Every day, there is a new business blog showing up online. And some of them are for your competitors. This rapid growth however can be a double edge sword. For companies that know how to blog correctly, it is an incredible opportunity to help build SEO back to their site, build their leads, and engage with their audience. Since there are more people reading today, the potential for your outreach has exploded.
However, because of the shear number of small businesses blogging, it can be very easy to get lost in the pack. Many companies are spending resources (time or money) and they are not seeing returns that are worth the effort. Maybe this even includes you.
The good news is most companies are doing it completely wrong. And that’s what makes it possible for you to sweep in, blow away your competition, and gather more leads than you know what to do with. Here are 3 blogging best practices to get you started on your way.
Treat Your Blog Like You are a Publisher, Not a Used Car Salesman – Even if you are a used car salesman
The biggest mistake that I see companies making with their blogs, is trying to promote their company directly. Every time and in every blog entry.
I know you are thinking to yourself “if not to promote my company, then what is the point?”, but bare with me for a moment.
People are not going to search engines to look up your company directly, and they certainly aren't riveted to your blog because they want to hear the latest promotion or ad from your company. Think about it. How often do you watch commercials on TV, and then use the time the show is on to run to the washroom or to the fridge to grab a beer? At least on purpose?
I am willing to guess for most of you, never. And for the rest of you, well, ok, to each his own, at least you are unique :-).
For the majority of us, you are interested in what is going on in your favorite shows, news or whatever. Commercials are an interruption, which is why outbound marketing is dying a slow painful death, but that is for a different posting.
When you write your blog, you have to think of yourself as a magazine publisher for your industry. What do your customers want to learn about? Is it how to clean their gutters, plan for their retirement, protect their credit , keep their teeth for a lifetime, protect their assets, etc? You need to know what questions your customers are asking. And then answer them.
Don't worry if you are not promoting your latest project directly, that will come later. For now you are informing your customers of something they are interested in and getting engaged in, while positioning yourself as the expert.
Focus on Non Branded Keywords
Non promotional business blogging has another advantage. It allows you to target non branded keywords. Remember what I said earlier about no one searching for your company, they are looking for answers? Treating a blog like a magazine gives you the opportunity to go after long tail keywords your potential customers, even the ones who don't know you, are looking for.
You might be thinking that you want to increase the SEO of your brand. But if you have already optimized your website correctly, that probably won't be necessary. Your site and landing pages should already be optimized for your brand name and your offer. Also, the readers who already know your company name know how to find you. The purpose of your blog is to keep your readers interested, and to attract new leads, which brings us to our next best practice.
Include a Strong Call to Action (CTA) in Every Blog Post
You hear me talking a lot about calls to action, and that is because they are critical. You can have the best SEO on the planet. You could be giving away tons of great information so that everyone realizes that you are the expert.
But, if you are not sending a strong call to action, none (or at least very few) of your readers or fans are going to turn into leads. And if they don't turn into leads, you will never sell them anything, and you will not make any money. Which is really what business is all about, right? If you aren't making money, nothing else matters.
All you personal bloggers out there might be jumping up and down and screaming at me right now because in your eyes a blog is just to inform. But in your business, every action you take needs to come down to one thing. How is this action moving you towards making a profit. And in the case of your marketing that is a call to action.
People in general need to be lead, or they will not know how to take the next step. Sure, there are a few out there that will see you as the expert, and then have the initiative to track you down when at some point in the future they need your services. But that is surprisingly rare.
After they have read your blog, you need to tell them where to go next. At this point, after reading your wildly informative blog entry, like this one ;-), you need to guide them to click here for more information. This call to action should be at the end of your blog post since that is when your reader is ready to find out more.
It is your job to provide that information in the form of a report, consultation, offer, etc.
Find out What Your Customers are Looking For
We have come full circle. Back in the first best practice you learned about treating your blog like a publishing platform, and providing answers to their questions. Well, one of the best ways to find out what questions your customers are asking, is to ask them.
Make your blog and social media presence a conversation so you know that your are providing what your customers are looking for. Along that same line, if your readers comment on your blog, answer them. Or at least comment along with them. This is your business and your conversation. It is up to you to keep the talks going.
There are a number of essential items you need to remember when blogging for business. But, if you remember to treat your blog like a magazine, and act as a publisher, target industry specific non branded keywords, create a strong call to action, and engage your readers, you are going to be far ahead of the majority of other blogs in your industry.
Everyday more people get interested in following and reading business blogs. You can go one of 3 ways:
- Fade away as your customers move to companies with strong inbound marketing strategies
- Create a boring, self promotional blog like most of your competitors (which turns into a more expensive time consuming version of the last options results)
- Or step up, build your brand and make a difference in your industry?
The choice is yours, and a business blog is one big step in the right direction.
Glen Kowalski is an inbound marketing expert in Panama who helps small businesses in Panama and all over the world attract more leads using the latest in internet technologies. He can be reached, through his website at https://old.palmtreeresearch.com or call him at 507-6625-0494.
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