Creating content online has never been easier. Blogging platforms such WordPress and HubSpot have made it possible for anyone with an idea and a little bit of computer knowledge can become a content publisher. Now that you have a clear understanding of your business’ keywords and optimized your website for search engines, your next step should be to attract more visitors. Blogging and creating other content such as whitepapers, ebooks and webinars are powerful ways to help more of the right people discover your business online.
Why to Think About Business Blogging
Simply put, the goal of your business blog should be to publish articles that are not promotional but instead share industry expertise, much in the way a column or an article in an industry magazine would. This helps position you as an authority who is concerned not just with selling but also with educating customers and potential customers. This also helps immensely with SEO.
The key to successful blogging is to think like your customers. What questions do they have about your product/service/industry? Simply answer them in plain English using keywords they would be searching. Remember you aren’t writing an essay for school, you are answering a clients’ question. So write like you speak. This can be a bit intimidating for those of use who don’t consider ourselves “writers”. But this can be done with a little effort and practice.
Setting Up Your Blog: The Choices
While it is important that your blogging software be easy to use, it is more important that the content you create be interesting. If you are looking for a blogging platform for your business, some options include HubSpot, WordPress, TypePad, Drupal, Tumblr and Posterous.
Each of these platforms offer a content management system (CMS) which allows you to easily add content to your blog, without needing to know any HTML code. This enables you to quickly update your site with industry news or other timely information, without having to wait for a webmaster to post your changes.
Key Components of a Great Blog Post
A well-constructed blog post should include several key components:
- An Attention-Grabbing Article Title: Your blog article’s title is the first thing people will see. Make sure the title clearly explains what the article is about, is concise, is keyword-rich (because the header tag is the most important for SEO), and is attention grabbing.
- Well Written & Formatted Text: The body of your article should be well written and formatted in a way that makes it easy to read. Consider using header tags and bulleted lists to break up the content into sections. But don’t worry about being perfect. Focusing too much on perfect writing will halt your blog progress.
- Images/Videos: Relevant multimedia content can make a blog article more memorable and easier to read. The more engaging a post, the more likely it is to be read and shared.
- Links: Include in-text links to relevant content. These can also point to landing pages (which we’ll discuss more in Step Five) to help you generate more leads for your content.
- Call-to-Action (CTA): Consider adding a relevant call-to-action at the bottom of the article to help boost lead generation (we will discuss this is more depth in a future post).
Deciding What to Blog About – It’s Simple
As Simon Sinek says, Start with Why. Why are you blogging? Are you trying to drive more traffic to your website? Are you trying to build awareness about your business? Are you trying to sell more product? This list can go on and on.
As a FIRST step, we recommend your answer to the “why blog” question includes “to start positioning our business as a great teacher in our industry”. Decide what are you trying to teach potential customers about. There are a ton of great examples for niche industries that prove this works.
Perhaps you are trying to teach website visitors the in’s and out’s of various insurances like the Murray Group does. Or how to purchase refurbished MRI equipment like Block Imaging does. Or you want to teach readers their options for waterproofing their basements like U.S. Waterproofing does. Regardless of the topic, customers appreicate great content that’s non-salesy. And so does Google. These three businesses are proof that great teachers who have a passion for sharing quality information succeed.
In today’s marketplace, lack of information is not an issue. Lack of trust is. So remember you want to build authentic trust with people who find your business online. In my opinion, teaching via a blog (text, audio and/or video) is the BEST way to do this. Sometimes, our clients will balk at this. To them, it may seem counter-intuitive. Aren’t we trying to sell products and services they ask? Yes, you certainly are. However, during the buying process, customers will use the web and check multiple sources to learn about the products and services they want to purchase. Are these consumers more likely to trust content that tries to sell them one type of product or service? Or are they more likely to trust content that teaches them what they need to know to make an intelligent purchasing decision?
We all know the answer to that … businesses that teach win.
Getting Started with Questions
A great way to start is to think about the 20 most common questions you get asked by prospective new customers and/or current customers. Take each questions and write a short article explaining an answer (or you could shot a video or record audio if you prefer).
Post your answers twice a week for 10 weeks and you have the foundation for a successful blog.
To keep your blog fueled, simply list out every question you and your staff get asked by customers and potential clients. Then answer them on your blog.
Remember, two key points here:
- People use the web as a first source of information. They don’t call or stop into offices, they do searches online to gather information
- People search the web 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365.25 days a year. Your sales staff can’t be available around the clock (in most cases), but your digital sales staff (your blog) can be.
Remember to let your expertise and passion shine through your blog content and keep some of these business blog best practices in the back of your mind. And note your blog posts can be used more than once. Our clients often put together posts in an eBook, whitepaper or webinar.
Remember Why You Blog From A Strategy Standpoint
In the long run, our goal is to increase website traffic which increases the number of quality leads which in turn results in more sales.
In an upcoming post, you will learn how to create landing pages and calls-to-action (CTAs) to help convert website traffic into sales leads.
So, are you with me? Are you ready to give business blogging a try?