Why is blogging great for business?
- By blogging and sharing great content on social media, you become ingrained as an expert in people’s minds.
- Every time you publish a post, Google’s algorithm favors your site more – allowing you to rank better.
- Blogging helps you think about what will be useful for ideal clients, and sharpens your thinking.
People marketing business to business and that blog receive 67% more leads than those who don’t blog.
So you’re literally leaving money on the table if you decide that producing content is too much, or you don’t want to take the time. I’ve written for over 25 websites, and am about finish writing a blog post for every day of the year in a month, but I still can procrastinate – this guide is going to help kick you into gear, motivate you, and give you actionable tips for how to get writing and keep a blogging habit.
Quick tip:The more links from important sites you have – the more you win in search
Earn a site from Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, TechCrunch or Entrepreneur.com? Your traffic will increase from that. Not only do people click over from well-trafficked and well-respected sites – but Google essentially adjusts it’s algorithm to favor you more with links from important sites. Other ways to get links: guest post, hold a scholarship contest and outreach, or sponsor events.
Companies who blog earn 97% more links
We could go on and on with these stats, but the point is that your website will appear much more healthy and current and basically earn free advertising by getting links to it if you blog often and about the right things. What are the right things?
The things that answer common customer questions, that provide deep useful knowledge for your industry, radical resource posts, and really anything that your ideal client or customer would be looking for. We want you to be the one giving away tons of value to people whether they are just looking into what you offer, or are seriously searching and about to make a purchase.
Not all blogging is created equal
No matter what it’s important to start. But we really want your blog posts to be targeted. We don’t want to be spending all of this time creating content if you’re just going to pitch your products flagrantly and scare people off, or make posts for topics no one is really searching for. The occasional super opinionated rant is wonderful, but we want to provide resources – posts that really serve an existing need.
Quick tip:Reduce the friction by reducing the energy it takes to get started
What is the easiest way for you to write? If getting all of your thoughts out is way easier in a Word doc than on your site – stop forcing yourself to use the WordPress editor, or whatever tool your website is built in. Reduce friction to make the writing process easier for you, whatever that means for you.
So, what if you’ve come to a standstill on your writing – or you’ve never started blogging in the first place? How do you get yourself moving, to creating content regularly, to help increase my personal brand awareness and to stay on the course. I’ve had this same thought – but I didn’t even know where to begin.
My first posts 4 years ago were basically just self promotion and I soon realized no-one cared to read anything that reeks of self-promotion. But soon enough, I found a new niche – ‘fonts‘, over time I’ve realized that people looking for fonts are really not looking for a web designer, so I’ve had to make pivots along the way to blog in such a way as to support my business.
So the crucial components for recognizing the value of blogging for your business:
- Not overly promotional – no one will want to read it.
- Not too far away from what you sell – you may get traffic, but it won’t support your business goals – so often it’s not energizing: it won’t be a priority if it’s just for fun or to get pageviews.
- If you blog regularly, and put out content that is useful for your demographic and is targeted for terms that are related to your business and how you make money blogging will support your business and bring in new customers.
I’m not saying blogging to make money off blogging, I’m referring to doing something else as your product or service – usually a business that’s already up and running – that blogging helps facilitate business growth.
Mini Lesson #1: Just get started
- Go onto the website Quora.com – a question and answer site
- Search the type of business you run
- Find a question that relates to questions you receive often
- Write out 3 key points to help answer the question – and then make those points into headlines and explain them in further depth.
Utilizing questions people are asking on Quora or elsewhere is a great way to start recognizing how blogging can add value to your customers and the general community. When you’re done writing your post and publishing it – give away and answer the post in a quick succinct way on quora for the asker, and then write “Answered it more detail here: yoursite.com/linktoblogpost” This way you not only answered a real question someone has, but you could possible help drive a bit of traffic to your site, when people are looking for answers related to what you do.
Blog examples for business
Zing by Quicken Loans
- There is a strong chance someone looking to answer this question might be in the market for Quicken’s services, so it’s a great topic.
- There’s a big image that catches people’s attention and helps them imagine themselves in a fairly idyllic scenario.
- The question is something many people would actually type in a search engine – it’s simple and not super complicated – the answer would be obvious to someone in their line of work, but outside for the more common customer many will want to know the answer.
- There’s the soft sell (get tips on home, money and life) to join the newsletter, indications of active social media presence that help a visitor trust their legitimacy and availability, and the hard sell – Apply for a Home loan – all visible when you land on the page on a computer.
First Round Review by First Capital
- This post in particular is great by seeking to be super useful to the people that are most likely to need their services.
- Stylistically goes for more of a stripped down look akin to Medium.com and focus on the content, which comes across as tasteful and is very likely to appeal to the savvy entrepreneur who is their prime demographic.
- Social shares are featured with the amount of shares to help encourage a little social influence. (Many people like you have shared this post, so you might as well to 😉
- The occasional case study or hard sell is wonderful – as long as you’re sharing value along the way. This post could also help people looking into videos in general increasing time on page.
- The topic here is helpful for our discussion of blogging in general – not only do you want to share value, you want to get people to stay on the page longer. Time on site is also a metric that many have said effects Google’s perception of the quality of your site – especially that people don’t “bounce” – or quickly go back to the search results, indicating that your site didn’t meet the need that caused them to search.
Mini Lesson #2: How to increase your blogging output
- If it helps, think of your writing as your “shitty rough draft” – no pressure.
- Commit to yourself to write one post every week, or two, or one every day and indicate on a calendar when you make it happen and when you don’t.
- Find someone who supports you in your business goals and tell them about your commitment to blog – or share about it on social media, and make a post each time finish an article.
- Do your writing in the morning.
- Wake up an hour earlier
- Ignore your internal editor at all costs.
- Consider daily writing, as habits are sometimes easier to maintain than sporadic bursts, and check out this kick you in the teeth post for how to maximize your word count and write every day.
10 writing prompts to help conjure up some blog titles
Take out a pen and a piece of paper and get ready – I don’t just want you to read and come away from this experience with nothing. Got your pen and paper ready? Take these prompts and turn each one into a title for your company’s blogging efforts.
- Trends for your industry in [insert year here]
- Interview an expert in your field that will share a different perspective
- Share something you’ve struggled with in your business and what the solution ended up being
- Write about someone who motivates you and what they do differently than others.
- Tackle a controversial subject in your industry or line of work
- Do a review of your top 10 books that someone getting into your industry would benefit from
- A case study of a success you’ve had and how it came about – any takeaways or technical breakthroughs.
- New technologies you might incorporate this year.
- Your favorite tools or apps that help you be productive or do great work
- A deep “how to” guide for something you get asked questions about alot.
What is high quality content and why does it matter?
So you understand the value of blogging on a regular basis – but is that enough?
Now I’m not here to scare you off – but once you get up and running (that’s the important part to begin with) and make blogging a habit, a good rule is to move steadily toward bigger resource articles, in-depth original research, super entertaining posts, and articles with a ton of rich media like compelling photos and videos.
If you feel overwhelmed by the idea of creating a 2,000 to 3,000 word resource post – you are not alone, but really if you have a writing habit, that could be 3 or 4 hour sessions.
Mini Lesson #3: Targeting and creating an in-depth quality piece of content
- The first step is to find a subject that has a lot of people searching for it and would be something a customer or client of yours might be looking for in a step on the journey to using your product or service. Google adwords has a keyword planner that is perfect for this, but you can also use a paid tool called Ahrefs. In ahrefs I search for an idea I had – for instance, “blogging for business”, it told me there were only 50 searches a month for that but 300 a month for “companies blogging” so I could now confidently target “companies blogging” as the keyword/topic for my post.
- The second step is to search the topic/keyword on Google to see what content already exists for it. Note all of the types of posts, and things that are out there, and where there is opportunity for something fresh and different.
- Then your goal is not just to meet the content that currently exists – but to beat it handedly. You can note all of the main sections that provide value in the top 5-10 posts and combine and expand on them, answer questions that people left in the comments and amp your post up with more photos, more videos, and more humor or research.
- You won’t win just because you have better content – you have to also promote your post so it reaches critical mass. If it’s amazing content, and you promote it well enough – then it will gain momentum on it’s own and start to help you rank for that term.
The end goal of course in this case is that you rank for something that your customers or clients are looking for – that by servicing them with no hard sell – that they think of you as a resource and buy from you when it’s time to buy. Sometimes the content might encourage them to buy now if it’s a subject that’s very high intent (for instance – how to choose a [service provider like you]) but most of the time you just want to demonstrate value and by educating them you are their expert on that subject.
Most people like to understand how to do something, or get a general idea – but when it comes down to it, would rather pay an expert to handle it. Early in people’s blogging career they think that they are going to actual educate people so well that they won’t come to them when they need something – from looking at the careers of many people I know that prioritize and give away value on their blog, and from my own experience, this simply isn’t true.
People end up buying from the expert, and/or don’t want to handle it themselves in an ongoing way, or for some other reason still end up buying – and not doing it themselves.
Quick tip:How to get a good keyword phrase to target fast
So you may or may not own aHrefs, or know how to wield Google’s Keyword Planner, but you want to get down to writing a blog post and make sure it’s targeted. Well fear not – Try out SEM Rush’s Keyword Magic (with a quick free registration) – What do you most want to be found for? So let’s say you’re a realtor and you want to find what would be good to blog about to catch people searching for ‘Homes in Minneapolis’ – so you type that into SEM Rush’s Keyword Magic and you get a whole list, but you want to find terms that A. People in your prime demographic would find compelling as far as an article, and B. people actually looking to buy would search either for a landing page or a ‘strong intent blog post’ with a call to action at the end.
Examples I picked out from the list SEMRush spit out for me:
A. minneapolis home and garden show – Could have an in-depth blog post about this to try to be 2nd or 3rd in organic search after the show itself)
B. custom homes minneapolis – If I didn’t already have a landing page or a blog post talking through how to get started on a custom home if I didn’t work on these projects, or a landing page to capture leads if I did – I would create one.
Other radical ways to grab keywords include:
1. Answer the Public – This tool allows you to see very quickly questions that people are asking related to what you are wanting to rank for, or subjects related to your keyword.
2. Use Google’s suggested searches (in the dropdown when you’ve typed your term) or the related searches section after you’ve searched a keyword.
A more long term companies blogging strategy
Blogging for business isn’t just rocking the first keyword of course, it’s about having great content going out on a regular basis. My blogging strategy has been way more aggressive lately (a post a day as a personal challenge to myself for almost a year now) but my strong suggestion is that companies attempt to pursue at least:
- Four 1,000 word blog posts a month that have very intentional keyword/topic targets.
- One bigger super resource rich ‘content hub’ a month for the ripest keyword opportunities that could earn you customers
Companies blogging for business can sometimes benefit from a content calendar
You will likely want to at least have some kind of content calendar to catalogue all of the posts going out if you are working with a team. You might also want to include a column to check off each one of these things, and/or a checklist under each with these 3 responsibility (even if all 3 are you.)
- The person assigned to writing
- The person assigned to editing
- The person assigned to making a featured image and/or adding images to the post.
From personal experience, you’ll want to integrate whatever system you use to task out things in your organization – a calendar, whether it be through Google Calendar or some kind of living doc – won’t be enough. Tasking it out – with the due date and a link to the calendar will be your best bet.
Mini Lesson #4: Getting a large list of keywords/topics for your content strategy
Now you’ll need a bit more of a cohesive strategy to find the best keywords to go after, and some creativity for how to turn those into interesting enough blog posts that will get people clicking and engrossed in your content.
- The tools in front of you could be a combination of Ahref’s or Keyword Planner, your Google Analytics account and a strong consideration of the main services you want to really get out there to the world about.
- Look at your competitors and what they are going after – one way to do this is to look at the Organic search tab, and the content overview tab in Ahrefs for which pages are getting the most links and keywords ranked for – and you can also google the competitor and examine their meta title and description for keywords that stick out as highly intentional. Try doing this for 5 competitors
- Then search each of the terms you got in your initial list on ahrefs for ‘Keyword Difficulty’ and ‘Search Volume’ – after you list both of these things out for all the keywords in your list you can assess which have a high enough search volume, with low enough keyword difficulty and would make sense for your business to go after.
- Take the best keywords and list out possible blog titles or content hub and landing page titles, and try to get your best resources for creativity on this – at this point it’s all about finding a way to make the topic compelling, get clicks, and offer value in a unique way to create brand awareness and authority for that topic.
What can you do that’s extra-ordinary?
What can you write that will blow their socks off?
What topic might relate to that keyword that you have unique perspective or original research on?
It’s all about finding a place where you know your company and it’s people can offer significant value, whether it be with a video series, a controversial post, or a roundup of experts – in a way it’s wild west. If you can create the best content – you can beat fierce competitors much larger than you.
Adjusting your keyword strategy over time based on Analytics
…To be continued.
(This is part of an ongoing series, the content will be added here as it’s written)