Blogging has grown in leaps and bounds over the years. Once the preserve of bored individuals ‘diarising’ their lives, it’s evolved into an important digital marketing and business tool.
Any business who’s serious about their marketing and industry presence needs to be writing regular business blogs replete with engaging, useful and search engine optimised content.
But if business blogging isn’t something you would consider to be in your ‘wheelhouse’, how do you get involved and start writing for the first time?
Why should you be business blogging?
Before we get stuck into the nuts and bolts of blogging for dummies, it’s important to understand why you should bother with business blogs in the first place.
Google’s search algorithm has evolved steadily over the years into a beast which can sniff out keyword trickery without breaking a sweat.
There’s no longer any reasonable way you can pull the wool over Google’s eyes – you need to play ball. To do this you need to create original, keyword focused blogs which aren’t a duplicate of someone else’s content.
Google also ranks websites higher in their search results which have a decent amount of ‘activity’. This means that regularly adding original blogs to your website will enhance your Google presence.
If your website is tuned perfectly for SEO, yet remains ‘static’ and without regular updates, you’ll find yourself slipping down the search results.
If you’re short on social media content or wish to draw attention to your business through thought leadership and useful tips, you should use your blog content to seed your social media posts.
While canvases, promotions, ads, videos, image links and text posts all combine to form a formidable content mix for social media, don’t neglect your blogs.
Let’s say you’re a hairdresser and have written a blog about ways to manage frizzy hair – you should be drawing people back to your website by posting a blog link to Facebook with a short and evocative caption. For example:
“Sick of frizzy hair? Check out our 7 tips to manage that mop!”
Demonstrating to your target audience that you’re a thought leader is important in building trust, cementing your brand and indicating your capability.
If you can position yourself as a subject matter expert, you’ll build your brand, garner the respect of your potential customers, and be someone worth listening to. All of this will eventually increase your customer base and profits.
Company and product updates
Keeping your customer base informed of business and product changes can be done with blog.
If your business has new offerings, better ways of doing business, new contact details or any other important news – add this information to your blog to keep your customers abreast of such changes.
How to get started blogging
Now you understand why you should create a business blog – how can you get it off the ground?
1) Decide on your platform
First up – you’ll need a blogging platform. Have a look at what integrates well with your website, is low cost and easy to use.
Most businesses will find that WordPress is a great platform for both new and experienced bloggers. It’s widely supported, has tons of optional integrations and there’s plenty of tutorial content out there to help you get the most out of it.
2) Link it to your website
Your chosen platform may well be the same platform as your website. As mentioned, WordPress is a very popular platform for both blogs and websites and is easily integrated with your main site.
However, you’ll also find that platforms like Wix or Squarespace offer blog functionality as well. Keeping your website and blog under one roof is always going to be the advantageous route, so first look to your current website platform.
Once you have a live blog, pop a link in your website’s footer or header tabs so that people can easily find your blog content.
3) Start ideating
Get your brain fired up and start laying down a raft of business blog ideas. When you start out, there’s no reason to edit yourself too much. Simply have a few brainstorm sessions and start nailing down industry relevant ideas that complement your business.
Always keep in mind what your audience would find interesting, valuable, and shareable with their own circles.
If you own a surf store for example, blogs around surfing tips, trip reports, new board shapes, competition results or beginner guides would be perfect places to start.
If you’re stuck, have a look at what competitors are doing. There’s no shame in taking other people’s ideas and making them your own. Just make sure you never plagiarise content or headings.
Originality is key here, as Google will penalise you for copy and pasting other people’s work.
4) Do some keyword research
Making your blogs search relevant by focusing on keywords is an absolute must. There are a couple of ways of going about this:
- You can enlist an SEO professional to assist you in creating a list of high value keywords for your industry, from which you can derive blog topics.
- You can use online SEO keyword tools (both free and paid) to create a list of relevant keywords you should be targeting for your business.
5) Use SEO writing tools to refine your blogs
Once you’re familiar with high value keyword targets, you can further refine your SEO-focused blog writing by running it through several SEO writing tools.
You can use sites such as Hemingway to look at reading levels and software such as SEM Rush or Yoast to help refine your blogs based on your target keywords.
By running any blog through writing tools, you can easily boost the readability and SEO friendliness of your writing, leading to better SEO outcomes, more views, longer page visits and more business.
6) Write up a blog calendar
Now that you have a live blog, a list of ideas, some helpful writing tools, and a set of keywords to target, it’s time to formalise your blog process.
As with most marketing endeavours (like social media or email marketing) it pays dividends to set up a calendar that maps out frequency and deliverables.
Set a frequency, such as one per week. Or, if you’re strapped for time, perhaps just once a month. Now punch in the titles of your blogs and do your best to stretch this a few months into the future.
By mapping out your blog calendar once a quarter, you can then sit back and execute, without the persistent administrative hassle of tending to it weekly.