Why do you blog? Some blog for fun as a creative outlet, while others blog to spread their thought leadership on specific topics. Whether you blog for personal reasons, business reasons, belonging, or news, your blog is in good company.
There are more than 600 million blogs on the internet today, ranging in topics, purposes, and tone. Personally, I follow a few blogs that I find enjoyable. Blogs I follow are marketing-related, offer parenting advice, and one is even just deep thoughts for the day. I typically turn to bloggers when researching information about something, like my dogs, children, or marketing. There is so much fantastic information out there waiting to be found!
Did you know that the most common reason people blog is because of a passion they have? These people don’t have an “end goal” but a love for a particular topic they want to share with the world. I love this!
Why do you blog?
As I mentioned above, there are many different reasons someone would choose to blog. But for this article, I'm going to focus on business bloggers. Businesses can benefit from blogging if they’d like to influence reputation building, website traffic, and growing relationships.
If your B2B business wants to establish itself as a resource for prospective customers, industry leaders, or business publications, then blogging is the perfect way to display your knowledge. It lets you put a unique perspective on trending topics and show potential customers how your business differs from others. Do you have a creative viewpoint? Blogging will enable you to give your company a personality and show your expertise.
Increasing Web Traffic
If getting people to your website is a goal, a blog is a great tool. Get people interested in your content via social media, a marketing campaign, or other channels, and once they get to your site, they may stop and look around a little. Search engines also love blogs, so having one on your site is a great way to improve your SEO. Blogs offer a way to ensure your site isn’t going stagnant and that you are adding valuable page content.
Are there other industry leaders you would love to have associated with your brand? Offer up guest blog posts to build relationships with these people or other industry partners that have products and services with synergies to your own. For example, if you sell car insurance, you should invite a car manufacturer to provide a guest blog about their newest vehicle. Your customers interested in cars would love to hear this person’s unique perspective. It’s a win-win for both parties, as the author gains exposure to a new audience for their brand, and you gain a new perspective and relevance for your audience.
Why I blog
Blogging is something I enjoy, but I'm also a writer. So blogging comes very naturally to me. I blog for my business Springbrooke Marketing because I want to show people my expertise on various marketing topics. I also use my blog to create content I can share on my social channels. Blogging is a great way to let people know I'm still here and actively in business. And, because I blog for other companies professionally, the blog on my business website also serves as a portfolio of my work.
Where to begin
Getting started can be one of the most challenging parts if you're new to blogging. Once you know what you want to write about and the personality you want to portray in your writing, then you'll be off to the races!
The first hurdle is deciding what topics your blog will cover. If you're in a specialized industry, don't be afraid to write about various things; look at adjacent businesses. If you get too niche in your topic, you'll find yourself quickly in a box and unable to come up with any new topics. Keep an open mind about how far your readers will be willing to stretch and follow you.
Choose a topic
After you've decided what your blog will be about, you'll need to determine a topic for your first effort. My favorite ways to uncover topics include:
Reading competitor blogs – what subjects are trending?
Searching trending keywords – you can start by typing a question into the search bar and letting Google finish it for you.
Following groups on social media – what are they discussing?
Now that you have a topic in mind decide how you will present this information. Here is a list of common blog formats.
Compare and contrast
A “what” blog (describes what something is)
A “why” blog (describes why something is)
Once you have your topic in mind and know how you will present that information, I always start with an outline. It's the perfect way to gather your thoughts and ensure your writing has a good flow. It will also make the drafting process go much faster.
Then, you're ready to put your fingers-to-keyboard and get typing! I have always been a nut about editing my work while I draft. I do it habitually. This year, as the volume of my writing has exponentially increased, I've started listening to the gurus who say not to edit yourself while you're working. I have found this to increase my efficiency, giving me much more personality in my writing. I'm not questioning myself constantly. Rather, I get to just be myself and let the words flow naturally. Evict your shoulder critic!
How to grow blog followers
After you've put the final editing touches on your blog, it's time to publish it, or as I say, it's time to let it fly! You can publish your blog on your website, which I mentioned above is great for improving SEO. Then, you can share the blog post on social media channels. You can also share your blog with an email list, such as a customer, prospect, or newsletter list. These are all great ways to drive traffic to your blog.
You may want to use your blog as a lead-gen opportunity. If you're running a marketing campaign, a great blog can be used as a high-value asset (HVA) to drive the completion of a lead form, subscription to a newsletter, or generally drive interest. Include a blog subscription form on your website, so interested parties can be notified when a new blog has been posted.
Another method for spreading the word about your blog is to invite your employees or your network to share blogs posted to your social media channels. This expands the number of eyeballs that may see your blog.
Suppose you're viewing your blog as an investment in lead generation. In that case, you may want to promote your blog through paid digital advertising, such as social media, search, or display advertising.
Blog SEO tips
My blog has been a great driver of traffic to my website. Since I started my blog and consistently posted content, I have seen growth in my numbers. I know growing website traffic is a major initiative for many businesses, just as it is for mine. For your blog to help with search engine traffic, it needs to integrate several SEO best practices. Here are just a few quick-hitting items.
Research keywords and integrate them into your title, subheads, and body copy.
Include a meta description.
Use H1, H2, H3, etc. tags throughout the formatting of your article – this makes your article highly scannable for Google.
Include bulleted items or numbered lists to help break up large copy sections.
Add some graphics with alt text defined to add an element of engagement.
Include internal and external links throughout the blog.
Other blog tips
I know this is already so much content, and your brain is probably ready to explode, but here are just a few final blog tips before you go on your merry blogging way.
Try to stick to a blogging cadence. Not only is this good for your readers, who can build an expectation for when they will next hear from you, but this is also good for building a routine for yourself. If you get busy, it's okay if the blog is a few days late, but don't skip it altogether. If you’ve done your job well, your followers will be waiting. According to this HubSpot report, businesses with a consistent blogging habit get up to 97% more inbound links.
If blogging is something you want to do but don't have time to do, thousands of writers out there would love to help your blog. Freelancers like myself are always an option, or you could connect with someone through a freelance platform like Upwork or Fiverr. Read my blog: Tips for Working with a Ghostwriter.
Get miles out of your content. If you're investing dollars and time into a blog, try to get as much value out of every article as possible. Whether that means using it in a marketing campaign, or posting about it in four different ways on social media for weeks apart, stretch the value. You could also consider an accompanying infographic or call-out graphics that are very snackable for social posts.
Don't be afraid to invite guest authors. If you know you're going to be busy in meetings for the next two weeks and won't possibly have time to push a blog, invite this really smart person you met at a conference two months ago to blog for you. It's a great way to grow your network because when they share their guest post with their social networks, those people will all visit your website to see the content.
Involve other employees and team members in your blog. I know not everyone is a writer, but everyone does have unique thoughts on certain topics. Unless you're a sole proprietor, your business is made up of more than one person. It is trust-building if your audience gets to know the wide variety of leaders in your organization.
Well, that's enough sharing of my trade secrets for today, LOL. I hope you found them interesting and helpful, and I hope you'll try blogging! I would love to read your efforts, so please send them my way at firstname.lastname@example.org. There is a blogger in everyone just trying to bust out!