Once upon a time (not so long ago), only a select few businesses had websites. Now they’re considered essential and few, if any, serious businesses are without them. In the same vein, a regularly updated blog on that website is now also critical. To put it bluntly, if you don’t have one, you’re already a step behind.
Blogging is one way of establishing a deeper connection with your audience, and proving to them that you are a thought leader, and a source of relevant, factually correct information. Having a blog allows you to express company views on matters without having to commit to any particular ethos – you can post articles that agree or disagree on a current standpoint, and ask your audience to share their thoughts as well.
What is a business blog?
Basically, a business blog is your own personally curated opportunity to engage with your clientele on a regular basis by writing articles and providing information that is interesting or important to your audience. It enables your business to establish a tone and dialogue with existing and potential customers while positioning yourself as an expert in your field.
A blog allows you to personally engage your potential and existing customers by providing unique tips, insight or expertise in your field. It enables you to regularly share your company ethos and brand, or discuss pertinent issues to your industry. The upshot of that is it establishes your business as a credible authority in your field.
As the blog is akin to your personal magazine, it allows you to highlight incentives, campaigns, and tips for your audience. It’s a subtle way of marketing products or services you have by offering wisdom, advice, or information to your clientele.
One of the prime purposes a blog serves is to keep your business name “front of mind”. A well-written, interesting blog will keep clients coming back to your site for further information. If you then also put your blog to work through news feeds and email campaigns, it ensures people keep coming back to you and remember your name.
What are best practices when blogging for your business?
You’ve decided to make the leap into business blogging, great! These best practices will help ensure you get your blog started on the right foot.
Choose One Topic and a Phenomenal Title
Choose one, and only one, topic to write a blog about. Your blog needs to be educational and not promotional. Keep in mind that consumers, at this point, are just trying to learn more about a subject or topic. They are not necessarily ready to buy after reading one article. If you try to sell them right away, consumers will stop reading and likely will never return.
When choosing a blog topic consider some of your most frequently asked questions or what your customers need help with.
Find out what readers want to know and answer their questions. One tool that may help is called Answer the Public. Type in a word and get suggested ideas for a blog. Depending on the keyword you type, you can get hundreds of useful ideas.
The title must capture a person’s attention while also delivering on the topic. Titles should be no more than 9 words in length and no more than 60 characters. After 60 characters, Google cuts it off. You can write the perfect title, but no one will see all of it if it is too long.
For some people (including me) titles are harder to write than the 500-word body. Co-Schedule has an awesome tool to help people like us, the headline analyzer. Type your headline into the bar and Co-Schedule will give you a score. They will also give you suggestions on how to improve it.
Keep It Easy to Read
Visitors to your blog are there to gather information, so make it easy for them. Content needs to be clear and concise. The Yoast SEO plugin is great for helping with readability. It includes a Flesch Reading Ease score, as well as a host of other features. If you struggle with spelling or using proper grammar, then try Grammarly.
Don’t be afraid of white space. White space, the area that does not have text or images, helps a reader organize what they see on the screen. If there is too much to look at, it causes sensory overload and people will exit the page.
Don’t forget to format your blog. Use section headers or bullets and include images to break up the text. Adding both external and internal links to the blog will help with its credibility. Include external links from reputable sources.
Keywords, oh those dreaded keywords! Search engine optimization should be one of your first considerations when planning out your blog strategy.
Keep things simple and start by only choosing one topic to blog about. Since it is difficult to get found with a single keyword, use a long-tail keyword instead. A long-tail keyword is searched less frequently but also has less competition, making it easier to rank for. As you rank for more and more keywords, it will be easier to go for keywords with higher competition.
Include the keywords in the URL and the title. While the entire long-tail keyword does not need to appear in order, it should also be in the body of the content, the headers, and in the alt-text of at least one image.
Every post must have a call to action (also known as a CTA). You wrote that blog for a reason and while it was to inform people, you hope they will take another step toward buying your product. Unless you move them in that direction, they may not continue.
A call to action does not necessarily mean they are ready to buy. Instead, offer them exclusive information, but in return, ask them for their email or other pertinent details. Examples include newsletter or eBook sign-up.
The call to action happens at the end of every post. Consider also using a passive link bar at the end of the first few paragraphs, for people who do not read the entire blog.
Stay the Course
It takes a long time to build a following online, but blogging will help grow that audience and encourage loyalty. Consistency is key to growing that audience and getting value out of your content. Depending on your time capabilities, anywhere from 2-8 blogs each month is ideal.
The more blogs you publish, the faster you’ll improve your SEO rankings. However, remember that content quality is always king. If you’re publishing eight bad 250-word articles each month, you’ll be doing more harm than good. Instead, focus on writing excellent articles, even if you only get two up each month.
Hear Ye, Hear Ye!
You spent hours writing and formatting the content, now go promote it. The best ways to share your blog is on social media and with your email list. There are great automation tools available to make promotion easier.
Choose the right social media platform for your business. Follow the best practices for how often to promote them. Each site has different guidelines to maximize your reach. If you promote too much or too little, that will affect your results, depending on the platform.
The final best practice for business bloggers is to analyze. Follow the performance of each blog and study what is working and what is not.
Check how many clicks the blog receives and analyze it based on the topic and the social media channel used to promote it. Start with the analytics tools the social media site provides and add Google Analytics for clicks from the website. This should give you a good picture.
If a blog does not perform to your expectations, decipher why. Was it a poor headline or topic? Too hard to read or not promoted enough? In some instances, you can go back and fix the problems, then promote it again.
What rules should bloggers keep in mind when writing?
No matter what you’re writing about – there are a few simple rules that can ensure your content is optimized, professional, and concise.
Know Who You’re Writing For
Before you start, you need to establish who it is you are writing for – who is your target audience? What is their age range, gender, and motivational status? For example, if you’re writing for young professionals just entering the workforce, using overly technical language or unexplained jargon could alienate your readers – you want your readers to connect with what you’re saying; if you make your audience feel that you’re looking down on them, they won’t come back to read more.
If your reader can’t connect, then it doesn’t matter how well written or researched it is – your blog will fail as a source of information.
Use Appropriate Language
Related to knowing who your audience is - you need to ensure that you speak to them in language that is appropriate; finding that balance between simple enough to clearly understand, but not so basic that you come across as condescending.
Using slang or popular phrases may make you feel that you’re on-trend and appealing to your audience – but remember, trends and fads come and go. By including this style of language, or pop culture references – you are effectively dating your work; this may not be an issue if you’re writing about a niche subject – for example, ‘2021 Summer Styles’ – but if you’re aiming for longevity with your blog – for example ‘How to Approach Social Media Marketing’, then you want to be careful with how you write.
Maintain a Consistent Brand Voice & Style
Are you directly addressing your audience – or are you writing in generalizations about a subject as a whole? Speaking directly to your reader can make your work feel more inclusive and approachable, but it’s not always the appropriate method. Different approaches can be combined – for example, including quotes or industry statistics – or writing about the subject then including a directly addressed closing paragraph to describe your own position, but care should be taken not to change tenses for no reason as this can be disruptive.
Pick Your Facts Carefully
The inclusion of factual data can give your blog a level of authority and indicate to your reader that you have done your research. However, these need to be carefully reviewed for veracity – if your reader can’t trust the information you are providing, they won’t believe what you’re saying.
It’s always important to confirm the publication date of your resources. For example, if you’re writing a piece on 2021 Market Influences, including facts from 2013 without stating that they’re for historical comparison, can invalidate what you’re saying and cause the reader to doubt the accuracy of your blog.
How can bloggers come up with blog topics to write about?
As we explored, consistency is a key element to your blogging strategy. So, let’s say you start religiously publishing content on a consistent schedule. At first, everything is going well. After all, you know your topic well and you blog with passion. But after a while, that constant stream of blog post ideas starts to slow down to a trickle.
Don’t fret, these strategies will ensure you’ve always got a well of ideas at your disposal.
Leverage What You Already Have
If you already have a blog, there's probably already some kind of interaction with your audience too. You may get questions via email or as comments on your articles. Aside from just replying to these questions, keep a list of all the questions that your visitors have asked you and see if you can turn them into a blog post. After all, if one person is asking a question, chances are that there are more people with the same problem.
If the topic is too small, try doing a quick Google search for the question. Then, use Google’s recommendations for additional questions.
Leverage the Power of Social Media
If you're just starting out and your visitors don't come to you with questions (yet), why not turn it around and take the questions to them? Check out Facebook groups for questions already left by your target audience, or start a new topic of your choice yourself. Encourage them to ask questions and express their concerns. This will get you more than enough material for your next posts. It's also a great way to connect with your audience and spark conversions!
Get into the Habit of Taking Notes
How many times have you stumbled over an interesting article or forum thread, and bookmarked it for later? Check your bookmarks and turn the most interesting ideas into engaging articles on your site. Make a habit out of taking notes whenever you find something that's worth reading.
Use Online Tools to Generate Blog Post Ideas
You're not the only one struggling with writer's block. Most bloggers are facing this problem once in a while. That's why web developers are constantly launching new tools, from title generators to headline analyzers. Use these to maximize your reach with the right topics!
Portent, for example, generates topics and blog post ideas based on your subject of choice. All you need to do is to enter a word or phrase in the designated space. This handy tool will generate dozens of headlines that you could use for your posts.
Another option is Hubspot's Blog Topic Generator. Here you can enter up to three nouns related to your niche. Hit "Give Me Blog Ideas," and you'll get a worth's week of topics. If you sign up, you'll receive a year's worth of ideas for your blog. Sounds cool, isn't it?
Need more options? Try Blog About by Impact! Enter a keyword or keyphrase and then click Next. This tool will generate headlines that you can fill out as you wish.
You can also try SEOPressor's Blog Title Generator, which provides fresh headlines based on your keyword and type of post. Users can opt for generic posts, brand or product reviews, events, skills, and other criteria. This will ensure that your headlines are relevant and grammatically correct.
Check Out Q&A Sites
You've probably noticed that sites like Quora, Reddit, and StackOverflow pop up on Google's first pages whenever you are looking for specific information online. These platforms are a goldmine for bloggers and marketers.
A lot of people use them to find answers to questions related to just about everything, from saving money to paying taxes or losing weight. Since users don’t have to display their real names, they're more likely to ask about sensitive topics.
For example, many women wouldn't ask about menstrual cups or pregnancy problems on Facebook, but they can easily do it on Quora where no one knows their identity. If your blog appeals to future moms, you could cover such topics in your next posts.
Once your article goes live, you can go back to these Q&A sites and drop a link to your blog. Be sure to provide value and give a bit of information before sending readers to your blog or you’ll quickly be banned for spam. This is a great way to get insights into your audience and provide them with the information they need when they need it the most. Not to mention that the Google algorithms will appreciate the extra links to your site.
Start growing your business with a blog!
So, what are you waiting for? Leverage the power of the Internet to create the most amazing blog posts ever! With so many resources available, you’ll always find something to write about. Be bold and approach controversial topics. Write from your own perspective rather than saying the same things found on other sites and blogs. The only way to succeed in today’s competitive world is to be different.
As a marketer, you’ve got a lot on your plate. Explore how Missinglettr streamlines your blog promotion efforts to get more views on your posts while saving you hours each week.