Did your New Year’s resolutions include starting a blog for your business? If your answer is “Why would I want to do that?” go and check out this blog post and once you’re convinced, come back. Don’t worry, I’ll wait…
If the answer was “Absolutely!” then this is the post you’ve been waiting for!
It’s all very well deciding you’re going to start a new project, but the ‘how’ is often a bit trickier. So today I’m going to break down the basic steps and answer some common questions for you.
Where to publish it?
Tuning into your muse and creating lots of fabulous posts is wonderful… But all that effort will be wasted if you’ve not thought about where you want to publish it. Dog trainers usually fall into one of two groups:
Have a business website
In which case the answer when starting a blog is to put your blog on the website you already have and reap the SEO benefits that will come your way.
Don’t already have a website
Which leaves you with some options. A quick Google of “where should I host my blog?’ will bring up a long list of suggestions. This Hubspot article has got some good information.
Most of the hosting companies listed will charge you for hosting your blog but there are some free options out there. The most well known are WordPress.com, Wix, Weebly and Medium. You can read a review of these, and more, here. However if your goal is to blog to benefit your business, we recommend purchasing your own domain name and hosting, and creating your own site.
You can find out more about choosing domain names if you don’t already have one, here.
But I don’t know what to write…
This is such a common stumbling block to getting started with blogging. And it really needn’t be!
What’s your passion?
Firstly, as a dog trainer, you’re bound to have training topics you’re passionate about, or a niche you specialize in. That’s a great place to get started. You don’t need to spend hours thinking up the perfect blog post title. Instead, set a timer for 10 minutes, grab a paper and pen and write down all the tiny topics that come to mind about ONE aspect of dog training you love.
Maybe your passion is puppy training? Or reactive dogs? Or cooperative care? Or children and dogs?
When starting your blog, break your ‘big’ topic into little topic chunks. For example, ‘Puppy training’ is huge, but can easily break down into:
- Quiet nights right from the start
- Potty training basics
- Ouch! Puppy nipping and what to do about it
- Puppy proofing your home for house proud new puppy guardians
Can you see what I’m doing? A blog post is best served as a digestible chunk of information that educates and entertains. Think of it as being a mini primer rather than a textbook!
If you set yourself one short ‘brain dump’ session a week for a few weeks you’ll very quickly have a whole bucket of topics you can dip into for inspiration.
Need a kick start? Find some evergreen ideas I came up with here and here.
Recount stories and experiences
Blog posts can also be born from day-to-day events and experiences. Something interesting, exciting or terrifying happened to you? Share it as a blog post if you’re comfortable with strangers knowing about it.
Creating content from personal experiences is a great way to build emotional connections with your readers (and potential clients!). Believe it or not, letting a bit of your own personality, foibles and mistakes show in your writing can be a good thing. They make you far more approachable – and potentially hire-able.
Build the habit(s)
If inspiration isn’t your sticking point but actually writing the posts is, you need to build a consistent writing habit. Blogging is a marketing strategy that works best if it’s done regularly. Set yourself a realistic goal. Whether that’s once a week, once a fortnight or once a month, decide what you can do and then commit to doing it.
You want your readers to look forward to reading your latest post. Think of it as shaping a reading habit. You’re building their anticipation and then reinforcing them for opening your ‘latest blog’ email by delivering great content. (And you’re also building an ‘Open emails from You’ habit – which means if you use email marketing your emails are less likely to end up in their ‘delete’ folder.)
But I suck at writing…
Ahh, but writing a blog is NOTHING like writing an essay for that English teacher you had back at school. Blog posts are supposed to be entertaining as well as educational. That means many ‘school rules’ you learnt are no longer applicable – and you’re allowed to have fun with your creative muse. With Click & Repeat’s simple writing swaps and tips on how to write engaging posts you’ll quickly be turning out posts your readers will love.
When starting your blog, make it findable
To make all this effort worthwhile your blog content needs to be findable. The main purpose of a business blog is to showcase what you can do for prospective clients.
To do that, your posts need to show up in search engine queries. Search Engine Optimization (or SEO, as it’s usually known) is the magic that allows that to happen. Although SEO can sound alarming it really isn’t.
By following some very basic ‘rules’ to include the correct information, you let search engines, such as Google, know what your post is about. Then, when someone types in ‘How to house train my puppy’ Google can return your relevant blog as part of the search results.
You don’t have to DIY!
If you’ve gotten this far and are thinking “Wow, I’d love to start a blog, I just don’t have the time!” be aware that you don’t have to write blog content yourself.
Intrigued? Get in touch to find out how Click & Repeat can help you have all the benefits of a blog without the hard work.