Back to Basics: How to Write an Effective Business Blog

Back to Basics: How to Write an Effective Business Blog

How often do I have to write a post on my blog?

Blogs can be published as frequently as daily or as infrequently as monthly.

To help you assess the right cadence for you, I recommend that you brainstorm a series of topics. See how many you can come up with. If it’s a page or two of ideas, you can probably handle a weekly cadence. If you’ve only got a dozen or so ideas, that’s fine – just be realistic and tell yourself that a monthly cadence is where you’ll start.

Once you know how much you want to write, select the day of the week that you’re going to post on, and stick to it. Your customers will start to notice if you always post on Tuesdays, for example. Make sure to block ample time on your calendar to get the post written, too.

Should I plan my blog posts in advance?

I vehemently say YES! I love planning and recommend it highly.

Remember that your blog is not an island, but rather part of your overall content strategy. Its topics should align with key items on your calendar such as promotions, events, and so on. So, plot those in first.

As well, grab your list of brainstormed topics and put them onto the calendar too. Stand back to see how it all looks and where you have holes.

Also know that new things will come up that bump items on your pre-planned calendar. For example, if something big happens in the news that pertains to your business, you may wish to create an ad hoc blog post about it.

If you can carve out the time, I highly recommend that you write – or at least outline – two to three posts in advance, too. I learned this invaluable lesson when working with a former client who frequently had to change the blog plan due to internal scheduling and product release changes. Having posts written in advance was a lifesaver. It meant I could swap things around at the last minute and still stay on track with the publishing schedule.

In what order should my content flow?

Now that you’ve figured out what to write about and how frequently, it’s time to execute. You may wish to outline your post, or start typing and let it flow organically. Every writer is different in this regard. Personally I’ve found that having a bit of structure – a repeatable process – helps the writing go a lot smoother. Below is a straightforward formula for blog post structure that works well whether your audience is B2B or B2C.

  • Hook them from the start. Start your blog with a story or something otherwise engaging.
  • Expose the problem – i.e., your reader’s pain points. You can quote actual customers (if you have their permission) or distill their problem into a hypothetical scenario. Word of caution: Resist the urge to cover too much ground. You may have several customer pain points or challenges to talk about. Each of those can be its own blog post – you don’t need to cover so much material in one post.
  • Bring in the fix. What is the solution? (Hint: this is where you introduce your company’s product or service to save the day.)
  • Call them to action. What action do you want readers to take? It could be a click to your website or an activation of a promotion. Maybe you ask readers to provide a comment or to email you or your team. Be clear and specific.

How do I get people to read my blog?

Once the post is written, will people read it? Maybe. Especially those loyal followers who know to check your blog every Tuesday for a new post.

But, as with anything you create, you’ll be best served by promoting your blog just as you would your product.

To do this, create a mini marketing campaign and collateral. When you first establish and launch your blog, you can develop web banner ads to sprinkle around your website to announce your blog and get the word out. Also, make sure to sync up links to your blog on all your collateral – from website to social media to your email signature.

Going forward, you can then promote every individual new blog post as it’s released. For example, write a teaser about your blog and post that teaser to your social media feeds. Update your email signature with a link to your latest blog. Send out a press release or internal communication to your team to alert them to the latest post.

Make it easy for readers to socially share your post. Act-On does this by way of the social sharing ribbon that appears on every page. This small widget can make a big impact on how many people see and share your posts.

Another good promotional tactic is establishing relationships with other bloggers and companies. You can co-market each other’s posts or even guest-author a blog post on each other’s sites, if appropriate.

Finally, you definitely want to employ search engine optimization (SEO) tactics to your blog – just as you would your website. Optimize for keywords in the blog title and subheads. Ensure your links are top-notch. Use alt-text on images.

How much traffic should I expect?

As with any marketing effort, you’ll want to measure your success. Common metrics to consider in blogging are views, impressions, shares, and comments. You may also be curious about referral traffic to see who is driving traffic to your posts.

You’ll start to find the rhythm of what is “good” traffic for your blog. Once you get a sense of the average traffic, set some benchmarks and measure against those regularly. Check in to see what is working (or not) and make adjustments to the type of blogs you write, the vehicles in which you promote, and even the frequency with which you publish.

Any final advice?

I’ll leave you with one final thought: Your blog doesn’t have to be all text. By nature, it’s a word-driven medium. But, you can include photos, videos, and infographics with your post, and these lend visual relief to your post and help engage readers with the topic. A blog is a great place to loosen up and try some new things. Have fun!

Do you have any tips for producing great blog posts? Share them here!

Published at Fri, 24 Feb 2017 11:00:00 +0000

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