We seek to connect and communicate with our customers through multiple channels, from social media to dynamic content in marketing emails. But one increasingly popular way to reach our audience is through publishing business blogs.
Just what is a business blog? What benefits do they offer? And with around 6,912,000 blog posts published per day, how do we make ours any different from the rest?
One of the simple definitions of a blog is:
...a regular feature appearing as part of an online publication that typically relates to a particular topic and consists of articles and personal commentary by one or more authors.
So, a business blog adheres to that definition, but will also always be related to a particular business topic, product, or service. A business blog will usually feature on a company’s website, though some business blogs may appear on an independent commentator’s site.
If on a company site, the blog will have some relation to a product or service offered by that company or to something very closely related to what they offer. It is a marketing tactic designed not only to inform readers, but to increase visibility of your organization and, ultimately, to push readers towards buying your products or services.
A business blog post can vary in length but is usually short form or long form and between 1,000 and 2,500 words in length. It will primarily focus on one subject such as ‘Marketing on Instagram’, but may contain hyperlinks to other resources, products, websites, and even other blogs.
Your website is both a marketing tool and a marketing asset. You want as many people to see your site as possible. The most common way people find a website is by using a search engine, so you want your website to rank as highly as possible in relevant searches. The more useful content a site has, the better your ranking will be.
There are also other factors at play, especially using SEO keywords and phrases to help people find you. But the great thing about a business blog is that every time you, or a guest writer, creates a blog, you are adding a quality page to your website. When people search for a term, for example, ‘How to Start a CBD Business’, then they will hopefully find an informative blog that may also generate leads.
It is not just about your blog being on your own website or generating search traffic, though. If you produce informative and engaging articles, then you will also find that other sites may choose to link to it, thus expanding your reach with no extra effort. And if a reader likes a particular blog piece, they may share it on social media channels, expanding that reach even further.
There is more to consider when writing content for a business blog than when writing a ‘simple’ magazine article. There are several things to ensure you do so that your blog is not only engaging but that it works for you as a marketing tool.
Before you even start writing, establish a list of words and phrases that people commonly search for in relation to your subject matter. So, for example, if you were writing about the benefits of a VoIP phone service, you may want to use keywords such as; VoIP, Internet phone, VoIP phone system, VoIP for businesses, etc.
You want any blog to fit with what you provide or offer. And you want to identify relevant sub-categories within your blog section. If your company sells marketing and management software, then you would want any material to be directly or indirectly related to that. If you sell alternatives to Trello, then make sure any related blog goes in the correct category.
A text only blog is just not going to hold your readers attention for long. A good blog needs a certain amount of visual stimuli, usually one graphic every 300 words or so on average. Some of these visuals may be decorative in nature, but always try and include some that are informative; infographics, graphs, and even videos.
If someone is looking for information on a particular subject, such as cold call scripts, then they are unlikely to want to read something that is five years old. With technology and the ways we work constantly changing, much of what you wrote in 2016 may be irrelevant now. Keep your content fresh and up to date, particularly with your most popular pieces.
Never assume that all your readers are accessing your blog via a laptop or desktop. Over 55% of global internet traffic is now via a mobile device. That is a big potential audience to lose if your blog and site are not optimized for mobile users. Ensure your blog can be accessed by anyone using any device. Good A/B testing is an effective way to achieve this.
Always recognize that your blog's primary purpose is marketing and driving new traffic to buy from you. While you do want to inform, and in some cases entertain, those are secondary to the notion of increasing your company’s visibility and sales. You can also combine related blogs into an online magazine using a magazine maker to collect info in one place.
By acknowledging both primary and secondary purposes, you can regularly create something that works for you and for your customers. A good business blog can also enhance your customers’ experience and can even be used as part of your knowledge base to educate people about your products.