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Does Blogging Still Matter?

I just hosted my first-ever workshop for creative small businesses to teach an amazing group of professionals how to blog for your business. In the prep for the blogging workshop and as I talk to other business owners, I often get the same question about the importance (or lack there of!) of blogging. In this day and age with so many social media channels like Instagram and Facebook, should businesses still be blogging? What can a your business blog do for you? Blogging can take so much time and effort, so is blogging still worth it?

is blogging still worth it

Blogging Still Matters

In this post, I’m going to give you three reasons why blogging for your business still matters. If you read nothing else, read this: blogging is still important. And, NOW is the time to get a little motivation and get that blog up to date!

1. Blogs Keep Your Website Fresh

Search engines love fresh, sharable content. And, the best and fastest way to keep your website current is through a blog. We might not be updating some of our webpages, like the about page or the contact page, very often. But, we can update our blog as much as we want. Keeping up with your blog helps your overall website and it helps to keep your website fresh and current, which search engines love.

2. Blogs Book You Clients

Your blog for your business is a chance to allow your customers to go behind the scenes and see how you operate. Your blog is a chance to show your potential clients that you are an expert, to really show them who you are and what you are capable of accomplishing for them. Social media doesn’t always allow the user to get the full story with just one picture or only 140 characters. But, on your blog you can really introduce yourself and allow your clients to get to you know you. Your blog can allow you to build trust with your potential clients before they even contact you, so they will be more incline to book your services.

3. Blogs Lay A Foundation For The Future

Social media sites come and go and they change up the algorithms all the time. Sometimes your followers see your posts, and sometimes they don’t. And, we can only imagine what the next social media craze will be. Through all of the ups and downs of social media, you will always have your business blog. Your blog is your foundation, the rock of your business’ online profile that will be the best reflection of your work no matter what the social media site du’jour happens to be. Use your blog as your foundation and then you’ll be better prepared to tackle social media and its changing nature.

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There are obviously many, many more reasons why blogging is still important in this social media driven age. These are just three reasons. What did I miss? What would you say is the most important reason to keep up with (or start!) your blog for your business?

If you are thinking about starting a blog for your business, or you’ve pushed your blog down to the bottom of your to-do list, I urge you to think about your blog in a new way. Put blogging at the top of your priority list and let your potential clients see you as the expert that you are!

For more small business blogging tips and advice, be sure to check out my past posts on the topic. If there are blogging issues, you’d like to know more about or you are interested in 1 on 1 blog coaching, don’t hesitate to email me.

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The 10 Blog Posts You Already Have Written

I’m talking small business blogging today instead of my usual stylish wedding garters! As you may know, I’m having a blogging workshop coming up on November 15th to help other small business owners grow their blog. Check my website for more information about how to blog for your business and register for my workshop.

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Photo Credit: Ribbon & Ink

As promised, here are some tips about how to blog for your small business. We are all crafters, do-ers, makers and blogging isn’t our full time job! Coming up with topics to blog about that are interesting and compelling can be difficult, especially if you don’t fancy yourself a writer. Not to mention that having the time to sit down and write can be difficult with an already packed, overflowing to-do list of never ending tasks associated with running your business in the real world. Blogging just always seems to fall to the bottom of the list, doesn’t it!?

But, for many reasons that I won’t go into on this post, we know that blogging for your small businesses is important because it helps to bring clients to our website and it helps them get to know us a little bit better. With that in mind, I’m all about finding ways to quickly and effectively write blog posts that will bring me the most traffic and be helpful to my readers. (And, that’s the key to writing compelling blog posts, you need to be helpful to your readers. Show them you are an expert in your field and answer their questions!)

Frequently Asked Questions

So, onto my little secret for coming up with blog posts to write about. Your FAQ page. With your frequently asked questions, you already have 10 (or more!) blog posts right at your finger tips. You know the questions and you know the answers.

If you have a list of FAQs for your business, you have at least 10 blog posts already written. Maybe your FAQs are already on your website or you have them in your bank of documents not on your website. Or, maybe you have answers to commonly asked questions in your email templates or maybe they are stored in your brain and you haven’t written them down yet! Wherever the questions and the answers are that your potential clients ask you the most, hop on over to your blog and write a blog post about each question. You might even be able to get more than one blog post out of one question!

Write the question, write the answer and you are done! Add a photo of your work, schedule it and boom! Blog post written.

Be The Expert

You already have the questions that you readers and potential clients are asking, so now it is a matter of putting out there for the rest of the world to see and to know. Use your blog to show everyone that you are the expert on your given topic. If you never write about something, how will anyone know that you are the expert?

Blog Posts Keep It Fresh

If you have an FAQ page on your website, the chances great are that you don’t update it very often. It just sits there still and isn’t very fresh. Keep this FAQ page on your site, by all means. But, also put your FAQs on your blog as individual blog posts and you’ll see more of a return on your time investment. These blog posts will show your readers that you are an expert and more importantly by doing lots of blog posts it keeps your website current and fresh, which search engines love!

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So, there you go! 10 blog posts about your small business that you already have written and you didn’t even know it! That’s just a little piece of blogging advice from me to you, from one business owner to another.

You can find more small business blogging tips on my website and register for the small business blogging workshop right here.

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The Biggest Small Business Blogging Mistake

I’m taking a little break from the stylish wedding garters today to talk about blogging for your small business. I’m having a workshop locally in Maryland on November 15th to help other small business owners get control of their blog. If you own a small business, your blog is your business biggest cheerleader and I want to help you grow it! Check my website for more information about how to blog for your business and register for my workshop.

OK, so to the issue at hand: What is the biggest mistake that most small business make with their blog? The answer is purpose.

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Photo Credit: Ribbon & Ink

Purposeful Blog

Many small business blogs lack purpose. They lack purpose for the blog’s overall mission and also lack purpose for the individual blog posts. A small business blog must have a purpose or else it is just a waste of time and it will do nothing for your business, and might even hurt it.

If you want to kick your blog into shape and book potential clients looking for your services, put some thought and effort into your blog’s purpose. What do you want your blog to do for your business? Do you want the blog to be a place for potential clients to get to know you? Do you want to give advice to potential clients? Do you want to show off your most recent work? Do you want to show up in search engines?

All of these are valid reasons to have a blog for your business. Only you, as the business owner, can decide your blog’s purpose. But, to blog without purpose turns writing blog posts into just another thing to get pushed off the overflowing to-do list.

Purposeful Posts

Many small business bloggers struggle with coming up with blog post ideas and things to blog about. Maybe you think you aren’t a good writer or that no one wants to hear from you?

Before you start to write a blog post, ask yourself: how will this blog post serve my blog’s purpose? What can I blog about that will help my business? What will help potential clients get to know me better? What do I want my potential clients to know about my work?

Writing blog posts and pushing them out through social media takes so much time. It is time that you could be spending on their craft. Wouldn’t it be better if we all could blog smarter, harder and faster?

Think about your blog’s purpose and then stay focused on that purpose, like a laser, with each and every blog post that you write and you’ll see better results overtime.

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I will be helping small businesses bring purpose to their blog by showing them exactly how to blog harder and smarter! Find more information about my small business blogging workshop.

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Announcement: The BYOB Workshop

Are you frustrated with your creative small business blog? On November 15th in Kensington, Maryland, join me and learn how to blog smarter and harder! Registration opens today for The B.Y.O.B Workshop: How To Blog Your Own Business.

Are you ready to tackle your small business blog once and for all? Are you ready to finally learn about SEO? On November 15, 2016, I will be hosting an intensive workshop to teach small business owners exactly how I blog my way to more business and 1,000s of page views each day.

Registration opens today right here. Use the code “earlybird” to receive a $100 discount. (This discount expires Oct 16th!)

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Photo Credit & Graphic Design: Ribbon & Ink

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Stop letting your blog be a source of frustration and just one more thing on your already over flowing to-do list! While everyone else, including your competition, is distracted with social media, now is the time to invest in your blog and website!
This workshop is very hands-on and there will only be a limited number of seats! You will get a personalized blog review from me, and learn exactly how to get control of your blog. You’ll learn how to blog properly, what to blog, when to blog and how to develop your own list of blog topics to bring you in the kind of business that you want. Plus, you’ll learn how to write a blog schedule and stick to it!

But, wait, I already blog for my business! Sure, you might show up to blog, but are you doing it right? This workshop is for new and seasoned creative small businesses to learn how to blog the right way. I’ll show you exactly how to make every single one of those blog posts count!

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Blog Your Own Business Workshop

November 15th
10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Marigold & Grey Studio
Kensington, MD

More info + the full details!
Seats are very limited!
Use code “earlybird” for $100 discount

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Here is what other local Washington DC area wedding event and creative businesses have to say about my small business blogging advice:

“Juli has helped me improve my blogging skills immensely. She is super patient and is able to explain her rational behind every tip and trick. She always sees “the forest through the trees,” and is very able to simplify blogging – what can seem to be an arduous and painstaking, but necessary business task.” – DC area wedding planner

“I thought I was a pretty good blogger. I blog often and regularly, but Juli taught me simple ways to introduce keywords into my content that drive my site’s SEO. I had no idea how easy or impactful that was to do. I also didn’t know how search engines ready my page, so this was key. I also learned simple, but super important, tips like how to name my image files and my links of each blog post so that I can be found easier in searches. In addition to learning about content writing, I learned to think outside of the box and transform one blog post idea into five so that I really monopolize the SEO for certain keywords. Juli is a content expert and I highly recommend her for those wanting to learn what to blog, how to blog, and how to optimize your site’s SEO.” – DC area creative business owner

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For more information about this blogging workshop, be sure to check out my information page on The B.Y.O.B. Workshop.

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How To Get More Press Attention For Your Small Business

As some of you know, or not, in my former life I worked in politics and PR in Washington, DC. It was a wild ride to say the least. But, after I had my baby girl I gave it up to stay home. I couldn’t be happier!

Over the past year or so, I’ve been taking what I know from my old days of politics and trying to apply it to help grow my small business. I don’t know the wedding world (yet!) and I’m new to social media (although, aren’t we all?!), but I do know the basic rules of PR. From what I can tell, these rules of PR are still the same, it is just that the mediums have changed.

What does this have to do with anything?? It is kind of stretch from wedding garters to PR, I agree. Recently, I wrote a guest post on the awesome the Sage Wedding Pros blog on how to get more attention for your company. (Check out the full guest post here.)

I typed up 10 quick tips, based on things that I’ve done over the past year, and viola…

Ten Tips Earn More Attention For Your Company
By: Julianne Smith

PR. To some, it is an ugly acronym. Public relations gets a bad rap, as people think of images of slicksters, working for the highest bidder. In reality, PR comes down to telling your story your way. In this day and age, PR is literally every outward expression of your company. It is more than just getting the latest wedding magazine to feature your work. It is your website, your logo, what you Tweet about, your partnerships, what you wear to an industry cocktail party. Everything.

With the power of social media, getting attention for your company is easier than ever. You have more control over the outcome than ever before. But, you have to know what you are doing. You must be purposeful with your actions.

Many, if not all, of the old rules of PR still apply today. After nearly ten years in politics and PR, I turned my energy towards my stylish wedding garter company. Iʼve learned a few things along the way, so here are a few tips from me to you. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but rather ten quick things to be mindful of as you work to earn more attention for your company. And yes, I said “earn” because you have to work for it!

1. Be You: Are you boring and stuffy? Well, then donʼt send a boring and stuffy pitch. Be you. If it is an email, then it should read exactly as if you were speaking. If you are talking on the phone or in person, then relax and just be you. This is important because it ensures that you are being authentic.

2. Keep it Short: People have the attention span of flies and they have even less time to read emails, so keep your pitches, voicemails and/or whatever else short and to the point. If you are a designer, say a little bit about your product to give it context, but then let the designs speak for themselves. If editors like what they see, donʼt worry, they will seek you out to find out more.

3. Do Your Homework: The phrase “cold calling” means reaching out to someone that you havenʼt met before. It doesnʼt mean reaching out to someone who youʼve never heard of before. Do your homework before you pitch your company to anyone. If it is a magazine, look through the past few issues and get a sense of their style. As you are reading, think about where your product would fit in, so that you can suggest it as a potential way to work together.

4. Target: Only pitch to the those that would be a good fit for your news. For example, it would be a huge waste of time (yours and theirs) to submit a futuristic themed wedding to a vintage inspired blog. Just by the theme of it, you know they arenʼt going to write about it, so donʼt even bother. Make an effort to seek out those that would have an actual interest in what you have to say. You will be more likely to see results.

5. Make a Plan: If you have something coming up that is worthy of publication, then make a plan BEFORE the actual event. Once the event happens, you should be well into working your plan, not just starting it. Think about the publications that would a be good fit, line up the vendors who contributed and make a “pitch list.” Start gathering contact information and reaching out to your list. There is nothing wrong with teasing
your news or sharing a few preview pictures with a reporter to get a sense of their
interest. 6. Pick Up the Phone: No one uses the phone anymore. Everyone relies on texts and
email. You will be more effective if you actually make a pitch over the phone. (You get bonus points if you can do it in person!) If an outlet has publicized directions for how to contact them, then, of course, you should follow it. But, there is no reason that you canʼt follow that up with a phone call.

7. You Are Your Best Advocate: Publicists, ghost writers and others that you can hire to help you promote your company have their purpose and place. Whether you hire someone or not, know that you, and only you, are the best advocate for your company. Work with the person that you hire to get the results you want, donʼt just expect them to do it for you. If you have employees, be very clear with them about who can and cannot talk to press and use social media to discuss your company. You are the one who knows the inʼs and outʼs of your company, and you will be able to give it the best public face.

8. Social Media is PR: Like it or not, when you use social media (Twitter, Facebook and blogs) you are actively engaging in your own PR. Just by its nature, when you are on social media you are, in a very public way, promoting your company. What you say online impacts (positively or negatively) your company, so use it wisely.

9. Acknowledgement: If you use social media (and I think you should!), then it is important that you are actively engaging in the conversation. If you set up a Facebook page, then update it regularly. When a potential client visits your Facebook page and you havenʼt updated in three months, what does this say about your company? This also means acknowledging Tweets, emails, comments and other messages that come your way. It is bad PR and bad customer service to ignore anyone. And, yes, an RT on Twitter counts…especially to the younger generation. If you blog, consider anyone who reads your blog as a client. They might not be buying your products directly, but they are reading your words. Customers look to social media as a conversation. They want to talk directly to vendors and designers. Not acknowledging someone who contacts you is the social equivalent of giving someone a blank stare when they come up to you in the coffee shop and say, “I like your shirt.”

10. Consistency is King: As the business owner, you should be saying the same few sentences over and over and over again. And, when you are sick of saying them, say ʻem again. Come up with a few buzz sentences and phrases about your company and use them ALL the time. Use them when you explain your product to a client and use them in a pitch to a magazine. Your website, your blog, your Facebook page, your Twitter should all have the same look and feel, and more importantly, the same consistent message. Yes, that means writing the same few things repeatedly.

I know I said ten, but here is a bonus tip, ʻcause this one is important….

11. Be Humble…Yes, bloggers and magazines need content to fill their pages, but arrogance will get you nowhere. Be thankful for every piece (big or small) of PR your company is given. Make sure that whoever wrote about you knows how thankful you are. And, by the way, with the search-ability of the Internet, there is no such thing as a small media hit.