Not all businesses are on the blogging bandwagon, but business blogging isn’t new. Over the last 10 years, blogging became one of the top techniques of content marketing. Its popularity continues to climb, as 53% of marketers say that blog content creation is their top priority for inbound marketing.
However, the way that marketers approach blogging has changed. The old rules essentially had businesses drumming away on their keyboards to create blog posts once a month or so. These rules also put priority on keyword usage to boost SEO, and business owners struggled to combine quality writing with Google-friendly content.
There is no doubt that the rules of blogging for business is different than it was 10 or even 5 years ago. These are the 3 new rules to keep in mind as you aim for blogging success:
1. More Content Isn’t Always the Right Approach
There is no doubt that publishing large volumes of content has many benefits. It helps fuel the strategy of your social media campaigns, e-mail marketing efforts, and even boost search engine ranking.
In fact, blogging often also has a direct impact on lead generation. According to HubSpot, companies that publish 16+ posts per month see 3.5 times more leads than companies who only blog four times per month.
What the Chart Doesn’t Tell You
What isn’t seen from this graph is the word count of the blog posts or their quality. This is where we run into creating content for the sake of creating content. Business owners see these statistics and go completely gung-ho on firing off a bunch of new blog posts. They crank out blogs faster than low-quality content mills and quickly become frustrated when they aren’t seeing results.
The reason why there are little to no results in this instance is because they are prioritizing quantity over quality.
This approach will never work with Google, as its algorithm is heavily focused on content quality. Google outlines quality content as the following:
- Useful and informative
- Providing more value than other similar content found online
- Credible content that uses original research. It’s best to use websites with high domain authority, such as sources with .gov and .edu extensions
- Content should be unique and specific
- Content should never be mass produced
If you can confidently publish content 4 times per week at this caliber, then you should absolutely continue to blog as much as you can handle. However, if quality decreases with every passing post, you should stick to a publishing schedule that is more realistic for you. After all, HubSpot itself states that one compounding blog post generates as much traffic as six decaying blog posts. Compounding blog posts typically consist of evergreen content with organic traffic increasing over time.
Rule #2: Don’t Skip the Strategy
The old blogging rule told business owners to publish their content and call it a day. However, blogging for business is not finished once you hit the “publish” button on your blogging dashboard. In fact, marketers need to think way ahead about strategy before they even type their first keystroke.
Crash Course in Creating Your Blogging Strategy
Creating a blog strategy sounds intimidating, but it doesn’t mean that you need to throw in the towel. Breaking the strategy apart into bitesize chunks will help you elevate what’s most important for your brand, thus creating the building blocks to move your content marketing forward.
Brain Traffic concludes that there are four aspects of content strategy:
The point of this setup is to get an idea of where you need to focus your efforts while blogging for business. Trying to touch on too many points won’t only overwhelm your staff, but it may also send your readers away to a competitor. Some of the most successful strategies include laser-focused content to reach your target audience.
Consider Your Company’s Mission Statement
Content Marketing Institute suggests analyzing your company’s mission statement to find potential ideas for your company blog. You’ll generate a list of potential article ideas around the mission statement that hits pain points of your readers and answers questions. Keep in mind that the article ideas may appeal to different content marketing personas, and you’ll need to consider this as you write your blog posts.
Include a Blog Planning Calendar
According to Curata, 69% of companies use a content calendar for their blog publishing, social media scheduling, and more. What the content calendar specifically entails, however, is up to you.
Some companies choose to have small-scale calendars that are hosted in a simple Microsoft Excel file. It may contain components such as the blog title, scheduling date, and word count. This is a very simplistic approach, but it can be just the right tool that you need to keep your content publishing on track.
However, there other ways you can use a content calendar other than with Microsoft Excel. CoSchedule is an excellent option for those who want to publish content and collaborate with their writers directly through the platform, either onsite or remotely. There is both a free and paid version of CoSchedule.
Furthermore, WordPress has a free editorial calendar, but it’s limited on how much you can do in terms of planning blog or social media content. You can also use Google Sheets just like you use Microsoft Excel—and you can easily share the spreadsheet with others.
Incorporate Social Media or Guest Blogging
Yet another tough aspect of business blogging is coming up with the strategy, finding the right places to promote may also be a challenge. If you have a well-researched keyword strategy in place, you will eventually get traffic via organic SEO. However, SEO alone isn’t necessarily enough to funnel traffic to your website.
This means you’ll need to rely on promotional platforms to share your blog with the world. Social media is the easy avenue for helping your audience find your content. Remember that you don’t need to have a presence on every single social platform, as this is often counterproductive that won’t enhance your blogging strategy.
For example, a B2B business will likely have success on Twitter. On the other hand, a small home improvement company may see more traction on Facebook.
Lastly, guest blogging can be a powerful technique to reach people who will never find you otherwise. Consider pitching some ideas to industry magazines and websites, or even connect with local publications to see if they’d like an expert contributor. Some companies can see significant lead generation by blogging once a week, or even once a month, when they partner with local establishments.
Rule #3: Focus on Building an Audience
We already mentioned that knowing your readers is important, which brings us to the third rule: focus on building an audience. Blogging for business initially began as a self-promotion tool and evolved into crafting helpful content. But now, that content can’t be intended for anyone under the sun.
Building an audience is perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of managing a content marketing campaign. If you’re too broad, you’ll kill your campaign before it even begins. If you don’t know what the core of your audience really needs to invest in your services, content marketing isn’t going to help your cause.
While building your core audience can be tricky, it’s not impossible. You’ll have to ask yourself some questions and do a bit of research—but it’s entirely worth the effort.
Quick Guide to Building an Audience Base
When your goal is to build an audience for your blog, it’s important to think about what makes those people think, and why would they want to read your content in the first place? Understanding the thought processes of your customers and what makes them tick is key to winning an audience. One of the ways that you can study your potential audience is via analytics on both social media and Google.
Using Google Analytics Build an Audience
If you have tracking installed on your website, you’re in luck. Analytics can serve as an important tool to finding how your audience views your website and even how they behave as they look at your content.
When you explore analytics, you’ll find a list of audience-related data, including:
- User flow
User flow will show you what page the reader originally landed on with your website, and how they further explored your website once they got there. You are looking for patterns, including if the user signed up for an e-mail list or contacted your business while onsite, and any other ways they may have interacted with your website.
Google analytics also shows you the most popular content on your website. You can use this for finding clues on the type of content your audience enjoys the most and try to replicate if possible.
Don’t forget that you’ll want to look at acquisition as well. Acquisition shows how your audience is accessing your website. For example, you can see a chart that shows how many people type in your website address versus finding your website on Google or through Facebook. This is important because it provides insight on what marketing funnel is working the best, and how it is improving brand exposure or lead generation.
Surveying Your Audience to Learn More
Surveying is one of the best methods of finding out who is reading your blog and what they expect from your content. According to the University of Pittsburgh, there are several bullet points to keep in mind as you think about surveying your audience:
- Keep your survey short. Overwhelming your audience with a lot of questions reduces the probability of completing the survey
- Keep the questions focused. Being specific will help your audience correctly answer your questions
- Carefully choose your wording. Are your questions easy to understand?
- Avoid leading or loaded questions. The last thing you want to do is skew the results of the survey, so avoid leading or loaded questions at all costs.
There are many surveying generators available today. You’ll want to come up with your questions first, and then choose your platform. If the platform of choice isn’t relevant or it’s glitchy, your readers won’t bother and move on.
Regardless of your platform of choice, you may also want to consider something in trade for readers completing your survey. After all, they are in no way obligated to fill out the information. Offering something such as a 10% coupon or a department store gift card can help grab the attention of potential survey-takers.
When your survey is ready, the next step is promoting. There are several places where you can ask your audience to take your survey, such as an e-mail newsletter or posting a link on social media. If you choose the latter, be sure to publish the link when your audience is the most active. You can find the right time by exploring your social media analytics and reviewing engagement levels throughout different days of the week.
One last option is to add the survey to a pop up window on your website. However, be careful if you go this route, since Google implemented a mobile intrusive interstitial penalty earlier this year. Be sure that the box is easy to close so your main content can be quickly viewed.
What are the Next Rules with Blogging for Business?
It’s no secret that the world of digital marketing is constantly changing. From one day to the next, you can see a major shift in trends and be forced into rethinking your strategy from the ground up. While it’s hard to say what the new rules for business blogging will be in the future, several points remain certain: quality content is key, and serving your audience should always remain as the number one priority.
Don’t Settle for Subpar Blogging
Busy Blogs Plus stays on top of the latest trends to help businesses master the art of blogging. If you’re looking for better quality blog content that engages and enhances your business, hire us for blogging services, blog topic planning, and more.