The vast majority of organizations already have a content marketing strategy in place, and blogging is one of the main content formats. Serving as a gateway into the world of social media, blogging allows you to deliver value-adding content to your audience in a conversational tone that helps to encourage engagement, raise brand awareness, and ultimately, generate leads and sales. Although a blog only serves as a part of a greater digital marketing campaign, it is where most companies make get started with content marketing, and it helps to compliment your website by promoting your brand and its products and services.
While blogging can be time-consuming, it presents a cost-effective solution and a centralized digital marketing platform that will work together with your social media and other content marketing efforts. However, in order for your blog to stand out in
This guide, targeted towards complete beginners, will help you to firmly establish your goals, define your target audience, create and publish content and promote your brand through your blog as well as other channels. With a successful strategy in place, you’ll be able to clearly establish your brand as an authority in its niche.
As is the case with any business decision, taking up blogging requires that you first define your goals. Corporate blogging, though it is not supposed to be directly promotional in nature, does
Business blogging offers the potential to fulfill all of the above goals and more, provided that it is conducted in the right way. By keeping your goals in mind whenever crafting new content for your blog and maintaining a publishing schedule, you’ll be able to start tracking your success from the outset.
Setting up your blog couldn’t be easier, and you can easily complete this step in a day. Thanks to the increasing popularity of content management systems (CMSs), there’s no need to learn about HTML or the various other inner workings of Web design. Although there are many platforms to choose from, the obvious solution is WordPress. A highly versatile and user- friendly platform, WordPress is open-source and completely free, and it is the platform of choice for more than 15% of all of the websites out there. You can download your copy of WordPress from wordpress. org, and here you will also find a vast database of free plugins and themes. Assuming you already have a business website, you’ll want to install WordPress in a subdirectory of your server so that your blog’s Web address will looking something like this: yourwebsite.com/blog. Don’t install WordPress into a subdomain unless it serves content that is completely unrelated to your website, since doing so will prevent your blog from helping to increase your main website’s visibility on Google.
You can find all of the information that you need to install WordPress at the official website, although many hosting companies also provide a simple, one-click installation that will get your blog up and running right away. Although this guide focuses primarily on the content marketing elements
Business blogging is all about defining your target audience and delivering the content that they crave. It is no place for direct promotion: this is the realm of paid online advertising 7 platforms such as Google AdWords and other more traditional forms of marketing. Whoever your audience is, they will be searching for value-adding content that they actually find useful or entertaining in some way. Hundreds of millions of people turn to the search engines every day to find answers to their questions, and the purpose of your blog is to provide these answers in such a way that you can fulfill your aforementioned goals. Corporate blogging is all about using content to establish meaningful relationships with your readers, and it is for this reason that your readers are ultimately the ones in charge. You’ll find that the best blogs are those written by people who you can relate to in some way. The sort of content that your audience wants will, of course, be extensively dictated by your niche. For example, if you run a travel agency that provides upmarket safari tours in southern Africa, your audience would likely be most interested in content such as destination overviews, tips for getting the most out of specific places as well as more general articles on luxury travel. If you’ve already been in business for quite some time, it’s probably safe to assume that you know your target audience very well already, but in the case of content marketing, you’ll need to have a clear definition, based on demographical characteristics and more, in order to customize your content specifically for them.
Any good content strategy takes branding into account when developing and publishing content. Your brand’s voice, which is defined by its distinct style, needs to be consistent across the board. Since you likely won’t be the only one writing content for your blog, you’ll need to firmly establish some editorial guidelines that your content team will follow. Having such a style guide is particularly important if, as a lot of companies do, you decide to outsource your content creation to freelancers. After all, it will be your style that differentiates you from your competitors and helps to humanize your brand by showing off the personality behind it. Following are the most important editorial guidelines that any business blog should have:
Your guidelines need to be fairly strict, although there is nothing wrong (and it is actually advisable) to offer your writers some creative license, particularly when you occasionally want to reboot your content strategy with a slightly new perspective.
Every writer faces the dreaded writer’s block on occasion, and new ideas are worth a lot. Being a business blogger is no exception, and in order to keep your blog alive, you’ll need to have a practically endless flow of ideas. If you have a fairly large writing team, whether in-house, outsourced or a combination of the two, you’ll be able to draw ideas from multiple people, but it will ultimately be you and your audience who has the final say.
Fortunately, living in the information age, there is a wealth of media to draw inspiration from and, in many cases, your audience will provide insights into what sort of content to publish. Consider the following content ideas for drawing in new visitors as well as keeping existing ones happy:
When it comes to seeking out inspiration, you’ll need to know who you’re talking to by putting yourself in the shoes of a typical member among your target audience. You’ll also want to take environmental factors into account so that you can set the mood in such a way that you can optimize your workplace.
As is the case with any form of content or social media marketing, blogging requires a long-term, consistent level of commitment. In other words, you need to have a fairly rigid content schedule in place, and although there’s nothing wrong with a small degree of flexibility, your blog will quickly die if regular readers suddenly find that new content is becoming a rarity.
There’s no such thing as a successful blogger who sporadically posts content, and although you might not always be in a particularly creative mood, it is wise to have a backlog of content so that you have something to post during those
Your editorial calendar will help you to keep track of content ideas and streamline your publication schedule so that you always have something new to offer your readers.
By creating a spreadsheet, you can list these ideas, along with things like proposed dates for posting, authors, article titles, related keywords and, where applicable, any call to action that the post might contain. You should also maintain a calendar that details your promotional efforts, which you can read more about in Step 8.
A good editorial calendar should take the following key factors into account:
Step 7: Creating Content With your blog up and running, a content schedule in place and plenty of ideas at hand, you’ll beready to start creating and publishing content. When it comes down to crafting a perfect blog post, it all starts with the title. Typically the first experience that readers have with your content, the title should capture their interest within the first couple of seconds. The title is really just a call to action, albeit perhaps not a direct one: it determines the level of engagement and sharing of the post. The best headlines may either take a direct approach by delving straight into the heart of the subject matter or an indirect approach designed to raise curiosity. Popular titles formats include questions, lists, news headlines or commands.
Although the majority of the content on your blog will come in the form of short posts of around 500-1000 words, you’ll want to diversify your content depending on your audience. Different content formats work for different companies. For example, those in business-to-business (B2B) industries tend to favor more in-depth content written in a professional tone, such as whitepapers and case studies, while those catering towards consumers will generally favor a more conversational tone. However, regardless of your situation, it is wise to keep everyday blog posts presented in a Web-friendly manner. The online audience tends to prefer content delivered in the form of bite-size chunks of information that they can scan through quickly rather than reading from beginning to end. This type of content typically consists of plenty of subheadings, shorter sentences and paragraphs
Be sure to include images in your blog posts, even if you only include one for the sole reason of visually representing the content of a particular post, even if the subject matter itself is not particularly visually orientated. Great images, that does not include clichéd stock photos, help you to get your message across, and they make for much more memorable and sharable content. Video content, which you can embed into your blog from sites like YouTube rather than using your own disk space and bandwidth, can also be extremely effective.
Promoting your blog is perhaps the most time- consuming part of business blogging, and while a great blog that delivers excellent content on a regular, consistent basis, should market itself to a degree, there will still be things that you can do to further increase its exposure. As you’ve already seen, your blog should act as an integral part of your overall digital marketing strategy by working together with your website, your social media profiles and various other online resources. You’ll also need to take search engine optimization (SEO) into account to increase your blog’s visibility in the search engines. Consider the following key ways to promote your blog:
A successful blog is one that promotes itself to a degree. Appreciative readers will share your content with others to the extent that they effectively become ambassadors and advocates for your brand, and this is exactly what makes the social element of blogging so important. You’ll need to engage your audience in such a way that you encourage and participate in conversations both internally via on-site comments and externally via social media. Pay close attention to your comments feed, and be sure to remain present by responding to people’s queries and thanking them for their feedback. Occasionally, you’ll see negative feedback, in which case you’ll want to reply in order to address the concern. After all, the way you handle criticism reflects enormously on your brand’s image.
A quick and easy way to help encourage sharing is simply to make it easier for your audience. There are numerous add-ons available for WordPress and other popular CMSs that can automatically add social sharing buttons to posts, allowing readers to share content that they like on their own social media profiles at the click of a button. Other ways to increase engagement
Every business blogger needs to define some success metrics that they’ll start tracking as soon as they start publishing content. By tracking these metrics, you’ll garner invaluable insights into what
The metrics that you should track will, of course, vary depending on your goals and whether you are primarily blogging for commercial reasons, blogging to build up a community around your brand or blogging to drive more traffic to your main website from the search engines and other sources.
Following, in no particular order, are some of the most important metrics to track:
The above examples take into account important metrics regarding content, engagement levels
Blogging, while time- consuming, can definitely be an effective way to promote your brand and increase your reach in a highly competitive world. However, it is also important to realize that business blogging is a slow march towards success: results will not come overnight.