Blogs are a great tool for business sites. Blogs host content that speaks to friends, clients, and prospects about every important product or service offered, at every step in the conversion funnel. Because blog entries can offer a place for long-form content to live they enhance a site’s search optimization efforts.
But if you talk to most site owners, blogging is one thing they will usually resist. Blogs require a time commitment, blogs require creativity, and most blogs are boring as can be. Blogs are really popular add-ons when we talk about developing websites. Everyone wants a blog on their site, but almost nobody wants to fill the blog up with content.
There are literally dozens of ways to make blogging less onerous. Today’s entry offers 10 tips that can help overcome some of the issues and inertia that a business blogger faces. Start with these ideas but check back often, we’ll keep adding new lists over time!
1) Stay true to your style
It’s not uncommon, as soon as some folks begin to put thoughts on paper they get all stuffy and formal. Formal language isn't necessarily a bad thing, but don’t be afraid to let your own style leak out. A blog is a social platform, talk to a reader as you would speak to a friend. By the way, this isn't permission to forget about spelling and punctuation.
2) Post regularly
One way to make sure your blog isn’t followed – infrequent posts. Depending on the blog’s purpose and target audience, posting once a week is a pretty good minimum. If the blog is intended to support more than one business goal then more frequent entries are probably better. An editorial calendar that details frequency and content is also a good idea… especially if it is posted in a public space where everyone gets to see progress (or the lack of it).
2.1) If it has been a while since you last posted an entry, don’t start out with a confession. A blog entry that begins “I’m sorry that it has been three months since my last post…” is likely speaking to an empty room anyway. Just knuckle down and start posting entries and promise yourself that you won’t let it happen again.
3) Write entries in support of specific and targeted products / services and their search terms
Most business blog entries should target important products, services and their related search terms (aka targeted keyword phrases). Keep in mind that each product you sell will need multiple blog entries where each entry speaks to a person living at a specific step in the conversion funnel.
• Entries will be needed that speak to people who are just beginning to consider a product similar to what you sell
• More entries for those who want a better understanding of the products benefits
• Even a few entries that explain why your product is the best available
• Add in some entries that talk about the product in use – reviews and testimonials
• And most important – entries that offer tips on how to use the product for those who have already purchased
4) Link to relevant content within your site
The biggest "oops" we see in blogging is not connecting the blog entry back to the relevant content page on the website. This entry today is in support of optimization so in the first paragraph the words ‘search optimization’ link to the relevant page on our site.
4.1) Not every blog post will support a targeted product or search term; but when they do, make the link. Linking within your website offers signals to search engines telling them what content on your website you find important.
5) Forget about Writer’s Block
When writing a blog for a business site, if nobody can think of one thing to say about the company's goods and services, that may be a larger issues than a blog. I heard a remark on writer’s block at a seminar that has stuck with me: “Nobody wakes up in the morning with talker’s block. When it comes to blogs just say something, even if occasionally it is really short. One or two paragraphs are better than nothing at all.”
Which leads us to:
6) Not every entry has to be worthy of a journalistic prize
Don’t sweat a blog entry so much that you build it up into something mammoth. Some entries will really make you proud, others will leave you a little dissatisfied, the majority will land somewhere in between. As a blogger your goal is to connect with a reader, not every reader.
Be honest, be connected to your material, and ‘good blogging’ will follow.
7) Don’t use ‘found’ art
This one is really short. Don’t use photos that you have scrounged off of search. Ever. Nothing says ‘I’m not trustworthy’ more than copyright infringement. Use free clip art services such as Microsoft’s Clip Art Gallery, take a picture with your cell phone, or pay a buck or two from an authorized site. But don’t steal other people’s pictures.
8) Keep a folder full of ideas
This is an easy idea. On your main computer create a folder to keep ideas for blog entries. Another tip is to avoid making a simple list of words or phrases, you’ll forget where your ideas were headed soon after making the entry. Record the idea as one or two full sentences.
9) Don’t forget to make lists
Yep, just like this one. People love to read lists. If they are pressed for time they will read the numbered captions. If something catches their eye they will read the description. If the list is good enough they might even share it. (That’s not a hint… no, really it wasn’t…)
10) Blogging is customer service
Blogs are fantastic for how-to articles. Blogs share experiences. Blogs provide a lot of information, then they invite the reader to pick and choose the pieces they find relevant. Your blog is an online resource that gains value over time.
There we have it; today’s ten ideas for more consistent blogging. Blogs are a powerful way to connect businesses and organizations to the people they serve. Stay true to your message, your voice, and your readers and pretty soon your blogging will become almost second nature.