How to write a better business blog
This post is written by Sandy Gans-
Love them or hate them, there's no denying that blogs can have an extremely positive impact on business. With 95% of b2b purchase decisions first researched on the internet (source: Gartner), organisations that provide plenty of content on their websites can gain a significant advantage over their competitors. Blogs are the ideal way to do this. In fact, by blogging twice per week, you can see an on average 50% increase in traffic to your websites (source: HubSpot).
Knowing the importance of blogging is one thing. But creating a blog with great content, that attracts many subscribers, and earns tens or hundreds of social shares is quite another. We've outlined a four simple tips and tricks to help you write a better business blog.
1) Choose the right topic for your business blog
When it comes to sitting down and writing a blog post, thinking of a topic can be hard work. While there is plenty of advice available about how to maintain blog ideas; a helpful tip is to use the 'Is it Interesting, Entertaining, Relevant and/or Useful?' test. In short, ask yourself if your blog topic is something a potential customer might find interesting, or is just a product blast. This doesn't mean you should never mention your products or services, just bear in mind what your target audience is likely find interesting. Avoid writing glorified 'Our product is great' type of blogs, and instead focus on educating and informing your target customers in some way.
One way to achieve this is to start your blog title with ‘How to’. This type of blog posts tends to do very well for two main reasons:
1) Because they help the reader solve a problem they may be facing, by directly answering a question they have
2) Because people often type questions starting "How to...” into Google
For example, I recently searched "How to buy a CRM system” in Google. Because Google's PageRank algorithm largely relies on the web page's title in deciding where to rank it, I was greeted with a list of pages that either exactly or closely matched my original search in descending order of relevance. This meant that I not only saw Salesforce.com and Oracle's paid listings at the top and lower down the natural listings, but my eye was instantly drawn to the top 3 natural results - because Google has highlighted these as exactly matching my search. And guess what, the content was non-corporate sponsored, unbiased and turned out to be just what I was looking for. I didn't even bother going back to Salesforce or Oracle's pages, as a site I'd never heard of before (InsideCRM.com) was able to answer all of my questions.
Key takeaway: Through your business blog, you can compete with the big guys in search by being smart about what your buyers are searching on and what keywords they are using and tailoring your blog titles content accordingly. If you need help, you can consult HubSpot's keyword suggestion tool (if you're a customer of theirs) or Hootsuite and Google Adwords keyword suggestor tools (both free with registration).
2) Use graphics to make your blog more appealing
Blog stories with an associated accompanying image are clicked on at 3-5 times the rate of non-pictorial ones (source: HubSpot). So don't forget this crucial step! If you're not sure where to obtain pics from, try and get creative with your iPhone and Instagram. The more colourful/visually appealing/amusing the picture is, the more likely it will be to get clicks. Just remember to keep it related to the topic of your blog article.
3) Use punchy titles and subtitles
Again, this has a dual purpose. First, it helps to draw potential readers into the article and keep their attention as they scour your blog. Second, it helps Google to understand what your article is about, and, therefore, it is more likely to be ranked higher in organic search results for related topics. Remember to include and repeat your Keywords/phrases in both the title and subtitles, as well as throughout the body of the article. The key here is to make it natural and not keyword-stuff your post. Also tag the blog with these keywords, as well as any related graphics used. This all helps add to the article's SEO juice.
Insider tip: Never put lists of keywords at the bottom or side of the article to try to earn SEO points. It looks spammy to your readers, and Google will not improve your SEO from these. PageRank will only look at headers, subheaders and paragraphs with natural word flow in deciding where to rank you. Your blog could even be black-listed for trying this tactic, so definitely a no-no.
4) Do Something Different with your business blog
If you always write blog posts in the same style, experiment and try something different. For example, if you normally use numbered lists, try doing a review-style type of blog, perhaps on a latest piece of technology related to your industry, or maybe on a new industry-related book that came out. Or, perhaps you could do a live blog from an industry trade show or event. It’s important to experiment because it will help to keep your business blog fresh. Generally, the more relevant and insightful a blog is, the better it will do. If you're still not sure whether a topic's a good one, just be honest with yourself on whether you'd want to read a blog on it. If the answer's 'Yes', chances are other people do too.
These are just a few ideas to help you get started. Blogging is still more of an art than a science, and you will likely get better at it over time as you feel more comfortable writing them, and you start to gauge which topics and formats tend to perform better than others.
Final tip: use tracking software such as Google Analytics, to get information on number of times each blog was viewed, or purchase a marketing automation system like HubSpot, which will do this for you. Just because blogging is an art, doesn't mean you shouldn't be scientific about measuring its impact on your website traffic, leads and business growth - especially given the time commitment required to produce a great blog.
Still got questions or need help with your business blog? Give us a shout, we'd love to speak with you.
Don't forget to comment with your experiences and insights below, and share socially with your network if you found this article useful.