A business blog can generate 126% more leads from potential customers, but how can you make it a success? Here are six top tips…
The one thing the internet does is give everyone a voice.Tumblr alone has over 220 million blog accounts currently registered. Almost a quarter of internet time is spent either reading blogs or on social networks, and it’s been calculated that small businesses with their own blogs get 126% more leads from potential new customers than blogless rivals.
Unlike personal blogs, successful business blogs require planning and research as well as a long-term commitment to creating interesting and original content. Here are six guidelines to help ensure your blogs achieve your company’s long-term marketing goals and open up new audiences:
- Make it relevant.
If your business is photography, blogging about your partner’s personal indiscretions or your political views won’t attract many new customers. Concentrate on your primary industry, but feel free to go off on tangents; a photographer could blog about Britain’s increasingly erratic weather, or why certain high street photography chains were rescued while other retailers went to the wall.
Having a clear objective from the outset will help to ensure that each blog achieves the predetermined objectives – some business bloggers want to boost their search engine rankings and increase their social media presence, while others simply want to sound authoritative. Study competitor blogs – what are they trying to achieve? What are they saying that’s different to you?
- Make it interesting.
Online attention spans are very short, and there are myriad blogs competing for readers. Strong opinions and original perspectives are useful for engaging an audience, but so are detailed message-driven headlines, such as the ones Disney Parks use. A strong opening paragraph is crucial – particularly if it mentions current events. Always put the most important details first for maximum impact – tt gives a blog a ‘hook’ as newspapers call it. Many successful blogs like America’s Southwest Airlines use a combination of different media to maintain interest, from articles and surveys to photos and videos.
Images are a great way to add value to blogs. If you are imparting a piece of knowledge, then punctuate your posting with a suitable image. It gives the reader time to think about what you’ve said and also breaks up the text.
- Make it concise.
Keep your blogs as short as your sentences. Opinions vary on the perfect length, but 300-400 words should be sufficient to convey a point. Use sub-headers and bullet points to break up the text, and try not to use more than one comma per sentence, but also be aware that the reader may not be following your thoughts so don’t be comma-phobic. From Vine to Flappy Bird, the internet is all about short bursts of intense content – business blogs should maintain this principle.
- Make it regular.
To paraphrase an old sporting cliché, you’re only as good as your last blog. If that was published six months ago, you’re not very good at blogging. People who like your tone of voice or comments will expect regular updates, which will in turn keep your brand in the public eye and ensure you’ll be thought of when readers need your services. A blog a week should be the minimum target, particularly since search engines rank regularly-updated websites more highly than sporadically-updated ones. This is a key reason to host your blog on your corporate website, rather than on an external site like Blogger.
- Make it count with search engines.
Many companies blog to improve their SEO rankings. If you run a small dairy, using the word “cheese” six times in each post can considerably improve your search engine results. Conduct Google Analytics tests to see which phrases people search for in your industry, and use some of these phrases (also known as long tail keywords) in each blog. Regularly review your ranking results through Google Analytics, or using rank-tracking tools like Moz.
- Make it interactive.
There are numerous ways to make blogs interactive, from comments sections through to social media. Platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn encourage people to share content they like, so always post links to your work in case new readers discover you. Posting links to blogs through your company’s Twitter account or Google+ page also means less work creating original content for these platforms.