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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Where to Find Free Images for Your Blog

where to source free images for your blog

where to source free images for your blogBlogging is a great way to promote your business and if you do-it-yourself it’s a marketing strategy that’s completely free.

However, what you save in monetary terms can be easily negated by the amount of time you spend getting that blog written, looking pretty, ensuring it’s SEO friendly and then finally, sharing with the world.

There are lots of tricks of the trade to help you save both time and money when blogging for business. One is to have a bank of image resources you can go to when you need to source the perfect picture to illustrate your blog. Even better if this bank is made up of free image resources!

Which resource you use most will depend on the style of your blog, who your market is and just what kind of vibe/look you want to show your audience.

In this article, I’ll look at 5 free image resource options although there are many more options out there. You may find some resources easier to use than others, some may match your brand’s look better than others – they’ll be some time to spend finding the right image resource for you (or a mixture of resources that suit) but when you do,  you’ll find image sourcing much simpler, quicker and cost effective!

A word of caution

Before we look at the resources, just a quick word of warning. It’s always a good idea to read the terms & conditions of use on each website & on each picture you download before publishing any free images.  If you don’t abide by the rules, you could be making an expensive mistake that could cause you problems later on. Read Blogger Beware: You can get sued for using photos you don’t own on your blog. 

The basic information you need to check is:

  1. Conditions of usage of the website
  2. Copyright info/credit information on individual photos

Once you’re clear on this information you shouldn’t fall foul of any copyright laws, but it always pays to be vigilant! (Keep reading,  I’ll be offering you a free download that will help you to keep track of the photos you use and where you sourced them).

5 free image resources for your blog

There are lots of places to find free photos online. Most offering free images tend to come under the ‘creative commons’ licence, which means that images downloaded from these sites can be used & shared without having to worry about copyright or paying a fee.

Double-check each image you download as some DO require an accreditation/copyright line for commercial use and others don’t.

The first three image resources listed here offer stock photography free of charge using the Creative Commons license:

1. Pixabay

www.pixabay.com provides a huge database of free images that don’t require any copyright information at all as pictures are released using a Creative Commons CCO.

You do need to register and create an account in order to download images. There is a wide selection of stock photography and illustrations to choose from.

2. Free Digitial Photos 

Another massive library of free photos.  Free Digital Photos offer smaller, low resolution images (that work well on web pages) for free, although a photo credit is required. If you need a bigger image or don’t want to feature a photo credit then you can pay for individual pictures at a reasonable price.

You can get an email sent to you with each download confirming the copyright information you need to display.

Registration is not required but if you do register, it will save details of photos you’ve downloaded. Useful if you need the details again in the future.

3. Freerange Stock Photos

Ideally, you should include a accreditation to any images downloaded via Freerange Stock Photos and link the image back to their website.  You’ll also need to register before you can download anything.


The next 2 resources listed don’t use generic stock photos and tend to offer higher quality, more design-led images.
However, unless you pay for the PRO accounts you won’t have the whole library at your fingertips whenever you need it.  So these sites aren’t as useful if you need an image quickly, but you can use them to build up an extensive image library (containing some stunning photos) over an extended period time.

4. Death to the Stock Photo

Death to the Stock photo is a great website for building up your own image library. Sign up and each month you’ll be emailed a pack of photos. The theme varies from subjects such as working from home, energy & serenity, streets of London etc. Just download from the email each month and save into your own personal library.

5. Magdeleine

A beautiful collection of hand-picked photos. You can download one high-res photo each day, check the info on the photos to see if you need to feature copyright details. (If you use an image from Magdeleine, make sure that you edit the image and compress it for use on a website. Uploading a high-res image to your website could take up valuable bandwidth and slow your site down.)

This is just a small selection of the hundreds of sites and resources that are out there.  You may end up trying a few to find out which ones are best for you and your business.

If you’d like a longer list of resources check this article 20 Sites with Free Images for Your Blog or Social Media Posts


 

FREE TEMPLATE DOWNLOAD

Keeping track of where blog images are sourced

It’s important to keep a record of where you got your blog image from as well as any copyright information. This process will ensure you check correct usage rights, but it will also make your life much easier if a year down the line, a photographer questions your use of their images and demands payment. If you can prove you downloaded it from a free resource and followed the rules, then crisis should be diverted.

I’ve created this handy Blog Calendar and Image Information template to make this easy for you. Download it now (free of charge, no email required)   – all you need to do is click on the button.

Download Blog Calendar and Image Information Template

 


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

Sound familiar? If you’re not Blogging for Business you’re missing a chance to promote your business and build your audience.

Imagine just handing someone your draft blogs, then getting them back edited and SEO-friendly, published with an image, posted on social media AND included in a lovely content bank with 5 alternative descriptions ready to recycle/copy/paste on social media in the future.

How much time would that save you and would could you do with that time?  Find out more at Blogging the Easy Way

Back to School Offer – Get Free Social Media Content!

Get on Top of Your Blog and Social Media Content - Women Small Business Owners

Get on Top of Your Blog and Social Media Content - Women Small Business OwnersHow much time have you spent working on your business this Summer? If you’re anything like me, then not enough!

It’s not surprising – it’s hard to find time when the kids are off school and you need to juggle childcare and business.  We prioritise servicing customers and clients so working on our own business is often the first thing to slide.

Even if you don’t have kids you may still feel ‘behind’ as you return from your holiday and/or recover from the round of summer social activities.

Get back on track with my Back to School offer

Whilst time off is lovely and often required to help you to recharge your batteries, it does mean we come back to a long ‘to do’ list as we catch up and try to get back into some kind of routine. My Back to School offer to help you take back control. Leave your blog posts in professional hands and get some lovely free social media content!

I’m offering all new Blogging the Easy Way customers a FREE mini bespoke social media content bank . I’ll create 25 engaging, informative posts especially for your target market. Save £75 and several hours of work!

Hand me your blog drafts or notes and I’ll return them to you fully edited (including adding an image) and SEO-friendly. I’ll schedule each blog on your social media channels once live

On top of that, I’ll add 5 bonus posts to your content bank for each blog I edit and publish.

Sounds good – how can I redeem this fab offer?

  • Buy your chosen Blogging the Easy Way package from 5th -12th September
  •  I’ll get in touch with you to arrange a consultation call. We’ll discuss your blogging and social media goals and needs. I’ll also answer any questions you may have about this service.
  • Blogs will be drafted and delivered according to the chosen package time frame.
  • Your bespoke mini content bank will be delivered within 5-10 working days of publishing your first blog.

Blogging the Easy Way

Blogging the Easy Way is available in 3 different packages to suit your business needs:

Monthly Package = £100

Provide 4 draft blogs in one batch and I'll get them processed for the whole month.
Quarterly Package = £255

Pay for 3 months up front and save 15%

You can provide 4 blogs monthly or 12 drafts in one batch and get super organised!

Can I get a refund and are there any other terms I should know about?

Yes you can get a refund. Here’s how it works:

1.  Before/after consultation call – if  you don’t feel that this is the service for you before or after we talk (and before work has commenced) I will refund your money before work begins.

2. Once work begins – I will edit and return your first draft for approval before beginning work on the rest. If you are unsatisfied with the first blog sent to you, you can cancel the service and receive a full refund.

3. You have 30 days to redeem this offer and deliver your blog drafts. If you are unable to provide them in the allotted time-frame and keep me informed of this, I will refund your payment.

4. If I don’t hear from you within 30 days and you wish to cancel after this time, I will refund 50% of your payment.

5. I will deliver your mini bespoke content bank within 5-10 days of publishing your first blog.

6. Read more about Blogging the Easy Way and the terms for the package.

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

4 Ways to Create More Content from Your Blog Posts

4 Ways to Create More Content from Your Blog PostsIf you’re writing blogs, blasting them out once on each on your social media channels then moving on to the next one you are wasting precious time and content!

Writing blogs is time consuming, but you can make sure you make the most of the time you invest. How?

There are several ways to pull tips & quotes out of each and every blog post you write to help you get fresh content for your social media feeds. You can also ‘recycle’ your blog posts with fresh titles and descriptions to help encourage more click-through and readers.

I’m going to use my recent blog Female Business Owners – 4 Reasons Why You Aren’t Blogging as an example to talk you through it.

How to squeeze more content out of every blog post

1. Reuse and recycle blogs using various descriptions

Remember that the life of a post can vary from channel to channel so it’s OK to post the same blog more than once. According to Buffer the life cycle of a post is:

  • Twitter – 18mins
  • Facebook – 90 mins

So unless someone is following your accounts with a magnifying glass, (which is unlikely) you can afford to reuse and recycle a blog post. It will help to bring more readers to each post and will maximize the time you’ve spent writing it.

Alternative Blog Titles/Descriptions

The title of my example post is Female Business Owners – 4 Reasons Why You Aren’t Blogging. But rather than always posting a link with this title,  I’ll create some alternatives too. By coming at it from different angles and using different hashtags  you’ll make it easier for more people to find your blog and open up your readership.

Here’s five alternative descriptions to tempt readers in: 

1. Why aren’t you blogging for business? Lack of time, money, knowledge or direction?

2. #Solopreneurs – planning on getting round to blogging one day? Here’s 4 reasons you’re stalling…

3. Female #Microbusiness Owners – are you finding blogging for business a challenge? You are not alone!

4. Blogging for Business – Why a lack of time and knowledge leads to lack of clarity and focus #SmallBusiness

5. Still haven’t devised your blogging strategy? Then you’re probably experiencing one of these 4 blocks #MumsinBiz

Notice how I’ve mixed up hashtags. My ideal clients are busy women running a small micro-business who want to free up time and get more from their online marketing. So, I use a range of hashtags to increase my chances of an ideal client finding the post.

If you are posting on Facebook or Linked In, just remove the hashtags but you can keep the term in your post to help with search.

2. Create useful tips for your audience

Tips are a great way to show your expertise, increase followers and encourage sharing. Try to pull as many tips as you can from each blog post. Here’s some examples of tips I’ve pulled from my post:

1. #BloggingforBusiness helps you to showcase your expertise and provide content for social media

2. Regular Blogging will help to create a community around your small business

3. Blogging for Business connects you to potential customers, cheerleaders and influencers #startup #womeninbusiness

4. Get focused! Get a clear blogging strategy so you know who you want to reach #bloggingtips

Do this with each blog post you write and add them to your content bank, giving you a lovely bank of great tips to share anytime.

3. Questions for your audience

Try to open up discussion and encourage feedback & engagement by posting questions for your fans and followers. Add some hashtags if you can as this will help engagement.

Here’s some examples of questions pulled from the same blog: 

1. Mums in Business – know that you SHOULD be blogging but can’t get into a routine? What’s stopping you?

2. Making time to work on your business blogs is hard when plates are spinning and time is short. Anyone else experience this?

3. Is lack of time, money, direction or knowledge your main block to blogging regularly?

This also has the added bonus of acting like informal market research – the answers can be pretty useful as they’ll give an insight into what your customers need and what their problems are

4. Turn quotes in images and memes

Images play an important part in social media marketing so make sure you use them! Now that you have created lots of lovely content using the methods described above you can use some of it to create some images.

Canva is great for creating graphic in a jiffy. There are lots of templates ready to go, or you can create your own template then just use it as a base to add new text too.

Here’s 2 images I created in less than 10 minutes using Canva.

1. Lack of time 2. Lack of knowledge 3. Lack of Money 4. Lack of Direction

Blogging for Business connects you to potential customers, cheerleaders and influencers. Have a clear strategy to make sure that you reach them!

I can use these images to use as stand-alone posts or I can add a link to my blog post. Notice that I’ve included my website address on each image so if it’s shared without tagging in my account, at least people will still know where to find me!

So, there you go – 4 ways to squeeze more content out of each blog post. Try to set aside 20-30 minutes when you finish each post to pull out quotes, tips and alternative blog descriptions. This will save you masses of time in the future and will help you to build a content bank to be proud of!

I’d love to hear your questions and comments, so do leave a reply or hop on over and say ‘hello’ on Twitter or Facebook.

PHOTO CREDIT: Image courtesy of chanpipat at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Already written lots of blogs and other content (such as ebooks, downloads and podcasts) but short on time to pluck out the best bits for social media?

You could get your very own Bespoke Content Bank of 50 engaging, informative posts that are targeted to your audience. All you need to do is copy and paste them or schedule them up in advance. Now how much time and effort would that save you? Find out more…