Ready to take that plunge into a relationship? New relationships are never easy, so take it slow. There’s a mutual feeling-out process that must be undertaken. Even if the initial feedback you receive is positive, you’ll undoubtedly need to demonstrate patience and commitment for your relationship to endure. As with any trial period, your relationship with your newly-established readership is bound to be tenuous at first as you’re discovering how to successfully blog for business. You’re seeking to win them over for the long haul, converting from blog readers to content subscribers to full-blown customers.
The need to blog for business for many brands is undeniable. Despite costing significantly less than most traditional advertising techniques, blogging for business produces real ROI. Brands that create 15 blog posts every month average 1,200 new leads during the same span.
But don’t fret if you’re experiencing growing pains or “relationship troubles” with your new business blog. By adopting an effective strategy, you can hit the reset button and mend your reader relationships, creating a sustainable business blog that serves as an asset for your brand.
Here’s our seven-step guide for how to blog for business while nurturing a more meaningful relationship with your content-hungry prospective customer base:
1. Figure Out Your “Why”
When preparing to launch or revamp your business blog, it’s important to establish your “WIIFY” – what’s in it for you. Your time is valuable, so you need to justify to yourself why you’re going to allocate hours from your weekly or monthly schedule for blogging. What’s the purpose of your business blog and what goals will you set as barometers for measuring success?
In most cases, your business blog’s purpose will revolve around your customers, as you seek to inform, educate and entertain regarding your industry and your product or service offerings. While the overarching objective of your blog might be to drive customer prospects into your sale’s funnel, it’s worthwhile to brainstorm quantifiable supporting goals pertaining to posting frequency and blog performance stats.
2. Determine Your Audience
It always comes back to relationships when considering how to blog for business. Ideally, your blog audience will align closely with the profile you’ve established for your target customer base. But how can you know for sure?
This is where research comes in handy. By using Web analytics tools and surveying, you can construct a pretty clear demographic picture of whom is reading your business blog. You want to narrow your business blog’s focus to reflect your core audience because – as any politician will tell you – it’s virtually impossible to be everything to everyone.
3. Develop Your Blog’s Brand
As you determine how to blog for your business, consider the big-picture message you wish to convey. Your blog’s brand should be representative of your overall business brand. When you achieve branding cohesion, your business blog can boost your company’s brand identity among your readership.
Your business blog’s brand is reflected in everything from the blog name you select (think catchy) to the design and layout you create (think aesthetically-pleasing, readable and mobile friendly) to the voice you establish for your content (think casual yet informative). For every decision you make pertaining to your business blog, ask yourself: “Does this support my company’s branding strategy?”
4. Engage in Editorial Planning
Starting a blog without proper preparation is akin to hosting a wedding without any planning. In both cases, the end result involves mass confusion, disappointed guests and an anti-climatic outcome. Before launching your newly-minted business blog, take time to construct a blogging strategy.
The planning you undertake when deciding how to blog for your business should address the following:
- Content Creators: Identify everyone who will contribute content for your blog and assign writing topics accordingly. Depending on your blog’s size and scope, your content team might consist of both primary and secondary bloggers, as well as internal and external contributors.
- Posting Frequency: Whether it’s twice per week or twice per month, you need to establish a schedule for updating your business blog with fresh content that’s realistic based on the blogging resources at your disposal. Formulating a regular schedule helps set reader expectations.
- Editorial Calendar: Once you have your content team in place and have determined your posting frequency, you can establish a month-ahead editorial calendar, thereby enabling all involved parties to know what content gets published when.
5. Create Useful Content
The content you produce should prove relevant and compelling for your target audience. Furnishing your readers with valuable content is critical to achieving a successful business blog. When it comes time to develop blog topics and find a unique angle, remind yourself that the content you create must help your audience in some fashion.
Your business blog’s ability to provide consistently useful content gives you a chance to emerge as an authority, meaning your brand evolves into a thought leader and your blog serves as a go-to site when readers seek information regarding a particular topic. But long before you reach that point, you can still bolster your blog posts by incorporating click-worthy headlines, SEO-friendly keywords and an accompanying photo or infographic.
6. Promote Your Blog
Congrats on publishing your blog post…now the real work begins. Drive traffic to your post and generate buzz by distributing it to as wide an audience as possible. The bulk of your readership won’t randomly stumble upon your business blog – you need to actively seek to build an audience.
In addition to utilizing social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, get creative with marketing your blog post. Promotion of your post via a press release, inclusion in an eNewsletter and submission to blog directories represent just a few of the numerous avenues that exist for marketing your business blog.
7. Evaluate Your Success
Once your blog post’s initial online journey has run its course, it’s time to gauge that post’s effectiveness. Did your audience actually read it? By relying upon Web analytics tools, you can get a fairly strong indication. Track your business blog’s performance with regards to total visits, average length of visits and visitor engagement levels to establish a barometer for measuring future success.
Ultimately, garnering widespread readership for your business blog will take time. Relationships – even of the online variety – rarely materialize overnight, so take it slow and enjoy the ride. With an effective strategy, blogging for your business will serve as an asset for your brand, drawing in readers and converting them into prospective customers.