Company blogs have become a crucial part of many online business strategies. Hubspot noted that 57% of companies with a blog have acquired a customer from their blog and 81% of businesses reported that their company blog is useful to critical for their business. So if you’re ready to take the plunge into blogging, check our quick rundown of business blogging 101.
- Define Your Goals.What do you want your blog to do? And what do you want your readers to get from you? Here are a couple things to keep in mind when setting a blog strategy for a company:
- What do I want to do? List out what you expect from your blog: new clients and leads, increased web presence, a dedicated avenue to post company news. Knowing what you want from your blog in advance helps dictate the overall strategy.
- What do I want to achieve? Do you want 5 new subscribers a month? Or 3 quality leads? Setting measurable expectations helps determine specifically what you want for your efforts and weed the successful strategies from the less successful ones.
- Can I measure results? Using quantifiable results to measure your success makes tracking progress easier. Set milestones for goals, and don’t forget to check in on them consistently.
- Are my expectations realistic? Very few things are as sad as coming short of goals you set for yourself. Make sure you’re not setting yourself up for failure before you even begin.
- How will my blog fit in with the bigger picture? Make sure your blog is integrated into your online business strategy and serves a supporting role to your company’s overall goals.
- Establish a Strategy. Now that you’ve set up your blog, what do you say? Mind maps, like this one compiled by John Haydon, serve as a great first step. Blogging, especially at the beginning, requires more than just a solid content strategy; you’ll want to account for how you’ll promote your blog, interact with your community and measure your efforts.Next, establish your goals. How do your responses and content strategy support them? Never be afraid to go back and revise your strategies if they don’t meet your goals.
- Choose the Right Tone. Your tone should reflect company’s culture and resonate with the target audience you’re trying to reach. Not sure how to proceed? Generally, a look at your company’s website can help pinpoint your blog’s tone.
- Engage.Don’t leave your blog post hanging at the end; include a call to action! A strong call to action gives readers a next step, such as asking their opinion (“What do you think? Let us know in the comments.).If you get feedback on your blogs, like comments on a post or social media call-outs, be ready to respond! Even if it is as simple as a “Thanks for reading!”, a little recognition goes a long way toward creating loyal readers. And don’t be afraid to remove comments if they seem like spam.
- Use Non-Branded Keywords and Tags. Expand your horizons in search engine results by naturally incorporating keywords related to your company. After time and dedication, search engines will come to associate those words with your website, and you’ll see yourself rise in search rankings. For more information on the wild field of search engine optimization, check out Google’s Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide, Yahoo’s SEO Basics Guide and Search Engine Guide’s 10 part series SEO 101:Everything You Need to Know About SEO (But Were Afraid to Ask).
- Use Links. Don’t be afraid to link to pages within your site and other sites. Links will help give your blog more credibility and make you look like the the expert you are. And when you do include a link, make sure to update the link settings to make it open in a new window.
- Post Regularly. Leaving your blog floating at the end of your to-do list will only give you sporadic readership and low loyalty. What’s the value in that? Instead, plan your posts — and the rest of your digital strategy — with an app like iScreamto make sure you’re posting when you need to.Still at a topic loss? Check out our blog post 8 Ways to Get Blog Post Ideas and our 15 favorite internet marketing blogs.
- Cross-Promote.Have a Facebook and Twitter account? Social media sites are natural places to share your blog with people interested in your brand. Just remember to post strategically; you don’t want to overwhelm your fans and followers, and have them unsubscribe as a result.Also make sure you set up an RSS feed for your blog so subscribers can get your updates automatically. Talk about convenient!
- Consider Style.Don’t let writing for the web get you down. There are several great resources on the web to help release your inner writing ninja, including the Yahoo! Style Guide for all your general writing needs or the Economist’s Style Guide for the worldly writer.Some highlights:
- You’ve got a short amount of time to win readers over. Make sure your title and introduction are eye-catching and interesting.
- Avoid lengthy paragraphs and use bulleted or numbered lists if possible, make it scannable.
- Write for a worldly audience; avoid region-specific phrases and words when possible.
- Review the Stats at Your Disposal. Remember those goals you set? Now it’s time to go back and see where you excelled and where there’s room to grow. Most blog platforms include some sort of analytics, but if not, Google Analytics is free to install and provides comprehensive statistics. Use these newly-discovered insights to plan your next round of posts and get the maximum benefits from all your hard work.
Now that you’ve got business blogging 101 down, it’s time get to writing! What are your favorite writing tips and tricks?