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How to blog for business
 

How to blog for business

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Your business blog may be the most important online asset your company has. A blog is used to discuss topics relevant to your industry and issues your target audience experiences with solutions ...

Your business blog may be the most important online asset your company has. A blog is used to discuss topics relevant to your industry and issues your target audience experiences with solutions offered by your business.

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  • “State of Inbound Marketing Study” Hubspot 2012. Link for more info: http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/10415/Business-Blogging-Up-17-Percentage-Points-in-2-Years-New-Data.aspx
  • “State of Inbound Marketing Study” Hubspot 2012.
  • Blogging for business has many parts to make it an effective form of marketing.Some say blogging is more science, while others think it is more of an art form. Of course, writing is an integral part of the process. Being a successful blogger cannot be done without knowledge in your field and the ability to write compelling content. But in addition to being a good writer, you also need to be creative in your ideas and tactics. Being able to see the big picture and find new creative topics and ways to promote your blog is a key part of blogging. Artistry makes something beautiful, but it needs purpose to work in the real world. The challenge blogging brings can be fun and exciting if you let it. And even if you write and create an awesome blog, there is no guarantee people will find you without implementing best business practices. There is more than one piece of the puzzle when it comes to blogging so make sure you are paying attention to all aspects as much as possible.
  • This is the technical part of blogging. It includes the elements that make a solid, readable blog.
  • Business blogging helps you in respect to search engine optimization (SEO).The more blog posts you publish, the more indexed pages you create for search engines to display in their results. In other words, business blogging helps you rank in search engines and get found when people search for industry-specific products or services. Thus, the blog enables you to attract organic traffic and familiarize people with your business. Make sure your blog titles incorporate industry keywords that people enter in search engines as they conduct research. What is the most important search engine keyword that you have not yet blogged about? Take that keyword, and write a blog post about it. Blogging is a great tool for driving search engine traffic. Take advantage of it!
  • Keyword density refers to the number of times a keyword or phrase appears on a web page or blog post. It is calculated based on the total number of words on the page. The overuse of keywords, called “keyword stuffing” will cause a page to be penalized by Google (it could mean they “blacklist” your page. If this happens your page will not appear in searches at all.) The main idea is that Google wants you to keep your content natural. It will notice if you try to use keywords artificially to increase the keyword density.
  • Generally search engines like content that’s at least 300 words long. On the other side, if you have more to say than 400 – 500 words, it is advisable for you to create a series of blog posts because your blog will grow faster if you post shorter posts more frequently rather than long posts less often. Running a series of posts also helps your readers anticipate what you’ll be posting about in the future and encourages people to subscribe to your blog so they don’t miss anything. Articles that are too long will cause your reader to lose focus and interest in the post.
  • Your blog is valuable “real estate” to place calls-to-action in order to generate leads. Examples are to sign up for a webinar or download a free guide. Calls-to-action introduce your prospects to the buying process and start qualifying them. Make sure you are matching the content you have written to the offer or “action” you want the reader to take. In this way, you create a seamless connection between the two and cater to the reader who is ready to take the next step. This is a very natural way to gauge interest and capture leads. The contextual call-to-action is going to be much more appealing and have a much higher click-through rate to subsequent landing pages. (i.e. “Contact Us) You can place calls-to-action within the blog post itself, at the beginning, middle or end of the article. Also, don’t forget to hyperlink keywords to appropriate offers or other internal pages that have pertinent information.
  • Give your blog content extended reach by including social media sharing buttons (e.g. “Like,” “Share on LinkedIn,” “Tweet,” etc.) on every post. This will encourage readers to share your content with their personal networks and expand its reach beyond your own connections.
  • Include an image that conveys what the blog post is about. This makes your content visually appealing to readers and breaks up blocks of text-based content. A blog post that has some type of visual element -- whether it’s a photograph, a graphic, or some type of infographic -- typically performs a little better than a post that’s purely text.It’s important to pay attention to image types and when to use them. The difference in image types is the result of the need for compression. By default, most images have a fairly large file size, which is not conducive to use on the web. The most commonly compressed image file types are .jpg, .gif and .png. When to Use What?While there is no magic formula to determine which image type is best, there are some guidelines you can follow to make an informed decision.First, if the image uses a wide range of colors, do not use the GIF format. PNGs or JPGs are best for images with a wide color scheme. JPGs are best suited for photographs or images containing photographic elements. PNGs are better suited for images involving text, charts, screenshots and detailed illustrations. If you are ever in doubt of which file type to use, a simple test exists that can help you narrow down the decision making process. In your image editor, export your image for each of the three file types and compare both file size and image quality between your exported images. This can help you quickly determine which file format gives you both the best picture quality and smallest file size.
  • Identify the target personas of the individuals who will be reading your blog. Figure out what they are interested in and what problems your blog posts will be solving for them. Then write posts that give them what they are looking for! “Create the kind of online content that your buyers naturally gravitate to.” David Meerman ScottAuthor of The New Rules of Marketing & PRA word of caution: Writing for your personas DOES NOT mean writing about the products and services you sell them. Write about the things they want to learn about.
  • Headlines are the most important element of your blog posts. While there are quite a few elements that make up a successful blog post, one of the best things you can do to capture readers’ attention and entice them to view your post is to write an awesome blog title.
  • Use blog titles that tell your audience exactly what they’re going to get. Afrobella is an example of a blogger who knows how to write clear, direct and succinct titles. When you read “What I LOVE About the Microsoft Surface” you know exactly what the post is going to be about. If someone is interested in learning more about the new tablet by Microsoft, they will want to read this article.
  • Another type of successful blog title is the one that creates a sense of urgency or importance. You want people to feel enticed to read a post when they first see the title.
  • Most people who read blogs are reading them because they want to learn how to solve a particular problem. Indicate that your article will actually tell them how to do something they don’t know how to do. An example of such a title is “How to Create a Google+ Business Page in 5 Simple Steps.”
  • Just like people love to know how to do something, they also love knowinghow not to do something. People like reassurance that they’re not doingsomething wrong. So use your blog to give them advice on how to fix common problems!
  • Controversial posts tend to spark a lot of discussion and debate, which also makes them spread quickly. So try making a blog title a bit controversial and see how your audience reacts to it. That said, don’t be controversial just for the sake of being controversial. Make sure you present some solid points, including well thought-out descriptions and facts within the post to back up your opinion.
  • Try to keep your titles brief and concise. A long-winded title often sounds complicated and can lose a potential reader’s interest. As a general rule of thumb, aim to keep your blog titles 8-9 words or fewer.
  • Numbers are a great way to set expectations for a post. It tells readers exactly what they’re going to get, and exactly how much of it. Readers don’t usually want to be kept guessing, so why not give it to them straight? Write a blog post about some newly published industry research and make sure to include data points in your blog title. An example of such a title is “4 Critical Ways Google+ Is Changing Search.”
  • A lot of relevant breaking newstype posts are successful in attracting viewership. Specifically, blog posts with the word “launch” in their title perform particularly well. Use words that indicate the post’s timeliness or newsworthiness directly in your title.
  • Sometimes you need a title that smacks the reader right in the face. It’s dramatic. It challenges the reader. In other words, it makes them want to click on the link. Like really badly. An example of such a blog headline is “First Lady Michelle Obama’s Speech Creates Online Sensation.”
  • In blogging, it is important to break up blocks of text into chunks. Online reading is not like reading a physical book. The online reader wants to be able to immediately scroll through content and scan subheaders, bold text, and even bullet points. It’s also a good idea to create links that open in a new tab or window.
  • Whether people found the blog post through a search engine, an email, or a social network, they most likely clicked through to an article to solve a problem. What makes people share a post with others is the actionable insight it provides to solve a problem. Provide clear takeaways and actionable steps in blog posts to ensure your idea resonates with readers.
  • Informative doesn’t have to mean boring. Just because you sell sheet metal, doesn’t mean your business blog can’t also be entertaining. Have your shop crew make some fun and timely creations out of sheet metal and post an image or video of each new creation. Have someone outside your company review your blog post to check for entertainment.
  • Metaphors are a timeless storytelling element. Don’t leave metaphors to novelists. They should be an active part of blog posts, too. Comparing two seemingly different things and drawing connections between them is a valuable way to combine relevance and generate more interest in a subject.
  • Great blog posts aren’t meek or subtle. They are clear, direct, and definitive. Take a stand, make strong word choices, and don’t waver on your advice. Be the expert on your topic.
  • This is the subjective aspect of blogging, the elements that are qualitative in nature.
  • Your blog is an asset that positions you as a thought leader. It takes vision, imagination, originality and inspiration to write a blog that people will want to read. By writing about a relevant aspect of your industry, your blog will help you earn people’s trust and stay top-of-mind for many in your community.
  • Name the biggest problem your customers have. With that problem in mind, write a detailed blog post that provides practical and non-product focused solutions. Solve your customers’ problems with content.
  • Use your blog as a platform to showcase your expertise on a given subject.Inject your knowledge of the industry into your blog posts, and make a cleardistinction between your brand and your competition.
  • In a recent survey, Hubspot asked respondents how much blogs affectedtheir purchasing decisions. “How often do you proceed to a purchasedecision based on your blogging research?” 71% of respondents said that blogs affect their purchasing decisions either somewhat or very much.
  • Here are some suggested ways to generate blog topics:
  • Hold brainstorming sessions using the blog ideas handouts. Brainstorm with a friend, co-worker or colleague if possible.
  • Repackage existing content that you already have. Many times, you can take something that you have already written for a different purpose and transform it into a great blog post.
  • Reach out to others in your industry. Identify people who serve as your business’ primary thought-leaders. Interview them or read their materials. This should give you a rich list to help you generate blogging ideas.
  • Another method of generating content for your blog is to invite other industry experts to write guest posts for you. Use your network to find people who might be interested in guest blogging. Be confident in pitching them benefits of guest blogging. Often you can offer to exchange blog posts – you write for their blog and they write for yours. Guest blogging helps to gain exposure beyond your normal readership and generates inbound links that can help you (and them) rank better in search engines. Guest blogging is also a great way to begin co-marketing and build a strong relationship with industry influencers.
  • Curation is another great way to generate blog content. Curation is the aggregation of other valuable pieces of content. If you are going to curate information, make sure you’re curating it to provide some type of value for your reader. Don’t just curate content for the sake of doing it. Ask yourself these questions: 1. Are you saving the reader time by putting all of these resources in one place? 2. Are you offering your own opinion and insight against what someone else has said?You need to make sure you are adding a layer of value for your reader by curating the information in the first place. In terms of using other people’s stuff: most people are going to be flattered if you want to share their content. It’s also a great opportunity to build a relationship with them. The simplest guideline is to do unto others as you would have done to yourself. Make sure you’re following other blogger’s usage guidelines and make sure you appropriately attribute the original author.
  • The best blogs post about a variety of topics. Some of the best blogs include news, feature articles, videos, opinions and photos. As it turns out, many types of posts receive traffic.
  • The foundation of your blog should be your everyday, basic posts. “How to” posts are an example of your everyday posts. Tips, basic informational posts are common. Get good at writing them because these will be the Bread & Butter of your blog. Make sure they are useful and cover topics that interest your target audience.
  • Feature articles are posts that you put time into. Usually you will have to research some or most of the content. These type of posts establish you as a thought leader in the industry. These are the Green Vegetables blog posts.
  • Major blog projects are a lot of work. The entail lots of links, research, discussion and attention. Pick your projects well as they will partially define you and will consume your time and energy. These are the Holiday Turkey & Dressing blog posts.
  • Controversial subjects stir up “buzz.” So go ahead and make a bold statement. Just be prepared to defend yourself. Expect a lot of comments. Be aware that too many of these can cause people to lose trust in you so make sure your controversy is something you really believe in. These are the Hot Chili Sauce blog posts.
  • These posts make your blog fun. One strategy is to poke fun at yourself. Sweet posts drive lots of traffic and back links to your blog. Use video and images to help sweeten your post. These are the Dessert blog posts.
  • Frequency of publishing blog posts matters a lot. Research has shown that businesses that blog 16 to 20 times per month (4 – 5 times per week) get over two times more traffic than those that blog fewer than four times per month.
  • Use a content calendar to create a publishing plan. Decide how often you will post and stick to your schedule. Some bloggers take time and pre-write an archive of articles that can then be posted on a regular schedule. The goal of blogging is to build up a body of keyword-rich content which then becomes an asset for your business. In your content creation plan, make sure you have a steady backlog of content, some of which addresses topics that can become evergreen (sometimes highlighted as “most popular” posts) and therefore valuable for a long time to come. In this way, you are also considering the long-term effects of your blog.Try to build an editorial calendar to help you map out your frequency, give you a general idea of the content you’ll be creating, and serve as a blogging schedule. What is more, it will help you develop an approach. For instance, if you are working hard to rank for a specific keyword, you can focus on your content around that keyword for a month and then measure the results. Have you increased your search engine ranking for that given keyword?An editorial calendar will also help you maintain a healthy balance of content types covering various topics and lengths such as posts that are short and shareable vs. those that are meaty and comprehensive. You should always plan for blog content to get published at certain designated times, but also be able to take advantage of industry-related news stories that allow you to create a timely blog post and leverage the buzz that’s already being generated around the topic. Therefore, it’s important to also be agile and flexible in your content creation process.
  • A variety of presentation styles will appeal to a broad range of readers. Different presentation styles include email interviews, video interviews, conferences, office visitors, clients, guest posts, “best of” lists, and “how we do it” posts
  • The business aspect of blogging ensures the sustainability of your blog.
  • Great business blogs have to walk a fine line: they have to create value for current and prospective customers while supporting a strategy that provides business growth. Business blogs are often measured by very different metrics than blogs that function as media outlets. This is because you are seeking leads, not clicks or impressions. While one person may generate 100 impressions in a week for a media site, for a business blog, that same person is only going to account for one lead regardless of how often they view your content.Because business blogging has different goals, it also has some distinct best practices that distinguish it from personal blogs or media blogs. However, some of the key principles of media and personal blogs are still very much important in business blogging. The challenge is to find the right blend of content for your audience.
  • You are not a business blogger, you are a vertically integrated online publisher. Your job isn’t to publish an article or two each week. Instead, you have the same responsibilities that publishers in traditional media have; the only difference is that all of those responsibilities are tied directly to your business. Publishers have to create relevant content, determine the best methods to publicize their content to improve reach, and define advertising opportunities as well as manage them. As a vertically integrated publisher, you should do all of these things for your business to ensure that the content you create is valuable to prospective customers and is delivered in a way that can support lead generation for your business.
  • Readers don’t want you to talk about your company on your blog, and this is great for your business. It is likely that, if you have spent some time optimizing your website, you rank well in search engines for your company name and related terms. However, business blogs provide the opportunity to build incoming traffic from non-branded keywords.For example, if you are a manufacturer, instead of blogging about your company and products, you should be writing about industry best practices and answering common customer questions about higher level productissues. This content will not only help increase search traffic, but also drive better quality prospects to your business’ website.
  • It is easy to get caught up in the type of information you think is interesting, but after business blogging for a few months, you’ll experience the need to ask readers what they want. Assumptions can often be wrong, so conduct a survey on your business blog as a way to obtain clear feedback from readers. Questions should address topics for future posts and types of content readers prefer (e.g. text vs. audio vs. video, etc.), and the survey should also include space for comments to give readers the opportunity to make their own, personalized suggestions
  • We have been (and will continue) to discuss ways to promote your business using your website, blog and social media accounts. I have also planned a session titled “Integrating Online and Offline Marketing to Promote Your Brand” where we will discuss proven promotion methods and ideas. So stay tuned for more support related to promotion!
  • Tracking, measuring and analyzing your progress is a science and an art all by itself. In our session “Measure and Analyze Metrics to Ensure a Positive Return on Investment (ROI)” we will explore the methods used to set up, determine and adjust your online analytics and metrics to ensure you receive a positive return on your investment of time, money and effort. Afterall, the whole point of blogging and developing your online presence is to make money!
  • Feeling overwhelmed? Think you might need help keeping up with your blogging schedule? I want to mention an awesome blogging service. Consider hiring a blogging service like Zerys. For about $15 - $25 per blog, you can have a professionally written post that includes the right keyword density. (Prices subject to change.) I used to write blogs for this company so I know about it firsthand. Video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fyM19nakr9g
  • Business blogging is an essential part of online marketing. It helps your company gain exposure in front of a larger audience and develop industry leadership. What is more, it directly impacts business results because it is strictly tied to an increase in organic search traffic and referrals as well as robust lead generation. As you embark on your business blogging journey, prepare for the workload tied to content management. Build an editorial calendar, and start adding to it some resources that you already have lying around, such as whitepapers, informative brochures, and industry reports. Don’t forget to optimize your blog posts by identifying the right titles, tweaking formatting, and including calls-to-action in the text. That is how you will start seeing business results. After publishing a well-optimized post, don’t just sit back and wait for it to generate conversations. Promote it actively by making it easy for people to share the content with their network. Make sure others in your organizations are also spreading the word.Lastly, don’t underestimate the power of business blogging metrics. They will show you which articles work and which don’t. By looking at the number of views, leads, and inbound links your blog posts are generating, you will gain a better understanding of your audience and their needs. Such insights will guide you in your other marketing initiatives and help you develop an effective inbound marketing strategy.

How to blog for business How to blog for business Presentation Transcript

  • presentsHow To Blogfor Business
  • In 2012, 62% of UScompanies said they publish a company blog.
  • In that samestudy, 57% ofbusinesses whoblog said theyincreased salesrevenue fromtheir blog.
  • Blogging is a long-term investment and marketing asset that will bring traffic and leads to your business. It introduces you as a thought leader in your industry and allows you to earn people’s trust.
  • Effective blogging is part science, part art and part business.
  • Part I. TheScience ofBlogging
  • The Science of BloggingSearch Engine Optimization• Use keyword-rich content• Know your keywords and use the SEO features of your website program to build in SEO.
  • The Science of BloggingKeyword density should not exceed 5%.
  • The Science of BloggingBlog posts should average 400 – 500 words (or less.)
  • The Science of BloggingUse calls-to-action (CTAs) within the blog post itself.
  • The Science of BloggingUse social media sharing buttons.
  • The Science of BloggingUse compelling images.
  • The Science of BloggingIdentify target personas
  • The Science of BloggingWrite eye-catching, keyword optimized headlines.
  • The Science of BloggingBe clear and direct.“What I LOVE About the Microsoft Surface” by Afrobella
  • The Science of BloggingCreate urgency.
  • The Science of BloggingWrite posts that explain “How To”
  • The Science of BloggingWrite posts that explain “How NOT To”
  • The Science of BloggingBe controversial Russell’s Teapot
  • The Science of BloggingKeep it simple
  • The Science of BloggingUse numbers
  • The Science of BloggingWrite posts that are newsworthy
  • The Science of BloggingBe sensational
  • The Science of BloggingFormatting is your friend
  • The Science of BloggingMake it actionable
  • The Science of BloggingBe entertaining
  • The Science of BloggingUse combined relevance “The fruit of peace like um like a peace of fruit.“ - Tim Minchin, Comic
  • The Science of BloggingBe definitive
  • Part II. TheArt ofBlogging
  • The Art of Blogging
  • The Art of BloggingBe a problem solver
  • The Art of BloggingBuild thought leadership
  • The Art of BloggingEarn people’s trust
  • The Art of BloggingGenerate the right content for your blog
  • The Art of BloggingBrainstorm new ideas
  • The Art of BloggingRepackage existing content
  • The Art of BloggingReach out to others
  • The Art of Blogging Guest bloggers
  • The Art of Blogging Curate content
  • The Art of BloggingCreate a mix of posts
  • The Art of BloggingThe foundation of your blog will be everyday, basic posts. Bread & Butter
  • The Art of BloggingStrengthen your blog regularly with healthy, thoughtful feature articles. Green, Leafy Vegetables
  • The Art of BloggingOnce in a while undertake a major blog project. Holiday Turkey & Dressing
  • The Art of BloggingSpice your blog up with controversy. Hot Chili Sauce
  • The Art of BloggingSweeten your blog with some sugary dessert posts. Frosted Cupcakes
  • The Art of BloggingFrequency matters.
  • The Art of BloggingSustain your blog with a publishing schedule.
  • The Art of BloggingGet creative with the way you present your posts.
  • Part III. TheBusiness ofBlogging
  • Use best practices for your business blog
  • Think like a vertically integrated publisher
  • Focus on non-branded keyword content
  • Ask readers what they want
  • Promote your blog
  • Measure your success
  • Consider hiring a blogging service to write your posts for you.
  • Final thoughtsI hope thispresentation hashelped you mapout the directionyou need to takein order to besuccessful atblogging for yourbusiness.