There are tons of articles out there that talk about the importance of blogging for business. As a business, you want to showcase your expertise. A blog for business should be a reflection of your products and services as well as showcase your authority within the industry. Amidst the million other things business owners have to tackle, keeping up with a blog can be a challenge, but it can be one of the best things you can do for your business when you prioritize it.
If you’re a photographer, there are hundreds of other photographers out there who are probably blogging about their recent photoshoots or tips for photographers. If you’re a social media marketing company, you’re probably blogging about Periscope and the latest social media trends. This isn’t to discourage you, but it’s meant to show that there’s one potential problem with blogging for your business, if you’re not intentional about it, you may just blend in.
After deciding that you’re going to start a blog or focus more of your energy on the blog, there are a few ways that you can help your blog stand out from the crowd.
+Avoid overused stock images
One of the common mistakes I see is the use of overused stock images. There are thousands of stock images out there, but often times businesses and bloggers alike use free images from sites like Unsplash to make graphics for their sites. Stock images are an incredibly powerful resource and can take your site from being boring to standing out, however, you have to be careful about where you get the images and making sure they aren’t the images everyone else is using. Unsplash is a great resource for free images, but again, be sure to not choose the same image you’ve seen other people choose. My favorite resource for stock images is Creative Market.
+Invest in professional photography
A great way to avoid using stock images all together is to partner with a photographer to create your own stock images and also have some professional head shots and lifestyle shots of your team to be able to use throughout your website. This is a huge trend in the small business world right now and if your team photos are the same photos that your team members have on their Facebook profiles, your brand may stick out for a negative reason. Find a photographer in your area that you can collaborate with to have a nice portfolio of images to choose from and use throughout your site.
+Focus on what makes your business model unique
Take a look at your brand’s mission statement. Are you a social media strategy company that loves working with small businesses? Or maybe you’re a photographer that specializes in birth photography. Whatever your niche is, focus on topics surrounding that niche as topics to write about on your blog. As a counter example, if you’re a small business marketing firm, it would make zero sense to be posting photos from your family’s recent vacation to California on your blog. On the other hand, these type of personal anecdotes are great for sharing on social media and getting your audience to connect with you on a more personal level. Your blog posts are tools for getting new potential clients to your site by using SEO techniques and for establishing your expertise with current followers.
Once you’ve looked at your mission statement to figure out what blog topics can set your brand apart, you can also discover what types of incentives are best for your readers. Offering incentives for subscribing to your newsletter that are specific to your ideal customer is a great way to set your blog apart. Think through the things your ideal customer might need to be successful. Can you offer them a special ebook on the topic or a printable to help them get organized? These are the types of incentives you want to think through for your readers and potential customers.
+Invest in a custom website or blog design
If your brand is using a free blogging platform or template, the best way you can help your brand and blog stand out is by investing in a custom design on a self-hosted platform. Your brand is unique and your website should portray that. Using a template, even if it’s a paid template, won’t necessarily set your website apart from others. At Grace + Vine, we are passionate about creating a seamless brand for small businesses and bloggers who are ready to take the next step in investing in their blog and seeing it succeed.