Blogging for Small Business – Results

Blogging for Small Business - Business Woman Writing a Blog

Blogging for Small Business - Business Woman Writing a Blog
I recently conducted a short questionnaire asking female small business owners about blogging for small business. I wanted to know if female business owners are blogging regularly, what their challenges to blogging regularly are, as well as their general thoughts and feelings on outsourcing blogging tasks.

Most of the women who responded to the survey are solopreneurs and are running their business alone.  Personal branding is often key to their marketing strategy.

Here’s a quick snapshot of what female business owners told me as part of the Blogging for Small Business questionnaire: 

Q: What are your main challenges when blogging for business? 

There was a clear winner with the answer to this question!  Nearly everyone who responded said lack of planning and focus.

Interestingly, I got the same answer from women who already blog regularly as from those who don’t blog for small business.  This shows that even those business women who seem to have got their blogging act together still feel that their planning & focus could be improved on.

As you might expect, the next most popular answer was finding the time. (That’s one of my main challenges!) So, it seems that a theme is emerging as these challenges are all related to being organised and planning your time productively. As with most things in business, even a rough plan of action will save you heaps of time.

Get help with getting organised – download my free Blog Calendar & Image Information Template

Q: How long do you spend on blogging for business each month?

Most of you said 1-3 hours a month but those of you who blog for business regularly as part of your marketing mix, spend up to 6-10 hours.

The time stated is just writing time. It doesn’t include outsourcing images or sharing blogs on social media. Add this one and you are looking at spending any where in the region of 4-10 hours a month just on blog writing and management.

It doesn’t sound like much but it all depends on how many hours you work per month. Are there better ways you could spend this time that would help you generate income for your business? Try a cost/benefit analysis to see if you’d be better off outsourcing blogging for small business.

Q: Would you consider outsourcing blog writing management? 

Those who said they would consider outsourcing blogging for business said their two biggest considerations for choosing an outsourced service would be price as well as finding someone who ‘gets’ their brand voice.

This is so important – finding someone who understands your brand voice is key. The ability to nail what your business is about, what your audience want to hear and how it should be written is a key skill for a freelance blog writer. And it is a skill to be able to tweak your writing style – it’s not something everyone can do.

Which brings me onto the next consideration – price.  Wanting a skilled copywriter but being concerned about price is a contradiction.  I understand that we all need to watch our marketing budget but if you want someone who is skilled enough to understand your brand voice and can adjust their writing style to it, then you’ve got a massive asset to your business! This doesn’t (and shouldn’t) come ‘cheap’.

Conversely for these who wouldn’t consider outsourcing they felt that as the expert behind their business/personal brand they really should be writing their own blogs. This is great if you have the ability to do so. But remember blog writing isn’t just about being able to write well. You also need to consider writing for SEO,  sourcing images and sharing on social media and blogger networks.  Writing can often be the quick part – it’s redrafting, editing and doing all the above tasks which suck up the time when blogging for business.

Q: Which blogging subjects would you like to learn more about?

I asked which blogging subjects you’d like to learn more about so that I can write about them for you. Nearly everybody said they’d like to learn more about writing for SEO.  It’s on my list ladies! In the meantime, (In Blue Peter tradition) here’s one I made earlier. Read: 5 Ways to Make Your Blog SEO-Friendly 

The other main things you want to learn more about is planning & organisation along with time-saving tips and shortcuts that will save you time when blogging.

Big thanks to you all and the winner is…

Thank you to everyone who completed the survey. The answers have been so useful to me to find out what your blogging for small business challenges are, so now I can go away and work out how to help you address them!

There was a prize draw for all participants and the prize is a £10 Amazon voucher. The winner is… Hollie Ellis from Hollie Ellis Designs! Well done to Hollie and thanks to all who took part.


Do you need help with Blogging for Small Business? Then check out my range of packages that will save you a ton of time and stress so you can get on with running your business.

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Blogging for Business Survey – Female Small Business Owners

Blogging for Business Survey - Women in Business

Blogging for Business Survey - Women in BusinessFemale Small Business Owners – can you help me?

I’d love to know more about your challenges when blogging for business so that I can help you address them.

Do you lack the time, money or knowledge to blog for business regularly?

Would you consider outsourcing blog management and what would be the key factors in making that decision?

To say ‘thank you’ for your time, I’ll enter you in a free prize draw to win a £10 Amazon Gift Card. Treat yourself to a new inspirational business book or curl up and relax with some fiction – the choice is yours! (Survey closes 19th February 2016)

Blogging for Business Survey


 

Blogging the Easy Way

-I've got a few blog ideas, but find it hard writing a full blog post

 

Blogging The Easy Way

The package that takes the strain out of blogging for business

Claim back hours of much-needed time

Free up brain space to work on growing your business

Get expert help with copywriting and SEO

Enjoy the feeling of being super-organised!

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Four Ways to Simplify Social Media

Social Media Make Simple

Social Media Make SimpleHaving a social media presence for your business is a great way to get your brand out there. It’s low cost, gives people a change to get to know you and gives you a chance to entice them into your sales funnel.

However, it can take up a whole heap of time if you let it.

But never fear! With a bit of forward planning, it’s easy to simplify social media. There are also services you can use which are designed to save you time and make content gathering and scheduling much easier.

So follow these 4 tips, get organised then sit back and relax! OK maybe not relax, but free up time to get on with other jobs whilst your social media marketing keeps working.

1. Create a Content Bank

Everyone needs a social media content bank – if you don’t already have one you must start one! It will save you masses of time and the hassle of constantly thinking about what you should be posting next.

A content bank is basically an excel file filled with posts that are ready to be copied and scheduled to social media.

Ideally, a content bank will have various sheets for:

a) Blog posts: Enter the blog post title and the URL (shortened URLs using bit.ly or goo.gl work best) of each blog post you publish. You should then think of  3 or 4 alternative titles and/or descriptions for the same blog post and write those down too.

b) Tips & examples of your expertise: create a list of tips and useful info that helps your audience to solve their problems and make their lives easier. You can pull these tips from your website content, blogs, ebooks – any content you already have out there.

(Read 4 Ways to Create a Stream of Content from One Blog Post)

c) Quotes:  – get together a list of quotes relating to your business or audience. They can be inspiring, motivational, thought-provoking, educational or maybe just entertaining! Quotes provide a quick, easy way to catch your audiences attention and are also highly shareable.

For more information on social media content banks read: Making Great Social Media Content Easy & How to Compile a Social Media Content Bank

2. Schedule posts in advance

Use software like Hootsuite or Buffer to schedule up your contents days, weeks or months in advance. That way, you’ll still feature on social media even if you’re away from your desk.

If you use this approach, you should bear in mind that a pure stream of automated posts can look soulless. Even worse is not replying to people who engage with you. Schedule in advance by all means, but you have to check-in to your accounts regularly to reply and comment to keep things personal.

The beauty of Hootsuite is that it makes it easy to split your accounts and followers into lists so you can keep up with everything at a glance. As you can also pre-schedule replies and RT to go out later in the day, you could check in once, respond to your followers then spread your responses out so that it looks as if you are present and engaged.

3. Use content sites like Post Planner

I love using Post Planner as it saves so much time. It provides links to great content including memes, viral photos, status ideas and articles. You can also use hashtags, Twitter handles and Facebook pages to help you search for content by area of interest.

You can schedule up to 500 posts on Twitter and Facebook with the LOVE package. Unfortunately, there isn’t a free option but the package is only $7 per month (approx £4.50 per month) which is a positive bargain due to the sheer volume of content that’s available to you.

Mix and match content from Post Planner along with your own content that you’ve saved in your content bank, and you’ll be providing a great mix of news, views and interesting content for your readers.

4. Outsource the day to day stuff

I save time by letting my VA deal with some of the day-to-day jobs that whilst essential, suck up lots of time:

Here’s some of the social media management tasks my VA assists with:

  • Engaging with new followers: Welcoming new Twitter followers, then adding them to relevant lists so that I can keep an eye on them via Hootsuite.
  • Building follower numbers:  I identify the type of people I want to follow/follow me back then my VA helps me research people, find them and follow them
  • List management: helping me keep control of Twitter lists by adding new people, un-following accounts and creating/researching new lists
  • Group posting: Occasionally, I’ll have an offer or blog that I want to share more widely. My VA posts the link in my various Facebook, Linked In and Google + groups for me. All I need to do is go back to check responses.
  • Bulk scheduling:  She helps to collate my content bank, sort into various files and get them bulk scheduled
  • Content bank research: looking for new quotes by subject (i.e blogging, websites, motivation etc) and organising them into the content bank.

Depending on your level of expertise and time/budget you have available, you may decide to outsource the small jobs, outsource content creation or outsource as much as you can!

There are major benefits to outsourcing and it’s essential if you want your business to grow.

So, there you have it – four ways to simplify social media. Try them out you’ll be on the way to getting organised, saving time and feeling like a social media ninja!

I’d love to know how you get on with implementing these methods. Leave a comment below or come on over to Twitter or Facebook.


Prefer to outsource social media content creation & management? Check out my Social Media Services and see how I can help you save time, stress and reach your online marketing goals.

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Why Your Attitude to Outsourcing is Holding Your Business Back!

Your top 5 answers were: Social media – 45% Strategy & Planning – 45% Blogging – 36% SEO – 36% Everything!! – 27% 2. Why do you find these areas to be a problem? Lack of knowledge/expertise - 54% Lack of time – 50% Lack of budget – 40% Lack of direction – 40% `

Thank you to all the female micro entrepreneurs who took the time to fill in my survey about your online marketing needs and outsourcing regular tasks.

So, without further ado (and in the style of Family Fortunes), here’s what the survey said…

Problem Areas

1. Which online marketing tasks cause you the most problems?

Your top 5 answers were:  Social media – 45% Strategy & Planning – 45% Blogging – 36% SEO – 36% Everything!! – 27% 2. Why do you find these areas to be a problem?  Lack of knowledge/expertise - 54% Lack of time – 50% Lack of budget – 40% Lack of direction – 40% `

(* Multiple choice questions – respondents could choose more than 1 answer)

I wasn’t surprised to see social media up there as one of the top problem areas. It’s a notorious time sucker and it’s easy to waste time if you don’t have a plan.  Which channel/s should you use, what should you post, where will you find followers, who should you connect with? There are so many elements to consider – no wonder if causes problems!

Strategy & Planning is a biggie too.  It’s essential as it helps you clarify what you want to achieve and how you are going to work towards obtaining it. But if you’re new to online marketing it can be bewildering. You need to familiarise yourself with marketing concepts, decide which area to concentrate on  (i.e blogging, social media or SEO) and work out where to find your target market online.

This is borne out by 54% of you feeling you don’t have enough knowledge or expertise to get to grips with online marketing. We have to learn so much when we start a business but doing so can take us away from what we are best at. Don’t fall into the trap of being a jack of all trades but a master of none!

Finding time to work on online marketing was also a problem for 50% of you. I know the feeling! There’s never enough time when you’re running a business and always a ‘to do’ list as long as your arm.  To avoid overwhelm I try to prioritise the important stuff and outsource anything that I can.

Attitudes to outsourcing

3. Have you ever outsourced your online marketing tasks?   Yes – 22%  No – 78%  4. The Top 5 Barriers to Outsourcing  Too expensive – 60% Never outsourced before and not sure where to start – 45% Finding someone who understands my business – 35% I like the idea just haven’t got round it it – 25% Losing control – how I can trust someone with MY business!! – 20% 5. Main benefits of outsourcing  Of the 22% who had outsourced tasks, they cited the following benefits of doing so:  50% said that it saved lots of stress that would have been caused by lack of time and/or expertise to do the job 25% said the main benefit was freeing up time to get on with running their business. (25% said ‘other benefit’ but didn’t specify what that benefit to their business was.)  6. What would help you to overcome your barriers to outsourcing?  Trial period – 60% Flexible service which is easy to cancel if not for me or business is slow –  55% A special offer – 35% Personal recommendation – 30% No obligation conference call – 30%

Only a small proportion of you have already tried outsourcing but those of you have taken the plunge feel that it has saved you a lot of stress and also freed up time. Something we all need!

Female Micro entpreuneurs - outsourcing online marketingWhy worrying about cost actually costs you money!

Your biggest reservation about outsourcing is the cost. I thought the same thing until about six months ago but am now converted and I LOVE it. I wish I’d outsourced sooner. The catalyst was being fed up of being constantly weighed down with busy work – the type of work I should have been passing to somebody in a junior position or in another department, (like you do when you’re employed and working in an office).

Busy work cluttered my brain and meant I could never find time to work ON my business. So, I took tentative steps and found a virtual assistant and slowly starting passing work to her (for both clients and myself – all the admin and time-sucking fiddly jobs).  It feels great to just get that work off my desk and know it’s being dealt with by a capable person. The result has been a clearer mind, being more organised and finding a lot more time to work on my business.

And guess what? I’VE INCREASED MY INCOME!  By outsourcing some of my client work, I’ve earned income on it without doing the actual work myself.  I’ve also freed up time to work on my website, do more planning and marketing. In the last couple of months I’ve picked up 2 new regular clients and earned ten times more than the outsourcing has cost me. Result!

Why did you start your business?

To gain freedom and to be my own boss – 67% To pursue my passion – 22%

There was a clear result on this one! The majority of female micro-entrepreneurs start their business to gain freedom and be their own boss.

So ask yourself, is it possible to find freedom and build a thriving business when you do everything? Especially when so many of you don’t feel you have the knowledge or time to do justice to your online marketing.  

It’s a contradiction – you will never achieve it unless you start outsourcing and trusting other people with your business.  Have you ever heard of a successful business woman who did it all completely alone? No, neither have I (and there is a lesson in that). 

Thanks once again to everyone who shared their thoughts. What do you think about these results? Illuminating, surprising or just what you expected?

I'd love some expert help! Tell me more...

 

 

Female Business Owners: 4 Reasons Why You Aren’t Blogging!

Blogging Blocks for Business - Online Blogging Support for Female Microenterprise owners

Blogging Blocks for Business - Online Blogging Support for Female Microenterprise ownersBlogging should be an essential part of the the online marketing mix for any business. Regular blogging will help you to showcase your expertise whilst providing a steady stream of content to post on social media.

It can also help you to create a community around your business.  It’s a fab way to connect with potential customers and influencers, as well as cheerleaders and brand advocates. All of which will help you to boost your business growth and reach your sales & marketing goals.

We all know we should be blogging but it can be hard to get into a regular routine with it.  Let’s face it, it’s a big commitment to sit down and write regularly – let alone all the other things you need to do (e.g picture research and SEO)  to get your blog out into the world.

We know why we should be writing blogs but many female micro-business owners still aren’t blogging for their business regularly.  What is stopping microbiz owners from taking advantage of this fabulous marketing tool?

I conducted a survey about the online marketing needs of female micro-business owners.  You told me about your biggest online marketing problem areas.  The early results showed that a whopping 57% of you say blogging is one of your major problem areas.

Why aren’t female business owners blogging?

1. Lack of time

42% of you don’t have enough time to get it all done. This one sounds familiar – it’s my major barrier to blogging regularly. I have an advantage as I know how to write blogs and publicise them. But I still have lots of time barriers – as I’m sure most women running a micro-business can identify with!

Client work always takes priority in my schedule (including writing and editing their blogs – oh, the irony!).  Then there’s family responsibilities, doing your accounts, business planning, checking social media, running a home and just that general feeling of there not being enough hours in the day.

You can see how blogging gets put on the back burner – doing it justice takes commitment and focus. Which can be hard to provide when a million plates are spinning and time is short.

2.  Lack of knowledge

35% of you feel that you don’t have enough knowledge to write your blogs. When you start your own business you need to oversee and manage everything – including jobs & tasks that you have no prior experience of doing.  Running a business can be like undertaking a personal development course as you need to learn so many new things!

Even if you enjoy writing and fancy the idea of blogging, there so much more to it. How do you make your blog SEO-friendly, where will you find images,  how to create a title people will want to click on, etc.?

You’ve got so much to learn and no time to do it. So, you just leave tackling blogging for a bit longer while you concentrate on other areas of your business.

3. Lack of money

Writing blogs is free – it’s a great marketing tool for bootstrappers and anyone on a low budget. So, how can lack of money cause a problem?

Writing blogs may be free but it does take time.  And it may take you away from the essential jobs you need to do to keep your business ticking over – such as making new sales, creating new products and meeting contacts.  So, taking the time to blog could actually lose you revenue in the short-term as it takes you away from running your core business.

If you’re not feeling very confident in your blog-writing skills you may decide that you should outsource the job to a professional. But many micro-businesses are still growing and don’t have big budgets so you’re reluctant to commit a budget to blogging activities.

And do you really want to spend money on something you could do for free? You’ll get round to it one day – won’t you?

4. Lack of direction – am I doing the right things?

If blogging is relatively new to you, it can be hard to get momentum going. You can think of subjects for a few blogs but then you mind goes blank. You’ve got a vague grasp of what you should be doing but you’re not confident that you’ve got it right.

This strongly relates to the first 2 points. When you have lack of time and/or knowledge it can be hard to get clarity and focus. So you amble along, posting blogs occasionally and hoping for the best. You keep meaning to create a blogging strategy but it never happens. You don’t know if what you done already is working and not sure how to find out. Sound familiar?

So, how should you get over these stumbling blocks to blogging regularly? I’ll be addressing these questions in my next blog so do look out for it.

Do you identify with these results? If so, you’re not alone! Many female micro-business owners find regular blogging a challenge.  What’s your personal challenge? Please tell me in the comments below…


Want to get expert help with your blogs and slash the amount of time you spend creating them? Then check out my  Blogging the Easy Way package – just pass me your blog drafts and I’ll do the rest!

Try the Bulk Buy package and you could get 12 weeks of blogs professionally edited and ready for publication. Imagine feeling that organised! Find out more about Blogging the Easy Way

 

 

Image courtesy of punsayaporn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Female Micro-Business Owners…

outsourcing online marketing questionaire

Tell me your thoughts about online marketing.

What do you need help with, what are the barriers to outsourcing and what are you interested in?

outsourcing online marketing questionaire

Share your feedback with me and save up to £71.00 on my Blogging the Easy Way service

Female micro-business owners are a busy bunch of people. We have a seemingly never-ending ‘to do’ list as we are responsible for running every single part of our business. This can be challenging, frustrating & stressful.

I provide online marketing support to women just like you. I’m developing my products and services and would like to know about your online marketing headaches, thoughts on outsourcing and what sort of content interests you.

A sweetener to say ‘thank you’

I’d love to hear your thoughts, so here’s a little incentive to encourage you to take part and to say thanks.

I’m offering a 10% discount on my Blogging the Easy Way  service to everyone who completes the survey below.  Save up to £71 and get 12 weeks worth of blogs sorted! 

The package is real time-saver.  Hand over your rough blog draft, then I’ll edit, tidy up, add a lovely image and make it SEO-friendly. Once approved by you, I’ll schedule it up and get it out to the world.  

The survey should takes less than 2 minutes to complete. Thank you!

 

4 benefits using a virtual assistant can bring to your small business

benefits using a virtual assistant for your small business

benefits using a virtual assistant for your small businessAre you struggling to keep on top of your company website, social media, blogs, newsletters and the countless tasks required to achieve and maintain your online presence? You’d love someone to hand it all over to. You’re very own online marketing manager would be a godsend, but there’s no way your business could afford that – is there?

Well, you’ll be surprised to hear that maybe you can afford the help you need with online marketing. But how?  With the help of an experienced virtual assistant specialising in online marketing, that’s how!

Virtual Assistants don’t just offer the services of a virtual secretary or admin help. VAs offer a huge range of specialist services and are truly invaluable to anyone running a small business.

The 4 key benefits using a virtual assistant brings:

  1.  Virtual assistants are cost-effective
  2.  Virtual assistants are time-effective
  3.  Virtual assistants offer a flexible service
  4.  Experienced virtual assistants are highly professional

What do these benefits mean for your small business?

1. Cost-effective

Virtual assistants are usually individuals who are self-employed and work on a freelance basis from home. They only bill you for the hours /days worked or service package contracted for.  As your business doesn’t employ them you don’t have to pay for recruitment, sick days, maternity cover, pension contributions or any of the benefits a company must pay for it’s employees.

You’ll also save on other associated overheads such as office space, electricity, stationery supplies, IT etc. I could go on, but I think you get the picture.

2. Time-effective

Let’s face it  – having a website and managing your online presence is pretty much vital to running a business these days.  Yet, whilst these tasks are essential they may take you away from concentrating on the core requirements of your business.

If you’re too busy editing and updating websites, checking Twitter or writing blogs then you won’t get time to close that sale, meet an important potential new customer and generate new business. Reclaim this valuable time by allocating these tasks to an experienced virtual assistant and sit back knowing these tasks are in safe hands.

3. Flexibility

You may need assistance but don’t have the budget or enough work to warrant taking on a more permanent member of staff. You may have ongoing needs ranging from only a few hours or days a week/month.  This is where a virtual assistant becomes invaluable. They can help you from as little as 2 hours a week but when you hit a busy time they can step up the hours. They can also manage one-off projects or assist you with completing them.

Many businesses recognise the great benefits of this flexibility and more are outsourcing work to virtual assistants and other freelance services. Due to technological advances many jobs and tasks can now be completed remotely via the Internet, email and the content management system of a clients website. You might be surprised by how much a virtual assistant can actually help you with.

 

4. Professional

Generally, virtual assistants have a solid professional background and already have a great deal of experience in their area of specialty. They have decided to leave the office so they can be their own boss and/or work around family life so that they can offer the benefit of their knowledge to small business owners like you!  This can really make a big difference to a small business owner with a limited budget and time available.  A VA can hit the ground running and take tasks straight out of your hands and off your ‘to do’ list.

Although VAs work remotely that doesn’t mean they will feel remote about your business. A demotivated employee might be present at work but waste half the day making tea, looking at Facebook and anything else they can find to aid procrastination. That doesn’t happen with a VA.  As a self-employed business owner, I lose money if I waste time at work, so where’s the incentive to do so?

I’ve worked for some of my regular clients for 3 or 4 years now and love helping them reach their goals and to keep their businesses moving forward.  Their success is also mine as it helps to build my own professional reputation and helps my business to thrive too!

 How to get started

So, all in all there’s a huge benefit to small business owners!  Check out a few websites and see which VA seems to ‘fit’ with your business. Ask them questions, see what their values are and dip your toe in the waters by starting off with a small amount of work. This will give you the chance to assess the quality of their work and the speed of their service.

Have you ever used a virtual assistant? How did you find it and would you recommend to other businesses? Are there any tips you would share for anyone looking for their own VA? 

 

Need a VA to help with your online marketing needs? Check out our range of packages – if you can’t see what you need, do get in touch and tell us your specific needs.

 

Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net