Less than a decade ago, blogging was viewed by many business people as a medium for teenagers and geeks: or a symbol of the internet's bad side - an anonymous place for shallow thoughts and baseless opinions.
Today, virtually every large company keeps a business blog. In 2012, blogs make money, launch careers and win Pulitzers. Ans business blogs are ABSOLUTELY VITAL for company promotion and SEO.
A good business blog is original , interesting and consistent. It is well-designed, optimized and finely strategized. It drives traffic, promotes your brand, generates leads and plays a HUGE role in your internet marketing strategy.
Know and Value your audience
Before you write a word, imagine the people who may read your blog. Of course, it will make some time and analysis to know for sure
Essentially, this is your audience:
Above all, be persistent and consistent with your posting so you can build trust among your growing followers.
A Blog Theme
First consider what you want your blog to accomplish:
Do you want to drive web traffic, drive foot traffic, generate leads, or generally promote your business?
- You can position yourself as an industry expert.
- You can become an authority on a specific niche.
- You can target a devoted local audience by blogging about your community.
- you can use creativity or humor to craft a unique voice
Choosing A Topic
What is interesting to your audience? What bores them to sleep and kills all conversions (document management?).
Research your competitors
It's recommended that you check out some popular existing blogs within your industry. See what they're writing about and which of their posts are most often viewed and shared; maybe even put these stats into an excel spreadsheet.
Fishing for Viral Hits
Look for good keyword value. What keyword phrases are big enough to be significant but small enough to be accessible. How can you exploit this opportunity with a well SEO’d article? Believe it or not, sizable web businesses have been launched on the back of a well timed blog post.
Pick a good Topic
While keeping in mind your skill set and chosen blog theme, start to brain storm. Think of ideas that are intriguing to you, that are original and interesting. What's your take on popular industry topics; do you have any entertaining angles on them?
Don't be afraid of showing your opinion, as long as you can back it up with facts. And don't feel like you have to make a huge splash every week. Just keep plugging away with consistently engaging material and build a following. Meanwhile, follow the techniques listed in this chapter and you'll have a healthy chance to going viral.
A good title strategy
You know how in school, it didn't really matter what your paper titles looked like?
Well here it matters and it matters a lot.
In journalism, a good title can greatly influence who reads an article. In bloggins, it's way more important than that. And it can affect SEO!
Consider which of these two blog post titles sounds more appealing:
The second title could result in 10x as many clicks for an identical post. Here are some helpful tips for title creation.
Make it catchy and grab attention! You can use:
- Teasers (like above)
- Urgency (“Destructive laws threatening new Sacramento homeowners!”)
- Providing a need (“The Ultimate Step-by-Step Guide to Hiring New Insurance Agents)
- Lists (“Top Five Biggest Threats to Your Auto Repair Shop). People love lists. It’s disgusting.
- Brevity is best. 80 characters is a decent limit.
- Use “you” in your title engage your potential reader.
- Keywords should be used in as many titles as possible, but not at the expense of generating interest.
Easy to Read Content Writing
Writing a business blog can be a balancing act – between personal, professional, and reader interests.
Ignore the voice in your head that tells you to write with a flowery or highly intellectual style. You may be the reincarnation of David Foster Wallace and that’s great. But as soon as the average reader sees you drop “quixotic” in a sentence, they’re gone.
Put away your thesaurus and instead focus on writing concise and clear content that most of your audience can easily digest.
It’s quite important that your posts have a consistent and interesting voice.
Try to be conversational. Use “you” and its variants. And try to talk to your reader and not talk at them. Neil Patel (from the awesome blog Quick Sprout) likes to say “write for people, not for machines.”
Above all, play to your strengths. Are you creative and funny? Detail-oriented and insightful? Quirky and weird? Translate these skills!
Be a personality!
The best way to do this is by assigning individuals as official blog writers and naming them in the article by-line. The stats prove that this is much better than being anonymous.
Many experts say you should start with a “hook” in the first paragraph to keep reader interest. That can be taken too far and you shouldn’t resort to being an annoying infomercial-sounding hack.
But its important that you don’t bore your audience away early; after all, you’re trying to convert them into regular readers. Don’t clutter the first few sentences with wordy language and details.
Make your reader think that you put some time and effort into planning and organization.
- Outline your post with the title in mind.
- Use clean transitions. Maybe consider sub-headings.
- Avoid large, clunky paragraphs.
In addition to content, topic, and title, it’s important to include relevant keywords in your articles, using the same rules as your web content strategy. Write naturally, utilizing a choice few keywords and do not repeat individual keywords excessively (more than a 5% of all content or in a blatant fashion).
Use your business blog as a promotional tool by linking to relevant pages and past blogs; it gives both your blog and your content greater authority and keeps traffic flowing. No more than 5.
Similarly, linking to other websites and resources can improve reader experience, give you some juice and possibly help you build relationships with other blogs. No more than 5 depending on the nature of your blog
Develop a blog roll – an in-blog directory to other industry/related blogs. This is a great source for backlinks and promotion; an blogging SEO necessity.
Call to Action
Finally, promote reader engagement through calls to action, a question or invitation to the readers at the end of your post. This can help you develop a following and promote interactivity.
Social Media Promotion
Link to your posts to get shares on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Experiment with different LinkedIn groups and Twitter hashtags.
Like in all aspects of your SEO strategy, a concise and meaningful meta-description can do wonders on your click-thru rate. A lazy approach can cost you a good chunk of potential visits.
Make your full blog URLs clean with hyphenated, relevant phrases and no unnecessary numbers and symbols. This makes them more visible to the Google overlords.
Good luck applying these tips to your own business blog.