How to blog for your startup - Ash Read

Entrepreneur Ash Read is the founder of app Nudge, which makes it easy for Twitter users to follow up on conversations and interactions, creating a more seamless social experience. He's also an experienced community manager and blogger who knows the importance of creating awesome content to get your brand noticed. Blogging can seem daunting - but it really doesn't have to be. Here are Ash's top tips.

How can writing a blog help your business?

"Blogging can help in a number of ways. Some are obvious, and others not so obvious. The clear benefits of blogging include: increased organic traffic to your site, increased brand awareness, building authority and trust around your brand. A less obvious benefit is clearer thinking. When it comes to reflecting on my business and what I can do to reach our targets, I often turn to a blank page and start writing. This helps me to think clearly about what we've achieved and what I need to do."

What makes a good and interesting blog?

"Writing a good blog is just like writing a good story. It needs a beginning, a middle and an end. The best blog posts will get you gripped with a personal introduction that you, as the reader, can relate to. For examples of great introductions check out the Groove blog - each of Alex's posts tend to start with an opening that piques your interest and entices you to continue reading. The middle is where a lot of the substance is: this is where you focus on addressing the points you brought up in the introduction or title. The ending should give a solid conclusion, learning or action point that the reader can take away."

How do you get started with creating content?

"Just write. It might sound silly, but that really is the best way to get started. Start with a blank page and scribble down every content idea you have, and include everything from blog ideas to Instagram posts."

Help! I have writers block – what should I do?

"Take a break. You can't force ideas, and plus, there's a ton of other stuff you could be getting on with in your startup. Once you've had a break from writing you'll come back fresh. Also, often the best ideas come to you when you're not at a desk: always keep a notepad or a note on your phone to save ideas that pop up when you're out and about."

How can I increase traffic?

"Work with influencers to help spread the word about your content. I recently launched Backstories (as a Nudge side-project) and influencers were one of the keys to our early success and spikes in traffic - we had over 10,000 page views in our first two days. Think about how you can feature influential people in your content - maybe refer to some of their work or reach out to ask them for a quote."

What are some businesses doing great things with content?

"Buffer are one of the leaders when it comes to content marketing. Groove and Crew are also very, very good."

Do you need a content strategy, or can you wing it?

"Strategy is key. Without a strategy you can end up wasting a lot of time. Your strategy will give you clear direction and will also allow you to set clear KPIs to measure success against; after all, if you're not measuring the effectiveness of your content marketing, how do you know if it's helping your business?"

Any top content creation tips?

"Do your research. Use an app like Buzzsumo to research your competitors and what content is successful within your niche. Whenever I start up a new blog my first task is to research the types of content our target market regularly consume and share: pay attention to: word counts, number of headings / subheadings, images used, topics and headlines to figure out the recipe for successful content.

Connect with Ash on Twitter, or check out his website.

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