Many people want to blog, but simply don’t know where to start.  I’m going to try to answer some of the most common questions we’re asked:

  •  Why should I blog and what are the benefits?
  • Can you teach me about blogging?
  • What can I write about in my blog?

What is a blog?

A blog was originally a ‘web log’ – essentially an online diary where people recorded events and day-to-day occurrences.  Many of today’s blogs still do this.  You can read blogs about people’s gardening activities, their experiences in setting up their business, and even how they bring up their children.

However, many businesses use blogs as effective marketing tools and these are different from the online diary-type offerings.

Why should your business have a blog?

Blogs have a wealth of benefits for a business.  Rather than go into this subject here, I’ve had a look round and found an excellent blog post on the subject by Simon Rycroft of netexplorers.

Blog training

While we do offer copywriting workshops to help you learn to write effectively, we don’t run blogging courses.

But if you’re interested in blogging and live in the Oxfordshire area, Black Dog New Media has two blog training workshops coming up shortly.  These will be presented by award winning writer and blogger Emily Carlisle.  The cost is £25 and places can be booked online.

If you can’t make the Black Dog New Media workshops (and you should try – Emily Carlisle is extremely knowledgeable and very entertaining!), check out Mark White’s Better Business Blogging website.  We can highly recommend his free business blogging ecourse.  It’s clear and easy to follow – and delivered in bite-sized chunks.

What to blog about

This is often the biggest hurdle for a would-be blogger.  As a copywriter, I enjoy blogging.  For me, it is a ‘free-fall’ type of writing – I can choose my subjects and write what I want!

If your blog is a diary, like our Copywriters’ Allotment one, you would write about events.  You can ask for advice or post your own hints and tips.

But what about writing a business blog?  What should you write about?

Firstly, blogs are not ‘in your face’ sales tools.  A good blog is informative and interesting. It should not be a sales pitch.  Your blog posts should demonstrate your knowledge and experience, which in itself will market your business.

Anyone running a business is an expert in their own field. Start by writing a list all your specialist areas of knowledge.  For example:

  •  An accountant will have expert knowledge about things like reducing tax, current legislation, and setting up a company.
  • An HR consultant will be an expert in disciplinary procedures and interview techniques.
  • A butcher would be able to offer advice on choosing good cuts of meat and how to make your own sausages.
  • If you are a social media expert, you will know about new applications for Twitter or how to get the most from a Facebook page.

Once you have your list of specialist subjects, ask yourself the following two questions:

  • What are my prospective customer or client’s problems?
  • What advice can I offer to help solve them?

When you’ve answered them, you will have a host of subjects to write about in your blog.

It’s a good idea to keep a list of possible topics for your blog.  If you have an idea, add it to your list before you forget.  If you use Facebook or Twitter, try asking people what advice they would like.

Finally, don’t be afraid to be generous with your knowledge.  You won’t damage your business by giving advice.  Our blog offers advice on copywriting and other aspects of marketing.  Many people who read it act on our advice.  On the other hand, there are plenty of people who will never master the art of copywriting, or don’t have the time or the inclination to try … so who will they contact when they need a copywriter?

Blog post by Joy McCarthy

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