It seems like the ever-popular business blog tends to land somewhere in two camps: exceptionally wordy, play-by-play accounts that run on and on and on and on and on – OR – short, fluffy articles that had promising titles but told you everything you already knew. Very seldom do you find actively engaging blogs that continue to impress post after post.
But don’t let that discourage you. Developing and maintaining a thriving blog for your business shouldn’t make you pull your hair out with anxiety, but it should make you pause and think about what you really want. A blog, after all, can do some amazing things for your business. In fact, three of the most significant things they can do are:
A well-developed (and well-written) blog can be a champion in your search engine optimization (SEO) corner. It gives you a platform to connect with your target audience while producing the quality content that makes those Google bots swoon. Keywords, quality content, links, backlinks, and relevancy are all major SEO players achievable through a purposeful business blog.
A blog can give a face and personality to your business that you may not have if you run an online-only company. If you allow, monitor, and respond to comments, it also helps you generate new content quickly while showing your customers that you care enough to respond.
Show That You’re an Authority
By writing meaningful content on a regular basis, you are showing your customers that you are outstanding in your field. Preemptively answering a wide range of questions that your customers may have shows that you’re willing to educate your clientele, and you’re not just focused on selling them something. This can give you a pretty big leg up on your competition.
Good Ways to Blog
There are some good ways to create content and some bad ways. Unfortunately, the bad ways are easier to fall into because they’re, well, easier to do. If you’re looking to have a blog that is actually worth something, follow these best practice tips:
This tip has already been touched on a little bit, but it’s worth repeating. Your customers aren’t stupid. They know when you’re generating subpar, fluffy content just to get something up on your blog. If you want to keep your blog worthwhile and relevant, you need to write something that connects with your customers.
Think about the needs and interests of your target audience and generate something that would be helpful to you if you were in their shoes. The comments section, Quora, and a plain old Google search are all good ways to generate content ideas.
Additionally, don’t talk about yourself and your company throughout the post. Your customers get it—you’re trying to make a profit, but stick to the things that your customers want to read, and avoid keyword stuffing at all costs. Sure, it might get you a few more Google points in the short term, but it will annoy your customers and may get you penalized by Google down the road.
If you want people to visit your site and share your content, you need to create something that’s shareworthy. Take some time to think about your headlines because that is the first thing that your customers and the Google bots will read. People do, after all, judge a blog post by its title all the time.
Once you get people to open up your blog, they will only share it if it meets certain criteria. Typically, individuals will share a website if it’s talking about something personal to them, they want to show their support for a cause, they want to entertain others, or if they have something to gain—either in their personal relationships or the things they’re involved with.
Did you enjoy writing or reading the essays you wrote in high school? Probably not! So don’t expect that your audience will want to read or share your bland, five-paragraph essay, either. Your minimum word count should be 500, but you’ll find that writing quality content bumps you up into the 800-1200 word per post range.
Better yet, avoid counting words all together and focus on quality content instead. When you have content is killer you don’t have to struggle to post every day. But feel free to add more if you have something worth writing about. There’s no such thing as too much good content.
Develop Your Voice
In order to do this, you have to think about your business as if it was a person. How would your business talk? Who would it hang out with? What would it do with its free time? Once you have developed a little bit of backstory for your business, you will be able to write more effectively and consistently across blogposts. Most people write blogs with a conversational tone because your purpose is to inform, educate, and build relationships. Try to avoid the technical jargon unless that is the specific goal of your company.
Promote Your Content
Writing a fantastic blogpost and then hoping someone will drop by and read it is like painting a picture and stuffing it in your sock drawer. You have to seek people out by promoting your content. Once they’re hooked on your writing, they’re more likely to come back for more, but it’s highly unlikely that thousands of people will just stumble upon your site. Share your post to various kinds of social media – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn – but don’t stop there. Let your current subscribers know that you have posted new content by sending out an email to each of them.
Remember how important it is to incorporate value? Well, it is equally important to stay relevant with your audience. Come up with some goals for your business blog and stick with them. It might be tempting to go whatever direction the creative winds take you, but stick to your goals and your area of expertise. Research your competition and start building up a network of like-minded individuals. Share links with other bloggers and reach out to influencers to build up valuable connections. Consider having guest bloggers contribute to your blog to add some interest and variety.
Use Unique Images
Do not, I repeat, do not use stock photography whenever possible. Sure, it’s cheaper and easier than taking your own or paying someone else to do it, but your customers will get bored. Incorporate videos, high-quality unique photos, and infographics as often as possible. This doesn’t have a direct influence on your SEO rankings, but high-quality images can land you higher on the search engine results page.
Keep Load Times Low
As a follow-up on the previous tip, make sure that you are using the right picture size, and monitor your load times. Interesting images can take up a lot of space and cause slow speeds, and studies show that people aren’t willing to wait around for a page to load. Even if you have the most interesting blog on the planet, slow speeds may keep your own mother away.
Hopefully this blog has given you a few tips to incorporate as you start – or improve upon – your business blog. It’s not rocket science, but it does require a little bit of time, effort, and research on your part to make a blog that blows the others out of the water.