42group’s ultimate guide to small business blogging

Every post has a purpose; what’s yours?

As a small business, finding the time to blog for your business can be hard, but failing to do so could see you miss out on a whole range of benefits. An SEO-optimised blog can help establish your brand, boost sales, increase search engine performance, and provide a critical channel for communicating with customers.

Here’s our ultimate guide to small business blogging.

At 42group, we work with businesses and brands of all sizes. From the ones you use every day (hello Google) to supercharged start-ups and SMEs, we’re at the forefront of content – and we want to help you.

In this guide to small business blogging, we’re going to go back to basics and break down the blog process into manageable chunks. Read it, understand it, and implement the advice, and you’ll be creating compelling blogs in a few hours.

The key to creating content that has an impact is to define its purpose. We call it strategic content, and we’ll explain what that means and why it’s essential.

Ready to start small business blogging? Let’s go…

What is a small business blog?

Pretty much every business with a website has a blog. You might see it called various things, including news, articles, insights, updates, etc. But basically, it’s a blog.

So, what’s a small business blog? A small business blog is a place where you can publish information and updates on your products and services. It’s also a place where you can engage customers directly, answering questions, providing answers, promoting new business wins, and company updates. You can also use your small business blog to share insights from company figures, comment on the latest news and industry developments, and promote your brand.

Small business blogs can take all sorts of forms, including:

  • News stories
  • Case studies
  • In-depth guides (like this one)
  • Frequently-asked-questions
  • Listicles
  • POV articles
  • Comment pieces
  • Industry updates

The best SME blogs mix and match all of these post types to create a compelling mix of content for readers.

A great way to think about a blog is as a newspaper (or a news website, as nobody buys print anymore). Open any news website (the BBC is a great example), and you’ll see a range of content, from traditional news stories to in-depth features, alongside interviews and Q&As.

You’ll also see that the traditional written format is augmented by videos, animations, and audio (typically podcasts). While audio-visual content is likely to be the future for SME communication, your blog still has a role to play for a few years yet.

Why should I invest in blogging for my small business?

As a small business, we know how difficult it can be to find the time and resources to commit to creating content. There are many conflicting priorities, and customers must always take precedence – but every blog is an investment in your business.

Here are 10 reasons why you should invest in a blog for your small business:

  1. Blogs boost SEO: A regular stream of high-quality content on your website provides a strong signal to Google and will directly improve your search engine position. This is a fact.
  2. SME blogs connect you directly to customers: Your blog is a channel that connects you to customers. You can answer questions, provide information, and share insights that improve the user experience.
  3. Blogs can reduce customer contact time: Software companies regularly produce posts that deal with common customer issues. Instead of costly call-centre operatives, they can point to a blog. This not only reduces customer contact time but provides rapid resolution to customer queries making it a genuine win-win.
  4. Blogs are a powerful promotional channel: Got a new product, service, or solution? Promote it in your blog. Your blog is a free – but highly powerful – channel to boost your brand. You can share content through all channels, funnelling them directly back to your site.
  5. SME blogs are the engine room of content: One blog post can be repurposed in multiple ways. It can be used for social media posts, as a newsletter article, or LinkedIn piece. You can share each post multiple times a year, generating significant value from your initial investment.
  6. Increase customer validation: A regularly updated blog demonstrates to customers that you invest in your business and deliver value to users. This can help to increase validation in your business among customers. In business, trust= sales.
  7. Differentiate your business: A blog is an asset that can make your brand stand out. If customers are weighing up two competing businesses, the value of content in your blog could be the difference between winning and losing business.
  8. Blogs can be landing pages: We’re getting into the technical aspects of digital marketing, but your blog can be used as a landing page to capture clicks and convert them to customers.
  9. Blogs are cost-effective: If you’re a confident writer, you can create a blog post yourself and publish it. Net cost = zero. Impact? See above!
  10. Give your business personality: We’re bored of brands that say nothing, stand for nothing, and do nothing. Your blog is a chance to bring out your brand’s personality and show customers you stand for something.

Step-by-step guide to writing a blog for *every* small business

OK, so we’ve described what a small business blog is and why SME blogging can boost your business, in this section, we’re going to outline how to create a blog.

Before we get into the writing, we’ll touch on the importance of content strategy. Publishing a random post each week or month won’t benefit your business (sorry). Instead, you must consider content strategically. Simply put, every post must have a purpose. We’ve created a detailed guide on how to create an SEO content strategy for your small business, so start there.

While creating a blog can be a complex process, we’ve split it into 5 sections here to help you. We’re going to assume (or hope!) that you’ve read the content strategy guide and are familiar with some of the terms here.

  1. Generating content ideas
  2. Creating a headline
  3. Writing the standfirst
  4. Article structure
  5. CTA

Generating content ideas

It’s easy to think about your blog in broadcast mode, using it to tell customers what you want them to hear. But that’s the worst way to use your blog. Why? Because we’re all selfish, and we want to know what’s in it for us.

Look at it another way. You’re asking someone to spend their time reading your blog; what’s in it for them?

So, you’ve followed our guide and, identified your keywords, digital marketing strategy and SEO goals, and analysed what your customers are doing. Now it’s time to get creative!

As an example, let’s say we wanted to create a content strategy for a Bristol content marketing agency. We’d create a 3-month plan of content that builds on each piece to present to Google and our potential clients a complete offer.

We’d start by building an anchor piece of content. This is the long piece we’d use as the heart of all content. We could call it” The ultimate guide to Bristol content marketing. This would be a long-form piece (2,000 – 5,000 words long); be packed full of information, keywords, links, and more. It would provide value to our customers and answer their questions.

Once this was in place, we would create a 3-month long content plan that focuses on interesting ways to build content. Examples could include:

  • Bristol’s best content marketing agency: Every digital marketing agency ranked
  • Questions to ask your content marketing agency
  • Step-by-step guide on selecting a content agency

These are all clearly designed to help capture your keywords, and there are only 7 of them.

But we need to remember that content is about value, so we’d also create content that

  • Your content marketing questions answers
  • How to create a content brief
  • Bristol’s best content marketing agency answers your questions
  • How content marketing smashed sales for this Bristol business
  • 5 small business benefits of SEO content

We’ve already generated 10 ideas, and we’re only just getting started on the top search terms.

For many small businesses, the benefits are all about hyper-local search. We can illustrate this with another example for a Bristol removals company.

We’d create a piece of pillar content, “The ultimate guide to Bristol home removals” and then we’d start to get tactical.

When people search to move, they’re going to get into the details. We can see that the competition for generic search terms is high, but the value is in getting into the niches. When building a blog strategy, we’d explore the niche terms:

  • Small business removal Bristol
  • Student removals Bristol
  • Clifton home removals
  • Bishopston home removals
  • Bristol to London removals
  • Bristol’s best removal company

These are all going to deliver small volumes, but we know certain things about the customers:

  • They’re searching for a specific solution – which you can provide
  • Hyper-local solutions that answer specific questions directly are more likely to create conversions
  • Lots of small traffic= big traffic

Small businesses, particularly those working in specific geographic areas, must go where the competition is low to build your advantage. Dominate your niche.

Here are some pro tips for generating small business blog ideas:

  • Approach it strategically. Build pillar content (2,000 – 5,000 words) and then create shorter, more focused posts to deliver traffic
  • When generating ideas, know your keywords, define your digital marketing strategy and SEO goals and analyse what your customers are doing.
  • Always ask: What value does this provide my customers? That’s your start point and end point.

Creating a headline

Your headline is the first thing your readers will see and the only thing if it’s not compelling enough. SEO agencies will suggest stuffing keywords into your headline. While it’s important to use keywords, think about the user first.

We work with service businesses that want to engage customers. When writing headlines, think like a customer.

Here are a few questions to ask:

  • What are your customers searching for?
  • What questions are they asking?
  • What are your competitors doing (and what can you learn from them)?
  • What value does your article/blog/news story offer?
  • What’s going to grab their attention?

Take this post, for example. We’re guessing you’re a small business owner searching for information on SME blogging. Naturally, you’ll want all the answers (hence it being the ultimate guide), including how you can create a content programme to boost your business. An analysis of search terms shows that there’s enough traffic for a dedicated small business blog post, so we’ve created one.

When creating your headlines, here are some principles to guide you:

  • Make headlines short (5-7 words)
  • Optimise your headlines for mobile readers
  • Make headlines clear, simple, and accurate
  • Don’t try to be too clever or funny (it never works)
  • Remember that most web users are searching for solutions – so provide them

We’re going to create a detailed headline writing masterclass in the future, demonstrating the techniques we use to create headings that cut through.

Writing the intro

 At 42group, we’re journalists at heart and still cling to the old ways. The intro is your intro paragraph and it’s essential that you get this right for every blog.

We’re going to use the example of this blog to show you how it works:

As a small business, it can be hard to find the time to blog for your business, but failing to do so could see you miss out on a whole range of benefits. An SEO-optimised blog can help establish your brand, boost sales, increase search engine performance and provide a critical channel for communicating with customers. Here’s our ultimate guide to small business blogging.

Sentence #1 – Creating a connection

We start by creating a personal connection and showing we understand that you want to start a blog, but there are barriers in the way. For most SMEs, it’s time, so we lead with that. It’s called a pain point.

Section #2 – Expressing value

You’ve obviously not invested in a blog yet, because you’re not convinced it’s worth it. We’re going to show you why it is and the various benefits a regular blog can deliver to your business. As well as expressing the value of the blog, this illustrates our understanding as an agency about what blogging is and how you can use it. Familiar terms make it easy to relate to and provide reassurance that this isn’t another guide written by machines or full of technical jargon.

Sentence #3 – Explain what it is

This isn’t just any old guide; it’s the ultimate guide. It’s about grabbing attention and keeping it. If you’re reading this sentence, it’s worked, right?

Too many writers (even professional ones) fail to capture the attention of the reader. They’re either too promotional (“We’re the leading provider of…) or are too conversational (“Have you ever wondered what a blog is?”). They can be too technical (“Blogs are a cornerstone of digital marketing and SEO…”) or just plain boring (see most digital marketing agencies for examples here).

To simplify it, there are three ways to connect with readers:

  1. Rational – they know they should do this, you’re explaining why.
  2. Technical – you’re going to simplify technical details and deliver value
  3. Emotional – playing on the heartstrings to create a connection

The best introductions touch every one of these three elements. Learning how to do this takes practice (we’ve been doing it for 20 years and are still learning). As a shortcut, you can find introductions that you like and analyse them and implement the lessons. (Don’t copy, obviously).

Article structure

Your article structure depends on the type of article you’re creating, the length, and its focus. While we’re going to provide some generic advice, here are some basic principles for article structure.

  • Keep the introduction to 2 – 3 paragraphs
  • Break up content into sections with headings
  • Mix up content with numbered lists, bullet points, pull-outs and more to make it easier to read
  • Keep sentences and paragraphs short
  • Every paragraph should have a single purpose
  • Include links (internally and externally) throughout your blogs (but don’t over load them)
  • Use keywords intelligently
  • Focus on readability
  • Create content with a purpose beyond promotion. Every post must deliver value


Every website post (blog, in other words) should have a purpose. You’re not Carrie Bradshaw taping away listing the details of your love life; you’re a business that’s trying to create connections with customers – and that needs a call-to-action (CTA).

Content marketing is less about explicitly promoting your service, and more about sharing information, insights, and updates. This post, for example, is all about offering value to you, even though you’re (currently) not a client. Why? Because you could become a client in the future – and even if not, we hope that this will help to improve the quality of your written content.

You can add an explicit CTA to every post at the end with an instruction to contact you for more information. But it doesn’t need to be as explicit as that, you can add links to your services, case studies, and other blogs (as we’ve done in this article…). These aren’t technically CTAs, but they work to create connections.

Of course, if you’re promoting a service or new product, then feel free to include a single-line promo push at the end – as we’ve done.

Optimising your blog for search engines

Blogs are a critical part of your SEO-focused digital marketing strategy, and to deliver results they’ll need to be optimised. Before we start explaining the basics, here are 22 reasons why your content may not be ranking. If you’re already blogging and doing the basics, but not getting results check here first.

This is a brief outline of how to ensure your small business blog is optimised for SEO. We’re going to create a more detailed post in the future, so check back for updates.

Here is our basic tick list for optimising your small business blog:

  • Create a clear page title
  • Add a keyword reach, but readable meta tag
  • Provide a relatable and informative headline (H1) that incudes your keyword
  • Provide a short (2 paragraph) intro which uses your keywords and variations in a natural way
  • Break up text with headings (H2s, H3s and H4s)
  • Incorporate bullet point and numbered lists to improve readability and keyword inclusion
  • Keep sentences and paragraphs short to make it easy to read on all devices (mobile, laptop, and desktop)
  • Always include an image with appropriate image tags
  • Add images and video to text to increase engagement
  • Include internal links (within your site) and external links (to other sites) within your text
  • Always ensure links “open as a new tab” to keep users on your site
  • Ensure all text is 100% original, not plagiarised, or generated by AI
  • Aim to write long blogs (1,500 – 2,000 words) if you want to achieve the best ranking position
  • Include your keywords in the last 100 words
  • Always check your blog for formatting errors and display errors on multiple devices
  • Create social posts for all networks for every post (not strictly SEO, but it’s all part of a successful digital marketing programme)
  • Once published, checked Google Analytics to learn about the success of your post
  • Continue to check on posts and update and amend to keep them relevant

Our advice: Start small business blogging today

We know there’s a lot of information to take in here, so take your time and work through this small business blogging guide in steps. While it can be daunting to start a blog programme, there’s no better time than today. Your blogs probably won’t be perfect, but anyhitng is better than nothing – so our advice is to start small business blogging. The lessons you learn through the process will see you continually improve both the process and content production.

Better small business blogging with 42group

(Remember our advice about CTAs? Here’s one…)  We work with small businesses to help them connect with their customers, and we can help you. If you’re searching for a partner to produce a single blog, develop a comprehensive strategy, or smash out blogs at scale for your SaaS start up, we’re your ideal agency partner.

Contact us for a no-obligation chat about small business blogging, and let’s get started…

Get in touch

Small business blogging FAQs

You’ve got questions, and we’ve got answers. Here we provide some small business blogging answers to questions we’ve been asked by businesses like yours. Don’t see your question answered? Message us, and we’ll be happy to answer it…

Is blogging content marketing?

A blog is a content marketing channel, and your blog should play a part in every digital marketing strategy. But content marketing for small businesses involves all content channels, including branded content (whitepapers, reports, etc.), PPC, social media and newsletter. It also includes audio content (podcasts) and visual content (films and animations).

How often should I blog for SEO?

Google doesn’t provide explicit instructions on how often you should blog, but we recommend 1-2 times per week. For a more detailed and comprehensive answer, check out our guide on how often you should blog for SEO.

How long should my SEO blog be?

Check out the guide above! Ideally, your bog posts should be 1,500 – 2,000 words every post. If you’re attempting to rank for competitive search terms, you’ll want to create even longer content. This could be up to 10,000 words. (Yep, that’s 10,000 words.)

How long will it take for my blog to have an impact on SEO?

SEO should be seen as a long game. Your’e not going to see results immediately, but invest enough time, and you will. For the best results, we recommend developing a comprehensive SEO strategy (in partnership with a technical SEO agency and a content agency. Together, they can assess your current position and develop a strategy to deliver you sustainable SEO success.

Why is my small business blog not delivering SEO results?

Your SEO content not ranking is always a cause for concern, and there can be several reasons why. In fact, we’ve identified 22 reasons why your SEO content isn’t ranking. Check out our in-depth guide here and follow the lessons to improve your ranking.

How much should a blog for my SME cost?

Small business blogs can cost anything from £50 for an entry-level 500 word piece to £300 for a 100% original piece written by an expert. Find out how much you should be paying for a blog post in our guide.

Should I get my SEO agency to write my small business blog?

No! Your SEO agency are technical experts, and they’re going to help you rank. But they’re not content experts – and that matters. SEO agencies approach content in a different way to a content agency. Content agencies like 42group use content strategically to help increase audience engagement and boost your brand without compromising on quality or using poor techniques to game the algorithm.

You wouldn’t pay a plumber to fix our faulty wiring, so don’t pay an SEO agency to create your content.

Should I spend money on PPC or an SEO blog?

In our opinion, you should view SEO, blogging, and PPC as digital marketing tools you should be using. We’ve written a detailed post about why you should invest in SEO and PPC ­– so start there!

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