The benefits of blogging for business are endless, but you need a strategic, research-based approach for the best results. Problem is, you’ve come across so many suggestions on how to use a blog to promote your business offerings—what’s the most effective way to execute this content marketing strategy?
The good news: You can put some basic things in place, no matter your niche or business type, that’ll help you launch and maintain an effective blogging strategy that markets your business.
One of the most beneficial aspects of blogging is the ability to drive traffic to your website through search engine optimization (SEO) techniques. SEO is how you craft your content in such a way that it is easily indexed and ranked by major search engines like Google.
Here’s a less technical way to explain how it works: Imagine that a thousand people are searching for “cupcake delivery in Charlotte, North Carolina.” If you’re in the business of baking and delivering cupcakes, and you just happen to be in North Carolina, then being the first result in a search engine could increase your business substantially.
Blogging can help with SEO tactics in a variety of ways. Below are some ways to improve your site’s search engine ranking:
Take a moment to research each of these concepts and then begin to implement them into your blog’s content on a regular basis.
You want to be considered as an expert and thought leader to your audience and target market.
Simply because you want to be top of mind when people are looking for the best roofer, personal trainer, or widget maker that exists. A huge part of creating this perception involves publishing authoritative content that demonstrates your knowledge and expertise in a particular area.
Jeff Rose is a financial advisor and founder of the website Good Financial Cents. He started his blog as a way to bring clients into his financial advisory firm, Alliance Wealth Management. The strategy has paid in spades.
Rose admits, “Primarily, I contribute a lot of my success to having a platform to market my expertise and thought leadership.”
Through blogging, Rose has also attracted the attention of other national platforms like Forbes, Inc., and Entrepreneur, where he’s been invited to be a regular contributor on the topic of personal finance. By being an authoritative voice on his own blog and others, he continues to boost his own blog readership while building his advisory business.
“By publishing my thoughts and real-life client experiences for others to consume, I’ve already earned the readers’ trust before we’ve even met in person,” Rose says.
Analyzing your traffic patterns and most popular blog content is a must. Instead of randomly choosing topics to focus on, choose what your audience is already interested in. Of course, you don’t want to deviate from your true area of expertise, but you’ll want to put a twist on your content that resonates with your target customer.
Julia Nickerson is a food photographer whose popular blog Savory Tooth gets over 500,000 views a month after just one year in existence. She uses her website’s analytics reports to create popular content that drives traffic to her website. Nickerson explains, “My advice is to dig into your blog’s traffic history and make a list of your top trafficked posts to gauge what your audience wants.”
She says that looking for common themes and threads can help increase your traffic: “Is there a common theme? If there is, write more of those posts.”
If you’re in the habit of examining your website analytics, this blogging principle will be that much easier for you.
Well, you’ve already done much of the work by finding out more about your customer needs along with topics they are interested in.
Kean Graham, CEO of MonetizeMore, a digital advertising firm, encourages business owners to respond to customer needs via blogging.
“For any entrepreneur looking to initiate their inbound marketing strategy, I’d recommend them to start with blogging about ‘mini pain points’ that their target audience experiences,” he says.
Regan Morton is a digital specialist at the marketing firm FiG Advertising + Marketing in Denver, Colorado. She suggests being extremely intentional when it comes to mining for customer pain points. “Use forums like Quora or Reddit to see what questions consumers are asking about in your industry,” she says. “This is a great way to generate interesting content based on what your potential consumers are asking for.”
Social media channels are not only a way to promote your awesome blog content, but they also act as a form of blogging, too. While many people still read traditional blogs, the medium itself is changing.
For example, many people and businesses now “blog” in different ways on varied social media platforms:
These channels should not be ignored. You definitely want to have a strategy in place to meet your potential customers where they are already consuming content.
Uwe Weinkauf, CEO of MW2 Consulting, an e-commerce consultancy, cites Zappos as a powerful example of how using social media can improve a brand. They use Twitter to highlight interesting facts about their brand and their newest additions. “What’s more is that they do it in a helpful and funny way,” Weinkauf says.
The other fun part about social media—it can be a two-way conversation. Not only are you broadcasting information in places where your customers are showing up, but you can engage in “social listening” for feedback that can improve the customer experience as well.
Your business blog should intentionally target topics and information that your ideal client is looking for. Instead of being reactive, that is creating content whenever you feel like it, be proactive about creating your blog content.
A well-crafted content marketing plan anticipates topics and times them in a way that will resonate with a target market. Create a content calendar to help with this endeavor. For example, if you create software for tax accountants, you’ll definitely want to time content that coincides with important tax deadlines.
Harrison Doan, director of analytics at Saatva, a popular online mattress retailer, stresses the importance of a well-planned content calendar. “An organized content calendar can make or break your company’s blog,” he says. “We use our content calendar to schedule regular blog posts, but we also include quite a few reminders for things like holidays, seasons, and major events for our business.”
Shana Haynie is a creative director at Vulpine Interactive, a social media agency. She cautions business owners wanting to incorporate blogging into their marketing strategy: “Ultimately, your content needs to be researched, planned, and exceedingly valuable to the people who you want to build a customer relationship with.”
After reading all these suggestions, your head might be spinning at the prospect of doing these things and doing them well for your business blog. Not to worry, you can find plenty of tools for developing a set-it-and-forget-it approach to your business blogging strategy.
These tools can help you create and manage your content calendar and even push it out to various social channels. There are free and paid apps that can do this job on a small and large scale.
Many of these tools offer free trials so you can test what works for your business needs:
Broadcasting your blog content is only one piece of the puzzle. Just be ready for when your audience has questions and even demands more content. If this happens, you can be sure that you are on the right track.
Using blogs to market your business doesn’t have to be painful or overly complicated. Start with a few tactics that you can manage and move on to more once you’ve mastered those. If all goes well, you should see your customer-base and revenues expand as a result of your blogging efforts!