Besides providing the Google search engine with fresh content, blogging has other purposes:
- It establishes you or your company as an expert in your field
- It increases brand visibility, builds trust and credibility
- It helps promote yourself or your business, website and brand
- It helps you build a platform and grow a following
- It’s a great way to share opinions, how-tos, reviews, advice, comments on news
- It generates traffic and potential leads to your website and makes your website come alive
What to Blog About
- Give your readers solutions to their problems
- Get to the point – do a good detailed headline and deliver on the message
- KISS – Keep it Short and Sweet – don’t try to impress people with fancy words, write in a conversational tone. Keep it on point and don’t ramble on. 300-500 words, but you can go longer to create cornerstone content. Write as much as needed to explain what you need to explain.
- Give examples of success stories, case studies or testimonials
- Write about hypothetical situations like “Don’t let this happen to you!”
- Repurpose old articles – rewrite them to make sure it’s not duplicated elsewhere
- Be educational, informative and entertaining
- Invite guest bloggers – folks that are influencers in your industry
- Stick to your topic and industry
- Write eye-catching, headlines that peak curiosity
You don’t have to Reinvent the Wheel
There’s a ton of content already online so if you don’t consider yourself a creative writer, you can easily take a snippet from someone else’s content and comment or build on it. (But make sure your site the source with a link back to the originating website. That actually helps you with SEO.) YouTube has lots of videos that are related to your industry that you can embed into your blog post then summarize or comment on it.
For example, I had a client, US-Africa Gateway -- they were a portal for businesses wanting to do trade in Africa. As you may imagine, there was lot of news and content available. Too much actually. Many times when I start writing something, I find that someone already wrote it. I’ve taken to searching YouTube for relevant videos, then embedding them in the blog post and writing a summary with other links to the client’s site. And blogging more often increased the traffic to their website. I went from once a week to 3 times a week and look what happened...
If you’re going to do this, make sure that the videos you are using aren’t from a direct competitor. Don’t edit the video. When you embed a video, it keeps the link to the originating YouTube channel. The best ones to use are from industry experts or news channels with related content to your business.
Take advantage of what’s trending. Monitor Twitter to see what’s people are talking about and take advantage of trends in your industry. But check why it’s trending before you proceed. Make sure a phrase is not trending because of some sort of tragedy or crisis.
How Often Should You Blog?
The “rule of thumb” is blog at least once a week and tweet and post several times a day. It depends on the business and the industry and who you're trying to reach. If you’re a small business, once a week, should be sufficient. If you have the time, twice a week. Be consistent. If you decide to blog once a week, try to keep to the same day. Followers will get used to a regular schedule.
If your business is larger and more complicated, you may have enough material to write about daily.
Have an editorial calendar. This will help you plan articles in advance. Use Google Calendar or a simple spreadsheet.
Schedule posts to publish in the future. If you find yourself with a little extra time, write 2 or 3 posts and schedule them to post at different times in the week or month.
Promote Your Blog
- Share your blog post links on social media. This adds links to the site that helps with SEO and increases your following.
- Add the blog post to your email newsletter. Quote the first paragraph, then link to the post with “click here to read more…” This will drive folks to your website.
- Share it with your groups on LinkedIn – but don’t post too often! Read the group’s rules for discussions and respect them. Keep relevant to the topic.
4 Things You Must Do
- Give readers a call-to-action at the end – click her to download a free e-book, click here for a free consultation, subscribe so you don’t miss the next installment…
- Always add a graphic – the social media networks like Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest love graphics and add it to the post which makes it more eye-catching. Infographics are very popular now.
- Make it easy for folks to share your content with their friends on social media – have share buttons in several place on your blog.
- Make it easy for folks to follow you on the networks. If they like what your wrote, they are likely to follow you to get more information. Have follow buttons and/or widgets with quick links to your social media pages.
- Make sure you have a RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed properly set up to make it easy to subscribe to the blog.