Consider if you and every other store or restaurant owner on your street had to stand behind a table, flea market style, to get the attention of customers. You’d have to be the most approachable, friendly and relatable business owner on the street to beat your competitors.
In real life, you don’t always have the opportunity to greet customers on the front lines, so opinions and reviews can be based on factors like a bad employee, a dirty plate or a lousy cash register.
That’s why business blogs work so well for passionate business owners who want to form bonds with their customers.
If you need ideas for building a great small business blog, here are ten to get you started:
1. Write specific, related posts that will excite your customers
Write posts that are helpful to whatever clientele you serve. Recipes and info-packed posts about ingredients work great for restaurants. Chez Pim’s “Dinner at 8” feature gives step-by-step instructions for preparing an awesome three-course dinner. Acting as a resource/expert on your specialty is the best way to get customers to trust you and your business.
2. Update frequently and when the mood strikes
Blogs should be updated at least once a week to keep from getting stale. Twitter and Facebook are great places to promote your blog posts and, if you reach out to current customers and followers, will provide you with extra subject matter for blogging often. If you think that you won’t have time to blog but once every six months, maybe you’re better left to marketing other ways.
3. Spark creativity in the minds of your readers
The reason sites like Pinterest are so popular is because people are in a DIY state of mine. Design*Sponge’s blog features reader-submitted “before and after” photos that often don’t involve any heavy construction and instead make a strong case for how to make better use of color, placement, linens and other accessories for better spaces.
4. Does your shop carry products made by a local artist, artisan or supplier?
If so, invite them to write a short post about what they do – it’s a great way to promote their products, while allowing customers to find out more about what your business offers.
5. Stay current and move with the seasons
A change of season is an opportunity for revealing details about what your business has to offer that time of year. The Queen of Hearts and Modern Love Blog uses seasonal topics, style icons, TV, film and other inspirations to feature the fabulous clothes, shoes and accessories you can get in the shop.
6. Become a go-to source for information in your niche
Often using guest bloggers to keep things interesting, Flag Lady Gifts has posted articles on the history of the British flag, which almost sold out during the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton, and shared a fascinating post on the backwards United States flag used on military uniforms. This gift shop clearly knows about their items and wants to share that knowledge with their readers.
7. Tell stories about your business
A blog post on Jay Frucci’s furniture blog tells the story of a customer experience and what both he and the customer might have learned from their time in the store. He posts videos and uses pictures to illustrate stories. Frucci is truly the golden child of consignment blogging.
8. If there’s something you like, tell them about it
Product recommendations are helpful for any customer with interests that align with your own. For example, if you own a salon, your customers may want to know how they can get that “just styled” look at home. M Salon in Houston, Texas offers a great example of how this is done. Their review of Bumble and Bumble’s Shine Shampoo and Conditioner is short but informative.
9. Post photos every chance you get
Photographs personalize everything, so include them in every blog post. Forage in Los Angeles posts stunning photographs of their trips to the farmers market, making customers hungry one blog post at a time. Most posts aren’t all that wordy, but they don’t need to be when you have mouth-watering photos front and center.
10. Highlight everyone who’s usually behind the scenes
Manresa in Los Gatos, California loves their staff, their restaurant and their food, and they’re not shy about it on their blog. (Updates about new chefs, guest chefs and restaurant changes are always complemented by a great photograph.)
11. Optimize Your Posts
Blogging would not be perfect if it’s not used and optimized properly. Tools such as Linkio are designed to help in monitoring the backlinks and optimize the anchor texts for maximum benefits of the content and stay neutral. Maintaining a quality backlink profile with diversified anchor texts you can be sometimes very difficult and you should always use a tool made especially for that purpose.
For more ideas, read Does Your Small Business Have What It Takes to Blog?, Small Business Blogging: Why Every Small Business Should Have a Blog, Organic SEO for Small Business: Free Tips & Tricks and other Small Business Blogging tips.