Want to build a blog that benefits you and your business?
Do you need help managing your blog?
Whether you're starting a new business blog or looking to revive an old one, there's a lot to do.
You may even feel overwhelmed by all that's involved. But don't worry.
In this article you'll find numerous resources and practical advice to help you through each stage of the blogging process.
Why Write a Business Blog?
A business blog helps you cement your position as an expert by giving you a platform to provide exceptional content (news, tips, trends) for your clients, potential clients and partners.
Here are 10 things you can do, along with a variety of resources you can use, to create and promote a successful business blog.
#1: Establish Blog Goals
A business blog is a long-term commitment—an investment of time, energy and effort. Before you start blogging, ask yourself these important questions:
- Why am I starting a blog?
- What do I want to get out of it?
- What do I want my audience to get out of it?
Your answers to these questions should prompt you to identify key business goals for your blog.
Here are some excellent resources to guide you in goal-setting:
Blog Goals: Why Do You Need Them?: “Blogging is a journey,” Heidi Cohen explains. Like going on a trip, you can't just jump into blogging without knowing where you're heading. This article explains why you need strategic business goals to guide your blog and it may help you answer some of the questions posed above.
How to Set Blogging Goals You Can Actually Achieve: Ginny Soskey at Shareaholic has great advice for both newbies and seasoned bloggers. No matter where you are in the process, you want to set blogging goals that are aggressive, yet realistic. This article will show you how to get it done.
#2: Identify Your Blog's Purpose
Giving your blog a purpose is different from setting business goals. Goals are brand-centered, while purpose is reader-centered.
Ask yourself these questions:
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- Why should people visit my blog?
- What makes this information so special to my audience?
The following articles should help you find clarity about your blog's purpose.
Are We Misunderstanding the Purpose of a Blog?: For most people, a business blog is more about gaining exposure for their brand and less about making money. “Blogging and social media have never been the best ways to directly sell to others,” Mack Collier believes. “Sure, some people and companies can make it work, but some people can sell ice to Eskimos.” Collier has some excellent insights on how to determine the value and purpose of a blog.
The Actual Purpose of Business Blogging Is Not What You Think: Tad Chef explains what blogging is not… and then goes on to explain what blogging is for—connecting, sharing and developing evangelists. This article is especially valuable because it debunks a lot of myths that business owners still believe about business blogging. This article is a must-read before blogging!
#3: Research Your Audience
The big “who” is so important when it comes to blogging. Who is your audience? In an ideal world, your blog reader should fit the same profile as your actual customer. In order to attract the ideal audience to your blog, you have to understand who they are and what they need. That way you can craft content that is both relevant and useful to your readers.
How to Define Your Target Audience the Right Way: “Can you please everyone all the time?” asks James T. Noble on Raventools.com. Of course not. And that's why you have to know exactly whom you're targeting and why. This article hits all of the key points pertaining to relevant audience discovery.
How to Build Better Buyer Personas to Drive Killer Content: In order to create killer blog content for your target audience, you need to know who your readers are. If you don't have a detailed picture of your peeps, check out this post by Sarah Goliger of HubSpot. She shows you how to use your customers' demographics, needs and behaviors to create buyer personas, which will help you focus your content.
#4: Decide Posting Frequency
Consistency is the heart of blogging. You need to set reader expectations and commit to a reasonable schedule. How much time are you willing to dedicate each week to creating valuable content on your blog? How many posts can you write or assign without spreading yourself too thin?
As the following articles will show, it's not how often—but rather how regularly—you post.
How Often Should You Blog? (Hint: The Answer Might Surprise You): This post by Ali Luke, published on Problogger in 2012, remains timeless in its wisdom. If you're starting or reigniting a business blog, this is a must-read. It will take away the pressure you may feel to blog every day, and offer alternatives for creating a blogging schedule that will work for you.
Why I Will Be Posting Less: “You have to be flexible with social media,” says Michael Hyatt (author of Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World), who applies this to blogging. Hyatt is incredibly persuasive in this article, where he explains why “less is more.” Find out why he thinks daily blogging may not be a good idea for everyone.
#5: Identify Blog Writers
Many business blogs are written by more than one person, especially since many business blogs go with more of a magazine format. As part of your blog strategy, you need to decide on the primary and contributing writers… and where you will find them. You may even benefit from using guest bloggers.
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Whether you plan to use existing talent within your organization or hire writers externally, these resources will help.
How to Find Great Content Writers for Your Website: You get what you pay for. Kristi Hines nails it with her priceless advice on paying for quality content. “You don't want just any writer—you want someone who can write authoritative content for your industry,” she says. “This means that for many industries, you are going to have to bypass the $15 an article writers and look for people with a proven track record.”
How to Hire Writers for Your Blog: Darren Rowse, founder and editor of Problogger, has excellent tips for hiring business blog writers. In fact, he outlines the entire five-step process, from placing the ad to making the final selection. This is great advice. But it's probably more suitable for businesses with a big budget.
Bonus: How to Keep Bloggers Engaged: Writers are the soul of your blog. Once you find your writers, whether they're paid or not, you must keep them motivated to ensure the longevity and success of your blog. Heidi Cohen knows that writing is hard work and that it takes motivation to continually produce new content. Don't forget to recognize and appreciate your writers.
#6: Create an Editorial Calendar
Developing an editorial calendar is a strategic exercise that will significantly impact your business blog. The following resources explain what an editorial calendar is and how to create one.
[How to] Build a Successful Editorial Calendar for Your Blog: “An editorial calendar is a virtual to-do list,” says Angela Stringfellow on Unbounce. “It helps you be accountable to dates and concepts.” All bloggers should develop and maintain an editorial calendar to efficiently maintain their content strategy. This article is designed to help you work smarter.
How to Build a Blog Editorial Calendar Even if You Don't Know Where to Start: It's important for a blog to have focus. Stan Smith of Pushing Social says an editorial or content calendar can keep you on-message and on-objective throughout the year. He has great tips for brainstorming and coming up with good article ideas to add to your content queue.
#7: Develop Your Blog's Brand
Perception is everything! How your blog comes across to readers—design, colors, style, etc.—can make or break its chances of success.
These articles give insights into important elements you should be looking at for branding purposes.
6 Effective Tips to Brand Your Blog Like QuickSprout: Kartik Bohra shares brilliant tips about branding your blog and establishing yourself or your business as a key player in your space. Most of these tips have to do with appearance and user experience, so check to see if your blog is as user-friendly as possible.
3 Top Corporate Blogs to Inspire You: On JeffBullas.com, Matt Everard analyzes three amazing corporate blogs, sharing reasons for their success. When you are starting a blog, it's helpful to look at what successful blogs are doing. Marriott, Virgin Atlantic and Instagram are all doing something right.
As long as you write compelling and engaging content, your readers will keep coming back. Whether you've been writing for years or are starting for the first time, these resources will help you amp up your blogging skills.
How to Write a Blog Post: Although blogging for business isn't a science, there are certain steps you can take to make sure your posts stand out. Rachel Sprung from HubSpot provides a simple formula for crafting each post you write. She even offers bonus ideas for more advanced bloggers.
31 Types of Content for Every Day of the Month: Amanda Galluci of iAcquire believes that there's no need to repeat the same type of content over and over again. Don't get stuck wondering what to post. Check out these 31 ideas that will keep your business blog fresh and interesting.
#9: Market Your Blog
Even after you hit Publish on your business blog, there's still a lot more work to do. Next, you'll want to distribute and share it with as wide an audience as possible. Check out all of the ways you can share your content in the articles below.
35 Ways to Market Your Blog: Joe Pulizzi, founder of Content Marketing Institute, provides a useful list of 35 common and not-so-common methods of promoting your business blog. You're probably doing most of these, but make sure you check out the list to find out what you might be missing.
5 Creative Ways to Drive More Traffic to Your Blog Posts: For more detailed concepts, check out Kimberly Reynolds‘ post on unique ways to drive traffic to your blog. Dubbler, Vine, SlideShare, Pinterest and Instagram can all be used to tease your content and get new readers.
#10: Measure Success
No matter what the topic, industry or purpose of your blog, you need to know whether your blog is being read and if your efforts are paying off. Here's what you need to know to come up with a statistical measure of the things that are most relevant to your blogging goals.
How to Match 10 Key Success Metrics to Your Blogging Strategy: All business bloggers need to read this. Jay Baer of Convince & Convert explains the many measures you can use to gauge your blog's success. Whether you're blogging for traffic, conversion or community, Jay points out exactly what metrics you should be track.
Over to You
A blog can help you extend your reach, while giving you a platform to share your expertise. It's a lot of work with substantial potential for reward. The most important step for starting a business blog… is to get started.
What do you think? Which of these blogging tips and tactics have worked well for you? What blogging advice do you have to add? Please share your tips and insights in the comments below.
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