can pay to run ads! But I’m assuming you don’t have a lot of spare change laying around when first starting your business, making content marketing the much more budget-friendly (and effective, IMO) option.
Not all traffic is good traffic. You don’t want just anyone showing up on your site for a few seconds and then going straight back to their google search to find what they were really hunting for. (No bueno for SEO)
Consistently creating content around a specific topic ensures that the visitors you do get are actually going to be interested in exactly what you offer.
Say for example you want to help people with disabilities to travel to Europe. When you create content like The 10 Most Accessible Cathedrals to Visit in Rome, you are only going to attract people who would benefit from your specific topic.
If I was traveling to Europe, but I wasn’t worried about accessibility, chances are I’m not going to click on that post.
By blogging around your niche, you’re going to attract the exact people who are right for your future/current business.
Was I an expert in Squarespace when I first started blogging? Heck no!
I was just a girl who knew how to build websites on Squarespace. The way that I became go-to Squarespace gal was to produce more content on that one topic than anyone else out there (besides Squarespace themselves, obv).
When your relevant blog posts are constantly popping up in answer to people’s google searches, they are going to start to think, This girl obviously knows what she is talking about!
Share everything you know on the internet > become seen as the authority on that topic.
There so many businesses in the world that we can choose from to work with, so we tend to want to work with the people that we know, like, and trust, right?
If you are consistently showing up with content (and sharing your personality in said content), you are likely to establish more trust with your audience than someone who pops up in an ad on your news feed, then is gone the next day and you never see them again!
Say you are the expert on accessibility while traveling in Europe like I mentioned before. If I’m genuinely interested in that topic, I’m likely going to follow you online, or sign up for your email newsletter to continue to receive your valuable free content and learn all about where I might travel to next!
When you finally go to launch a paid product, you actually have people to launch it to. Launching a product or service without some sort of following is like launching to an empty room.
Even if you drop mega bank on some killer ad campaign, launching to a warm audience won over by consistent content marketing is always going to convert that much better!
If you tuned into episode 012 My VA tells all. Behind the scenes business lessons, you caught a conversation I had with my past assistant about starting her own business, Wellness Site Shop, offering Squarespace Templates to wellness entrepreneurs.
While she was still working for me, we chatted quite a bit about building her new business, and the biggest piece of advice I gave was (surprise) start creating content NOW.
She pushed back pretty hard, because she had no desire to do it, but looking back, it’s the one thing she wished she had done differently. She had a pretty successful launch, but she admits that creating content, and getting up there in the google rankings would have made it 10 times better! (Seriously, go listen to this episode if you haven’t already!)
Got a topic you’re super passionate about and know you’d like to build a business around? Even if your business plan is not fully formed and you have no idea what product or service you plan to market around that topic, start creating content anyway.
As your business idea develops, it will only take a few tweaks to past your past content so that it links to your paid offering. Et violà! Free marketing.
Need more proof?
Cozy on up for a little story about Nathan Barry (the founder of the email marketing software I use called ConvertKit…that’s an affiliate link btw!)
Before Nathan ever got into developing email marketing software, he was just a guy on the internet learning CSS (a type of coding).
Someone named Chris was also learning CSS at that time. Even though they were on the same level, what set them apart is that every time Chris learned a new thing, he would post it on the internet.
Again, share everything you know > become the go-to expert on that topic!
Chris then launched a Kickstarter campaign and shared it with his audience with the aim of bringing in $3500, and instead made a whopping $87,000.
All. Because. Of. Content. Marketing.
(Don’t feel bad for Nathan, though…he’s done pretty well for himself in the end!)
It can seem like a lot of unnecessary work, and a bit crazy to be giving away allll that valuable content (hello, you didn’t sign up for running your own business so that you could work for free), but I promise you that it is going to pay off.
Not to mention you can feel good about helping hundreds of thousands of people who were riding the struggle bus until they stumbled upon your content.
The next time you are struggling to sit down and bust out that blog post, remember that consistent content marketing will pay you back not only financially, but also in the impact and influence your business has.
If right out of the gate, you set your goal at blogging 5 days a week, the chances you will be able to follow through are slim.
Once a week is a good place to start (once every two weeks if life is super crazy. Though I don’t recommend any less than that if you’re really going to make this work)!
Whichever you pick, the key is to do it consistently.
I once received an email from a girl from San Francisco who said that she takes the streetcar to work. Every Tuesday and Thursday she gets so excited, because she knew she could count on there being a new blog post to read on her commute! She knew my posting schedule and was always looking forward to that content.
If you start to build a following and they look forward to your content, they are going to be a little disappointed if you don’t show up!
Research shows that Google (God of the Internet) prefers lengthier content.
Google’s job is to match the searcher with the content most likely to solve their problem, which is why a 3 paragraph post just ain’t going to cut it! They would have to click back to their google search to find another post, because they haven’t really found all the information they needed.
I have some blog posts that are 6000-7000 word monster posts. It may seem excessive, but people read them and think, Wow! Every single question I had about this specific topic was answered for me.
(Need an example? Check out my post How to start an online business in 2019: Complete step-by-step guide)
If you want to be uberrr professional, there are research tools out there that you can buy, but they tend to be pretty expensive.
When you’re first starting out, your best bet would be to use free tools already available to you, like Google or Pinterest.
If I was researching SEO keywords for my European travel accessibility business, I might search “Accessible Travel Rome,” and then note all the search results that auto-populate while I’m typing. If they auto-populate, it means that this is what people are searching for most often when it comes to that topic!
Pro-tip: you can also scroll to the bottom of the first Google page to see related terms or searches.
You can use pinterest in much the same way. As you type in your search, Pinterest will suggest more keywords to search below.
Basically, anything that answers the really common questions that your ideal clients is going to have about your niche topic or industry.
This can include reviews, lists, step-by-step guides, tutorials, and helpful resource round-ups.
These types of posts work in almost any industry, and here are three examples of people I believe are killin’ it when it comes to content marketing in their businesses:
Graham Cochrane built this business to teach artists how to create professional sounding recordings in their own home. His content platform of choice is You-tube, but the principles still apply. His recent content includes:
This business offers safer, organic skincare and beauty products. Some of their recent blog posts include:
This is a business which helps you form a corporation in Ireland. Superrrr specific, right? Here are some of the latest bits of content they’ve produced:
These are obviously super specific to each of their niche topics, though you can easily tweak those ideas to fit your own business!
But since we are specifically talking about blogging in this episode, the platform I use and highly suggest is Squarespace!
It is what I started my travel blog on back in the day and still use for all of my website needs now.
(For more on that, check out podcast episode 014 Why we chose Squarespace for our websites with Charlotte O’Hara, I chat with my real life Biz Bestie about allll the reasons this is the platform we use for all our website needs.)
Ready to give blogging on Squarespace a shot?
You can sign up for a free trial of Squarespace here and I also got ya a little off the price, use code PAIGE10 for 10% off your first year. (Yes, that’s an affiliate link!)
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