July 25th, 2018
In this day and age, almost every successful business out there has a blog section to their website. Some of them utilise it brilliantly, whilst others seemingly have it to simply say that they have it. However, a business blog can be an incredibly powerful tool for brand awareness, sales and lead generation.
Picture the scene; you spend a fortune on rebuilding your website, rebranded and improving your customer service. However, your competitor keeps stealing sales from you because of how well their blog section performs, offering insights and advice that keep people coming to them. To use a slightly antiquated term, your target audience is seeing your competitor as a “thought leader” within your industry.
So you decide to follow suit and build up a blog section on your website, but find that you’re just not getting the same traction as your competitor. Confused, annoyed and frustrated, you give up on the blog section and focus on paid advertising instead, costing you money to get the traffic that your competitor gets for free through their content.
Of course, that is only if the competitors’ business blog is created and handled correctly. But it happens far more often that you would expect. That’s why you need to have a business blog that gives the users what they want, whilst also helping to grow you as a business. This can be a pretty daunting task, as it is hard to know where to start when it comes to a blog for your business.
That’s why we’ve put together our list of the 9 top business blog tips to help you get started! So, let’s take a look at what you can do to install, grow and improve a business blog, designed with conversion rate in mind.
How to set up a blog for a business
Setting up a blog for your business can be one of the simplest or most complicated things you’ll ever do, depending on how you go about it. In terms of which platform to use, we would always recommend WordPress as it is incredibly easy to use once installed.
However, the process of installation for WordPress changes greatly depending on what Content Management System you are using. For example, if you are running an e-Commerce website through Magento, then you’ll need a capable and competent Magento web developer that can connect both Magento and WordPress together.
Once WordPress is installed and running smoothly, you then need to put together a strategy for categories – each category should be significantly unique from other categories, and each post should only appear in one category.
In the example of an e-Commerce company selling computer peripherals, the categories could be as follows;
- News – features posts relating to the company itself
- New Technology – features lifestyle posts about new technology
- Advice – contains posts covering various tutorials for different peripherals
- Products – contains product-heavy posts designed to announce new products or supplement the product page with additional information
This structure clearly defines how the business blog will proceed in the future, whilst also giving the user a clear and concise direction as to which category they would want to visit.
Pro Tip: remember, a business blog is not for selling your products, but rather for building trust with your target audience, selling your brand.
How to put a content strategy together that is suitable for your target audience
Once you have your blog’s Content Management System installed (you did go with WordPress, right?) and have sorted out your category structure, it’s time to move onto the posts. But don’t get too excited! We’re not going to be writing the posts yet.
Instead, you will need to put together a content strategy. This should be a detailed and strategic plan of what content you are going to write and share with your audience, covering at least a 6 month period, if not longer. You need to define who your target audience actually is, what sort of content they are likely to engage with, what questions they probably have and how you can answer these questions for them.
By going through this strategic thought process, you can create far more tailored content for your audience, building up trust and brand loyalty. That loyalty, in turn, translates into increased sales as well as free word of mouth marketing!
You should also spend some time looking through your competitors’ blogs and Social Media platforms to see what kind of content they get the most engagement with. This engagement, be it likes, shares, replies or comments on the blog posts themselves, all help to build up that brand loyalty.
Pro Tip: If you plan out your strategy, make sure that you focus on answering the most searched questions, as you could rank position 0 using Google Quick Answers (more on that here). Utilise Google’s Keyword Planner to find the most common questions that your audience search for.
How to utilise a blog to build brand awareness
Now that you’ve gotten your content strategy in the bag, it’s finally time to start working on those blog posts! You know what to write about, because of the detailed and in-depth content strategy, but do you know what to do once you’ve clicked that publish button?
Whilst the old saying is “build it and they will come”, that generally just isn’t the case in reality. You need to build up awareness of your content, which will also build up the awareness of your brand. So, how do you go about this? Well, there are many different ways to do it, but let’s start with the easiest ones; Social Media.
But no, we’re not just talking about sharing your blog post on Facebook and leaving it at that. You need to promote it, be that through Paid Advertising on Social Media platforms, or by driving a discussion around the post.
Do this by looking up “influencers” or other people who have a large follower base connected to your target audience. Speak with them and build up a connection, then let them know when you’ve put out a blog post that is suitable for them to share. This can drive a huge amount of visibility to your blog post.
Pro Tip: Focus on building a community on your Social Media pages, asking questions and have conversations with your followers. This way, when you get visitors driven by others, they will see and perceive you as an approachable and relatable business – this is an instant boost in brand awareness and will help to grow brand loyalty.
How to use a blog as a lead generation tool
Okay, so now your blog is starting to drive some traffic, but it isn’t quite showing the return on investment that you wanted yet. That’s a common situation to find yourself in with a new business blog. But how do you turn it around?
Well, this is where Calls to Action come into the game. If you’ve done everything else up until this point, then you’ll already be building up brand awareness and giving quality content to your audience that helps to answer their questions. The trick when it comes to turning these readers into leads is to not give away too much.
Give your readers just enough that they can attempt to solve their solution on their own, as they will feel rewarded for engaging with your content. But leave out just enough that, if they don’t manage to do it themselves, they trust you enough to come to you for help. This works in any industry, whether it be e-Commerce or Lead Generation focused.
Pro Tip: At the end of the post, include a short sign off that, in one or two sentences, summarises how your business can help with the particular problem and how they can contact you or buy the “recommended” product.
How to connect to your audience and grow their trust in you
Now that you are getting traffic and your conversion rate from visitor to lead has improved, it’s time to push even further! Returning visitors are far more likely to convert that new visitors, so you need to connect with those people and make them trust you. This trust will keep them coming back for more, each time giving you the chance to convert them into a lead.
Building such a level of trust comes from your content and how you portray yourself on your blog and Social Media. If you remain vigilant with your content, polite with your comment replies and professional in manner, it all adds up to create a sense of trustworthiness.
This is only compounded further if you take the time to answer questions that people have, be they in the blog post comments or on Social Media. Doing this can really help out your audience, and they will remember and trust you for it. It is because of these feelings of trust that they will keep coming back, viewing your business as experts in your chosen field, before eventually purchasing (potentially multiple times depending on the audience).
Pro Tip: Be professional in how you act online, but don’t be a robot. Audiences love to feel like they are talking to real people and not a corporate machine. Add some flavour and personality!
How to syndicate content to potential new readers
Syndication of your content is incredibly important. After all, by now you’ll have been able to get your visitors to convert into sales or leads at a reasonably high rate, so you need to increase the number of visitors next!
The easiest way to do this is to use Social Bookmarking tools or RSS Feed Syndication. Set up your RSS feed to only include a brief excerpt of your post (roughly 2 or 3 sentences), as well as a link to the original post on your blog. Then, go out and find various RSS Feed sites such as Bloglovin’ or FeedBurner and submit your RSS Feed.
This will then push your excerpt out to people using those RSS Feed platforms (because a lot of people still do), bringing more eyes to your content.
Pro Tip: If your developer can get your RSS Feed to include a canonical tag, then you can actually gain some equity from doing this as well, which could help improve your SEO.
How to ensure that the content structure follows SEO guidelines
One aspect of your business blog posts that you need to consider at all times is the way they perform in terms of SEO. You will need to structure each post in such a way that it follows SEO best practice guidelines, ensuring that it can rank in search results for the questions you are writing about.
To do this, make sure that each section of the blog post has a Heading 2 that defines what that section is about. Also, ensure that the post has a descriptive yet short Heading 1 as the title, similar to the Headline on a news article, and that the post contains at least 500 words of unique content.
Finally, you have to make sure that your imagery is optimised in terms of file size, file name and alt text, as well as keeping the use of repetitive keywords to a minimum. Write your posts for the readers, not for Google.
Pro Tip: Use Yoast to help get a basic understanding of how well your post is structured from an SEO best practice perspective. Then, get a qualified and experienced SEO to review it in more depth.
How to properly structure blog post categories for user engagement
Now we are getting into the upper levels of business blogging, evolving the blog’s structure and category layout to give the best user experience possible. By doing this, you can help readers and potential leads to navigate around the content and information you have provided to them, building up their loyalty and chance of converting.
Start by reviewing the Content section of Google Analytics and determining which posts and categories gain the most traffic with the best overall metrics. From here, you’ll be able to trim out irrelevant categories that don’t get visited, create new categories to help refine the structure of the blog, and determine which categories are in need of Conversion Rate Optimisation.
By taking a data-driven approach to the optimisation of your category structure, you will be able to make the most informed decisions. This, in turn, will benefit both your audience and your bottom line.
Pro Tip: Use heat-mapping tools to help you better understand user journey around the blog and how to increase the number of users who click on Calls to Action. This can help you make data-driven decisions about button placement as well as the category structure.
Why you shouldn’t focus on your products, but rather on your audience’s problems
To finish off this list of the top 9 business blogging tips, we just wanted to reiterate a point that we briefly touched on before. It can be a really hard mentality to break out of, but your business blog should not be focused on promoting your services or products.
You can, obviously, include Calls to Action to drive readers to get in touch with your business or check out your products, but this should be in context with the content. Don’t make blog posts listing the top 5 products on your website for a specific type of user. These posts will fall flat and actually harm your brand image, bringing down your brand loyalty instead of growing it.
Rather than pushing your products, offer guidance and advice to your users. Everyone’s favourite subject to read, write and talk about is themselves, so pander to that. By making the reader feel like you are caring about them and offering them some personal advice, you can create a much stronger rapport with them. This can then lead to them talking about your business to their friends in a very good light, as well as buying your services or products on a regular basis.
Pro Tip: You can use the conclusion section of the blog post to offer your services or suggest a product or category that could be useful to the reader. Just make sure that it actually is useful to them.
Time to get started!
Well, there you have it. Those were our top 9 business blog tips to follow in order to improve traffic, sales and lead generation. It may seem like there is a lot of work involved in making the most out of a blog and getting the best return on investment… And that’s because there is.
However, if handled with care and attention to detail, your business blog can help to improve SEO rankings in Google, increase brand awareness and loyalty, generate new leads and drive sales skyward. So what are you waiting for? It’s time to get your business blog in order!
But if you are still concerned about starting a business blog, or feel that your current blog isn’t performing to the best of its potential, we would be happy to help. We can work with you to create a content strategy as strong as superglue, or to find out what parts of your blog are causing readers to disengage, and much more. So why not get in touch today?