Tips on Blogging for Business
Content marketing, and in particular blogging, is a useful tool for business owners. When combined with social media, blogging is a great way to attract new customers and interact with existing ones.
If writing doesn’t come naturally to you, the thought of starting a blog might be a little overwhelming. However, research shows that 61% of customers in the US have made a purchase based on a blog post, so it can be a great way to not only provide additional content for your customers but also increase conversions.
From keyword research to optimising your website images, we’ve come up with handy tips to help you get into the world of business blogging.
Keep Your Customer in Mind
If you’ve ever worked in retail or the hospitality industry, you’ll have had the phrase ‘the customer always knows best’ drilled into you. I wish I could say that this doesn’t apply to business blogging and in fact, you, the writer, knows best but… uh… I can’t.
Before you put pen to paper, think about your audience and tailor your content to suit them. A good example of this is the Urban Outfitters blog. Take one look at the clean, stylish layout and the super-hip content and it’s instantly clear who their target audience is.
Consistency is Key
Before you start blogging for your business, you’ll need to decide on a posting schedule. Readers like knowing when to expect new content and it will also help you to stay motivated. How often you blog, however, is really up to you. If you are a small business, 1 or 2 times a week is a good amount to aim for. Start with a realistic goal and build up from there.
Find Inspiration Online
Once you’ve decided how often to post, you’ll need to decide what to post. It’s worth checking out competitors’ blogs for inspiration, but ultimately you know your customers best and will probably already have an idea of the types of topics they may respond well to.
If you do find yourself with writer’s block, try using a free tool such as Answer the Public to do some keyword research. You type in a topic and will be presented with a diagram of related searches. You can then shape this information into a blog post. Below is an example using the topic ‘glass water bottle’. The information supplied by Answer the Public provides a jump-off point on what to include in an article.
Optimise for Search
One of the benefits of blogging for business is that it allows you to create supporting content. This means you can go slightly off topic with the aim of appealing to a wider audience. One of the ways that you can do this is to explore related keywords and create content around them.
There’s no point in optimising your blog posts for very competitive, general keywords. They will never rank. Instead, use supporting content as a way to try and capture more specific traffic. Make sure your H1, meta title, description and image alt tags reflect this.
Format Your Posts
Have you ever clicked on an interesting sounding blog post, only to be confronted by a great big block of text? I bet you didn’t read the whole post (if you did, congratulations you have much more patience than me). In fact, according to this Slate article, most people only read around 50% of your content. That will reduce dramatically if you don’t format your content with subheadings, short paragraphs and varying sentence lengths.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again. To create a really engaging blog post you need to include images. Think of them as a little holiday in between blocks of text. Make sure they are a consistent size and sit correctly on the page – there’s nothing worse than a tiny image lost in a sea of text. In fact, there a few things to consider when optimising your images for the web including file size, format and compression.
Make sure you don’t just nap images off Google Images – you need to make sure you have the right to use an image before posting it. If you need to use a stock image head to Unsplash or Pixabay, where you’ll find millions of royalty-free stock photos.
Before you hit publish, get a fresh pair of eyes to check over your blog post. It’s so easy to overlook tiny mistakes when you’re close to something, but it will reflect badly on your business if your content is littered with typos.
When blogging for business, it’s essential that you share supporting content with your existing followers. Publicise your latest posts on social media platforms, your website, and email newsletters. Add social networking icons so that your post is easily shareable.
Blogging is not an instant win. It takes time to build up a following or get content ranking in the search engines. Play the long game and create useful content for your customers – this in itself makes blogging worthwhile.
Update & Maintain Popular Posts
Sometimes, a blog post will take off. Its online popularity will soar, it will get a record amount of shares and comments. Google will reward you by pushing it up the rankings and your boss might buy you a doughnut to reward your efforts. You dine out on this for weeks. You tell everyone you meet “I recently wrote a blog post on (insert topic) and it’s number 1 on google! Look, have a look – do it – google it!”
Then one day you wake up and it’s been replaced by another article. You feel like the cowboy in Toy Story when the shiny new Spaceman comes along. This happens sometimes. But don’t worry, it is possible to reclaim your number 1 spot. Although Google doesn’t appreciate it if you’re updating content every 5 seconds, it does reward you for extra relevant information being added. So pop in some updates, share your updated post, and hopefully, it’ll sail right back to the top.
Research has shown that companies that blog have up to 97% more inbound links. If you need help getting started blogging for your business, get in touch with us today.