How to Write a Business Blog

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This eBook is written for anyone writing a blog to promote their business. It assumes you – as the author - have a pretty good understanding already of who your clients, customers and prospects are, and have already selected a blog software or service (or are already using one).

This eBook includes an overview of….

Planning Your Blog
* Identifying goals for your blog
* Creating an editorial calendar
* Setting up an editorial review board

Creating and Publishing Your Blog
* Writing blog posts
* Adding images to your blog

Optimizing Your Blog’s Impact
* Using categories and tags for search engine optimization (SEO)
* Best practices for linking to your blog on social media

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How to Write a Business Blog

  1. 1. How to Write a Business Blog A Guide to Successful B2B Blogging copyright © 2013
  2. 2. What’s Covered in this eBook This eBook is written for anyone writing a blog to promote their business. It assumes you – as the author - have an pretty good understanding already of who your clients, customers and prospects are, and have already selected a blog software or service (or are already using one). This eBook includes an overview of…. Planning Your Blog    Identifying goals for your blog Creating an editorial calendar Setting up an editorial review board Creating and Publishing Your Blog  Writing blog posts  Adding images to your blog Optimizing Your Blog’s Impact  Using categories and tags for search engine optimization (SEO)  Best practices for linking to your blog on social media copyright © 2013
  3. 3. Planning Your Blog copyright © 2013
  4. 4. Identify your goals There are many reasons you may want to create a blog – to improve your website’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO), to enhance your social media sites, to promote your business’ products and services – but all of these reasons reflect YOUR goals. What’s most critical, however is what your blog can do for your your target audience. Before you start, you must decide what your readers will get out of reading your blog. What benefit will the blog offer? If you haven’t identified your readers and their needs, you won’t attract readers. Your target audience… is usually your customers and prospects, but may include other business readers in your industry. If you have more than one audience, and their needs vary enough that you have created separate marketing and sales tools for each audience, then you will need to consider that when creating your blog. Often just alternating blog topics so that you relate to each audience will ensure that you cover all customers and prospects. Sometimes, having a different author for each audience makes the process of talking to different audiences easier, but it is not necessary if the blog author understands each audience segment and their needs. Reader needs… think about what your customers and prospects need to help them succeed in their careers. They may want to read your blog so they can:     copyright © 2013 Keep up on industry trends Make informed buying decisions Make their jobs easier – and avoid mistakes Learn about best practices
  5. 5. Create an editorial calendar Once you’ve identified your audience and their information needs, make a list of what you want to communicate as a company. Are you sharing information about: a    Products & services? New rollouts? Upcoming events? Create a matrix in a spreadsheet. The columns will be the information needs of your audience and the rows will be your communications needs. Develop topics based on the intersection of these needs. This is the starting point for your editorial calendar. 1. Decide the frequency with which you want to write your blogs. Starting with one per week will help you establish a following. 2. Organize topics to vary the subject matter or the approach to the subject. 3. Recruit people within your organization to write the blogs. Knowledge and writing skills are needed, but a writer and a content expert can also successfully collaborate to write a blog together. A spreadsheet-based Editorial Calendar The matrix of reader needs and communication needs If you want to blog posts that coincide with a product rollout or major event, then make sure that you time those particular posts for maximum impact. copyright © 2013
  6. 6. Set up an editorial review board Misspellings, bad grammar, and incorrect information will undermine the credibility of your blog, but even the most careful writer can make mistakes. To support your blog writer and increase the professionalism of your blog site, you should set up an internal editorial review board (even if it’s one person). Make sure that those selected to review blogs can commit to a quick turnaround and understand their role. After the first several weeks of work, a follow-up meeting should be called to review practices and make any adjustments to the time needed to respond and to adjust any other processes. The role of this group should not be to pick apart the writer’s style, but rather to look for    misspelled words, grammar mistakes, and to double check facts. The blog content should be shared via a Word document at least a day or two prior to being posted, with a deadline for comments and corrections. Use the “Track Changes” feature in Word to make it easier for the blog writer to see corrections and comments. In newer versions of Word there is a “Lock Tracking” function to ensure that all who review the document are in the Track Changes mode. copyright © 2013 Next: Creating and Publishing Your Blog
  7. 7. Creating and Publishing Your Blog copyright © 2013
  8. 8. Writing blog posts Blogging uses a very specific form of writing with its own STRUCTURE, TONE, and LANGUAGE. It is meant to be ENGAGING and to get the reader to respond by commenting. It should have a personality and should quickly pull the reader in.  Make the introduction brief and easy to follow, but promise some benefit to the reader if they read the entire post.  Tell a story – this is a “conversation” with the reader. You don’t want to talk down or go on for too long. Try to draw in even the most casually interested reader.  Speak to the reader: • Show you understand the reader’s situation • Answer the questions your reader would probably ask  Ask a positive question to psychologically pull the reader into the story.  What is the call to action? • To view a related post? • To click through to a product page? • To post a comment? STRUCTURE Headline Intro BLOG Call to Action Ask a Question Story Ask a question  Write headlines that grab the attention: • Appeal to people’s curiosity • Appeal to their self-interest • Make it newsworthy readers copyright © 2013
  9. 9. Writing blog posts WRITING DO’S & DON’TS SET THE RIGHT TONE  Show some personality. Let your voice come through: “I’m so excited about this new product..”    Show your professionalism: • Balance the more informal style of your blog with language and a command of the subject matter that signals your professionalism. Be open and honest: • Mention your flaws or past mistakes • Make believable promises • Undersell – NEVER oversell! (This is a cardinal rule in blogging. Don’t violate it.) Be positive: • • NEGATIVE: “If you’re tired of a shrinking sales pipeline and don’t want to face your boss…” POSITIVE: “If you want to increase your pipeline and be the overachiever at your company…” DO:  Use “I” and “You” to connect to the reader.  Use common contractions for a conversational tone.  Use short sentences for impact.  Write from your own personal perspective. DON’T:  Use a passive voice. It doesn’t drive action. • •   PASSIVE: “So-and-so has written a great post about software trends.” ACTIVE: “Check out this great post about software trends” Be too formal. Use “we” more than you have to, even though you may talk about your company. The “Corporate We” comes across about as well as the “Royal We” – it’s a big turnoff. copyright © 2013
  10. 10. Writing blog posts ENGAGEMENT Writing a blog is your opportunity to engage directly with your target audience. Before you write each blog post ask yourself these questions: What do readers want to get out of this post? What do I want to get out of this post for my company? What problem, need or interest is driving readers to read this post? What points am I trying to make in this post? Can I back up my points? What is my call to action? copyright © 2013 Why would a reader go to this post rather than go elsewhere for information?
  11. 11. Adding images to your blog post An image helps draw the reader into your blog post and also enhances the story you are telling. There are also online photo and image sites that sell tens of thousands of images at reasonable prices. Some have plans where you can pre-pay for a set amount of images and download them as needed. It can be a picture of a person, a place, an object or an icon. Even a screen shot of on online product or service adds interest to your post. FINDING IMAGES Screen shots can be captured with a “snipping tool” that comes on PCs and Macs. For free photos, use the search term “royalty free photo” in a Google or Bing image search. If you want to narrow your search, add another qualifier to the search term to indicate the subject of the icon you are looking for. Free icons can be found by searching for “royalty free icons” in a Google or Bing image search. UPLOADING IMAGES Blog software programs typically include an image editor that lets you upload an image and select where you align it in your post. Most will let you resize an image once you have uploaded it, but it is easier to adjust it close to the size you want before uploading. IMAGES AND SOCIAL MEDIA Make sure that when you place a link to your blog on sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn ad Google+ that the image that you placed in your blog appears. Having an image next to your link increases the likelihood that your followers will click through to your blog post. Next: Optimizing Your Blog’s Impact copyright © 2013
  12. 12. Optimizing Your Blog’s Impact copyright © 2013
  13. 13. Using categories and tags for search engine optimization (SEO) Blog software typically allows you to pre-set “Categories” to organize your blogs and “Tags” or “Keywords” to optimize accurate indexing of your blogs on search engines. CATEGORIES serve a dual purpose: They allow you to organize all of your posts by subject matter and are also given priority by search engines. You should select several categories that correspond to the main topics you will be writing about. As your blog grows in size, you can allow readers to look for past blogs by category if the topic interests them. Categories should be seen as your high-level grouping of content. Don’t set up too many categories. Over time, you should build to having a dozen or more posts per category. When you create your matrix of topics and editorial calendar, you should have the raw information you need to determine the best categories to set up in your blog software. TAGS (also called KEYWORDS) are added individually to each post you create. They should reflect words or phrases that you have used in your post, and should be chosen based on the likelihood that an individual from your target audience would be using that word as a search term. Google has a free Keyword tool that you can use to find popular search terms. Make a list of those most relevant to your business and keep them on hand when writing and tagging posts. You need to open a Google AdWords account to get access to it, however. Other free keyword tools include: Trellian Wordtracker copyright © 2013
  14. 14. Best practices for linking to your blog on social media Optimizing Character Limits in Social Media For best results, follow these rules when linking to your blog from Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter: 1. Update your Status: a. Keep your update short so people don’t have to click “more” to read it. b. Put blog link in the update box, but remove when the link content appears so you don’t use up your character count. 2. Edit the Headline and Description (optional) 3. Send out a Tweet Site Status Length Headline Length Description Length Facebook 400 120 225 LinkedIn 275 60 200 Google+ 265 Twitter 140 For a copy of the One Size DOES NOT Fit All infographic, click here. Length is character count, including spaces copyright © 2013
  15. 15. Contact and Connect with Enervision For more help with your blog, website or social media, give us a call! Sales@enervisionmedia.com www.enervisionmedia.com 1-877-330-3077 Visit our blog: The User Experience Monitor Connect to us on LinkedIn Follow Us on Twitter copyright © 2013

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