This is the second post about producing a blog for your business.
In the first post, I explained what blogs are and why businesses need to consider maintaining a blog in their content marketing strategy. If you have not read the earlier post, please do so now and then come back here!
So by now, you might be convinced of the need for a blog on your business website.
How and where to start though; what to contain within it and how do you make it a success?
Producing and maintaining a blog does take dedication.
For a blog to be successful as a marketing tool, it must be up to date and regularly added to. Gaining pay off from creating a blog can take time and so it does take patience. Building up a good readership and gaining their trust will not happen overnight. A blog post that ‘goes viral’ is a rarity but persist at offering your expertise with good content and you will not regret it.
Here is some guidance on how to get a blog started and how to help make it a success:
10 Essential Factors to Consider when Writing a Blog for your Business:
1. Blog Host
In order to create a blog on your website, ensure that the website has a blog hosting facility. Some recommend using a plug-in such as WordPress to enable you to add regular blog posts, but many other website builders offer similar blogging tools.
A specific tool will make the process of publishing your blog easier and create a professional feel to it.
2. Content Ideas…
One big reason that many people give up on maintaining their blog is that they run out of ideas of what to write about.
For a blog to be a success it needs regular new material but coming up with fresh ideas is not easy.
There are some tips and tricks to help with this:
- Put yourself directly in the shoes of your potential clients. What are their problems? What are they regularly asking? What do they really care about? The content of a blog is not about what is important to you – it is about what is important to the reader. You know your customers so reflect on their problems and provide content accordingly.
- Do not be afraid to use your competitors for ideas. Have a look at what successful competitors are offering. What are they writing about? Use this to help generate your ideas. There is no reason you cannot use the same general ideas for your own blog – just make sure that what you write is still unique to you and not directly copied!
- Free content idea generation tools are available online which offer ideas for what to write about on a blog, based on popular internet searches. Test out one of these tools to give you more ideas.
- Consider offering information about news and updates relevant to your industry or business. Demonstrate you are up to date in your field. Help your reader feel they know you better as a company. ‘Show and tell’ what your business offers and can do!
3. Schedule your Content
Once you have generated ideas for your blog, it is worth creating a ‘content schedule’ or plan so that you know what you will be publishing and when.
Establish your content calendar alongside your regular calendar and make blog post ideas relevant to the time of year and what else is happening.
For example, at Christmas, you may consider creating content that is specific to problems your clients might have at that time of year. Similarly, you might be planning a big change in your business in the coming months and planning content around this at the relevant time will be important.
The calendar you create need not be complicated – a simple spreadsheet or using an online calendar is sufficient.
As you are planning, also look at writing some posts ahead of schedule to ensure they are ready and you are not facing added pressure to create informative writing at the last minute!
4. Your Writing Style
The style of writing you use in your blog posts also matters.
Do you want it to come across as corporate or laid back; funny or serious; conversational; contain slang or the ‘Queen’s English’?
Writing in a blog can take any form or style but ensure that the writing is going to be easy to read and understand.
Keep the reader feeling engaged and entertained by how you write.
Choose a consistent style that fits with your business personality and brand. This helps your potential clients know you better and feel they have formed a relationship with you.
Blog posts that contain images attract more readers and keep people on the page for longer.
One recent statistic found that a blog with images attracted 94% more views than one without.
Break up your blog post with attractive images that are relevant to your topic.
Infographics are another great tool to use here.
When using images, you can either use photos you have taken yourself or you can find images online to use.
If you are sourcing images from the internet, ensure that there are no copyright limitations on publishing them in your post. There are websites that offer copyright free images to download so explore these options.
Once you have your post idea and perhaps have also written the content of the post, how do you really attract people to read it?
The headline for your post is important. The title of the post needs to be attention-grabbing and ensure that the potential reader knows what the post is about immediately. A headline that sounds dull or is ambiguous will not attract many clicks to read it!
Use powerful headlines that might also incorporate an emotional hook to your reader. Pulling on the potential reader’s problem, promising an answer if they read your post, will help to drive more traffic to your site.
7. Call to Action
Another important factor in your blog posts is to incorporate a ‘call to action’ at the end of the page. The purpose of blog content is not to push direct sales, so this call to action is not usually a typical ‘buy now’ option.
In my earlier post, the importance of a blog for reader engagement was identified. Therefore, the call to action at the end of your posts might encourage the reader (and potential client) to form an ongoing conversation with you.
Ask for feedback about what you have written in the post and request opinions. If a reader does respond and provide comments or opinions then keep that conversation going. The more you engage the reader, the better chance that reader will convert to a client in the future.
8. Long or Short Posts?
The recommended length of a blog post has changed over recent years. A few years ago, shorter blog posts were being advised (of around 500 words each) as it was felt that readers would not have the attention span or time to read for longer than this. This advice has now changed.
It is currently recommended that blog posts should, ideally, be longer. Short posts of around 500 words are now recommended as an absolute minimum. The main reason for this turnaround in advice is due to SEO rankings (see the previous post for initial information about SEO).
Search engines, such as Google, want to ensure that high-quality websites and information score more highly on their rankings and so are found before other sites. Google now determines that longer posts are likely to offer more detail and value to a reader than shorter posts and ranks them higher.
The general consensus at this time of writing, in 2018, is that posts of around 2,000 words rank the best.
However, long posts are not always necessary or appropriate. A large part will depend on what the topic of your post is.
As ever, the priority is to keep the reader at the forefront when you write. If you are writing long posts, ensure that the content remains valuable and can inspire, entertain or educate your potential client. More isn’t always better!
9. Market your Blog!
Once you have started your blog, the next step is to market it! As much as we would love it to be the case, readers are unlikely to find your new blog unless you tell them about it.
Social media is one of the biggest tools today in which people market their blogs. Sharing your posts on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn etc will increase the likelihood of your followers seeing it.
A good post will generate likes, shares or re-tweets via these channels and slowly your readership can build.
If you do get comments on your posts either directly on your website or via social media then do take the time to respond to them and continue the conversation. Let your readers know you do exist and that you care about them and their engagement with you.
Other marketing methods might be emails, using a marketing email list you have or via newsletters.
10. Social Media Share Icons
Finally, it is also important on your post pages that you have ‘share’ buttons for social media channels.
If a reader has found your post informative and helpful, make sure they can see an instant way to share it with their followers. Make it easy for the reader… the more social media shares you get, the more new potential readers you also attract.
Starting a blog for your business need not be complicated and should not be stressful.
Get the basics right from the start and keep adding content, offering ongoing engagement with your readers and marketing your blog posts. Over time your blog will flourish and the readers you engage will build trust in you and your brand, converting to clients.
What are your main concerns about starting a blog?
Do you have a blog but have doubts about it or questions? Let me know here in the comments below.
For those who would like to offer their readers and potential clients a blog but do not want to produce it themselves, remember that professional content writers do offer this service.
Take the hassle out of the blog production but still reap the rewards from the content marketing by hiring a content writer.
*Images sourced from Pexels.com