Using Models, Not Templates For Your Small Business Blog
Automation is the Golden Fleece for marketing, even for things like small business blog writing. Now, you’d think that such a thing wouldn’t be able to be assembly lined but there are products that offer assembly line templates for creative blog content. A Forward Push customer actually asked me about this the other day, and I jokingly told him I’d pay him the cost ($7 for an initial download) to NOT buy the template.
Why don’t assembly-line blog templates work for me? Automation and template processes are great for repetitive items, such as generating reports. However, creative output benefits the most from human input. As an example, look up the differences between template websites and custom-built ones; there’s a clear difference in quality.
The idea of templates for small business blog writing isn’t necessarily a problem. The issue comes with how much you rely on that template. If it’s a blow-by-blow description, like small business Mad Libs in blog format, you’re going to wind up with something that looks and reads clunky.
Instead, any sort of template you use for small business blog writing should offer more general directions, allowing the writer to elaborate and personalize in a way that connects with the audience. I look at it more as a model in two parts rather than a template. A template implies that you’re filling out a form and locking things into place whereas my model acts more like defined guidelines.
Part 1: Blog Post Foundation
The first part focuses on universal items you’ll need for any type of blog post:
- Target audience: Be sure to line up your post with your business’ interests. As much as we love posts about cats, don’t blog about that unless you run a vet office or cat rescue!
- Format: Be mindful of general web- and SEO-friendly formatting with headlines, bullets, and linking integrated into the post.
- Message: Have a distinct message in mind when you craft your post to ensure that things stay focused and succinct.
- Call to action: Every blog post should end with a call to action. Whether that’s a sign-up or contact or click through, there should be something there to keep the reader going.
Part 2: Specific Post Types
The second part involves the type of post. The types of posts described below tend to do well for small business blogs.
- Problem/solution: Identify a problem, describe how it impacts the target audience, describe a solution, and explain possible results.
- Listicles: Create a list of any size and include short blurbs for each item, then craft an introduction and conclusion to tie it all together.
- Media-rich: Find a topic, cull together several embeddable videos on it, and write a snappy introduction.
- Response posts: A thoughtful response to commentary on another blog or social media. Be sure to include links to the original sources.
- Interviews: Q&A format with introduction/conclusion.
A Word On Keywords
There’s no doubt that keywords are absolutely important. They are, after all, the footprint that builds your search engine traffic. However, the human element is much more important. By that, I mean that the quality of your content and its value to the reader should be top priority over keyword usage. Remember that the goal is to build loyalty so that customers remember and value your brand; search traffic via keywords means nothing if those visitors don’t want to return.
Putting It All Together
You’ll notice that my model doesn’t have “they ask, you answer” forms that fill in the blanks on templates. That’s because I’m a firm proponent of quality in content. While fill-in-the-blank templates can provide a framework, they’ll never make for a fully realized blog post, and readers will pick up on this.
Instead, my model focuses on getting key points and general flow in place so you can put together quality small business blog posts. Remember, the goal is to create valuable content that engages readers enough to bring them back for more. It requires a little more effort, but anything valuable — in life or in small-business life — does…and your brand benefits from this.