When done right, a business blog can market your company, attract new customers, and position you as an industry leader. Unfortunately, many businesses start blogging without a clear idea of what to write about or how to use it to market their company. As a result, business blogging often takes up time and energy without producing any benefit.
If you have a business blog that isn’t pulling its weight, follow these seven tips to create a marketing tool that promotes your business and builds relationships with customers and colleagues.
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Below are some best practices you should regularly follow to make the most of your business blog.
You would never run a magazine ad or a TV commercial without knowing the intended audience. Similarly, you should never create a blog post without knowing the kind of reader you’re writing for.
These readers should be your target customers — the people most likely to be searching for and interested in learning about your business. If you don’t yet have a defined audience, create a reader profile based on what you know about your ideal customers. Include the following information:
Gathering this information will help you choose topics to write about and create a blog that your customers will care about.
Customers, blog readers and search engines all like predictability. If you start writing, but then don’t post for several weeks, readers are less likely to come back and see what else you’ve written. A website that publishes infrequently won’t rank as high in search engines, making it less likely that customers will find you through online search.
It’s hard to publish regularly if you are struggling to think of things to write about or forgetting that your blog exists. To prevent this, create an editorial calendar that lays out a plan for what you will write and when it will be published.
The frequency of your posts doesn’t matter as much as the quality and consistency. One well-written, relevant blog post every two weeks will market your business better than daily poor-quality posts every day or a blog that hasn’t been updated in months.
If you want customers to find your website when they search online, your blog posts must include related phrases that customers might type into a search engine.
Before you write each post, brainstorm these phrases (known as long-tail keywords) and include them in your writing. For example, if your company provides accounting services to small and mid-size businesses, your customers may search for “small business accounting tips.” Aim for one main keyword and two or three secondary keywords that are relevant to the topic you are writing about.
To optimize your blog posts for online search (also known as search engine optimization, or SEO), add signals that tell search engines what your post is about. When search engines read these signals, they can direct relevant traffic to your website.
Adding keywords in the right places optimizes your blog post for search. The main keyword that you select should be found in the post’s title, at least one heading, and once or twice in the body of the blog posts. Secondary keywords should appear in headings and the body of the post.
Incorporate these keywords as naturally as possible. Do not add keywords randomly or in sentences where they don’t fit organically; this is known as “keyword stuffing” and signals to search engines that your site is not trustworthy.
The written post isn’t the only place where you should use keywords. They should also appear in the following places:
When you optimize all these places, you send multiple signals to search engines and make it easier for them to direct customers to your blog.
Although blogging’s effect is often indirect, it is still a form of marketing and should be tied in with your overall marketing strategy to have the strongest possible impact.
If you are advertising a sale on your social media or email marketing, include that information on your blog as well. If your business is mentioned in the media or you appear on a TV spot or radio show, put that in a blog post and include a link so that visitors can see those appearances.
If you rebrand your business or change your website, your blog should change too.
Are you launching a product? Write several blog posts on related topics and publish them in the weeks leading up to the launch to generate interest and help customers understand how the new product will benefit them.
In addition to building relationships with customers and directing new visitors to your website, your blog can also help establish your reputation within your industry and help you network. The following types of blog posts can create networking opportunities:
When you create and share content that is relevant to your broader industry, other businesses are likely to share it as well. That creates the opportunity to build professional relationships. It also increases the reach of your blog, putting your business in front of a new audience and making it more likely that you will be noticed by the media.
Customers want to know that you care about your business. More importantly, they want to know that you care about solving their problems. This means that, no matter the topic of your business blog, your posts should communicate your investment in your business and customers.
When you plan out relevant, helpful posts, you show that you understand your customers’ needs and concerns. A carefully written blog communicates that you value their time and want to help them. Sticking to a regular schedule shows that you are thoughtful and attentive. Customers want to see these qualities in a business.
A poorly written blog, however, indicates that you don’t value your readers’ time. Posts that don’t address the interests of your customers show that you haven’t thought about how your business can help them. Haphazard posting makes your business look scattered or disorganized. Bad grammar or poor editing makes you look unprofessional.
Your business blog can be a low-cost way to boost your SEO, attract more website visitors, and generate more leads.
Maintaining your business blog is important for the following reasons.
Creating content relevant to your business can feel like a heavy lift when running your company involves so many other tasks. But a blog is more than just words on a page — it’s a low-cost door to new opportunities with customers. If you regularly invest time into your blog, you might spend less time and money on your overall marketing in the long run.
Additional reporting by Max Freedman.