4 Best Practices For Business Blogging
Writing a Business Blog is a balancing act of creating great content on one side and business growth is on the other. You need to find that balance or sweet spot that exists somewhere between valuable content for your audience, while driving leads and sales for your business. It is a fine line you must walk, but finding that balance or sweet spot is extremely important for creating value to current and potential customers alike, while supporting your strategy for growing your business.
That being said, business blogs are measured by very different standards than say a personal blog or perhaps a media outlet. Where personal or even media blogs are all about visitors, pages and clicks, the business blog is all about lead generation. In other words, one person viewing a media site may account for 100 page views, but on a business blog that person may view 100 pages but they still only count as one person or one lead.
Because of this, business blogs have an entirely different set of goals as opposed to most any other website. But that’s not to say that many of the key principles are not still the same. The challenge is finding that sweet spot!
#1 Think Like A Publisher
First, forget about being a just business blogger; you are instead a vertically integrated online publisher! Your job isn’t to just publish a few articles each week. But you do have the same responsibilities that publishers traditionally have; the single difference being is that all of those responsibilities are directly tied into your business.
Publishers need to create relevant content, they need to figure out the best avenues to improve the reach of their content, and they must discover advertising opportunities as well as manage them. As a vertically integrated online publisher, you must do all of these things in order to ensure that the content you create is valuable to your audience and is delivered in a manner that generates leads.
#2 Non-Branded Content
Readers don’t want to read more about your business on your blog, you have a website for that. Instead, focus on writing about industry best practices for a product or service. Your website is likely already optimized for your business name and even your products; what your blog should be focused on is bringing in non-branded traffic.
For example, if you are an entertainer, you should be blogging about what makes for a great event, give planning advice, and offer answers to common questions about higher level issues. This sort of content will drive a lot of search traffic and it also drives better quality leads to your business website.
#3 Find Out What They Want
Sooner or later, after blogging for several months about what you think might be interesting in the minds of your readers, you will find that you need to ask them what they want. It’s easy to get all caught up in the excitement and ‘newness’ of business blogging, but the need will still arise.
Assumptions can be rather… assuming and they can far too often be wrong. Soliciting feedback from your audience or conducting a survey will shed a lot of light on whether or not you are even close to the mark. But if you don’t ask, they usually won’t volunteer the information either.
Feedback should be in the form of open-ended questions (i.e. a question that cannot be answered with a simple yes or no) and should address topics for your future blog posts. But don’t just stop there, ask them what kind or kinds of content readers prefer, such as text, audio or video. The survey should also include space for readers to add their comments; this gives them the opportunity to make their own suggestions in a personal way.
#4 Integrate Your Blog & Website
Business blogs can be a major source of new web traffic from search engines, social media and even other blogs back-linking to your blog. In fact, reality is that the first thing a potential client may see of your business is a blog post. Having your blog and website connected is an easy way for someone new to your website or blog, to learn more about your company.
There are several ways this can be accomplished; as a sub-domain of your website (i.e. blog.yourdomain.com), as a page (i.e. yourdomain.com/blog) or have the two integrated into one (i.e. yourdomain.com). Either way, the best practice here is to make additional information about your company readily accessible to the new visitor. It is also important to make sure the navigation and other elements of your blog make it easy for users to find more information about your business if they are looking for it.