Most business owners recognise that a company blog is a crucial element of a digital marketing strategy. It increases brand awareness, fosters a sense of community, and, when done well, can reduce marketing costs.
Indeed, business blogging has become so important that 72% of marketers say that content creation is their most effective SEO tactic, while companies that maintain a dedicated blog have also been shown to receive 97% more links to their website.
How, then, can you get in on the blog bandwagon?
Key Blogging Tips for Businesses
First of all, it should be pointed out that despite these statistics, not every organisation gets it right. In fact, some get it horribly wrong and actually end up getting penalised, leaving them worse off than they were in the first place. This is an extreme risk, though; on the whole, running a company blog is fairly straightforward, and as long as you resist the urge to indulge in any dark arts you should be fine.
In fact, if you follow this article, you’ll be more than fine. Therefore, in order to optimise the full potential of your company's blog and reap all the associated benefits, we've listed seven key pointers that you should stick to.
Whether you’re a brand-new startup or an established firm, here is what you need to know:
1. Write for People, Not Search Engines
This is a nugget of wisdom that has been propagated many times before, and yet many organisations still don't seem to comprehend it. Yes, optimising your content for search engines is important (see point three), but in order to become an authority website, you need to foster an authentic community around your blog. Indeed, the single biggest mistake that most business owners make is that they focus too much on inserting links and keywords, and forget that their blog should bring readers value.
Not only will your content look and read better, but it will rank higher, too. Long gone are the days of stuffing keywords and other lazy SEO tactics; recent Google algorithm changes now dictate that quality and credibility are the two single most important ranking factors.
2. Provide Value
When writing a blog post, look at the first ten search results for your chosen keyword. Are you offering a unique take, or simply regurgitating the same old tired content? Are you well placed as an authority to offer insight or expertise, or are others going to drown you out? To put it another way, look at your content and ask yourself: "would somebody pay for this information?" If your blog content is unique, covers a subject in which your business is an expert, and offers genuine insight or expertise, then, yes, it provides value, and it will grow.
If you put the time, resources, and effort into your blog posts, then you will reap the rewards. Remember: high-quality content can 'sell' your product faster – and less expensively – than any sales team ever could.
3. Understand SEO
Almost all business owners are aware that SEO is a crucial element of content marketing, even if they are unsure of how it all works. However, this is a crucial tip in itself: learn about – and stay up to date with – SEO developments through credible publications, such as SEO Journal and Search Engine Land. You don’t need to become an expert, but you should have a cursory knowledge of best practices.
Some experts will argue that if your content is unique, well-written and authoritative, then SEO is inconsequential, but this isn't strictly true. In particular, off-page SEO can add significant value, especially if you receive a link from an authoritative source, while poor use of headers, meta titles, and other basic on-page elements can needlessly cause issues.
Therefore, you will need a grounding in the basics. You will also need to understand how Google operates, as it is responsible for 86% of all global search engine traffic. This is a process which is far easier said than done, with the search giant regularly changing its algorithms without warning or explanation. Many of these tweaks are minimal, but some can be hugely significant and result in a massive drop (or rise!) in traffic. What was working for you in March might not work in November, so you need to know why, and adapt accordingly.
4. Analyse Your Blog's Performance
When reviewing the performance of your blog, there are numerous tools you can use and metrics you can view. Search Console – a free Google tool – can reveal how many impressions and clicks you are receiving, as well as other important elements such as the keywords a particular article is ranking for. Therefore, you should pay attention to this, and look to fix any issues as you find them.
You should also pay close attention to your visit duration and bounce rate stats. If users are leaving your page straight after clicking on it, then it could suggest that your content isn't what people are looking for (alternatively, you may need to change your title to draw people in). If you have calls to action and product links in your post, but people are leaving before journeying any further into your sales funnel, then this could also mean you need to review things.
Generally, you can improve page views and stays through simple tweaks. For instance, most Google experts suggest that posts should:
- Feature all targeted keywords within the first paragraph
- Have more internal links than external ones
- Feature keywords which compete with the top ten Google search results
- Average 2,000 words per article (as most high-ranking posts do)
- Avoid paragraphs longer than five sentences, and sentences longer than 20 words
Other key metrics that determine the success of your blog are how relevant your imagery is, and the consistency of your blog schedule.
Indeed, this latter point is particularly crucial. According to Hubspot, business blogs that are regularly updated are 13 times more likely to get a positive ROI, as it proves to search engines that you are offering up-to-date and relevant information.
5. Understand Keywords
As mentioned, Google does not merely rank websites based on the consistency and presence of relevant keywords – at least not anymore. Instead, it analyses each post for the quality of the information in relation to its target keyword.
For example, imagine you own a garage, and you want to generate sales of synthetic car oil by writing a step-by-step guide on how people can check their oil levels at home. "How to check your car oil" is a very specific long-tail keyword, and repeatedly jamming it into your 500-word text isn't going to work (it will also read terribly (see point one)). Search engine crawlers will realise that you are simply stuffing keywords, and also deem that 500 words are nowhere near long enough to cover the topic, and, as a result, your post will likely fade into the ether of the Google abyss.
However, if you compose a well-written, insightful 2,000-word piece that naturally utilises the keyword once or twice in a paragraph or an H2 header, Google will realise that you are offering a high-quality solution to the reader.
6. Repurpose Existing Content
According to research by Hubspot, updating and republishing old blog posts with new content and images can increase your organic traffic by as much as 106%. Therefore, as well as looking for new content ideas, you should also be looking at ways to maximise the value of your existing content, too.
A good way to do this is to create articles that are designed to be updated, such as annual "best of" lists, industry trends articles, or rankings. This way, you retain the existing page authority value while ensuring the content itself is fresh.
Many business owners are also hacking ways to extend their content beyond their blog, by building mailing lists from their blog visitors to provide blog post link compilations and encourage more frequent website traffic. Other forms of call-to-actions such as viewing more related content on your blog or contacting your company for more information about a product or service have also proven to be an effective way to prolong the lifespan of your content.
7. Foster a Community
To prolong the lifespan of your content, you need to build a loyal community of readers. After all, these are not necessarily your buyers yet.
Many smaller businesses recognise that often they will not be able to afford the type of marketing budget that can generate a full ROI; therefore, they leverage growth hacking techniques to save costs and increase brand awareness.
Fostering a community through a business blog is a growth hacking technique that many companies, such as Glossier, have used to gain digital popularity. You can follow suit by offering readers the opportunity to guest post on your blog, and by encouraging readers to share this content on social media. You can also create product guides and 'how-to' articles to encourage customers to engage with your product.
Indeed, 'how-to' guides are a hugely popular format, and are easier and less time consuming to write. To illustrate this, an average blog post is estimated to take around 3.5 hours to produce, whereas a 'how-to' post can take under an hour.
Another benefit to encouraging your readers to aid your content production is that it is easier to hire content writers. Your customers can become your contributors with real-life experience and feedback about your product, offering a unique opportunity for authentic marketing.
Another way to source content writers is to find bloggers (influencers) within the field for whom your industry is a niche. They will often work on a freelance basis and will be easy to find via a quick Google search.
Growing a company blog can seem time-consuming, and you may not be sure of the cost-benefit ratio. However, by hacking your SEO practices and analysing your readers' behaviour, you can gain a deeper understanding of the type of content that will establish you as an authority figure in your niche. When you begin to provide relevant content and extend the lifespan of your content through mailing lists and calls to action, you can start to build a loyal readership. Ultimately, the more loyal your readers, the easier it will be to grow organically and become the go-to solution provider for their problems.
Remember: if your readers would pay another provider for your content, you should be offering it for free. In the long-term, these readers will ultimately become your customers and your brand ambassadors, so it is well worth time and effort.
Was this article helpful? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!