Growing Your Business Blog - Five Questions Answered
In our rapidly changing online world, the word blog feels almost like an antique. And yet, businesses are starting new blogs every day in order to gain exposure and shape their brands. There’s a reason they have staying power. They are excellent tools for connecting with your customers.
But perhaps your business doesn’t have a blog yet, or you can’t figure out how to grow your readership. Here are five things to consider before increasing your efforts.#1: Do I Still Need a Business Blog?
As we said, the whole concept of a blog may feel a bit outdated these days, with social media taking over people's lives and the booming success of video and podcasts. So is a blog even worth doing these days?
For most cases, yes, a blog is still a vital part of marketing for your business. In fact, a blog can do several things that social media, with all its bells and whistles, can't.
Blogs are part of your company's domain and completely under your control. This is not the case with social media. When a reader visits your company's blog, you control every design detail, every picture and word. You can create a custom experience that visitors are not likely to forget.
On top of that, your blog serves as a home base for all your online activities, a place to link back to, a platform for your thought leadership articles, your podcast episodes, your free downloadable ebooks—you name it. A business blog is hard to maintain and grow, but it is worth the effort, every time.
#2: How Often Should I Post?
There has been conflicting advice on this topic for as long as the blog has been part of marketing. Some will tell you that any major company must post something fresh every day to stay relevant, and it is true that search engines like Google reward blogs that are updated regularly.
On the other hand, what is better for your readers? Will they feel overwhelmed by daily posts? What about your company's abilities and budget? Can you afford to post quality content every day? It is absolutely a bad idea to overextend your company's resources trying to stick to a crazy editorial calendar.If you want to chew on this topic some more, there is a great, albeit old, article from Problogger that is just as relevant today as it was back in 2012.
#3: How Can I Make an Editorial Calendar?
For large content marketing teams, this should be a no-brainer. Some teams have editors that do nothing but plan out content arcs and fill in editorial calendars.
But if your team is not big enough for a dedicated editor, that means the job falls to you. If that is the case, there are excellent online resources to help you understand the importance of an editorial calendar and show you the way to make a calendar that works.
There is also an abundance of online tools for actually making an editorial calendar, be it for one person or for a large team. Asana is one favorite, but Trello is also good. Of course, you can just use Google Calendar, or a physical pen-and-paper calendar, in order to keep things as simple as possible.
#4: Should I Hire Writers for the Blog?
Is there merit to having a dedicated writer or team of writers just for your company blog, or should it be piled onto your marketing personnel? It is true that having a writer or team focus on the blog, or on certain features of the blog, that will promote a strong, unchanging voice, something your readers can become familiar with and grow to expect. Therefore, whoever you use to write the blog has to have a writing voice that meshes with your business.
Whoever runs the blog needs to have the time to do it right. Piling everything onto one marketing person may be too much for them, even for a small business. Hiring outside freelancers may be a way to keep your blog running while you handle the rest of the marketing. It all depends on the size of your business and how ambitious you are with the rest of your marketing.
#5: How will I Promote my Business Blog?
Writing a blog, especially a new one, may feel a lot like building a theme park in the middle of the rainforest. No matter how fancy you make it, it can feel like everyone is strolling by and missing it. After the first couple, or several, or several dozen, posts go live, you may start to feel like all this work and expense has been for naught. So how do you promote your blog and get people to visit regularly?
SEO is the first obvious answer. By following the best SEO practices, avoiding keyword stuffing, and making content that both people and search engine robots will like, you’ll start rising in search engine rankings. But, you may be saying to yourself, SEO isn't really promotion. So what can you do to actively reel the visitors in? There are tons of ways to promote, but here are a few favorites:
- Guest post. By having your marketing team post guest posts on other people's or companies' blogs, you'll start building a reputation that garners visitors.
- Include your blog URL everywhere you can. This means making sure the blog is easily accessible from your company's main website, as well as including the blog URL on banners, ads, and business cards.
- Submit to blog directories. Blog directories may seem to be a thing of the past, but a surprising number of people still use them, especially for research.
Of course, no matter what you do to promote your business blog, don't expect it to explode overnight. Growing a business blog, building a company brand online, and connecting with customers in a meaningful way all take time and patience. If you can stay the course, you'll see all that hard work pay off in the long run.
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