top small business bloggers

Top Small Business Bloggers Teach You How to Blog Successfully

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They mow your lawn, walk your dogs, and grill your steaks to perfection. No, they’re not your in-laws, they’re small business owners — drivers of the modern economy.

In the U.S., small businesses make up a surprising 99.9% of all employer firms. They provide jobs to over 58 million people.

Small business owners face challenges on many fronts. These include finding and managing teams, identifying and nurturing leads, and discovering the best way to market and sell.

That’s where our bloggers come in. Hailing from a variety of backgrounds, these bloggers include veterans of multi-million dollar deals, sales and marketing leaders, and sole proprietors.

Their popular blogs provide refreshing clarity, practical guidance, inspiration, and moral support.

Meet Our Panel of Blogging Experts

Each of our blogging experts has dared to launch their own business — and succeeded.

Their insights were forged in hard-fought wins and losses that they rebounded from.

Daniel Goh, Young Upstarts

Daniel Goh loves good beer. When he began to think about quitting his salaried job, he asked himself: “Why can’t I start a business selling beer?”

young-upstarts
http://www.youngupstarts.com/

Daniel now owns two thriving beer stalls in Singapore’s bustling Chinatown district.

The Good Beer Company and Smith Street Taps are pop-up hawker stalls that offer “uncommon, epic and legendary beers” from around the world.

Daniel is “constantly amazed by the human resilience shown by small entrepreneurs in the face of incredible odds.”

Now he tells their stories on his blog at Young Upstarts.

Current and aspiring entrepreneurs will find a smorgasbord of resources ranging from books reviews, recommended events, interviews, gadgets and software tools in addition to inspiring stories.

“We focus on stories and thought leadership pieces that help businesses small or large, the entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs, or those who simply want to become better at what they do,” Daniel explains.

Brian Moran, Small Business Edge

After holding senior positions at Inc. Magazine, Entrepreneur Media, and the Wall Street Journal, Brian Moran accrued a wealth of experience in B2B publishing and small business markets.

small-business-edge
https://smallbusinessedge.com/category/brians-blog/

He went on to helm Moran Media Group and Veracle Media, both successfully serving that same audience.

When he launched Brian Moran & Associates, he continued this goal: “to help entrepreneurs start, manage and grow their businesses.”

Brian’s blog at Small Business Edge is packed with high-value resources to help the small business owner grow and develop a better business.

Popular posts include Five Steps to Jumpstarting a Successful Business and Five Cost-Efficient Ways to Market Any Small Business.

Brian currently sits on several boards including The Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council. In 2012 he won SCORE’s prestigious Lou Campanelli Award.

Ivan Widjaya, Noobpreneur

In 2008, Ivan Widjaya launched Noobpreneur as a personal blog. It soon grew into a popular online destination attracting small business owners and the vendors that serve them.

noobpreneur
https://www.noobpreneur.com/

Noobpreneur serves up actionable insights on industry trends, along with practical tips, tools, ideas, and advice.

Also featured: Q&As with CEOs and founders and insights on how to cultivate and maintain a winning mindset.

This isn’t Ivan’s first rodeo. His franchise businesses in Indonesia were hit hard the 2008 financial crisis and “eventually failed miserably.”

Ivan didn’t give up. He “crawled back into business and this time, he took the online route – self-taught – and never looked back.”

Ivan now earns a full-time income from his online ventures and gets to work from home in the process.

Craig Klein, SalesNexus

Craig Klein is the CEO of SalesNexus, an all-in-one software package that enables small business owners to automate lead generation, lead nurturing, and key sales and retention processes.

salesnexus-blog
https://www.salesnexus.com/blog

The SalesNexus blog is all value, no fluff. Each post gets straight to the point, serving a busy target audience.

Sample topics covered include automating lead response, automating onboarding processes, and automating follow-up with lost clients.

The blog also presents superb sales training and management information.

Craig brings 15 years of sales experience to his role. Among his successes: leading remarkable sales teams which won multi-million dollar contracts with energy heavyweights like ExxonMobil and Chevron.

Craig is also the author of Inside-Out Selling a guide to the art of customer-centric engagement, marketing, and sales.

Gee Ranasinha, Kexino

Gee is the CEO of KEXINO, a successful marketing agency based in Strasbourg, France. He’s also the leader of its Small Business Marketing blog.

kexino-marketing
https://kexino.com/blog/

KEXINO’s no-nonsense, ROI-driven approach is refreshing in an industry known for snake oil tactics. “We won’t promise you more sales,” the home page states. “Not only will you never catch us making such promises, but we think any marketing company making such claims is lying to you.”

KEXINO partners with companies in a complementary way, in order to “raise the quality, efficiency, and productivity of their marketing and communications.”

Search online and you’ll find a glut of shallow, misleading marketing advice. Even CEOs at large firms have fallen for trendy tactics that waste money.

The KEXINO blog stands out for its provision of trustworthy, solid advice on marketing. Popular posts include A Question of Trust: The Secret to Building a Successful Business and What Do You Do When Your Marketing Isn’t Working?

Small wonder that KEXINO has attracted a loyal international clientele.

Bonnie Harris, Wax Marketing

Bonnie is a nationally-recognized expert in integrated marketing communications (IMC), with a track record of building multi-million dollar ventures “from the ground up.” She has been quoted in USA Today, Success Magazine, and PR Week.

wax-marketing-blog
https://www.waxmarketing.com/wax-blog/

The goal of her agency, Wax Marketing, is “to improve brand awareness, drive more business and accelerate marketing results.”

The agency serves growth-positioned clients. She explains: “Wax Marketing clients are typically organizations and personal brands on a fast track to growth that need a strong integrated marketing communications strategy.”

The Wax Marketing blog has been cited as one of the best in the nation.

It covers a variety of growth-related topics including B2B, customer behavior, mobile marketing, SEO, social media, time management and the new entrepreneur.

Bonnie also serves as adjunct professor for the Reed College of Media IMC graduate program at West Virginia University and teaches IMC for the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA).

 

Q&A With the Small Business Blogging Experts

Each of our blogging experts has an inspiring story to tell.

You’ll find an abundance of tips here that you can use to develop your own winning blog.

start-small-business-blogging

Why did you start blogging?

Gee Ranasinha, Kexino

We noticed many of clients were coming to us having failed in marketing their businesses themselves.

Digging deeper, we found many had based their efforts on what I see as a growing amount of marketing misinformation — and even disinformation — on how best to present a business to customers. There are a lot of sharks in these waters.

The KEXINO marketing blog was initially designed as my way to reach business owners and marketers with pragmatic and tested marketing ideas, as well as to serve as a channel to help dispel various myths and snake oil being sold to the unwary.

Daniel Goh, Young Upstarts

Back in 2004 when I first started blogging there weren’t that many sites offering useful advice to small business owners and entrepreneurs; starting Young Upstarts was a way for me to learn how to run my own business in the future.

Bonnie Harris, Wax Marketing

I began blogging in 2007 as a way to showcase my expertise in integrated marketing and increase traffic to my website.

Brian Moran, Small Business Edge

I love to write, and I wanted to help business owners realize their dreams of starting and running successful companies.

Ivan Widjaya, Noobpreneur

I studied business (MBA) and found out that what I learned doesn’t matter much in real life. I learned it the hard way: I bought a franchise and open in two locations within 2 years.

I thought franchising could offer me a shortcut to business success (duh!).  It turned out that both failed. Miserably.

Then I discovered the Internet (ha!) I thought that sharing my 4 years of roller coaster ride in the business world is a good idea. Then I decided to start a blog. I named it Noobpreneur.

Craig Klein, SalesNexus

I was looking for ways to increase traffic to my company’s website.

inspiration-small-business-blogging

What’s your secret to staying motivated & inspired long term?

Brian Moran, Small Business Edge

A lot of business owners need help running their companies. My blog provides practical tips as well as motivational boosts when needed.

Ivan Widjaya, Noobpreneur

This year (2018) is Noobpreneur’s 10th anniversary. The first 2 years was the most difficult. You share so much and get almost no reward (except the 10 bucks from AdSense in Noobpreneur’s first 24 months).

The secret to my motivation? Believing that the Internet offers unlimited opportunities. And believing that blogging back then (in 2004-05) is the ‘gateway drug’ to the so-called ‘online riches.’

Having your back against the wall with no other option but trying to survive (I have a family to support) helps, too.

Daniel Goh, Young Upstarts

We’ve been very fortunate to work with guest contributors who share the same vision as us; these contributors — who are all thought leaders in their own spaces — help to keep the content on our site fresh and useful for our readers.

Good reader feedback keeps us going too — when people comment about their own challenges or say what we share is useful, it tells us we’re on the right — write? — path.

Gee Ranasinha, Kexino

Our clients! It’s as though the more I speak with business owners, the more ideas I have for potential articles.

Sometimes the idea needs to gestate for a while. Other times it’s a topic that I feel so passionately about the article almost writes itself.

Craig Klein, SalesNexus

Our customers inspire me every day. Every one of them has an exciting business they’re trying to grow and we get to help them. Every conversation I have with a customer gives me 10 ideas for a blog post :-)

Bonnie Harris, Wax Marketing

There are several “secrets” the first being that I was lucky. My blog began just as social media was taking off and the community I built on Twitter was also kind enough to comment on the blog and that engagement kept me going initially.

Now, it’s an integral part of my marketing strategy for Wax.

I’m motivated today by two things.

First, it’s a chance for me to write with my personal POV as usually, I write for clients.

Second, people are kind enough to tell me that the information has been helpful to them. I really feel it’s a way to give back or “pay forward” all the support I’ve received since starting Wax Marketing 15 years ago.

In the video above, filmed by PRSA National, Bonnie Harris of Wax Marketing speaks about Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC). For many small business owners, their blog is part of a multi-node digital presence that includes video interviews, speaking engagements, and online courses.

successful-small-business-blogging

What do you think had the biggest impact on making your blog a success?

Bonnie Harris, Wax Marketing

Although it’s probably a boring answer, consistency has been the key. Just making sure that I post something each week, even if it’s just an introduction and a link to another article I’ve found helpful.

Brian Moran, Small Business Edge

Business owners need a trusted source that they can turn to for help in running and growing their companies.

Daniel Goh, Young Upstarts

Pivoting at the right moment. We used to focus purely on tech startups, but realized down the road there was a wider small business community that could benefit from different perspectives.

We made that pivot in 2010, and today our content reaches a far wider audience.

Ivan Widjaya, Noobpreneur

It’s God’s grace. From my part, it’s networking. Build relationships and meaningful collaboration with the media agencies’ guys and gals works wonder.

Gee Ranasinha, Kexino

Wow, what a great question. Probably that we focus on sales and marketing articles to help startups and small businesses. We don’t write about a subject area if there isn’t a fit within that core position.

Also, we don’t accept guest posts, ads, or placed content of any kind. I think our audience appreciates that if we choose to publish an article, it’s only because we think it’s something they’ll find interesting or useful.

Craig Klein, SalesNexus

Our focus on the customer. We treat every customer uniquely rather than following scripted routines. We get to know our customers and that lets us solve problems for them in more powerful and lasting ways.

Video above: Gee Ranasinha provides context for the role of blogs and social media in earning your audience’s trust.

 

tips-small-business-blogging

What lesson about blogging do you wish you’d known before starting out?

Craig Klein, SalesNexus

It’s not about sounding like you’re an expert or having all the answers. It’s about expressing yourself, even when that exposes you as a fallible human.

Bonnie Harris, Wax Marketing

Because blogs were just taking off when I started mine, there are too many lessons to list here. I do wish I’d started really analyzing my headlines right off the bat.

Gee Ranasinha, Kexino

That, even 10 years after starting the blog, it doesn’t get any easier to write something I’m proud of! Some articles take me days to write.

Brian Moran, Small Business Edge

Be committed to writing on a consistent basis and always keep my readers’ best interest in mind when writing.

Daniel Goh, Young Upstarts

That you don’t mess with Google. Search engine optimization is critical in making your content reach far and wide; to date we still have backlinks on our site that compromise our authority in search rankings.

We should be doing better with SEO, but there’s only this much we can do with a tiny team.

Ivan Widjaya, Noobpreneur

I started out as an outlet to share my experience with the blogosphere. I should start my blog as a business early on, positioning as a partner for readers and clients/advertisers.

Video above: Brian Moran of Small Business Edge is interviewed on social media and content creation. 

small-business-advice

Best advice would you give a new blogger?

Daniel Goh, Young Upstarts

Find — and own — your niche, from content all the way to your tone of voice.

Gee Ranasinha, Kexino

I’ll give you three:

#1: Realize that you’re in it for the long haul. It’ll take time for you to find your voice and writing rhythm.

#2: Write for your audience, not for search engines.

#3: Spend at least the same amount of time promoting an article as writing it. Hitting the “publish” button is when the real work starts. Promote your article for all you’re worth: If you build it, they WON’T come.

Craig Klein, SalesNexus

Just do it. Start writing regularly.

Set a schedule – block off time on your calendar to write and stick with it.

Create a note or doc somewhere to jot down blog ideas as you go through your day and then go back there when it’s time to write.

Brian Moran, Small Business Edge

Don’t start writing a blog at midnight that is due the next day. Always put a quality effort into everything that you write.

Ivan Widjaya, Noobpreneur

Don’t start a blog because it’s cool. It’s not. It’s hard work.

If you do it for fun, that’s fine; but if you do it for the money (or fame or whatever that drives you) expect not making anything early on.

It’s a one-day-at-a-time grinding, not an overnight success; it’s a long game. Try to love the game, not the reward; it helps a lot surviving ‘dry’ days.

One last piece of advice: Blogging is 80% marketing 20% content creation. Your content alone won’t get you too far; words of mouth do.

Bonnie Harris, Wax Marketing

If you’re starting a blog do it in a way that you enjoy. Don’t try to write something in a certain way, or choose a certain topic, because you think it will be more successful.

If you enjoy curating, then do some kind of aggregator or listicle site.

If you like to write at a more philosophical level, do that. If your heart’s not in it, you won’t be able to sustain the activity necessary to gain traction.

PS – You might need to “find” that preferred way of writing as you write too. Blogs are organic, not something you plan and build.

Final Notes and Resources

A big thank you to our interviewees, who have accomplished much. Their lives are now inspiring would-be blogpreneurs across the globe.

We encourage you to visit and become familiar with their blogs. First-hand observation will reward you with more wisdom that you can imagine.

Key Takeaways

Many new bloggers make the mistake of blogging a few times then giving up when they don’t see immediate results.

Our bloggers noted the difficulty of pushing through a plateau before real results appear. This is reminiscent of training for marathons.

Give yourself an edge by doing the following:

  • Commit to the long haul. Posting a dozen articles won’t result in readers stampeding to your site.
  • Pay your dues: Find out what makes for a really good blog post.
  • Write for your audience. Know what they consider relevant and valuable content.
  • Don’t quit. Leaving your blog dormant is the most detrimental thing you can do to your SEO.

More Tips for Developing a Successful Blog

What makes for compelling content? See: What is 10x Content and How Can it Drive Traffic to My Blog?

Interested in selling products or services online? Get a headstart with this free Blogger’s Guide to Selling Online.

 

Sherrie is a digital strategist based in the northeastern U.S. A former magazine editor, she has worked in digital marketing and media for over a decade.
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