Blogging is an important – most would say vital – component of a company’s marketing strategy. And it will enhance the reputation of your outfit. If you’re not business blogging, or outsourcing the task, you’re missing out on a lot of money-making opportunities.
If you’re not up to speed with why everyone should be blogging about their business, put your foot on the accelerator now.
It’s like when websites started becoming popular and businesses thought “do we really need one?” Yes they did. And now businesses need to be blogging.
If you haven’t blogged before, take note of these tips for getting it off the ground…
1. Decide who is going to write the blog
Writing a blog, as important as it is, can be time consuming if the person writing is extremely busy, low on ideas, or if writing doesn’t flow naturally.
You need to decide if you are going to do it yourself, ask another employee to do it, or outsource it to someone who can mould your ideas and thoughts into a great read – and come up with extra ideas of their own.
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2. Budget for blogging
Depending on who is writing the blog, you may need to factor in outsourcing costs, which can actually be a lot cheaper than you might think.
You may also need to put money aside for advertising on social media, giving an extra boost to your blogs on Facebook and Twitter, for example. The results can be impressive for a small outlay.
You may wish to budget for associated marketing strategies, such as email newsletters and videos.
And do you even have a website? Or does it need refreshing?
Many of these potential expenses may not apply, but certainly budget for time if the blog is going to be written in-house. How much time depends on the length of blogs and how often you are going to publish them.
3. Blog regularly
It will depend on how much you have to say, and how much time and/or budget you have to say it, but the more you can blog, the greater authority, interest and loyalty you will command.
Many businesses blog every day. Some say three times a week, others once a week. Whatever you decide, make sure they are published on a regular basis – don’t go for weeks without writing anything, or you’ll lose your followers.
Note that in general, longer blog posts over 2,000 words rank higher on search engines.
4. Work out your business blogging objectives
A blog can bring so many benefits to a business, but which ones are more important to you? Decide this and you know where to place your emphasis.
Is it a communication tool to keep people informed of what you are doing? Are you seeking authority, to position your company as the expert or leader in its field?
Is your website blog-based and your updates are the content?
Are you looking for leads, bookings or some other financial result?
Understand the reasons for blogging and stick to the plan, or evolve, but don’t lose focus.
And make your blog genuinely useful to the reader. Inform, educate and entertain.
By ‘entertain’ I mean don’t be dry – inject a bit of your own personality and perhaps humour into your writing if you can.
Give your readers content (related to your business of course) which they can genuinely benefit from.This is NOT about a hard sell. Business blogging is a friendly chat with your clients / potential customers. This is the building of trust and loyalty.
5. Work out who your target audience is
Is there a certain section of your potential customer base that you really want to appeal to? Does this mean you are going to have to alter the tone, even language of your blog?
Maybe you’re appealing to a broad range of people, just make sure you have the tone right – do you want to come across like a trusted friend? Or like a teacher you admire but wouldn’t argue with? Only you can decide.
6. React and respond with lightning speed
Two important strands here – responding quickly relates to comments posted on your blog (if you allow these) – answer queries quickly, it helps to build that good relationship with customers you are looking for.
Inviting customer questions might also give you extra subject ideas, by the way.
Reacting quickly is all about the wider world – the news, your competitors.
Whatever your plans are for the next blog, if something happens in the news that you can relate to, or give expert advice or an informed opinion on, jump on the bandwagon and get your views known.
Topical subjects are always well read and also increases the chance of your blog being shared time and time again across social media.
7. Add photos and videos
You want people to read your blog. Big wedges of text aren’t kind on the eyes. And readers will lose their focus.
Break the text up with images, or infographics, or videos, even links to YouTube. Just make it bright and beautiful – and useful.
8. Be the source of news
Fewer businesses are relying on promotion through the media these days. More are recognising that you can control what, where and when your news is released, and to whom.
But as well as announcing your own developments, consider updating your followers on news across your industry.
Nobody’s saying you have to promote your competitors, but if you are one of the main sources of news for what’s going on in your world, you could find that many consider your site their first port of call.
9. Use social media and keywords to promote your blog
One of your biggest challenges will be to build an audience. Social media is the most effective way of doing this.
There are many social media platforms, all working in different ways, all appealing to different interests and ages, and it might be that your own business needs to appeal to a number of these.
Find Facebook groups relating to your industry and join them so you can share updates there. Use hashtags on Twitter and Instagram to reach people searching for a particular word or phrase (it may be a topical one).
You can also put a little money (as little as £20-£30) into targeting your updates at specific areas, ages and interests.
LinkedIn will reach business customers, and you may also want to explore and share on Pinterest, Reddit and more.
You need to target the phrases that people are searching. Then you can work these phrases into your blog headlines to boost the chances of being highlighted on search engines.
That’s where keyword research comes in. You can pay for programs or just type a word into the Google search box and see what options come up (these are popular searches).
10. Keep on top of it and keep blogging
It’s a good idea to put together a content plan and calendar so you know what and when you’ll be writing, perhaps timed to coincide with important events.
But remember to be flexible and adapt and react to what’s going on in the world, too.
You’ll want to use analytical tools (Google Analytics is free for most of the information you’ll need) to keep a check on how many people are visiting your blog and website, where from, how they are accessing it, etc. This may give you a future steer in how you market the blog.
And if things move slowly at first, don’t give up, just try harder, bring in help (guest blogs from industry leaders, for example) or outsource the job.
This really works in promoting businesses. Millions of people around the world will testify to that.