Many business blogs are structured like personal blogs and that is a mistake. Although it is important to tell your story, it is necessary to do it in a B2B or B2C way that shows expertise and value as points of emphasis. Far too often the business blog focuses on the story only or the expertise only and expects value to be seen from this. Without all of these components, the business blog will eventually fail.
How can you promote value and expertise? It begins when you can demonstrate that your business can solve problems for your customer segments. Take people step-by-step through each process, show them how much time and money they can save, and you’ll get started on your journey of business blogging on the right foot. Here are some of the best business blogging tips to help you continue that journey.
1. Each post is a product.
Your products are a representation of your brand. Would you knowingly put a product out to the market that you knew was sub-par? Of course not. A bad product creates a bad brand image. Bad brand images make it difficult to create profits. Just look at the “Fair and Square” pricing that JCPenney put into place as proof of this. Your blog posts are also your products. Bad posts create a bad brand image as well.
The bottom line is this: if you wouldn’t pay someone to read your blog, then your posts aren’t good enough. People are paying with their time to read your content. Don’t ever forget that.
2. You have the chance to engage.
Social engagement is just as important as the quality of each blog post that is published. If you have customers or leads replying to your posts, then make sure to acknowledge this. You’d respond to an email in a timely fashion, even just to say that you got the email and appreciated it, right? Doing the same thing with blog comments will help people to feel closer to your brand. This closeness inspires a deeper brand loyalty that will keep your business at the top of their mind.
How you are marketing your blog posts also matters because comments could be left on your posts. People may reply to tweets or leave a comment on your Facebook page. Don’t ignore these either. Responding to even difficult or angry comments can help to set your brand apart, rescue leads, and potentially increase your revenues.
3. Outsource without outsourcing.
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to blogging just to stand out. You’ve just got to grab someone’s attention and then be able to hold it. To do this, you’ve got to think outside of your natural comfort zone. You’ve got blogging talent for sure, but everyone can benefit from a new perspective. That’s why outsourcing can be such a powerful asset.
Yet outsourcing also tends to reduce the quality of your blog. That’s why learning how to outsource without outsourcing is a critical skill to learn. Here’s how it works.
Look at how other forms of media grab attention. Go stand in a grocery store checkout line for 5 minutes and look at how the magazines and tabloids structure their content. They need to grab someone’s attention just like you do. What they do works and it can work for your business blog.
Read other business blogs. Every industry has that one go-to blog that everyone reads. You need to start reading it as well. There are things that they are doing every day that keeps them in the #1 spot. Replicate what they do, but stamp your own business brand and personality on it.
Ask for help. Even the best creative minds run out of creativity from time to time. Ask for help from other bloggers when you need it or create a contributor’s circle like Forbes has done with their online presence.
Some might call this crowdsourcing. Whatever you decide to call it, just make sure to integrate it into your business blog.
4. Produce your own content.
Having thousands of written words on a blog is standard. Having locally produced media content on your blog isn’t as standard. It’s easy enough to grab photographs from a website like freeimages.com, but it isn’t as easy or cost-effective to have your own photographer creating media. Yet blogs that produce 100% of their content have better overall results.
Here’s what you do: create content that your current talent pool can handle. If you’ve got video production capabilities, then focus on that. If you’ve got photographers on staff, then let still images dominate your blog. If you’re able to produce your own content, then you get to incorporate the specific data you’re trying to market more effectively and it may enhance your optimization efforts as well.
Don’t forget to include watermarks on your content. People will scrape it sooner or later. When they do, the watermark will help to promote your content.
5. Enhance the value of your content in some way.
In the B2B world, a lead might complete 90% of their journey through your sales funnel without any help from your sales or marketing teams. They can do this when there is enough valuable information on your site to help convince them that you’ve got the best stuff around. Far too often, value is only shared on a business blog for a price.
You ask for someone’s email address to get an ebook.
You ask for someone’s phone number to get a whitepaper.
You ask for someone’s domain URL to get a newsletter.
Notice that the word “free” isn’t included in these bullet points. When you’re asking people to give you something, then it really isn’t free, is it? Just because something doesn’t cost money doesn’t automatically make it free. Information is more valuable than money today as it is and your leads and customers know this.
This is where you can put up or shut up. Give these items away without trying to build an email marketing list or a prospect sheet. Let people have access to this data because they will use it to create their own journey through your sales funnel. If enough value is present, the only job you might have left is to close the deal.
6. Tell your story.
The essence of a blog is the story that is told within it. You might be promoting products, but you’re also promoting your entire brand. You’re promoting the concepts and ideas that led to the creation of those products. Every post should be telling a complete story of what has happened.
How do you tell your story? Simple. Be honest about the entire process. Authenticity and transparency are craved by today’s consumer. By knowing who you are and what you represent, consumers can decide if they want to have your brand be associated with their identity. Without your story, there is no evaluation of your brand. That usually means you won’t be getting a sale any time soon.
7. Bring in the experts.
Sometimes a business blog can get so focused on providing expertise that they lose sight of the real experts that are creating the products that are being marketed. If you bring in the experts that are behind your brand, put them on camera, and interview them, you accomplish three goals with one simple post.
You’re producing your own content.
You’re adding to your niche expertise.
People get to know the other people behind the brand.
You don’t have to stay in-house with your interviews either. You can bring in other industry professionals to give each other some mutual exposure. Interviews aren’t the only way to prove niche expertise either. Webinars that are run through your blog can be an incredibly useful addition as well. As long as your content is of high quality, you’ll attract more readers and followers with every post you create.
8. Think about the user experience.
How do people arrive at your business blog? In many ways, a blog is a lot like a house. You can enter a house in many different ways. People often go through the front door, but someone could go through a window, the garage door, or even the back door. An ambitious few might go through an upstairs window. Each person enters a different part of the house when they choose a different entry point.
The same is true with your blog. People will have different landing pages based on the searches that brought them to you. How you bring people to a place where they can continue their journey, which is called the UX [user experience], will determine if visitors want to keep engaging with your blog. Having clear navigation options, consistent tags, visible headers and/or footers, and categories that make sense will help to make the UX easier to use so that everyone can find everything they want.
These best business blogging tips will help your brand make a bigger impact on your customer base. Implement them today and you will see changes in your engagement right away.