You may have already heard that content is king, and the king of content creation for business web pages these days is blogging. But, not just any blog will work for your business. When done right, though, blogging can net search engine results that increase your site traffic and fatten your bottom line.
Blogging is more than plugging words into a template. Posts should add value to your site and engage clients and potential clients. Engaging readers takes striking the right tone, coming up with great topics, knowing how to hold a reader’s attention, and much more. I’ve studied many of the most compelling business blogs, and they all have some key elements in common. Once you know what they are, you can replicate them for your own site and establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry. Here’s what you have to do first:
1. Know what your readers care about. Successful blogging is all about offering value to your readers. It doesn’t matter how flashy or funny or well-written your posts are if they don’t provide useful information or answer readers’ questions. People aren’t interested in self-serving pontification; they’re looking for resources to enhance their lives. Keep this principle firmly in mind when considering all of the following tips. Consider not only the subjects your target audience cares about, but also think about the words and phrases they’re likely to use when searching for that information. Be sure to include these keywords (judiciously, not exhaustively) in your headlines and copy so that your posts will be more likely to show up in the first few pages of search results. This is one component of search engine optimization, or SEO.
2. Find your voice. If your goal is to drive readers away or put them to sleep, write in dense “corporate speak” and use a lot of industry-specific, arcane phraseology. Oh, that’s not your goal? Then the tone of your writing should be more entertaining and approachable, even though you’re primarily talking about your business. Insider tip: read your blog post aloud and see if it conveys your voice in an interesting way to a prospective client you like.
3. Banish blogger’s block with a list of compelling topics. Consistently creating compelling content (say that three times quickly!) is a challenge for a lot of bloggers. So that you don’t find yourself facing blogger’s block, it’s smart to have a broad understanding of what readers generally find interesting. I suggest making a list of posts you want to publish so that you can work on them when inspiration strikes (and so that you can have a lot of content in the can for a rainy day!). Be sure to keep a constantly evolving record of any new ideas that come to you. I use a program called “Evernote” that enables me to keep all of my ideas readily available.
4. Tap into current trends. Google Trends is a valuable tool that lets you know on an hour-by-hour basis what the most popular searches are. If you write a timely post centered on one of these trends, you may get a quick traffic boost to your blog.