Get on the Blogging Bandwagon: The Top 4 Reasons your Website Needs a Blog (and how to get started)

I know, I know. Sometimes it feels like EVERYONE and their brother, sister, pet, and pastor has a blog nowadays. Maybe you feel like the digital world is already saturated with blog-worthy content, and you just can’t imagine how you and your small business’ area of expertise quite fit in.

Well let me tell ya, fellow pessimist…NEITHER COULD I.

I forcibly resisted starting a blog for well over a year of my website’s young life because:

A. My website wasn’t pretty/polished/trafficked enough

B. I wasn’t creative enough to regularly generate written content

C. I didn’t have time to write! I was running a business and raising a small family, for goodness’ sakes

and D. I didn’t see the purpose

BUT if you, like me, have read and loved Girl, Wash Your Face by THE Rachel Hollis, you know that all of the above are just lies and excuses I was giving myself for not getting started. And you know that if an idea keeps itching the corner of your brain, it’s a sign from the universe that you need to get going and take action towards turning this idea into a reality. After months of thinking about a blog, I did a little research and I learned about the function and importance of regularly generating new content for your website. So, I jumped aboard the blogging bandwagon and got out of my own stubborn way.

So ladies and gents, I humbly give you, the Molly Knuth Media top 4 reasons your website needs a blog and some tips for getting out of your own way and getting started:

The Top 4 Reasons your Website Needs a Blog (and how to get started)

  1. If you, like me are going the el-cheapo, bootstrapped small business route, you probably don’t have a super-customized, top-of-the-line website like some of the celebrity bloggers you see. This may leave you thinking that your site isn’t cute enough, modern-enough, or one of the other “enoughs” to start a blog and send traffic to it. Guess what? You need to get over that. Starting a blog takes nothing more than a handful of ideas and a dedication to sharing those ideas with your followers. The pretty site will come in time, but if you truly have a message to share, that is more important than the color scheme of your links.
  2. If you, like me were worried about being creative enough to generate regular content, then guess what…I’m going to tell you to get over it. If you are already creating weekly posts on your social media page, then take an hour to write one blog post for each of those social photos. The idea is already there, but with a blog, you can take that idea and expand upon it. In my case, I was already creating weekly social posts and themed live video trainings on Facebook. All I needed to do was repurpose those topics into a written format for my blog, and the idea generating (and stress associated with it) was already done. OR if you aren’t at that stage of social media content generation, you can sit down and just brainstorm a huge list of potential topics and pull from that whenever you are feeling a creative drought. Trust me, there is so much potential inside you and your business that people would love to know more about. Share profiles of your employees, show a photo timeline of a project you were working on, take frequently asked client questions and answer them over a series of weeks, etc. Think about what you do day-in and day-out and analyze how you can share that with an audience.
  3. If you, like me were worried about finding time to write a blog, then I can tell you blogging does take time, but you need to get out of your own damn way and just commit to doing the work. I found 30-45 minutes each week to write this blog, and while it may come out in stream-of-consciousness format with typos from time-to-time, that’s all I’ve got to work with. Done is better than perfect. I only give myself these 30-45 minutes because I don’t want to have hours to grammatically proof every sentence or obsess over whether or not I have Google’s recommended word count. If you get too caught up in the details, you’ll never click the “publish” button. So find a dedicated amount of time each week, stick to that time, and click the big blue button.
  4. If you, like me, didn’t see the purpose of having a blog, let me share with you some facts from Forbes: 88% of people trust online recommendations as much as personal recommendations from family and friends AND sales reps who use social media (including blogging) in their sales strategies outsell competitors by 78%. When you write a blog, you are putting your knowledge, expertise, and experience out there for everyone to see, and that will demonstrate your competence when someone researches you for potential business. Not only will a blog prove your knowledge, but regularly updating your website and freshening up your content also improves your Google score which then helps you appear higher on search engine rankings. AND it helps you come up with shareable content for your social media platforms. It’s really a win-win-win-win situation.

In Summary

Do you need to start a blog today? NO.

Before putting pen to paper or placing your fingers on the Macbook keys, I would recommend getting very clear on the purpose of your blog and determining what kind of messaging you wish to share with your audience. Be sure there is a market for your message and that there is room for you to enter that market.

Take some time developing this message and honing in on your specific, unique purpose and start thinking about all the ways you can come at that purpose through written content, photos, videos, and tutorials.

Then get to the business of doing the work. I REPEAT, sit down and get writing and creating.

Hop on the blogging bandwagon, girl!

For a tutorial of the blogging concept visit this link, or get the show notes with even more tips and tricks here.

Building Community Online and IRL

If you’ve heard me say it once, you’ve heard me say it a thousand times…social media was not and is not for selling your products and services.

Seems a little counterintuitive to my business and mission, doesn’t it? But you heard me right.

People started on social media to see cute photos of dogs and babies and to connect with former school mates. They did not sign on to simply be sold to in their down time.

Social media is about the user and the experience they have when they scroll through the feed on various platforms. As someone marketing your business on social media, remember that people aren’t following your page or engaging with your Instagram story because of you…it’s because of them. How they see themselves fitting into the mission of your company, how they benefit from the information you teach in your tutorials, how you make them feel better with supportive videos, how you reply to their comments and make them feel heard and worthwhile.

Build a community that helps people belong to something.

How do you accomplish this larger than life task? Follow the tips below:

  1. Write down your why. What puts a fire in your belly and keeps you coming back to work every day? Write that down and keep it next to your workspace. But don’t stop there…share this mission with your followers. People with similar values and interests will identify with your message, and you’ll start to build a following.
  2. Listen. What is important to your followers? What questions are they asking on your posts? Which of your posts is getting the most traffic and engagement. Use all this data to help determine future topics of interest and content to share from your platforms.
  3. Engage. Each day take time to like others’ posts, comment and ask questions of them, leave reviews for fellow businesses, etc. Show that you are as invested in your followers as you want them to be in you.
  4. In real life offer fantastic customer service. Think about those soft skills you learned in school or your first job: punctuality, friendliness, keeping promises, finding solutions for customer problems, using people’s first names, remembering unique things about them.  Those small acts help to build a customer following and loyalty to you and your brand.

So when you are using social as a marketing platform for your biz, remember that it is your job…no your responsibility…to honor the people who follow you, and build a community to help them make connections and get inspired by your product or service.

For even more about building community, watch the MKM Live broadcast from Tuesday, July 31 or download the MKM LIVE_ Tuesday, July 31.

 

Branding for the Digital Sphere

Branding may sound big and scary, but it doesn’t have to be. For years, local businesses had a small market share, and they didn’t have to concern themselves with branding because they were only in competition with a few other local businesses in that same industry.

Fast forward to the social-media, online-shopping, 24/7 digital world in which we live, and you now need to have a brand and a way for people to quickly identify and connect with your specific brand. You want them to recognize you and your products from the 100 other handmade soap sellers they follow on Insta or the 1000 other wedding photographers that fill their Pinterest boards.

This seems like a tall order, but it all comes down to remembering a few key things when you are intentionally branding yourself:

  • think of how you want to look visually
  • think of how you want to sound verbally
  • think of how you want your people to represent your company

Visual Branding

When setting up your small business, chances are you started with a product or service that you wanted to offer the general public, and then you got started by selecting a name for yourself. After your name, you probably went to work on selecting a logo either by working with a graphic designer, making one for yourself, or working with a logo generator online. All these are great first steps, but visual branding doesn’t end there.

When creating a comprehensive visual brand for your business, you need to make sure all your marketing materials from your business cards to your website to your ads in the newspaper are consistently using the same colors and fonts. Not only will this help your potential buyers quickly and easily recognize your brand and start making brand associations, but it will also help you save time when developing marketing materials because you won’t have to sift through thousands of fonts or spend hours matching the correct shade of blue.

When considering your visual brand, it’s also important to think about color associations made in people’s subconscious mind. If your primary brand color is black, people may associate you with being “classic” or “trustworthy.” If you choose yellow, “happy” and “energetic” come to mind. Be sure that the visuals cues you evoke are consistent with the image you’d like to show your followers and potential customers.

Be consistent with your visual brand and use your logo wherever you can.

Verbal Branding

Visual branding and determining your logo isn’t the end of the branding process. Having a strong verbal brand is important too. Identify a slogan and mission statement to help your followers and clients connect with your “why” and create an emotional connection to your business.

Are you a childcare facility? Make your verbal messaging happy and fun, full of energy and child-centric. Are you a law firm? Maybe take away the silly and the energy and be sure your web copy illustrates that you are competent and professional.

Whatever your business, you need to be the one who decides how to communicate your mission to connect with your customer. People have thousands of opportunities to shop with people in your industry by doing ten minutes of Google research. So use your verbal branding to paint a picture for your potential clients, tell a story of what they’ll get by choosing you, and communicate what it means to work with your small business.

Even More

Want to know more about establishing your brand for the digital sphere? Watch the MKM Live broadcast from Monday, July 23:

LIVE broadcast

MKM LIVE_ Monday, July 23

Creating and Promoting Events on Facebook

“Content is the fire, and Social Media is the gasoline”

All my social media strategy revolves around this quote.  Social media doesn’t and shouldn’t change what you do in your small business or side hustle, but it should help  with how you spread the word to your intended audience. One of my favorite ways to do this is through the creation and promotion of Facebook events.

Creating an event is a relatively simple process that takes a few clicks to get off the ground. But the proper way to get your audience engaged and interested in what you do is an art form that requires dedication and creativity from you and your social media team that requires four steps.

4 Steps to a Facebook Event

  1. Create an event graphic: When you make a new event, Facebook automatically defaults to your Page’s cover photo as the image associated with it. While this is ok for the beginner, you want to evolve to incorporating original graphics that communicate to your target audience and make them stop scrolling through their cluttered Newsfeed. To do this (and to make sure it fits the pixel size necessary for the event cover space), I use Canva. I always use a branded image or text graphic design, so followers can quickly and easily associate this event with my client. It’s also helpful to add a logo or overlay for quick image-association.
  2. Create the event: Once your graphic is done, head on over to the Book and create an event from your desired account. If you want to make it a personal event unrelated to your business, use a desktop or laptop and find “Create Ad” in the lower left navigation pane. For a business event, go to your Page, click on the “Events” tab, and then “Create Event.” In the pop-up, enter all your event details such as a catchy, short title; dates and times; address; and brief description. You can also link to a website so attendees can purchase tickets or add co-hosts to link to other people and businesses who may be involved.
  3. Promote within the event: Once your event is created, it’s like a small child. You can’t just leave it laying there and hope it takes care of itself; you need to nurture it and grow it and build interest…aka pour on the gas. You can do this by posting photos or GIFs within the event, creating a poll to ask attendees what they hope to get out of it, sponsor a giveaway, invite friends who may be interested, or go LIVE to tease the info. Do this on a regular basis, so potential attendees can build excitement and keep you fresh in their mind.
  4. Promote outside the event: Even if you are punctual with your posts, engaging with your audience, and sharing the event with interested parties, you still may not reach everyone you want due to the Algorithm and just people who don’t regularly access their Facebook account. This final step is getting outside your Facebook event and doing outside promotion. Share the event from your personal profile, post about it on your other social media profiles such as Instagram, arrange a newspaper interview about your intended goals, hand out event fliers, etc. Create a buzz and excitement about what you’re doing, and your audience will follow.

 

For even more training and some hands-on tutorials, head over to the “Videos” tab on the Molly Knuth Media Facebook page and watch today’s live stream.

MKM LIVE_ Monday, July 9 available here

White workspace

Molly’s Tips for Starting Your Small Business, in no specific order

Deciding to go to business for yourself is scary. Admittedly, when I took the plunge into MKM, I was already a stay-at-home mom of four with no income, so it was less scary than many who have to contemplate leaving a salary and guaranteed benefits…but nonetheless, making the commitment to go to work for yourself, represent your customers and clients, and just put yourself out there is intensely frightening at times and give-it-all-to-God, sunshine-your-pocket, gloriously fulfilling at others.

So this week on MKM Live we’re tackling the best suggestions I’ve found in getting a small business off the ground. I won’t pretend to have all the answers or tell you I’ve got a step-by-step list that will guarantee success, but I will try to offer up some nuggets of inspiration if you’ve got the whispers of entrepreneurship inside you.

Here’s a list of Molly’s recommended tips and tools for your small biz, in no specific order:

  1. Believe in yourself. If you start anything, the biggest key to your success is believing that you will be successful.
  2. Work. You need to learn about your craft or skill and how to sell it, but first you need to know how to actually do what you’re trying to sell. So don’t look for quick and easy success. Get your nose down into the work.
  3. Find a system for getting and staying organized. This may not happen all at once (I’m still working on a lot of it myself). But invest in a planner to keep your to-dos in line, a system for managing both the physical and the digital documents your business requires, and apps and systems that help you maximize your time and productivity.
  4. Open a separate bank account for business tracking. Keeping it all in a separate place will help sooo much at tax time.
  5. Personal habits. You need to get yourself healthy and cared for if you want a healthy business. So drink a lot of water, keep healthy snacks around, and express gratitude daily.
  6. Caffeine. Because really, you’re gonna work your ass off.
  7. Follow or work with someone who’s been there before. It’s always helpful to have a trusted sounding board when you’re wondering where your next step is or if you’ve got all your ducks in a row. Find people you trust and respect and emulate them. This can be a paid coach, an entrepreneurial friend or family member, or someone on social media who has a business podcast, just learn and grow from someone who you’d like to be more like.

For specifics on how I address each of these topics in Molly Knuth Media, and even a few more helpful suggestions, watch the full LIVE broadcast at www.facebook.com/mollyknuthmedia.

 

MKM LIVE_ Monday, July 9