You’ve heard all the noise about content marketing and have decided it’s time to throw your hat in the ring… You’re starting a blog on your business website! Good on you – a blog has transcended being a “recommended benefit” for your business and is now all but essential. When it comes to search engine optimization and driving traffic to your website, a blog is the first place to start.
Your blog is how you can draw prospects to your site, impress them with your expertise in your field, set yourself apart from your competitors, offer customers valuable and unique information, and demonstrate to Google that you deserve to be ranked higher on their search results page. Getting started with the right approach is the best way to make sure that your blog runs smoothly and successfully. Here’s how to do it:
Creating a blog because you know you should is not the way to approach this whole malarkey. Managing a blog for your business needs to be thought out and planned. It’s not something you can whip up on a Sunday afternoon and be done with it – it takes time and it takes a measured approach, and it is never “finished.”
Setting goals is important to guide the direction of your blog. This will inform what and how you write. Do you want to increase your search engine rankings for particular keywords? Then make sure your blogs focus on those keywords and address lots of relevant topics. Do you want to convert more website visitors into customers? Link your blog back to the sales channels of your website and always end your blog with a call to action.
Write down your goals and refer back to them to keep on track. Goals which you can measure are best, because you can see your hard work paying off, or you can change your approach if you’re not getting the results you want.
Know Your Audience
Creating and managing a successful business blog relies on understanding your target audience and what they want. Your blogs should address queries which your target audience would be searching for, and offer solutions for their problems.
Think about your audience every time you write. This should inform the language you use, the tone of voice you use, how long your article is…. Everything! Everything about your blog should be tailored to the people who you are targeting.
Make Your Blog Useful and Interesting
Your blog, despite being a useful part of marketing, shouldn’t directly sell anything. You’re an expert in your field of business, show it. Write “how to” guides (such as this one!), offer opinions on relevant current events, announce and discuss changes within your company, detail some tips and tricks about your products or services in action… Anything which entertains or informs your readers!
When you create a post or are brainstorming ideas for future posts, ask yourself these questions:
- Does this solve a problem my audience might have?
- Does this teach my audience something new?
- Would I share this?
Never Stop Blogging
A key element of a content marketing campaign (of which your blog is a part of, whether you realize it or not) is frequent, regular publishing of content. One blog a week minimum is what you should be aiming to publish. The trick, though, is that your blog needs to be good. There is no use in publishing one worthless, unreadable blog per day just to keep the thing up and running; each piece of content has to be valuable.
You may decide to outsource the writing (there’s a whole industry of ghost-writers who can create your blogs for you) in order to maintain a constant supply of articles to publish without having to spend hours at the keyboard yourself. However you make it work, just make sure you’ve got a steady stream of great quality content to post.
Use an Editorial Calendar
The importance of an editorial calendar cannot be stressed enough. If you’re reading this article it’s quite likely that you’ve got already got a job, you don’t need to complicate your work days by juggling your blog as well. Using an editorial calendar takes a lot of the stress out of managing a successful company blog. Emphasis on “successful.” If something is worth doing, it’s worth doing well, and with a business blog that involves planning and assessing.
An editorial calendar should detail the who’s, what’s, when’s, where’s, why’s and how’s. What blog needs to be written? Who is writing it? When does it need to be completed? When are we posting it? Where are we posting it? How are we promoting it?
This will keep everyone accountable, will make sure that the work gets done by a due date, and that your blog is managed smoothly. You can enlist the services of an online editorial calendar which will post your blog to your website and your social media sites for you. This is a super easy way to make sure that the posting and promotion of your blogs is done comprehensively and consistently.
Publish then Promote, Promote, and Promote Again
Publishing a blog post to your website is only the first step of getting your article seen and read. To really squeeze the most out of your blog post you need to promote it on social media channels as well. Post it to your Facebook page, tweet a link to it with a snappy tag line as to why people should read it – encourage people to click the link and read your blog post.
Whatever your goal is, whether it is to increase SEO, or to increase sales, or anything else, this aspect is important. Increased website visits from social media shows Google’s search bots that your website is popular and relevant. More visitors to your site means a wider audience and greater chance of funneling these people into your sales channel. Social media is a critical element of managing your company blog.
You can get a lot of mileage out of one blog. Cycle each blog through each of your social media channels. Don’t be afraid to re-promote something you’ve already posted about. Try a different tag line or caption, post about it at a different time of day. These different approaches keep it fresh and allow you to capture the attention of a wider group of people.
Include SEO Best Practices in Your Writing
Even if you’re not an SEO expert, or SEO is not the prime goal of your blog, it’s a good idea to stick to some SEO best practices when you create your blogs. A few little things can make all the difference and really take no time at all.
- Make sure there’s target keywords in there. Work out what keywords are important to this blog and your company. Try to write so that those keywords feature at least a couple of times.
- Provide links to relevant sources. Did you mention a particular product, company, news item, person, or event? Link to it. Choose anchor text (the words which you make the hyperlink) which is relevant to what you’re targeting and what you’re linking to.
- Use headings. Headings which include keywords are even better.
All of these things help the search bots to find your site and determine that it is relevant.
Companies without blogs will soon be left in the dust. The sooner you start a blog for your business website, the better. It’s something simple which does take time and effort, but the pay-off is worth it. Your blog will increase traffic directly by giving your audience useful information, and indirectly by increasing your search results ranking. This means fresh eyes, a wider audience, and more visitors to funnel into your sales channel.
To maximize these benefits you need to set goals, know your audience, write useful and interesting content regularly using some SEO tricks, and to promote that content across all forms of social media. With this solid framework in place and an editorial calendar to keep everything running smoothly, managing your business blog should be a breeze.