social media how toDo you have a business blog?

Are you happy with the marketing role your blog plays?

Many businesses consider blogs “a cost of doing business,” or code for “We’re not sure what it does but we’re afraid to stop doing it.”

In this article I will explore why and how to make your blog the hub of your content marketing plan?

Why make your blog your content marketing hub?

To put a slightly different spin on what Chris Brogan says, blogs are your home base; they are at the center of your content marketing system.

Whether you’re a small business or a Fortune 100 company, blogs should be at the heart of your content marketing because blogs fuel social media, search optimization and the sales process.

The top five reasons to use a blog as your content hub are:

  1. Blogs are owned media. Your blog content is yours. You’re not at the whim of changes in the rules of third-party platforms, such as the recent changes to LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram. A blog has the added bonus of providing an always-on crisis management channel to get your message out 24/7.
  2. Blogs are a form of social media. Through social sharing, comments and guest posts, blogs provide the basis for building a targeted community. In fact, HubSpot‘s research showed that blogs top other forms of social media for effectiveness.
    social media importance

    This HubSpot report shows how important blogs are for businesses.

  3. Blogs support search optimization. Because of their structure, blogs are search-friendly. You can enhance this by focusing each article on a specific keyword phrase and link to internal and external content.
  4. Blogs drive sales. To support sales, write blog posts about how to use your products and show them in context to provide prospects and customers with product information they need. Then link to your specific product pages to support the sales process.
  5. Blogs incorporate a streamlined CMS (content management system). At its core, blogs are an easy-to-use, low-cost content system.

7 Tips to Make Your Blog Your Content Marketing Hub

To make your blog an accountable aspect of your content marketing plan, here are seven steps to get on track.

#1: Build a Strong Blogging Foundation to Support Your Content Marketing

In order for your blog to be the center of a strong content marketing plan, you’ll need to make sure you build your blog on a strong foundation.

One of your first decisions is how to set up your blog. Make sure you use your own URL. The best option is to use a self-hosted WordPress blog. Don’t use a free hosting option such as Blogger or WordPress.

Even better, incorporate your blog into your overall business website. Use, not

wordpress provides WordPress software that you can download and install on the server space you rent from a web host.

You’ll need to get technology resources to support your blogging efforts. Blogging should be integrated into your website. For most businesses, this translates to ongoing technology support, rather than a few minutes of someone’s time when they’re available.

These are essential to a strong foundation.

#2: Know Your Audience

Before you begin blogging, you’ll need to know whom you’re writing for and what they’re interested in reading. One way to find out more about your audience is to use marketing personas.

Create a set of marketing personas to clarify and give a personality to the people you’re trying to reach. It’s easier to write for someone you know than a faceless mass. Incorporate their content consumption habits and their social media proclivities.


Know who your audience is. Image source: iStockphoto.

Marketing personas are important for your blog, as well as other forms of content. If you’ve got distinctly different audiences you’re trying to reach, consider creating more than one blog and related content marketing.

#3: Develop Your Content Marketing Plan

Several components come into making a good content marketing plan. Here’s what you’ll want to include in your content marketing plan.

Map out your promotional calendar

Start by planning your organization’s marketing events for the year and use public holidays where appropriate. The objective is to create hooks around which to develop your content.

In addition to seasons and holidays, consider annual events that apply to your product offering. Include relevant tradeshows and conferences, as well as social media participation.


Plan out your events. Image source: iStockphoto.

Outline your major content offerings

Based on the events selected in your promotional calendar, decide what major content offerings you’ll create such as conference talks, ebooks and webinars.

Plan ongoing columns and related communications

Think like a magazine and brainstorm regular offerings such as news roundups, customer of the week and interviews. Develop a set of columns to offer either weekly or every other week. This provides the basic structure for your blog’s editorial calendar. Include themes such as research. Consider how you’ll offer this content to other segments of your audience such as in your regular emails.

Create an editorial calendar

Integrate your events, major pieces of content and regular content offerings into one calendar so you can manage the creation process. It helps to make this part of someone’s job description.

Plan extended content usage

Once you’ve integrated your planned content, assess where you can extend, create or reuse content from your major content marketing offerings on your blog and vice versa.

For example, to promote Content Marketing World, Lee Odden put together an ebook, 29 Content Marketing Secrets and the Secret Agents Who Shared Them. He used the information from the ebook to write 11 separate blog posts and an overview post. In addition, he posted the ebook on SlideShare and encouraged participants to share the content.

lee odden content

Here's content Lee Odden published and used to create multiple content resources.

#4: Optimize Content to Enhance Effectiveness

Your content isn’t finished once it’s written or created. You still have to enhance its attractiveness to readers.

Here are some key points to make your content work for your business.

Integrate your 360° brand into each blog post and piece of content

Ensure that your audience can associate your content with your organization. Among the elements to consider are colors, voice, text presentation, sounds, language and visual representation.

Optimize content for search

At a minimum, focus each post or piece of content on a keyword phrase, be sure to include both internal and external links, and add appropriate search-friendly text to non-text content.

Format content to facilitate consumption

Entice readers by making it easy to read your content. Break your content into bite-sized information chunks, use bold type to guide readers who are skimming to grasp the sense quickly and use photographs to attract attention.

blog content example

Format your content to make it easy to read.

#5: Plan Your Content Promotion

Just publishing your content isn’t sufficient to reach a broad audience. You’ll also need to promote your content so that more of the right people see it.

Here’s what you’ll need to do to promote your content.

Incorporate automatic blog content delivery

Set up your blog to enable readers to receive your posts via email and feeds without having to think about it.

Leverage social media to distribute

Share your content across the social media platforms relevant to your audience. You can automate this, but I prefer tailored sharing to maximize the impact. Add this activity to your content marketing plan.

Also include social sharing buttons with each blog post and other content to enable readers to share your content.


Include social sharing buttons to extend the reach of your blog post. Image source: iStockphoto.

Extend your content reach

Leverage owned media such as your website and email lists to promote your content.

Where appropriate, use third-party media and advertising to support your efforts. For example, you could ask others to promote your efforts for you.

As you learn more about your blog audience, you’ll find ways to improve your blog promotion to increase your reach.

#6: Allocate Resources to Your Blog

To make your blog the heart of your content marketing, you need human and financial resources. Quality content that attracts and converts prospects doesn’t just happen when employees have time. These resources may be internal or external.

You’ll want to consider a variety of resources. You’ll want to look at resources for content creation to develop the information; creative, including design, photography and formatting; editorial to ensure that the content conveys the appropriate ideas, as well as editing to ensure the grammar is correct; marketing to get your content distributed; and technology to facilitate uploading and other technical issues.


Over time, you'll find the right resources you need to run your blog. Image source: iStockphoto.

#7: Track Content Marketing Results

As with any other business initiative, you must measure your results. Plan your metrics and content creation to ensure that you have integrated the ability to capture the data you need.

Used properly, a blog not only supports your social media, search optimization and sales processes, it acts as the hub for the rest of your content marketing.

What do you think? Is there anything else that you’d add to this list? If so, what would you include and why? Please leave your questions and comments in the box below.

Images from iStockPhoto.
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  • Great post Heidi. Blogs are great tools for driving more traffic and generating leads. It’s amazing to see how many companies clearly start the process of content marketing, but then drop off within the first month or two. I can only assume this is due to poor planning and resource allocation. Thanks again for the post!
    – Sam

  • @mcsorg

    This is a great post, Heidi, really informative.

  • Great post on blogs and content marketing Heidi! This post is a must read for bloggers and online marketers, because you’ve included so many helpful tips from building the foundation to tracking the marketing results. Definitely worth their time to read! Keep up the good work SME! Thanks!

    Have a wonderful Thursday everyone!

    ~John Lee Dumas

  • So many great tips. Question on #1 being integrated in one’s site.

    I have a retail site and for the blog we added blog to the end of the url. When customers are on the site and in the menu they can choose our blog and still feel they’re on the site but really moved to another URL.

    Problem is though every time our pluggins are updated everything gets distorted. I was going to take the blog out of my menu because the fees are high to get it fixed each time. Is this what you meant in integrating into the site?

  • Thank for this article.

    Question: Is it better to host a blog on your company website or should it have a website of its on?

  • Heidi Cohen


    Thank you.

    While I’m a marketer not a tech professional,to get the power of having a blog is to integrate your blog into your website. Specifically, it should be or Further, you should be linking to your content on your website. For example, a crafts firm share a pattern on their blog and links to their products on their site.

    As for the other technical problems, you need to consult with a technical expert.

    From a marketing perspective, it’s important to ensure that your site works well and renders appropriately. Without it, your visitors will loose trust that it can process purchases.

    Hope this helps.

    Happy marketing,
    Heidi Cohen

  • Depends on what you want to do: for a breakout on a new product or service, a separate site — with the blog as a main component — often is a great idea.

    Also depends on if your company website gets a lot of traffic already. If it’s a static site with small traffic, it might make more sense to break out a separate blog. However, if you get lots of traffic because you’re selling goods online, for instance, your site probably already has a lot of built-in traffic and page rank, which could help your blog attract a bigger audience.

    Then again, if you want to attract more traffic to your company site, a blog is a great way to do it because the frequent updates help improve your Google rankings.

  • HeidiCohen


    You make a good point. When you use a blog to support your business, it’s critical to create a plan and provide sufficient resources. Many businesses and solopreneurs don’t realize that the power of the blog takes time to yield results. It’s part of your on-going business, not a one-time campaign.

    Happy marketing,
    Heidi Cohen

  • All these tips work fine *if* you have good content that people want to see, structured in a way that encourages them to consume it. That’s about a dozen more blog posts.

  • HeidiCohen


    Thank you!

    To ensure your blog helps generate business, you must plan your content and blog to create content and distribute it. While it feeds socia media quickly, the impact of blogging on search takes time. Hubspot research shows that it starts to happen after 50 posts.

    Happy marketing,
    Heidi Cohen

  • HeidiCohen

    Hope that you print this list out and use it as a checklist to get your blog on track for success.

    Happy marketing,
    Heidi Cohen

  • HeidiCohen


    It’s better to host your blog on your company website. This supports your search optimization by linking to your products and other content.

    Happy marketing,
    Heidi Cohen

  • What are your tips for businesses that are trying to gain traction with blogging, but maybe their industry is…shall I say…less appealing or sexy? How can they get creative and make interesting and remarkable content?

  • HeidiCohen

    Tom –

    For a blog to work as an integral part of your content marketing program, you must create strong information your target audience seeks and needs. Formatting your content to facilitate consumption is critical to attracting readers.This means taking time after you’ve written the content to make it attractive for readers. (Here are 12 steps to help you. Without this step, your content lacks trustworthiness and doesn’t get read.

    Each blog post should focus on one keyword phrase and idea. Marcus Sheridan recommends answering a customer question with each post.

    Happy marketing,
    Heidi Cohen

  • ctsmithiii


    Take very question you’ve ever gotten from a client or prospect and write a blog post about it. It’s very likely that other’s in need of your services have the same questions.

    You can start with FAQs on your website if you have them.


  • ctsmithiii

    On your website for SEO purposes.

  • Greg Krysa

    Great post Heidi, thanks!

  • Heidi & Mike, this is terrificly comprehensive, yet concise. One of the best articles I’ve read on the subject in the past year… easily. Kudos 🙂

  • Waqas Akram

    Thanks for such a great post. I am going to start the digital marketing efforts for my new company and for me the timing of this post could not be better. I have one suggestion. Could you please write a small eBook and share it with us? I think that would be more helpful in terms of sharing. Once again thanks for the post

  • Heidi Cohen

    RG —

    Wow! Thank you so much!

    Happy marketing,
    Heidi Cohen

  • HeidiCohen

    Waqas —

    Glad you found this information helpful.

    We have a free ebook on the topic. Here’s the link

    Happy marketing,
    Heidi Cohen

  • Great article, very informative! Our blog is at the center of our digital marketing efforts at Sajan and we have seen traffic continuing to increase as a result.

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  • HeidiCohen


    My biggest advice for you is to keep blogging on a consistent basis. In other words, publish new content on the same schedule.

    Best of luck,

    Happy marketing,
    Heidi Cohen

  • Thank you for such a complete description!

  • Great suggestion, Tom!

  • Your link did not work Heidi. 🙁

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  • Deb Herman

    Thank you for this article. Definitely sharing. I am encouraging authors to see this as a great opportunity for them to use their ability as content creators. Still learning lots but will utilize your suggestions.

  • Cassie Head

    Fantastic article Heidi. Thank you.

  • Thanks a zillion, this is really, really helpful!

  • Great read and visuals! Step 4 is the one I learned the most from. I have learning about content marketing and love articles like this one. Thank you!

  • Thanks
    so much for the helpful tips, Heidi! I think it’s great that you
    highlighted the importance of knowing your audience. This step is so
    vital to the success of any blog, and I think you are right on point
    when you say that if a company is trying to market to two different
    audience, they should make two separate blogs. A blog’s voice and
    character is unique and should be tailored to a specific audience and
    not a mass herd of anonymous people!

  • Here’s the correct link: — all of which is stuff we do every day in the content projects I work on.

  • HeidiCohen

    You’re welcome.

    Knowing your audience is important since you can write for your readers in a more personal way.

    Also, it helps your content to stand out from the crowd.

    Happy marketing,
    Heidi Cohen

  • HeidiCohen


    With the overload of information, it’s critical to ensure that your content is easy-to-consume. Think content chunks and snacks. Use outlining as well.

    Happy marketing,
    Heidi Cohen

  • HeidiCohen


    You’re welcome a zillion (although I’m not sure I can count that high!)

    Happy marketing,
    Heidi Cohen

  • HeidiCohen


    Thank you for reading it!

    Good luck with your blog.

    Happy marketing,
    Heidi Cohen

  • John W

    Hi Heidi,
    On my old site I hosted a WordPress blog within my site. I now have a new site done with Joomla and a blogging plug-in. My problem has been getting traffic to my site. I have done everything by the book to optimize the site so far with little success. I have been hoping the blog will help. A question I have is one thing I haven’t done yet is add tags to my articles or posts. How critical are tags? Can they help a lot?

  • HeidiCohen


    Nothing beats strong content EXCEPT making it search friendly, easy-to-consumer and shareable!

    Happy marketing,
    Heidi Cohen

  • HeidiCohen


    I hope that you use it as a checklist to help guide your blogging.

    Happy marketing,
    Heidi Cohen

  • HeidiCohen


    I hope that you put these points to use to enhance your content marketing.

    Happy marketing,
    Heidi COhen

  • HeidiCohen


    Thank you for reading the column.

    Please understand that I’m a marketer not a tech professional so Joomla isn’t part of my knowledge set. (NOTE: I use WordPress.) I suggest you find a Joomla group on LinkedIn or a tech usergroup and pose your question there.

    One option to build your audience and reputation is to write guest posts on important topics in your niche. This way you get links back to your blog and leverage other people’s audiences. Of course, you need to create amazing content.

    Happy marketing,
    Heidi Cohen

  • Justin Walmsley

    Great post. Here’s my thoughts on your blog and Content Marketing for what it’s worth.

    Although your blog is a fantastic place to start content marketing the nirvana for this channel would surely have to be the “earned media” opportunities. Although your blog/owned media will act as a singular distribution source, engaging, targeting and distribution of your content across relevent Social networks will ultimately give you a greater chance of claiming as much earned media as possible.

    I am a little sceptical of HubSpots stats on “how important are these services to your business” as the majority of online companies will have a blog (or CMS) and it be used as the primary/sole content publishing source, therefore would automatically be the most “critical” service compared to Social Networks which can sometimes be harder to manage and have senior management buy in.

    As I said, I think it’s a great post, perhaps your next post could be on “Content Marketing, the Earned Media Nirvana!”

    Keep up the good work.

  • Liz Willding

    “Think like a magazine [editor],” is spot on. I would add that investing in great writing talent is also key to success. Great content is your best hope of breaking through the noise and motivating your audience to think and act on your message.

  • Copywriter Matt

    Good post, Heidi. Blogs really can be a great tool to drive sales. The best thing to do is provide value!

  • HeidiCohen


    To ensure your blog drives sales, it’s useful to focus on answering product questions, showing your product in use or providing recipes or patterns to use them. Then link to the product page. Also put a link to the blog post on the product page so that visitors can get additional information on your blog.

    Happy marketing,
    Heidi Cohen

  • HeidiCohen


    Understand that great content is about having an authentic voice that sounds human and is transparent. If possible get employees to write your blog posts and hire a copyeditor.

    Happy marketing,
    Heidi Cohen

  • HeidiCohen


    Blogs are an important element of any content marketing plan since they are owned 24/7 media, support the purchase process, feed social media and support search optimization.

    While the earned media element is helpful, for most businesses it’s not as important as supporting the sales cycle and improving search optimization.

    Marcus Sheridan would argue that some of his most profitable pages on River Pools and Spas don’t have many social shares o comments yet they yield big dollars in revenue. (Here’s the post with the related evidence

    Happy marketing,
    Heidi Cohen

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  • moustafa kamel

    Thank for this article.

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  • Axel


    If your blog is mostly thought leadership content that attracts a broad audience (your categories across the top are about communication and leadership, etc. etc.) but you also want to make the blog valuable to existing customers of your product, is it OK to have one category dedicated to it? It will stick out like a sore thumb, but planning to have its own separate RSS feed.

    Now the interesting part: I plan to have RSS to subscribe to ALL content, and the RSS for just product content, but will always have a general thought leadership blog post published every day with the product-related blog post, most days. As long as the product post is published before the thought leadership post, it will only show up in the RSS body, vs. subject line and shouldn’t bother the large general audience.

    Is this approach a good one? I feel badly that the current blog gets tons of traffic but hasn’t really helped existing customers. Hope this changes that and doesn’t alienate our existing readers.

    Thank you,


  • Roger Berwanger

    Very good post. Puts blogging in perspective as THE foundation for an effective marketing strategy. Helps ensure you will ‘get found’, attract leads and convert those leads to sales.

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  • Almost comes back to content is king in a way, heh 🙂

  • HeidiCohen

    James–Understand that content must be high quality, search friendly and well formatted to succeed. Happy marketing, Heidi Cohen

  • HeidiCohen

    Roger — You’ve got the point. Blogs are an important element of a strong marketing plan, not just a cost of doing business. To achieve this, they require resources to succeed. Happy marketing, Heidi Cohen

  • Dara Khajavi

    Blogging is so important. I personally enjoy following company blogs. It gives me an unique perspective on the company and its products.

    I have a blog for my firm, and I am always trying to find a way to improve my blog. This information will help me improve my blog. Thank you, and happy Friday!

  • Becky Williamson

    Thanks for a great post, Heidi. Point #6 is a great reminder to me. I tend to “write blog posts when I have time”. This post drives home the reality that blogging must be a regular part of our business plan whether we do it ourselves or outsource it to a professional who understands our audience and our voice.

  • David

    absolute gobbaldygook – I need an interpreter

  • HeidiCohen

    David –

    I’m assuming you’r referring to Tom Mangan’s comment. He is giving further clarification as to how decide where to put your company blog, either on its own URL or as part of your company website. His rationale is based on your business goals and the traffic your website gets.

    If you have other questions or need further clarification, please be more specific.

    Happy marketing,
    Heidi Cohen

  • HeidiCohen


    Remember–Your blog is a media entity. You have a responsibility to your audience. If you write a lot of posts at one time, then you should schedule them to appear on a regular basis.

    Happy marketing,
    Heidi Cohen

  • HeidiCohen


    I agree with you. A well done blog provides lots of information about a firm. This is why you should ensure that your blog reflects your branding.

    Happy marketing,
    Heidi Cohen

  • HeidiCohen


    Understand that sexy is in the eyes of the beholder. What information do your prospects and customers want and/or need?

    I agree with Tom and Luna. That’s the Marcus Sheridan approach to blogging.

    Unlike more popular categories, you may be one of the only voices out there.

    Happy marketing,
    Heidi Cohen

  • HeidiCohen


    Based on your explanation, I’d suggest creating two separate blogs since your audiences are so different (at least based on your response). They can both be incorporated into your main website and also reference each other through links and cross promotion. As a check, I’d ask some of your readers what they think.

    You can build the blog for your customers by leveraging your internal media.

    Happy marketing,
    Heidi Cohen

  • HeidiCohen

    Moustafa —

    Glad that you found it helpful.

    Happy marketing,
    Heidi Cohen

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  • Super post. Great information, and I do love how you have been able to break this down and show examples. Do you think it helps to post your article on multiple blogs or not?

  • Lydia Mediavilla

    Excellent article Heidi! You pulled it altogether for me. Thanks!

  • HeidiCohen

    Robert —

    Glad that you found the column useful.

    Understand that you don’t want to post duplicate content because this hurts your rankings on search. You can allow others to republish your content after 10-14 days with a link back to the original.

    Happy marketing,
    Heidi Cohen

  • HeidiCohen


    Good luck with your blogging and content marketing. I suggest that you use this post as a checklist.

    Happy marketing,
    Heidi Cohen

  • Thank you for the quick response. Any strategies you can suggest to encourage or promote the reposts at that time or keep people from posting before that time?

  • HeidiCohen

    Robert —

    You can include how you want people to use your content if you use a creative commons license to permit use without prior permission. (Note: I’m not a lawyer. If you want legal advice, please consult a lawyer.)

    If you give someone specific permission to use your content, you can determine how and when they can use it. You can promote it if you choose to.

    One reason to include links back to your own content is to be able to track when your content is republished elsewhere

    Happy marketing,
    Heidi Cohen

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  • Fiona Green

    Just started my own blog (3rd post this morning) but having read this, will now go back and immediately make a few amends! Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

  • Can topics like these ever get old?

  • HeidiCohen


    Every quarter, you should review your marketing plans and decide how to adjust them based on the changing landscape.

    Happy marketing,
    Heidi Cohen

  • HeidiCohen


    Good luck with your blog. Remember it’s more important to publish on a consistent basis than every day.

    Happy marketing,
    Heidi Cohen

  • That’s true Heidi. I’m pretty sure that every online marketer has found that at the base of it all is good content so long as the purpose of the internet doesn’t change, which is to share information. Nice post 🙂 Thanks.

  • Again, great advice!

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  • Thank you Heidi for this statement, “break your content into bite-sized information chunks.” When I first started blogging I viewed blog entries as academic papers.

    I learned that breaking the content down and incorporating more white space makes the text look less intimidating.

    At the end of the day nobody wants to read a novel haha. I try to share this with my blogging cohorts yet they still produce too intimidating content. Thank you for this informative post!


  • HeidiCohen


    Thank you for adding to the conversation.

    Most bloggers and content marketers underestimate the value of formatting their content. 94% of potential readers decide whether or not to read the content based on how it looks. (Here are eleven content attributes [] to facilitate readability while increasing trustworthiness through non-content elements.)

    Happy marketing,
    Heidi Cohen

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  • Awesome article. My problem is that I have 2 blogs on Blogger so now what to do? The 3rd blog is on my wedding site powered by WordPress. I am getting no traffic to Blogger.

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  • Welcome! Sorry, I just got notification that you had responded!

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  • Thanks for weaving this all together. Sometimes when the conversation focuses oncomponents of content marketing, it’s easy to oversee the whole picture.

  • Karon

    Thank you Heidi. This blog contains very useful information for the novice.

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  • Hi Heidi, Think like a magazine and brainstorm, that is brilliant, I enjoyed your post, Thanks for sharing.

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  • Nathan Brook

    Thank you for the tips! I will be making use of these tips for my new blog startup. You have made some very valid points for all bloggers.

  • Very good blog! Thank you for the information.

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  • Thank you , for sharing informative tips Heidi Cohen , Actually great tips for start up business for making their online presence strong .. 🙂

  • John Allred

    Thanks Nicole for your article. Google+ author features are important to
    take advantage of for blogging. Also it’s really important to have a
    plan for your blog content and work with a professional copywriter to
    review blogs prior to them being posted.

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  • Thank you very much for the post. It help me alot and i agree that it is not east to keep up with the quality and informative post.

  • cmshephardms23


  • Great Post.
    Blog compare to be the best and most important for driving traffic to the website. Also need to have proper planning corresponding to content broadcasting using proper keywords and quality content.

  • Great article! Very useful tips and surely to follow

  • Apart from content marketing, we need to focus on off-page strategies. Based on keywords competition and searches we need to make perfect use of that.

  • the post is absolute! very deep research and share worthy!

  • Compare Program

    Good post. Driving traffic on blogs, it’s suitable to say that a good content always helps. I have a strong confidence for bloggers that, to build a solid traffic to your site you must engage with your audience and that’s the most relevant thing you could do. As mentioned on #2 to knowing your audience is an interesting thing and a critical thing nowadays. Getting in touch with your audience is a useful way to know what’s happening around. Talk to your audience, reply to their comments, and also ask them to share your product or blog in their circle. Also offer interesting feedback which later you can use to improve your strategy.
    Great piece of writing though!