Why am I writing this blog post? It’s a good question. It’s also one I can (and will) answer.
Before I do, though, I have three questions for you, which for some reason came to me in a snotty-teen-Valley-Girl tone of voice, so that’s how I’m going to write my headers…
Why Do You Have A Small Business Blog?
Tell me why you have a blog. Well, you don’t have to tell me, but do think about what your answer would be. Do you want it to bring in more visitors to your website? Do you blog because you want to demonstrate your expertise in some area? Is it there to help you build a community around your product or brand?
Or even: Do you blog because you heard that’s what you should do if you want to market online but don’t really know what blogging is all about?
Who Does That?
Next, do you have an ideal customer? This could be a real person, or a fictional “customer avatar,” but it’s basically the idea of the kind of person you’re hoping will be influenced by your blogging activities.
For example, if your answer to the previous question was about building a community, the person you should think about would be the kind of person that would ideally be part of this community. If your “why” answer was about showing off your authority in an area, who do you want to impress with your vast knowledge?
Got that real-or-fictional person in mind? Good.
What Is Their Problem?
What is this person concerned about? What questions do they ask? If you chose a real-life person, or combined aspects of various people you know to make your fictional person, what are their common needs, problems, questions, anxieties, frustrations, or issues?
And to be fair, think of the flip side, too. Do you know what they enjoy? What delights them? What makes them laugh? It’s not all about problems, after all.
If you’ve been in business for a while, you’ve probably talked to a bunch of folks and know the most common answers. Great.
What’d You Put Down For Question 3?
Okay, so here are my answers to the previous questions.
I have a business blog because I want to teach small business owners how they can use the Internet more effectively. A secondary reason is that it can be a demonstration both of my expertise, and my ability to get the ideas across to those who aren’t techno-geeks…maybe even those who aren’t particularly comfortable with technology.
That, of course, is also a description of my ideal client: a small business owner (or maybe someone who’s not yet started), who knows the Internet has some powerful tools for marketing, but who would much rather help their customers than learn and play around with the technology. Can you picture that person? Sound like you or someone you know?
My full client avatar is actually a 53-year-old woman of color, too, but those attributes aren’t as crucial for my point here. However, notice how you might find the lower interest in the online world, or higher anxiety about technology in general, in this demographic compared to the average white guy in his 20s.*
Finally, the problem usually focuses around some kind of question related to the online world. That might be, “What is this whole social media thing? I don’t get it.”
Or “How can I improve this page so that it gets more sales/subscriptions/etc?”
Or “Why are my online sales going down? We haven’t done anything different.”
But the real problem is that often rather than finding out the real answer, my target client will guess and then act on it. But the guess is often wrong. And that leads to more problems.
Okay, So Why Am I Writing This Blog Post?
Simple. To answer a frequently seen problem among my target audience, as a way to increase their marketing effectiveness.
See, lots of business bloggers, particularly if they’re running a solo- or micro-enterprise, think that blogging is just talking about stuff. Whatever idea comes up that the owner thinks is interesting or cool or shows them off well is what they should be writing. But while that’s sometimes the case, it’s often not.
What really matters is what the target market wants to see, not what the author wants to produce.
When sitting down to write your next blog article, then, think about those three questions. What is the intended purpose of your blog? What people help you with that purpose? What do those people want? Then write something that addresses that question, or issue, or desire.
In other words, shift your focus from yourself to your audience before even coming up with an idea of what to write.
Did this help? Did you learn something, or at least get a different perspective on blogging? Let me know in the comments. (And if you really feel a burning desire to actually tell me what your blog’s purpose is, you can do that in the comments, too!)
* Also, if you find it troublesome that women and people of color are under represented in the world of technology, check out Black Girls Code, a nonprofit program I recently heard about and think is really cool.