Many business owners are told that creating a blog is a great way to promote their business. However, blogging is not sufficient on its own. A business blog needs to attract readers and continue to interest them with every post. How can you build a blog that potential clients and customers as well as colleagues love to read?
Here are ten tips for creating a blog that people keep coming back to read:
1. Know your audience. This is the number one rule of marketing and also the most important rule of writing. I’m sure you can imagine how crucial it is to your business blog. What do your readers care about? What interests them about your products and services? What are their basic demographics? Once you have figured out who they are and what subconsciously motivates them, you will be able to plan posts that give them exactly what they want.
2. Keep it light and friendly. The most successful blogs are not filled with jargon and technical terms. Quite to the contrary, they use a conversational tone and speak directly to the reader as a close friend. If you have a gift for humor or wit, be sure to let it show. Whatever makes your personality and your business unique and likeable, let this show in your blog. Let readers build a relationship with you and your business through your blog.
3. Never forget SEO. Although it is important to keep your existing readers engaged, you also need to bring in new ones. Consider what your audience would most likely search for in major search engines. Include these phrases in your headlines, subheaders, and the copy itself. This will help your blog to be higher ranked and come up in the first few pages of results for that phrase. If you have no idea what someone might search for, check out Google Trends. This tool tells you what the most popular searches are in that hour.
4. Be relevant. There are probably many modern issues and news items that relate to your business in some way. Maybe you are interested in applying the latest green technologies to your business; this makes an interesting blog topic and also shows readers that you care about the planet. There are probably hundreds of relevant topics related to your business. Spend a little time brainstorming and even looking at the blogs of competitors for inspiration. Of course your blog will sometimes be used to discuss new products or services, but it should also have informative and entertaining posts to balance out the marketing.
5. Be a human. Readers do not build relationships with words on a screen, but with the person or people behind it. Make sure your readers know you are human by opening up about your daily life. Throw in little anecdotes where they are relevant. For example, “The other day my kids stopped into the office after school and we noticed…” Even small details like this make you more engaging to readers. This is especially true if you include photos of some of the things you write about.
6. Use lots of visuals. Humans are visual creatures by nature. Your blog should cater to this by including photos, graphics, and other visual elements in every post. While you may be tempted to use stock photos, these rarely offer the interest and relevance that your blog deserves. In an age when even our phones take professional quality photos, there is no excuse for failing to provide original photos. Here are some great free stock photo sites.
7. Don’t be too long winded… or too brief. The length of your posts is important. If you are too brief, it can be difficult to convey enough information. In addition, search engines are more likely to disregard very short posts. On the other hand, your readers should not be routinely having to read through thousands of words. While an occasional longer post can be helpful, especially when you need to speak about a topic in depth or offer multiple solutions, the ideal blog post is 600 to 1000 words.
8. Post consistently. It’s easy to procrastinate, especially when it comes to tasks that do not earn immediate income. However, readers will stop returning to a blog that is not consistently offering new material. Set a goal regarding how many posts should be written and how often. Don’t be afraid to outsource some of this task to employees when you have a busy period. You don’t have to share fresh content several times a day as professional bloggers often do. Posting even twice a week is enough to keep readers engaged and to maintain a high search engine ranking.
9. Be organized. Remaining organized about your blog can save you an incredible amount of time and effort in the long run. Create a folder on your computer or device for the blog. Write when you have inspiration, even if you don’t have time to complete the post, and stash the unfinished copy to be completed later. Keep photos, ideas for new posts, and other helpful blogging items in this folder. This will make it easy to generate fresh content quickly when you sit down to do it.
10. Interact with readers. If a reader leaves a comment, respond to it politely, even if you offer only a simple “thanks for commenting!” Visit similar blogs and leave thoughtful comments with a link to your own blog. Blogging may seem impersonal at first, but it is actually a very social activity.
While these ten steps will not guarantee overnight business blogging success, they will get your blog on a good path. Building readers and gaining their trust takes time and effort, but these are certain to pay off over the long term.