There is a certain orthodoxy floating around the internet these days that every business website should incorporate a blog. While this is not necessarily true, there are a number of reasons why your business can benefit from a blog. Consider the following blogging strategies for some common business blogging goals:
Credibility and Expertise
One reason a business might want a blog is to demonstrate credibility and expertise. A blog is a more flexible way to demonstrate that you are up on the latest developments and have a wide knowledge base in your niche.
1. Up-to-Date Content: Your blogging strategy should involve including up-to date content. One way to make sure this happens: report on the news and add personal commentary. Do you agree? Do you disagree? How does this news affect the field, and in particularly your clients? How will you be applying the new developments? Make sure that your commentary subtly demonstrates your knowledge and how successful you have been in the past.
2. Tone – The tone of your posts needs to be very professional. A little light humour is good, and ideally some story-telling; especially of your past experiences or of client experiences. However, try to avoid too much gratuitous humor or anything too wacky.
3. Face - If your business relies on your credibility as an individual, such as coaching or consulting, make your face prominent. Consider setting up a Gravatar and getting your face recognized. People are much more likely to read and believe what an article is saying if they can put a face to the author’s name.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Search engines love websites with frequently updated content and links flowing to a variety of pages. A blog provides fresh content and, if written well, pages that will attract inbound links. Pick topics around search phrases. Each post can be written around a phrase that people search for, thereby acting as a landing page from the search engines.
Don’t be fooled by a lot of charlatans selling five-dollar articles. Quality is absolutely critical for two reasons. First, there is no point in drawing people to land on a page of gibberish. You need to be able to impress people by what is on the page so that they will take some other action, so SEO alone cannot be the only reason for the writing. Secondly, the article will generate inbound links only if the quality if good enough for people to want to link to and if you have a promotion strategy. Here are some of the ways you might want to promote the posts to build inbound links.
- Share on FaceBook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, Google+ or StumbleUpon.
- Social Bookmark the posts (actively participating) in places like BizSugar, Fwisp, Zoomit.ca, Tipd, HealthBuzzing, Blokube, etc., depending on your niche.
- Comment on other blogs
- Write related articles as guest posts for other blogs and information portals (like Resource Nation, for example)
- Derive articles for article marketing from your posts
- Submit your posts to niche blog carnivals and roundups
- Join a blog commenting or blog sharing group
- Submit your blog to blog directories (the worthwhile ones will require quality posts)
Give Your Blog a Human Face
This is perhaps the best-known reason for a business to blog – mostly because the biggest, best know businesses are prone to doing this. Smaller businesses have much less need to put a human face, but a mid-sized business might want to show that there are real people behind the corporate veneer.
For this strategy, it is best to follow all the same strategies of as you would for demonstrating credibility and expertise, except you would want the writing to be more casual. Let each individual write in his/her own style. Make sure each individual’s face show up on their respective posts, and make sure that each individual responds to comment on these posts.
Sales and Lead Generation
This is a more sales-oriented goal and requires content that will move people to buying. This might be news of the latest developments with comments about how the business can deliver them to clients (it might include product reviews). The posts need to be informational, not sales pitches, but they need to demonstrate how the company can help readers.
Credibility and expertise is paramount, but not enough. The tone needs to be second-person, professional and helpful. Stories are great if they demonstrate how someone else has used the product or service or how the company has gone the extra mile for a client.
The blog template needs to include a number of means that can move readers to leads (and hopefully buyers).
Sometimes a blog has no greater goal that to impress others in the industry. This might be the case where intra-industry cooperation is crucial or in B2B sectors where the clients and the suppliers are intertwined (such as many services to municipalities or the oil and gas sector).
Follow much the same strategy as you would when demonstrating credibility and expertise, but understand that you are addressing a much, much more educated audience. You need to include a much deeper analysis and more detailed and technical information. Try to keep the writing professional but not too technical, especially if there are some potential clients who are not technically minded (keep the decision-makers in mind, the ones who might not get their hands dirty but have to authorize the expenditures).
Lots of tables and charts and perhaps downloadable white papers for more details will go over well with this strategy. Oddly enough, sometimes a humorous post can work in this strategy, especially if it is a bit of an inside joke within the industry.
There are many other reasons for a business to blog, but these are some of the more common ones. Each one requires a somewhat different strategy. Like everything else in your business, it helps to first know your goals. Then you can develop a strategy that will help your blog deliver on those goals.
Photo Credit: dirjournal.com
David Leonhardt runs The Happy Guy Marketing, a hybrid of freelance business writers and SEO website promotion professionals. He can help you develop a strategy for your blog, he can provide writers, and he can help promote your blog according to your business goals.