Our 6 Favourite Small Business Blogs of 2019
One of our favourite things about the end of the year is that it provides a natural opportunity to reflect on the past and plan for the future.
2019 was a big year for content marketing and blogs. We've said it before and we'll say it again: blogs continue to be one of the most useful and cost-effective forms of marketing. According to Simple Marketing,
"Blogs are the single most effective investment you can make to ensure your business remains relevant and visible to potential customers over time."
Why? Because they're effective and people like them.
Small businesses are starting to get it about blogs, and some are creating outstanding content. In our 2019 wrap-up, we want to take a moment to celebrate the many businesses that are killing it in their blogs. Here we're highlighting 6 of our favourite small business blogs from 2019. Each of these has created a blog that is especially effective for their market.
Heather Pinay is a motivational speaker. She maintains a blog as part of her business that we think is really effective. Not only does it undoubtedly improve her SEO, but it also showcases both her personality and the kinds of services she offers.
We particularly like her focus on stories. She includes anecdotes in her blogs that keep the reader interested and make her message more effective. Her tone is approachable and down-to-earth, and she uses high-quality images that enhance her message. She has also invested in the design of her website — the great use of white space consistent use of fonts makes it attractive and easy to read. Heather also keeps her blog fresh with frequent posts.
Here is one of our favourite recent posts of hers about avoiding burnout as an entrepreneur.
2. Sensi Seeds
Sensi Seeds is a Dutch seed bank that sells cannabis seeds and other cannabis-related items, including vaporizers, clothing and merchandise, and hemp foods. They include a blog on their website not only to showcase their products, but also to share interesting stories about cannabis, information about the legality of cannabis in a number of countries, and to celebrate cannabis culture.
Several features make this blog effective. One is the use of attractive images. Another is great page design and layout, which makes the blog interactive.
But above all, we like that the content is of high quality. For example, they have a series of well-researched articles on the legality of cannabis in a number of countries: from Zambia to Jamaica. The author of this article on the history of cannabis and its legality in Djibouti has a law degree, which greatly increases its authority. And it's thorough, discussing everything from the history of use of cannabis to growing conditions. Informative articles like this, that are also very well written, make for the best marketing content.
Related: How to Write Well
They also use their blog to express their personality. One of our favourite posts is about the funniest questions that they have ever heard. The post manages to be humourous while also effectively promoting their product. It's also brilliant for SEO since it captures long-tail keywords that people are likely to search about cannabis that other companies may not yet target.
The Landis Suites is an independent hotel located in Vancouver, Canada. Blogs are an especially important marketing tool for hotels, B&Bs, and guest houses because SEO is so critical to earning direct website bookings.
However, even though blogs are important, many hotels don't do them very well. We see many hotel blogs that are poorly written or not regularly updated.
The Landis Suites gets it right. They update their website consistently with an average of two posts per month. The posts often highlight what you can do in Vancouver, which both sells the destination and provides guests with the information they need to enjoy their stay. They avoid clichés in their writing and highlight the characteristics that make the city and their location special.
Not only do they make good use of images, but they also often include videos that are related to their post. Each post ends with a call to action and a link to booking a suite, but they manage to do it in a way that doesn't feel too sales-ey. Each post is a useful and informative guide to Vancouver for potential guests.
Real estate is another industry in which SEO is critical. When you're selling your house, one of the first things you would likely do to find a real estate agent in your location is search Google for "real estate agents in my city". The agents at the top of the list are likely to get the most clients. To be in that top spot, a blog is super important.
Our favourite real estate agent blog this year is Steve Saretsky's. He posts every few days and the information is useful to both prospective clients and other agents. We like that he has a good mix of technical posts about economics of the market and posts aimed at more general audiences. He manages to come across as an authority while remaining approachable.
One of the features we're most impressed with is his commitment to creating video posts. He's done this consistently for several years, and the posts are often responses to questions he has had from clients or information about the real estate market. Since the market is constantly changing, he is able to constantly create new, useful content.
And, in addition to all that, he produces a monthly report about the housing market. He uses this report to collect email addresses for his email marketing. This guy knows his content marketing!
Law is another place blogs are particularly effective marketing tools. Legal issues often come up unexpectedly and those of us who are not legal experts (i.e. most of us!) might go to the Internet as the first place to look for information. Law firms can capitalize on this by answering common legal questions in a blog, and making potential clients aware of their services at the same time.
One of our favourites this year is the Crossroads Law blog. They're a family law firm, so they often post about issues that arise in families such as separations or child custody. The blog provides useful advice for families going through changes, and it does this with a tone and voice that is compassionate, consistent with their "family lawyers that understand" branding. The language is technical enough to establish their authority but also makes them sound approachable.
We especially like how their articles are useful in that they offer clear, comprehensive answers to complex legal questions. For example, their post on what to do when you are going through a separation provides thoughtful advice based on common legal issues facing individuals. While they do provide information about the services they offer, they manage to do it in a way that does not feel like they're trying to sell something.
Small independent retailers can benefit immensely from a blog and Hom furniture (yes, "Hom") is a good example of how that can work. Hom Furniture uses their blog to inspire potential customers and to discuss interior design tips and trends.
We especially like their use of high-quality pictures to highlight their products and also how they give advice for making your home look its best. For example, their 2020 Interior Design Trends post is a long-form article detailing what's going to be "in" in 2020 and what's "out". It's well written and accessible to design newbies. The images demonstrate the trends they discuss and also happen to be products that the store sells. These posts are excellent examples of how you can create interesting and useful content that simultaneously promotes your products.
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Bringing it all together
The above are all excellent examples of small business blogs. What do they all have in common?
High quality, well-written, and original content
Great use of high-quality photos
A voice that is consistent with branding
Content that naturally promotes a product but does not sound like an infomercial
Consider these principles when you create your own blog and you'll ensure you're making the most of your blog as an effective marketing tool.
Want to make a blog part of your 2020 marketing plan? Crisp Text is here for you. Let us know what your idea is and we'll help you make it happen.