Creating a blog for your business is an excellent way to stay connected to customers, project yourself as an expert in your field, and create fresh content to build to your website’s page rank. However, blogging can be difficult to jump into without some guidelines to get you started on the right track. Once you do get started, it can be easy to just let your business blog become a forgotten task rather than realizing that there are some easy tasks you can do to keep content flowing and get posts noticed after publishing. If you are just beginning a blog for your company, or even if you want to learn how to get better results from your current business blog, check out the tips below.
1. Set It Up Right
You can either set up a blog page on your current website, or create a new URL for your blog. For on-site blogs, either place your blog feed on your homepage, or place a link to your blog in your main navigation menu, or do both. The idea is to make it so that readers can easily reach your blog.
For a blog separate from your website, be sure to make it clear that this is your company blog. You can make the URL related to your website name, such as blog.companyname.com. You can add your company logo in the header of the blog with a tagline such as, "The small business blog from [your company]." Make sure, too, to place links from the blog to your company website and vice versa.
Do not forget an RSS Feed and social media buttons so that readers can easily follow and keep up with your blog. Make sure to place these buttons in an easy to spot location as well. Everytime you post new content, post it on Twitter or Google+. Facebook is excellent for videos and more important blog posts, but probably not every single article that you publish.
2. Focus Your Content
Choose a topic and stick with it. Your topic could simply be updates of your company. Or if your customers are small business owners, you could choose small business as your topic. Keep in mind, though, that as a company blog may want to stick with a specific niche rather than a broader topic. You will be able to compete with the bigger blogs much easier this way.
One way to gather good ideas for your blog is to ask customers what they want to read about. They may have lots of product questions, or simply just need advice regarding the specific realm of services you offer. Or you can create an account on Prismatic, create your own blog and news feed based on topic, and then read through articles to gather inspiration. Just keep in mind that while your ideas can be inspired by another blog post, don’t plagiarize. Source the article if yours is very closely related and give your own opinion on the topic. Or take one point made in the article and expand on it.
3. Provide Quality Content
No matter your content focus, always make sure that it is quality information that your audience wants to read. For instance, you can always throw in success stories within your niche. Or you can blog about a recent news story and how it relates to your company and to them as your customers. If you are able, interview the big guys in your field (those that are not competitors) and post the interview on your blog. If you provide services to businesses, then your articles can offer tips or how-to help for business owners.
Quality posts will only serve to increase your expertise in your field. So be sure that not only is your content excellent but your writing is excellent as well. Either hire a writer or make sure to proofread each post thoroughly. Poor writing and too many typos will reflect badly on the image of your company.
4. Allow Reader Feedback
Make sure your readers can get involved with your blog by allowing comments. And make commenting easy by giving readers options for how they want to sign in to comments: with a name and email address or via one of several social media platforms. While you can limit commenters to only those who sign up to your blog, consider making comments open to anyone since this extra step can discourage some readers from getting involved.
Always respond to comments as well, or at least the important ones. If you are using WordPress for your blog, you can use plugins to help you filter spam and approve or disapprove comments. However, be careful with disapproving comments since this can also discourage readers from commenting in the future. Consider only deleting those comments that include profanity or are blatantly abusive to other commentors.
5. Be Consistent
Decide on a blogging plan and stick with it. Whether you choose to post once a month, once a week, or once a day, consistently add a post according to your commitment. Posting an article a day for a week, and then not publishing again for another month makes your company appear unreliable.
To help you remain true to your plan, consider creating a content map. Come up with article topics ahead of time and schedule specific posting dates for each. Most blogging platforms even allow you to upload your content and then set future publishing dates for each article.
You can also help yourself remain consistent by setting aside certain days for certain topics. For instance, Monday could be your Daily Inspiration day. Every Friday could be your company news and update day. The first Thursday of every month could be your interview day. Then you can fill in other days surrounding these set topic days with extra posts.
6. Link, Link, Link
Finally, don’t forget to build up your page rank for your blog with relevant links from article to article and from articles to your blog. Just be sure that your links are always relevant. Google now requires links within content to be BOTH highly related to the article’s topic and the anchor text to be unique from post to post. In other words, don’t just throw a link to an article about blogging if the post is about your latest new product…unless the product is a blogging tool.
Let’s also say that you want to push a link to a certain product in your website. This is fine as long as you stick to the rules mentioned above. Make sure you place the link only in relevant posts, and change up the anchor text. For instance, do not just use [productname]; also use long phrases that do not include your product name or use variations of different words with your product name, such as [product tips, tips for product, etc].
Most importantly, do not ever let links disturb the quality of your posts. If you cannot fit a link into your article, but it is a topic that readers will devour, then publish it. Your blogging is not just for building links but to also engage readers on a more personal level.