Business blogging is a form of inbound marketing, a marketing strategy designed to draw in potential leads with information they choose to receive. This is different from outbound marketing, which pushes messages to a target audience that may or may not be ready to receive it. Done right, a business blog will help grow your business.
Business Blogging Fundamentals: Exceptional Content
The best business blogs provide exceptional content that educates readers. This content should not focus on your business, but should talk about your industry. Think:
- Industry news or data
- Best practices
- Commenting on other industry blogs
Don’t be afraid to link to other blogs. You want to provide useful information, whatever the source, and you want other bloggers to link to you, too.
Provide a variety of content types, to appeal to different audience segments.
- Audio and Video: Embed or link to webinars, podcasts or engaging videos, either your own or from a sharing site like YouTube or Slideshare
- Graphs and charts to help readers understand data
- Text: Most posts will still be text-based, but you can offer variety with:
- Top 10 lists
- Links to useful tools, software or apps
- Q&A posts, where you answer recently received or frequently asked questions
Don’t forget the call to action. Your primary goal is providing information, but your secondary goal is gently guiding readers toward an eventual sale.
Business Blogging Fundamentals: Consistency
Business blogs do bring in business, and the most frequently updated blogs are more likely to do so than those updated less often. Aim to post at least weekly.
Blogging is time-consuming, but if you have employees, use them. Every person in your company has something valuable to say, so give them each a focused topic and a schedule. Have a content organizer (possibly you) review and post each piece. Keep employees invested by sharing news of successes, like new leads.
If you are a one-person business, experiment to find a posting schedule that works for you. When you’re short on time, use guest bloggers and list-type posts, which are easy to pull together.
Business Blogging Fundamentals: Engagement
Engaged readers are more likely to return and to share your content. Encourage conversations by:
- Keeping comments sections on new posts open and unmoderated.
- Responding to questions, concerns and even negative comments with a positive tone; include links to more information, if appropriate.
- Asking questions at the end of posts.
Extend your reach and keep readers coming back with:
- RSS and email subscription options
- Social sharing options, including Facebook like, LinkedIn share, Tweet and social bookmarking buttons
Business Blogging Fundamentals: Promotion & SEO
Even the best blog content is only useful if people can find it. Social sharing helps but is not enough.
First, make it obvious the blog belongs to you. You can either:
- Host it on your main website, as either a subdirectory (blog.yoursite.com) or a folder (www.yoursite.com/blog).
- Set up a separate domain (www.mybusinessblog.com), with your business logo and design elements similar to your main site.
Next, make sure your blog shows up in search engine results.
- Choose relevant keywords and optimize content for them.
- Set up your blog to automatically ping search engines and directories every time you post.
- Remember to send new posts to your business’ Facebook page, too.
Finally, spread your blog’s URL around. Include it in:
- Email signatures
- Business cards
- Other printed material like brochures, letterhead, direct mailings
- All your social media profiles
Business Blogging Fundamentals: Analytics
To measure how well all your efforts at content creation and promotion are working, you need analytics.
At the very least, track:
- Monthly visitors: who’s coming to your site and how often they’re coming
- Visitor sources: Search engines, referring sites, social media
- Traffic-generating keywords: Use those more frequently.
- Subscribers: People who read your blog regularly are valuable.
- Page views: Identify popular posts and write more like them or expand on their topics.
- Inbound links: Links provide SEO authority and tell you which posts readers found most valuable.
- Conversion: This tells you if you’re converting readers to customers, which is your ultimate goal.
Over time, a focused, well-designed business blog will become an indispensable marketing tool.
If you want to read some real-world case studies of these kinds of business blogging fundamentals in action, download one of our free white papers.