Blogging for Business: The what, why and how to

So as a marketing industry or business professional you will have heard of and most likely seen blogs of all kinds. Some may be personal blogs, others may be the blogs of companies you take an interest in or who are even your competition. So if everyone is doing it, why aren’t you? It is simple and in most cases free to set up a blog, and all it takes is one post a week by yourself or maybe a few of your colleagues to get it going. It is just a case of knowing what your audience wants and how to mould this into a blog post.

The What

Blogs are a great way of sharing information in a quick, easy and informal way with the masses. Business blogs often contain relevant industry information, usually news and advice, and the posts are usually written to reflect the personality of the company. For example a corporate blog about finance would have a more formal and straight to the point tone, where as a beauty blog created by a make-up company would have a carefree and colloquial tone, as this is what their audience will relate to and appreciate most.  

The Why

So why is a blog be something your business should be considering as part of their digital marketing strategy. There are plenty of reasons behind this. Search engine optimisation is a constant uphill battle, and blogs help ease the slog as they are constantly updated with recent content, something search engines love and pick up on. Blogs also promote brand awareness and allow people to get to know the brand’s personality and values, and if you have the right content and encourage people to follow and comment you have another platform on which to create a two-way conversation with your audience. You will also find blogs direct more traffic to the company website (especially if you integrate your blog with your site, something most free blogging tools offer).

The How To

Setting up your blog:

So are you ready to jump in and start a blog for your business? The first thing to do is consider which blogging tool you would prefer to use. See our comparison below:

Decided which one you want to use? Here are some useful links to step-by-step tutorials for setting up either a Wordpress or Google Blogger blog.

So when starting your blog, it is important to consider the following:
  1. What is the focus of your blog?
  2. What are your objectives?
  3. Why should people read it?
  4. URL – what do you want to call your blog?
  5. And is the name available?
  6. How will you get traffic?
  7. How will avoid ‘post fatigue?’
  8. How will you get viewers to interact?
The answers to these eight key questions will be the main part of what shapes your blog’s design, content and promotion tactics.

Managing your blog:

Once it is all set up and ready to go, you also need to consider these important points about managing the blog:

  1. Who is responsible for the blog?
  2. How is it integrated into the marketing strategy?
  3. Content: original, curated or guest authors?
  4. How often should you post?
  5. How long is a post?
  6. How do you get viewers engaged?
7.       How do you measure results?

It should also be updated frequently, and at least one blog post per week to ten days is enough to keep it fresh. Make sure you have an allocated person(s) who can post to the blog in a regular fashion (although most blogs allow you to schedule your posts, there still needs to be someone available to upload and schedule content), whether this be the writers themselves or you/one of your colleagues. This is to ensure the job is done frequently and the blog does not get neglected/forgotten about for weeks or months at a time as many business blogs do!

Blog content:

Blog content is what makes the blog attractive and interesting, and you need to predetermine the content of the blog with your writer(s). Making a topic plan for each month is often the best idea, and then any breaking/relevant news that comes up in-between can be slotted in. Make sure the content is relevant to your audience, keep it short and sweet as attention spans online are far shorter than in print, and most blog posts should not take much longer than 2-3 minutes to read, unless there is engaging multimedia such as video included.

Examples of good business blogs

When creating and managing your business blog, keep in mind some of the following examples and what they are doing well:

B2B Marketing Blog (Evonomie)We offer regular content that answers the big marketing questions questions, and have plenty of links on the main page that allow people to contact us if our content doesn’t answer all their questions, allowing for feedback and audience interaction.

Starbucks – The international coffee house have taken the idea of consumer interaction in the industry and ran with it. Their blog is mainly focused on the development of new products and engagement of the audience by asking people to offer up and vote for their ideas for new products, services and promotions to be run by the chain.

Marriott – Corporate blogger Bill Marriott is a shining example of why personal involvement sells. His blog has generated millions in direct sales, as people love the personal touch of hearing the thoughts of a real executive, not his PA’s PA who whips up a generic post every week for his blog.
Got any more examples of good business blogs that we have missed? Please share them with us in the comments section below!

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