Why Are Businesses so Resistant Towards Having a Blog?
A business, by definition, is a firm or organization that deals in the trade of goods, services or a combination of both in an attempt to create a consistent revenue stream. But most business forget that in order to truly engage with both consumers and fellow industry leaders, there needs to be a way to create a line of communication for both sides to tap into.
That’s where a business blog comes into play. And to quell many of the fears and hesitations that businesses tend to have with starting and maintaining a blog, we’ve compiled a list of tips and simple guidelines to help your business blog stay ahead of the curve:
1. Post often, post consistently
If you’re going to go through the trouble of starting a business blog, the very least you can do is be consistent in the frequency of your posts. This doesn’t mean you have to post three times a day. That’s overkill. Once a week, every two weeks or even once a month are all perfect intervals of time that will keep your blog consistent and fresh with new content.
2. Always Use Creative Commons-approved Media
No matter how interesting a photo may be that you came across during a Google search, if it’s an image or video that does not has any expressed permission for reuse, do not use it! The last thing your blog (or your business) needs is a pending lawsuit because you used a copyrighted image without expressed consent.
3. Don’t Hawk Your Wares
Your blog is not the place to sell any of your goods or services. That’s what the sales department is for.
4. The Rule on Calls to Action
Using a small call to action, or CTA, to point readers in the direction of a potential good or service is fine, but use your best discretion. Normally, the CTA asks readers for simple contact information, like email, in exchange for anything from a free whitepaper to an eBook or presentation.
5. Optimize for Search Engine Optimization
Make sure to use a healthy, yet reasonable, amount of relevant keywords within headlines, subheads, copy, meta descriptions and alt tags. The trick, though, it to make sure you’re striking a balance between SEO and maintaining an organic flow to your writing. You don’t want your posts to read like a robot wrote them.
6. Provide Quality and Relevant Content
The blog posts should be about your clients. Period. Pick their brains to see what questions they may want answered. Identifying your customers’ pain point will take you a long way when creating new content ideas down the road.
7. Recycle Your Material
Don’t write a blog post, publish it and assume that’s it. You can increase the shelf life of your content by purposing it in other ways. Submitting it as a guest post, configuring it into a free eBook or adding it as a social media share or monthly newsletter will help give your content legs.
8. Don’t Skimp on the Visuals
In this day and age, most people surfing the Internet can spot a piece of generic stock art from a mile away. It’s lazy, unimaginative, and rarely ever describes the true makeup of your company. Invest a little time and effort into gathering relevant images to use in blog posts. The more local and industry specific you can make it, the better.
9. Be Mindful of Post Length
When writing for an online audience, the goal is to be as concise and pithy with your content as possible. On average, most blog posts can fall anywhere between 250 to 450 words; aside from the one you’re reading now, of course. Longer reads should be packaged in the form of a whitepaper or an eBook for the best results.
10. Tell a Story or Two
Using personal experiences or references within a blog post will resonate more with readers allowing you to connect with them on a more meaningful level. This, in turn, will help with strengthening brand recognition and identity.
11. Make it Easy to Read and Skim
Smaller, easy-to-digest sentences will help readers synthesize post faster and much more effectively. It also helps readers grasp the main points of your post without feeling like they have to invest too much time into it.
12. Establish and Utilize Your Company’s “Voice”
Your company’s blog should be a direct extension of the people who work for it. Don’t write like somebody you’re not. As mentioned before, your blog should serve as a line of communication between you and your consumer base, so why not communicate openly and honestly?
13. Gain Authorship
Enrolling in Google Authorship will not only improve your SEO results, but will also help to establish yourself as a reputable source of information within your respective industry. Just make sure your business has a working Google+ account set up, as it is required.
14. Don’t Prattle On
One blog post, one idea. That’s it. Focus your writing and be sure to stay on task from start to finish. The more you ramble on and jump from one tangent to the other, the less likely you are to engage readers, thus stifling the potential success of your blog.
15. Formatting is Key
Just like in your English classes in grade school, writing a post that has a distinct beginning, middle and conclusion will help maintain order and chronology.
16. Edit Your Work
Haphazardly sending out a blog post with a bunch of unchecked spelling and grammatical errors is like showing up to the first day of your new job in a rumpled, wrinkled suit. It never sets a good impression.
17. Include Relevant Links
Using relevant links that send readers to even more relevant information and websites will help to establish you as a credible source. Bonus points if your links can send readers to other relevant pages or posts within your own site.
18. Share and Share Alike
Providing social share buttons in your blog will allow readers to send your posts to others via networks like Twitter, Facebook and more. Extending your reach beyond your target audience could, invariably, open you up to an entirely new audience you may not have known you needed.
19. Promote Your Hard Work
This goes hand-in-hand with social sharing. Promoting your blog posts on RSS feeds, in newsletters and email campaigns, or even just spreading the news via word of mouth will help posts to gain traction online.
20. Respond to Reader Comments
Be responsive to your core audience any chance you get. Whether it’s through blog comments, Facebook message or Twitter replies, keeping the lines of communication are helpful for both sides. Don’t be afraid to curate your comments as well. If someone is clearly spamming or sending malicious comments your way, delete them.
Granted, starting and running a successful business blog takes a great deal of work and dedication. There are far more moving parts than anyone could have imagined, but here’s the trade off: a successful business blog will not only help you engage in your consumer base on a more personal and valued level, it also gives your business a personality and voice that will ultimately put you on the path to a more successful business, too.
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