As VIEO’s Content Marketing Manager, I spend most of my time blogging for our inbound marketing clients. I also train many of our clients to use their websites, so I know firsthand that blogging for business can be both challenging and intimidating.
If things aren't going well, it can even feel a little like this:
The important thing is: don't panic.
Blogging is becoming an important part of how most companies market. According to HubSpot, the Inbound Marketing gurus, companies that blog get 55% more website traffic and 70% more leads than companies that don’t blog, and 57% report that they’ve acquired a customer through their blogs.
Luckily, it’s relatively simple to make your business blog better and more effective! Here’s how:
Define Your Scope
If you haven’t already, develop buyer personas for your business. Think about who your customers are, what they enjoy doing, what their lives are like, and where they spend time online. Turn this information into official buyer personas – characters that represent your audience – and be sure to speak directly to them. If you're ready to get started on this process, check out our post "How to Create a Buyer Persona You Can Actually Use."
Should you to stick to information about your business and industry (for example, if your readers are harried executives with no time for fluff), or would your readers appreciate humor, local interest information, and cultural commentary? Consider both your company’s personality and your audience’s needs.
You can’t force anyone to read your blog; people will only read your content if it is interesting to them and adds value to their lives, whether that’s with business advice or dates for upcoming shows at their favorite local venue. Pull out those marketing personas again to help you decide what content to offer.
Plan Your Post
Rambling, aimless posts are not only unappealing, they’re unprofessional. Even if your readers make it to the end, they may not come away with a positive impression of your business. One simple tip, courtesy of your high school English teacher – outline!
You don't have to be overly formal, just begin with a compelling headline that clearly describes the content, and sketch out the points you need to hit along the way to support your main point. Use these to guide you as you write, and keep it tight! Good web copy tends to be clear, concise, and well-structured.
Use Creative Formatting
A big block of text is intimidating, even to me. Alternating your formats is a great way to keep readers engaged online. Breaking your body copy into sections like I’ve done here, or using bullet points, bolding main ideas, or using graphics, tables, and charts (well, interesting ones), can keep your reader interested and help them find the information they’re looking for.
Images are absolutely essential in web marketing. Pictures and video get the most clicks and engagement on social media, and they’ve become an important part of how we evaluate the quality and authority of content. In addition to pictures, graphics, infographics, short videos, illustrations, and meme-style images are all good options.
For the Love of God, Proofread!
It sounds obvious, but you wouldn’t believe the grammatical carnage that exists out there on the Internet. Don’t make it worse.
Promote Your Content
You could write The Great American Novel, but if you’re not getting it out into the world, people can’t read it. For our purposes, this means that you need to share your posts on relevant social media platforms – both those your business uses actively, and those your marketing personas prefer. A little bit of research about demographics and social media can go a long way. Share your content and encourage your co-workers (and any family or friends you can coerce) to share it as well.
There are lots of other ways to improve your business blogging (Search Engine Optimization, for one), but following these fundamentals will help you build a solid, professional, engaging body of content. Good luck, bloggers!