Do you want a hard-working blog that attracts lots of readers in your sector? Read on:
Whether you’re setting out to produce an industry blog or a personal one, you need to make sure it’s on a subject you’re passionate about. It sounds obvious but if you don’t know a lot about the subject you’re blogging on then as a resource it has limited value. As I’m in the B2B PR industry I knew what my peers would find valuable and this insight informed the categories on my blog and it has helped to attract guest posts from some high profile people in the industry.
Don’t be afraid of putting your opinions forward and exploring topics that conventional industry publications would rather avoid — these topics will more often than not prove to be the most popular with your readership. One of the most popular series we’ve produced was a frank assessment of the state of the UK’s PR industry body, the PRCA. We asked whether it offered smaller agencies good value and whether it was principally a lead generation tool for bigger agencies. The blog received a lot of attention and the PRCA ended up engaging with us online and that debate certainly benefitted our readers.
Launching a blog can be soul destroying. You can go for weeks with very little traffic and it can be hard to gain traction as a newbie in an already competitive industry. If you don’t get the 10,000 readers you were hoping for in your first week, keep at it! Your readership will build gradually over time if you keep producing content that appeals. If you abandon your blog at the first sign that it’s not going to be easy, then expect to fail.
While you may think the quality of your content will attract industry peers from far and wide, they do have to find it in the first place. The beauty of social PPC campaigns is that you can use networks like Facebook and Twitter to advertise to a specific audience at a very low cost. We spent no more than a few hundred pounds promoting our blog and were able to get it in front of the right audience quickly and cheaply.
If you want to build an engaged following then you need to understand what your target audience is searching for online. Get familiar with Google’s keyword tool to make sure that the content you’re producing on a regular basis contains the right search terms. Not only does this attract a relevant industry audience but it can also work as a lead generation tool.
Does your business website have a blog? If not, it should! Not only are blogs great for building brand loyalty, they’re also incredibly useful for improving your search rankings. Think of a blog as your own personal newspaper. What do your customers want to know?
Blogging like a business pro isn’t all that hard, it just takes planning. Here are 13 steps to get you started.
It’s easiest to host your blog on the same platform your website runs on. If you prefer a free site like Wordpress or Blogger, talk to your IT guru about creating a subdomain for your blog. If you must create a totally separate domain for your blog, get as close to the business name as you can.
Don’t get too creative here. For the best SEO results, pick a name that will hit the keywords you want. Use subtitles if you need to convey more information.
Most businesses shoot themselves in the foot by beginning to blog, then abruptly stopping when things get busy. Have a content plan in place as well as a concrete blogging schedule to prevent this from happening, and bring in an outside content person if necessary.
Before you start promoting your blog, fill the “drafts” folder with a few reserve blog posts that aren’t too time-sensitive. Be sure you’ve got a few posts live on the site before you start pointing people there, too, so they have something to read!
Before you get too deep into posting, be sure your blog is connected to your social accounts like Facebook and Twitter. You’ll want some social widgets on the blog, too.
Business blogs simply shouldn’t steal photos — it’s a recipe for a lawsuit (and unethical!) Spend a couple hours and even bring in a professional photographer to create a library of business images you can pull from when posting down the road.
Aim for at least once a week for the first few months of blogging, more if you can. And remember that although every blog post should contain correct punctuation and formatting, they don’t always have to be long-form reads.
Every single time you post, you should be promoting, especially via social media. Be sure to reach out to people you think would be particularly interested in the content one-by-one.
Have like-minded professionals or industry figureheads write a guest post or give you an interview. It will make great blog fodder and you’ll get double promotion points when they promote the post, too.
You own a business…give people a reason to follow you! Whether it’s useful information delivered in emails to blog followers or coupons for discounted service for people who follow, people need a reason.
It’s easy to get stuck in a routine of creating the same type of posts week after week. Mix it up! Post a video one week and a white paper the next; you’ll seem more adaptable as a company.
Your IT pro may be helpful here, but you should learn the basics of proper SEO formatting. Headers, links… know what these things are to best position your blog.
Once you’ve established a great group of loyal followers, get their opinions! Find out what they’d like to see more of and less of and never forget what a valuable resource your comments section is.
Business blogging isn’t complicated, it just takes preparation.
Ryan Currie is a product manager at BizShark.com, with 5 years experience in online marketing and product development. In addition to web related businesses, he also enjoys the latest news and information on emerging technologies and open source projects.