Blogging is one of the most effective methods of driving traffic to your website. Unlike many other forms of promotion, blogging is a relatively inexpensive and highly cost-effective method of promoting your site and growing your organic revenue.
But from launching a blog to creating top-notch content, and writing posts to promoting them – running a company blog is no simple feat.
That’s where we want to help. We’re breaking down some of the essentials of launch, growing and optimizing a business blog.
This post is broken down into a few different sections:
- Why you need a business blog
- How to launch a successful blog
- How to optimize your blog and boost readership
- Tips for creating blog content
- Important KPIs for your blog
You can either click on the section that you are most interested in reading, or start from the top. Let’s begin.
Why You Need a Business Blog
If you’re unconvinced that a blog can benefit your business, consider some of these stats from 2017:
- 53% of marketers say blogging is their top content marketing priority
- Businesses with blogs have 97% more inbound links
- B2B marketers using blogs generate 67% more leads
- Companies that blog 15 times per month get 5X more traffic than companies that don’t blog at all.
Blogging can have both tangible and intangible benefits for your business. While more inbound links and more leads are great, especially for ecommerce businesses, so too are the less obvious benefits of blogging.
Blogging Builds Community
Business blogging is a great way to encourage reader interaction and build a community around a certain topic. Offering frequently updated information on your blog gives you the opportunity to engage with customers in the comments section of your blog and form lasting customer relationships with your readers.
Blogging Encourages Continuous Learning
An often overlooked benefit to business blogging is that providing content to your customers regularly forces you to stay up-to-date on current trends within your industry. Remaining focused on changes within your industry helps you to stay on the cutting edge of technology and industry standards. This industry awareness is essential to remaining one step ahead of your competition.
By creating content for your blog regularly, you are feeding your social media engine. Having fresh and knowledgeable content to share, gives you unlimited opportunities to repurpose your content in multiple forms. From images with embedded content quotes for Pinterest and Twitter, to Vine videos or Instagram pics related to your blog posts, the opportunities to cross-promote your business blog are only limited by your imagination.
How To Launch a Business Blog
Once you have decided to launch a business blog, the next step is starting it. While launch a blog can feel overwhelming, we’ve outlined a few best practices that will help you be successful.
Some people think that they can just publish a few posts and social media links and the traffic will start rolling in.
Unfortunately, that’s not the case.
It can take months of content creation, analysis, and promotion before you even begin to see results. To avoid disappointment, realize how much time you need to devote to building a blog and expect little to happen in the early stages. To be successful, you need to be resilient and focus on your long-term strategy.
Do Your Research
Who are your competitors? Which social channels do they use? How frequently do they post? Who is your target audience? Which keywords and phrases do you need to focus on?
These are just some of the initial questions you need to answer. By knowing about other popular blogs within your niche, you can discover what works for them and adapt their methods to suit your blog.
Create Targeted Content
You need to define your target audience from the outset and then create unique content and a brand personality that caters to them specifically. This is crucial for building loyalty, promoting your blog, and helping you stand out from the crowd.
Think about how you can use your knowledge, personality, and writing skills to deliver valuable content that offers something different. This is the best way to build a following.
Add New Content Regularly
Keeping your content fresh is an important part of running a business blog. To build a valuable resource, you need to set a schedule for posting new blog content that others — hopefully — will share and link to. In the early stages, be realistic; it’s better to have a schedule you can stick to rather than promise new content every other day and then fail to deliver. To increase your credibility, stay up to date with the latest news and trends, subscribe to similar blogs, and build your knowledge.
If you’re wondering what your content calendar should look like, the answer is, “it depends.” Below you can see Constant Content’s publishing cadence for January. While we publish a new post every other business day, your schedule may look a little different.
It can be difficult to manage a blog, especially if you are working alone. You have to write new content, answer emails, respond to comments, fix technical problems, and do all the marketing. If you can’t manage it correctly, get help. You can always hire freelance article writers to handle this aspect of your blog, and you can focus more on marketing.
How to Grow Your Blog
Now that you have a blog, the next step is optimizing your content and boosting readership.
Promote Your Blog Continuously
Ongoing success requires ongoing promotion, including paid advertising — if you have the budget. The most cost-effective form of promotion is getting your blog post featured on a high-traffic site. BuzzFeed, for example, makes it easy for any blogger to publish content on their platform, but for maximum exposure, you want to get featured on their front page.
To stand a better chance of being featured, do not promote anything in your post, stick to the BuzzFeed format (such as list posts) and offer unique and valuable content. Email newsletters are another tried-and-tested method of cost-effective promotion.
Nail Your Content Types and Topics
One of the easiest places to start optimizing is the type and topic of content you’re creating.
If you aren’t sure what is resonating with your target audience, then browse social media to look at the headlines and content formats that are performing well. From there, you can look to incorporate some of those tactics into your content strategy. Another great way to find content topics is with social tracking tools such as Right Relevance or BuzzSumo.
You can also look for influencers on social media. While building relationships with influencers isn’t always easy, it can be incredibly powerful to add credibility to your blog and boost readership.
Ask Your Audience
You can’t always predict what type of content will get the biggest reaction. What do your followers really want to read about on your blog? Ask a specific question to find out exactly what people are looking for. Respond more to both positive and negative comments and you’ll discover the hot topics that matter to your prospects and customers.
Determine the Purpose of Each Blog Post
Before you can craft an effective piece of content, you need to have a plan for its purpose. Do you want to start a conversation? Are you presenting new product information? Do you need to include a call-to-action? When you focus on the goal of each piece, you’re more likely to deliver valuable content to your audience, create content that is more shareable, and ultimately attract more attention to your blog.
Make Sure New Content Is SEO-Friendly
Before publishing any post or contracting a blog writing service, think about the keywords related to the subject matter of the post. Always try to incorporate those terms into the headline, the opening paragraph, and near to the end of the content. If you’re a smaller business, try using more specific search terms to narrow down the competition on search engine results pages. Incorporating your location into your blog posts is one effective way of boosting your rankings for certain search terms.
If you really want to optimize blog posts to get more traffic, you need to be flexible and constantly committed to delivering relevant and valuable content to your readers. As well as catering to your audience, you also need to provide search engines with the right data so that they find your content. Get inspiration from your social networks. Use social media management tools to monitor engagement and discover hot topics. Apply some of these strategies and you should ultimately attract more qualified leads to your blog.
How to Create Amazing Blog Content
Now that you have some topics in mind for your next blog post, it’s time to consider how exactly that post should look.
For many, writing the ideal blog post is an elusive dream. You know the kind of post I’m talking about – the one that gets tons of likes, shares and comments. Well, I wanted to give you good news: there is no secret sauce, no magical mystery to creating captivating content if you know the basics.
Here are five essential elements to writing a blog post that will keep your readers hooked. (If you’re keen, we have 10 bonus tips for creating engaging blog content)
A Killer Headline
You’ve probably already heard about the importance of a headline, but it’s worth mentioning again. It doesn’t matter how compelling the content of your post is if no one is grabbed by the headline you shouldn’t have wasted the time you took to write it.
There are a quite a few tried and tested tactics that work:
- Headlines with numbers and listicle articles are consistent favorites, as people are drawn to the ‘expectation management’ factor of these pieces.
- Paradoxical headlines create curiosity – ‘How to lose weight and eat 5 meals a day,’ or ‘How to make money online without a website.’
- Headlines with prescriptive statements – ‘To women who want to retire early,’ ‘For the other introverts of the world,’ and ‘The secret to making people like you.’
- Questions – ‘Do you make these mistakes in English?’, ‘Do you have these symptoms of nervous exhaustion?’, ‘Whose fault is it when children disobey?’
- Declarative-type headlines compose some of the most famous headlines ever written including ‘How to win friends and influence people.’
- And the use of sentence fragments has also resulted in some classics – ‘What every mother ought to know,’ ‘The crimes we commit against our stomachs,’ etc.
A Strong Opening
Don’t pull a bait-and-switch on your readers: an alluring headline followed by a weak opening isn’t going to keep them reading or leave them with a good impression of your blog.
Many successful bloggers attest that the opening paragraph is the second-most important aspect of each post, right behind the headline. Newspapers have been doing this for decades; top copywriter Eugene Schwartz spent a week or more on the first 50 words of his sales copy. So, put as much effort into your opening as you do for your headline.
Subheads and Bullet Points
The structure and design of your post can have just as big an impact on readability as the specific words you use.
So rather than serving your customers a wall of text, try this instead:
- Break it up with bullet points
- Separate your copy into readable chunks with subheads
- Avoid writing long-winded bullet points for optimal impact
- Subheads and bullet points act like miniature headlines, ‘selling’ your readers on what’s to come.
- Just remember to keep everything easy to skim and easy to scan
Humans are highly visual creatures by nature: about 90% of information that’s transmitted to our brains is visual, and the brain can process visual data much faster than text.
Even the most powerfully evocative story may not hold the readers’ attention when displayed merely as plain text. Adding a great image – optimally at the top of the post – will help draw in readers’ eyes and keep them reading to the end. In fact, the data around how visuals impact content KPI is quite compelling.
If you’re interested in diving into this topic a little deeper, check out our post on how to beautify your blog.
Important KPIs for Your Blog
How’s your blog doing these days? Is it serving you well, or could it be working harder for you? A blog can play a key role in developing your business’s online presence, generating sales leads and establishing your reputation as a thought leader in your field. But to grow and make your blog more effective, you need to make sure it’s on the right track.
Tracking a few key performance indicators (KPIs) can help you get a better idea of your blog’s current return on investment. Here are five KPIs you need to be tracking and a few suggested tweaks that can make a big difference in your blog’s performance.
Overall Site Traffic
How many visitors check out your blog each month? Google Analytics will be able to tell you how many users visited your blog overall, how many pages they visited and if they ever return. In the early days of a blog, it’s normal for the number of sessions to be pretty low. However, with consistent, quality posting, you will start to see incremental growth over time.
Not only will you get a sense of your blog’s overall progress over time, but you can also spot monthly trends. Is traffic particularly strong for certain topics? These insights can help you gain insights on what your audience wants to read about and plan accordingly.
While pageviews is certainly an important KPI, blog owners and businesses can look for engagement KPIs that go a level deeper.
Content marketing is only worthwhile if you have a return on your investment in the form of signups and sales. This means you have to engage readers and encourage them to dig deeper into your blog and site. If users are just reading your article and then immediately navigating away from your page, this will contribute to your bounce rate.
The more people who don’t click through to another page on your site is a lost opportunity so you should aim to have this rate as low as possible. The best way to get readers to click-through to another page is by having high-quality content that leaves browsers wanting more.
Average Time on Page
The average time your readers spend on your posts is a good indication of how engaging your content is. If people are bouncing quickly, you lose the opportunity to engage with them further. To make sure that the average time on your blog posts is longer, you need to make sure that your content is high-quality and providing value.
One of the most important aspects of blog posts is their shareability. Tracking your post’s social shares will help you identify which content is most in demand and will get you the most attention. These kinds of insights can help you refine your blog promotion strategy to get the best value.
Keep in mind that different content will perform differently on different platforms. Content that gets a lot of engagement on Twitter might falter on LinkedIn. Irresistible titles are also critical for getting people to click and, if they like the post, share.
Number of Subscribers
Growing the number of subscribers to your blog is a key indicator of success. You can do this either via an RSS feed or a regular email newsletter. The more you can grow this list, the more prospects you can engage and nurture to eventually convert into paying customers.
Make sure your subscribe button is prominently displayed on every post and offer some exclusive content as an incentive for subscribing.
If you’re ready to grow your blog, the first thing you need to do is find where your blogging strategy could use improvement. Tracking these five critical KPIs is the only way you can gauge the effectiveness of your blog’s performance and help you spot areas for improvement. Once you know what adjustments need to be made, you’ll be on the right track to take your online presence to the next level.
Do you need quality content to support your content marketing? Constant Content connects you with thousands of professional writers able to create articles, ebooks, product descriptions and other assets to tell your brand story, drive SEO and win sales.