If you hear the word “blog” and other four-letter words immediately come to mind, you’re not alone. Many business owners often question the necessity of blogging, but the numbers are in … HubSpot™, an inbound marketing expert, surveyed over 1,500 companies and their blog usage. Of the 52% that maintained a blog, they saw 55% more Web traffic than those who did not.
Consider how search engines generate their revenue: If they cannot return relevant search-related information, their users will turn elsewhere. To ensure the best possible results, complex algorithms were constructed taking thousands of variables into consideration. One of the most weighted variables is fresh and updated content; blogs are one of the best tools available to create content and increase traffic.
Don’t know what to write about? Use your blog to highlight your experiences, respond to issues in the marketplace, introduce industry technologies, relay inspirational stories and much more.
Planning is the key to any successful blog. Without a written plan, your blog is unlikely to come to fruition. Here are a few tips for every business blogger that we thought might be interesting to you:
- Consider your audience. Knowing who you’re writing for will allow you to focus your content toward a specific target. Consideration for your audience will also typically dictate how long and how often you write.
- Create a content calendar. It doesn’t have to be formal or pretty, but make it work for you. If you believe the only time you’ll have to write is on Monday morning, pencil it in. Schedule the topic and overall message, the audience and the author. If enlisting others to write content, give them a computer calendar as a friendly reminder of content deadlines.
- Variety is the spice of life. Engage your audiences by publishing a variety of content. Think of it as a boxing match with two types of hits: hard-hitting and quick-hitting. The hard-hitting content is that which establishes you as an authority, whereas the quick-hitting approach lets you relay related information while highlighting your personality—ultimately winning the long-term attention of your readers.
- Promote offline. Visiting a business expo, attending a meeting and walking down the street all have one common theme: face-time. View all face-to-face connections as promotional opportunities and give a tangible takeaway to remind them of your blog. Look at the analytics of your blog and cater your swag accordingly. If the majority of your users come to your blog via a PC, personalize quality pens or stress balls with your URL. If your average visitor accesses via smartphone, then utilize QR codes on regularly used items such as key chains.
- Publicize your blog in the virtual world. Open up your social media circles for discussion. Ask them to share your content, provide feedback and contribute ideas. Creating a contest is a simple way to increase traffic. Offer creative prizes related to your subject matter. For instance, if your audience is food-loving, offer an interesting cookbook or knife set, depending on your budget. Remember: The prize does matter. The better the prize, the better the draw.
- Cross-promote yourself by guest blogging. According to blogger Julia Campbell, “sharing your posts with other communities is a great way to build your own following.” However, she also warns that failing to adhere to other blog’s policies can tarnish your online reputation.
- If the audience is appropriate, court traditional media outlets. In efforts to modernize print publications, traditional media organizations have been featuring bloggers. For instance, The New York Times™ has an entire webpage dedicated to a variety of bloggers, from politics to entertainment, sports to travel and so on. Gaining recognition from these outlets with enormous readership would be tremendously beneficial, both from a readership and an inbound marketing perspective.
Although blogging is a single tactic in your overall marketing strategy, the potential for its reach is tremendous. Keeping this in perspective, it's easy to see how essential your blog posts are across all social network platforms that your organization uses.
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