Thousands of businesses maintain blogs these days, from local plumbers to nationwide recruitment agencies. Does this mean that starting a blog is worthwhile for your business?
Yes. A blog is a great way of boosting website traffic, domain authority and your business reputation. Furthermore, blog articles stay online permanently in the same way as individual webpages, so a blog you wrote years ago could continue attracting visitors and leads far into the future.
However, it’s important to consider that many – if not most – business blogs are completely unsuccessful. As part of a tailored marketing strategy, a blog is an extremely powerful tool, but we’ve all seen bad business blogs, and those with inconsistent or poor quality content.
So to start with, let’s be candid about the reasons why a lot of small businesses don’t have a blog, or give up blogging soon after starting:
- Although blogging is technically free, it does take a lot of time. Your blog is the first thing to slip if you’re pressed for time.
- Many people aren’t confident writing long articles – and it’s better to publish nothing at all than to publish badly written content.
- Attracting traffic to your blog and building up a following is difficult and takes time.
- It is challenging to keep your blog interesting – i.e. regularly coming up with unique and relevant things to write about without repeating yourself.
How do you avoid this trap and ensure your blog stands out from the rest?
1) Target Relevant Keywords
The technical elements of blogging are all too frequently ignored. In order to attract website traffic, a blog article focuses on one or two keywords – the key phrases your ideal customer would search for in order to answer their queries. Invest some time in keyword research, and then use these keywords in the article headline, URL and meta information. You can also use variations of the keyword throughout the article, so long as your writing sounds natural and organic. Good keyword use tells Google’s search bots that your article is relevant to the search query, and you will rank higher as a result.
2) Mix Up Your Content
Most businesses have more than one type of ideal customer, or buyer persona. Add to this the fact that different website visitors are at different stages of their buyer journey. Some may come to you keen to sign up right away, but these are a minority. Some leads are simply looking for information, or are considering several similar options. Your content should cater to all of these groups, so a variety is essential. Also ensure you include a mix of evergreen content, which will always be relevant, and topical content, which responds to a particular trend or news item. This helps attract sustained long-term interest to your blog, as well as short-term traffic spikes.
Above all, make sure your content is genuinely useful, i.e. does it address the search query that bought the visitor to your blog in the first place? If not, why did you publish it?
3) Hit The Right Length
A person’s time at work is precious, so blog articles need to strike a fine balance between brevity and providing enough information. We’ve found that, so long as a blog post grabs a reader’s attention quickly, most people are prepared to invest some time in drilling down into the information. What does this say about the average length for a blog? While the trend is towards longer articles of 1600-2000 words plus, it isn’t necessary to do this all the time. 400-800 words is perfectly acceptable for a regular blog post. If necessary, you can expand on your topics through downloadable gated content, which you can use as an incentive for people to sign up for your email list. Only make an article as long as you are able to keep it interesting. There are no brownie points for adding unnecessary words.
4) Be Subtle
If your articles are all variations of ‘look at me’, you’ll lose your audience pretty quickly. Be subtle. Yes, blogs are powerful promotional tools, but there are ways to do this without overtly selling your products and services. Save this for your website. Instead, in your blog, develop your expertise and industry knowledge by providing general assistance and information. This portrays you as an impartial authority whose main concern is ensuring your readers get the best deal – an instant way to build trust and indirectly get readers to start considering your own services!
5) Build Connections With People
Blogs are interactive webpages. Welcome and respond to comments on your content, both positive and negative. Each comment is an opportunity to start a conversation and deepen your authority and reputation. If you blog regularly (and don’t go into this if you’re not prepared to do so), share links to your content on social media and to your email lists whenever you publish.
6) Be Consistent & Committed
Business blogging is a long game. You won’t gain much from a flurry of initial activity that then fades away, so be consistent and committed to your blogging. How much and how regularly is an open question. Some businesses get the results they need from posting twice a month, while others post one or more blog posts per day. Establish a pattern that works for your business and sustain it if possible. Doing this will start building up a following of people who regularly refer to your blog for new content.
7) Work With An Agency
Not everyone is a born writer, and even if you are, the likelihood is you’ll have more important things to do at work. So consider taking the pressure off your team by outsourcing your blog writing to an agency. Marketing agencies employ professional writers who know how to target work to the right audience and incorporate the best keywords into your online content. It’s normally cheaper, faster – and always less stressful than trying to write all your blogs in-house.
Find Out More
At JDR we offer a broad range of marketing services designed to boost the appeal of your brand to your target audience. Setting up and maintaining an authoritative and informative blog is a good way of doing this – so long as certain best practices are followed. If you’re interested in how to attract leads from blogging and would like to discuss relevant strategies with one of our experts, please give us a call today.
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