Business blogs can often be underwhelming as many simply don’t have the time to invest in one. Blogs, however, when done correctly, can showcase your company voice, improve relations with customers and help you attract a new audience who may never have found you otherwise. We’ve put together our top tips on how to create a successful company blog, but we’ve also reconfirmed the purpose of a blog and their benefits.
Whether you’re new to the scene or looking to freshen up your content, here you’ll find all the information needed to raise you to the top of your blogging game. It doesn’t matter what your industry or niche, these tips can be used by everyone.
How a Blog Can Improve Your Business
Attitudes to blogging often go one of two ways: the business invests time and money in the blog, but they don’t have a content plan or don’t think too much about the content they are producing, or the company blog falls by the wayside as people become increasingly busy with seemingly more important tasks. A blog done incorrectly may well be a waste of time and energy, but if you are top of your blogging game and get things right, it can be a source of new business. Below, you’ll find a few examples of how blogs can boost your business.
- More website traffic. As you expand your website with more fresh content that appeals to your audience you have the opportunity to rank for a broader range of search queries. In turn, this can bring more people to your website.
- Increased social media interaction. Sharing static business pages on social media accounts probably won’t get the shares and interaction you desire. Creating interesting content that appeals to your audience is more likely to increase your engagement and in turn this has a positive impact on your brand awareness.
- You become an authoritative figure in your industry. If you create fresh and constant content about topics in your industry, you could come to be considered a subject expert.
- You provide solutions for your customer base. If you produce content that answers people’s questions, not only will you win over your customers and prove you’re trying to help them, but you will also be discovered by a wider customer base.
How to Create a Successful Company Blog
Blogs offer great benefits, but only when used correctly. If you don’t yet have a company blog, we’ve put together a step by step guide explaining how to get started the right way. If you do have an existing blog, these tips are still relevant so use them to check your time is being spent in the most valuable way.
- Consider the purpose of the blog. What are you hoping to achieve from it? It’s best to spend some time thinking about your goals so you have something to aim for.
- Think about where it will sit on your website. If people don’t know about your blog, you can’t expect them to read it. Add it to the main navigation so people can easily find your content.
- Create a blog structure. Make sure you have a central blog page with your latest posts listed in chronological order. Showcase your categories on there and make sure it’s easy to navigate so people can find your posts.
- Install social sharing plugins or functionality. How you do this will depend on what blogging platform you install, however it’s important to have identifiable social sharing buttons that allow people to share your links easily. You could also pre-populate social media posts to save people having to summarise your content but to also help them convey the right messages. Not everyone will use these posts, but they save people time and people like ease.
- Think about your audience and tone of voice. Blogs are a great way to express your company voice and resonate with your customers, but if you write in an overly-formal manner, people will go elsewhere. They want to feel as if they’re talking to a person, someone who understands their needs. Use your blog to break down the boundaries with your audience. Also, consider who your audience are. Adapt your content and tone of voice to appeal to them.
- Choose your topics and create a content plan. Once your blog is set up as needed, it’s over to you to provide the content. This is the trickiest step, and where many people go wrong. Simply sharing company news and stories isn’t enough, but neither is providing long essays full of information no one cares about. Researching topics and creating a content plan will help you create the best and most successful content, we’ll delve further into this later.
- Think about the structure of your blog posts. High-quality content will only go so far if it’s not presented in an appealing way that can be easily processed. Think about what information you read, retain and share. Content that contains lists, headers, images and diagrams has been proven to get better results.
- Make sure your posts are long enough. People want to be able to find answers to their questions easily but if you’re too brief, you risk losing them anyway. Search engines won’t react in the best way to thin content, either. There’s no hard and fast rule when it comes to word count but if you could cover a topic in one paragraph, you either need to look at the bigger picture and combine it with something else, or it’s probably not worth writing about. Quality is more important than quantity, so don’t repeat yourself, and work to a set word limit, but think about whether you are producing enough.
How to Choose Blog Topics Your Audience Will Read
The design of your blog is important, but if your content isn’t up to scratch, you won’t achieve your aims. Here are our tips on how to choose topics your audience actually wants to read about.
- Do some keyword research. Search for topics surrounding your industry and look at areas you haven’t covered on pages within your site. Also see what longtail queries and questions people are searching for as often these will inspire some post ideas.
- Look at what’s done well before. If you have an existing blog, look at your analytics data and identify your best performing posts. Could you work those topics from a new angle or could you do an updated version of that topic?
- Look at the questions your customers are asking. Frequently asked question pages are often an addition to most websites, but why not delve further on more complex topics and dedicate some blog posts to those areas.
- Review comments. Assuming you have a blog already up and running, review your blog comments. This is another insight into your audience and if they are asking for further information, a follow up post could be on the cards.
- Understand your audience. As a business you will have probably gathered key information about your audience. Use this data to create personas and think about what problems they need solving and their wider interests. Alternatively, if you don’t have much information on your audience, why not ask them to complete a survey? If you know what your audience are interested in, you can’t go far wrong.
- Think about key events. If you’re a clothes shop, for example, your customers may be looking for information about outfits for specific occasions throughout the year – Valentine’s Day, Christmas parties, etc. See if there’s a link between any of those events and your industry.
How to Create a Content Plan That Works
The first thing you need to do when planning your content is to establish a schedule. How often are you going to be able to reasonably put together content? People want regular content, but quality is far more important than quantity. See what is manageable for your business.
Next, research your topics. You want to gather as many ideas as possible. Even if some seem better than others, collate lots of ideas into a spreadsheet along with their search volumes. You could try running keywords related to your ideas through keyword research tools to see if there is search volume behind them too.
Once you have a list of ideas, create a calendar or find an existing template online that you can edit. The type of calendar you use will depend on how often you plan on publishing. If you are planning on daily blogging, a monthly calendar would work best, if you were going to do a couple of posts a month it would be more beneficial to use a yearly calendar. You want to choose a structure that lets you see all your ideas at a quick glance. Once you’ve got your dates sorted, you’ll need to add multiple columns to your plan – topic/title; details/notes; keywords; type of content; writer name, etc. Fields will vary depending on your needs but it’s useful to put together as much detail in there as you can. There’s nothing worse than being too brief on your content plan and when it comes to writing the post up, having no recollection of what you wanted to write about.
When your plan template is ready, add in key holidays and events of interest throughout the year. Then fit your post ideas around them in the calendar. It’s easier to create a content plan on a computer so you can easily change things around as you go on.
All that’s left to do is create the content. It’s best to prepare your content plan at the start of a quarter or year to give yourself plenty of time to gather the things you need and get the content done. Some posts may not be as simple as writing an article, you may need to research and gather data, find suitable images, create diagrams or even build infographics. It’s useful to label the type of asset, give yourself a rough time frame or add in some instructions when doing the content plan so you know what you’ll need to do for each post.
Blogging Mistakes to Avoid
So, we’ve discussed what to do but what about the things you should steer clear of?
- Not making your content readable. Long sentences and large blocks of text will make readers turn away.
- Spelling and grammar mistakes. Rushed content that hasn’t been proofed looks sloppy and if you haven’t seemed to put the effort in, why would your audience want to read it.
- Your blog post ideas are random. If you haven’t researched the idea and just gone off on a bit of a whim, chances are you aren’t going to create something your audience cares about or wants to read. Make sure your blog posts fit in with your business goals.
- Your writing style is too professional/formal. Informative doesn’t need to mean formal, write in a more conversational style to break down those barriers with your audience.
- You get carried away and talk about yourself. There’s a difference between acting human and writing in a less formal manner, and telling your audience narratives about your life. Your audience don’t care about the latter and that’s not the reason they’re reading your posts.
- If you’re not bringing anything new to the table and are simply copying someone else’s content, readers are going to be able to see through it.
- You don’t blog consistently. It doesn’t matter if you once wrote the most incredible post ever that practically went viral, if you want to build up your audience and retain your readership you need to continually supply content.
Whether you’re thinking of creating a new business blog, or your current blog isn’t working as you hoped, we hope you find our suggestions helpful. There’s a lot of blogs and content readily available on the internet but not everyone is getting it right. If you choose content carefully and avoid any faux pas, it won’t take you long to get to the top of the blogging game.