How to start a business blog
Why, oh why, must I blog?
Like the supply of good biscuits for meetings, a blog is an essential business tool. We recommend regular blogging to anyone and everyone who will listen, yet we often see tech companies flag in this area time and time again.
Before you roll your eyes at our nagging, let us tell you why blogging is a marketing ‘must have’.
According to HubSpot, websites with a blog receive 55% more visitors, 97% inbound links and experience 126% higher lead growth than websites without.
If you need any more convincing, take a look at these stats:
- 47% of buyers viewed 3-5 pieces of a brand’s content before engaging with a sales rep. (Demand Gen Report, 2016)
- Content creation is ranked as the single most effective SEO technique by 53% of businesses. (Marketing Sherpa, 2013)
- 61% of consumers say they are more likely to buy from a company that delivers custom content they can trust. (Custom Content Council)
- 78% of consumers believe that businesses providing custom content are interested in building good relationships. (TMG Custom Media)
This should be more than enough research to convince you that blogging is best-practice for savvy marketers. But how to actually get started? Follow our seven-step guide, and you won’t go far wrong!
Tip 1: Host on own domain
There are many great platforms out there to help you set up your blog (we’re big fans of WordPress) but some businesses make the mistake of not hosting it on their own website.
Obviously, there is the professionalism of the operation. Having it as part of your existing website domain keeps your branding consistent and helps you look the part.
However, there is also a long-term effect this could have on your Google ranking. If the hosting is not your own, and the host site changes, you have no control over what happens. Also, if you decide to move to hosting yourself down the line, you could lose the loyal readership and ranking you have built.
It is not as expensive as you think, and investing a bit now in hosting it on your own website domain will save you time and money in the future. Check out this helpful article from The Balance which explains domain hosting for blogs in more detail.
Tip 2: Set goals
Setting goals and KPIs is common practice in all areas of business – setting up a business blog is no different.
Deciding what you want to accomplish will help guide your content, and make sure everyone is on the same page.
As with all marketing tools, blogs are the most effective when they are used the right way. Take time to think about your audience, who they are, and what they would like to read on your blog.
Set your goals for how often you want to blog, level of engagement, and possible outcomes so you can crosscheck and monitor your performance against them regularly.
Tip 3: Build your content
This is the best bit. When it comes to creating your content, think relevant, thought-provoking, educational, informative, and /or entertaining. Link to other resources online, and share as much knowledge with your readers as you can. They are your potential and current customers and you are adding value to their experience with you.
Each post should be around 300-700 words in length. However, if you are righting a through-leadership or in-depth exploration, it is OK to write more. As long as it is adding value.
Don’t ignore the headline either. According to Hubspot, blog titles with six to 13 words attract the highest and most consistent amount of traffic.
If you start to struggle for great content, you’re not alone: 64% of B2B content marketers say that their biggest challenge is producing enough content. If you need inspiration to get the creative juices flowing, check out our guide to creating more content ideas!
Tip 4: Watch your SEO
One of the main perks of blogging is the SEO benefits. Publishing regular content to your site increases site traffic which will, in turn, have a positive impact on your search positions.
Whilst you are writing your content, keep a note of your keywords. Think about the questions your potential customers could be asking Google and write the answers down. SEO is an incredibly broad subject – we could write a whole book on it! You don’t need to get your head around all of it, but our SEO guide is a good place for beginners to start.
Tip 5: Keep going
There is only one thing worse than having no business blog: having one and not posting anything. Consistency is key when it comes to blogging. The general rule of thumb is that you should blog at least once a week. Stay committed and don’t let it slide too far down your list of priorities.
Remember, blogging and lead generation go hand in hand. If you have the resource to blog more than once a week, consider doing so. Businesses that blog around 15 times per month average about 1200 new leads each month.
Regular blogging keeps readers hungry for more. While blogging actively increases customer interaction and generates more leads, stopping regular blogs will cause overall traffic and site conversions to fall.
It does take time to write the blogs so share out the writing to other members of the team, or reach out to your contacts to provide guest blogs.
Create a schedule so you know what you want to post and when. This will give you, not only some guidelines, but some deadlines to work towards too. Don’t worry – you can be flexible with the schedule if a better content idea emerges. But, the idea of a schedule will help keep you accountable and on track for success.
You should also invest in building up a backlog of articles so if anything unexpected crops up or you get too busy to write, there is always reserves of content handy.
Tip 6: Don’t forget to promote
You’ve written a blog. Now what?
A little bit of active promotion will go a long way. Reach out through your social media networks and share your blog posts.
76% of people use their Facebook feed to find interesting content, and in the past two years, content consumption on LinkedIn has increased 21% (HubSpot, 2016)
Don’t keep all this hard work to yourself. Share everywhere you can, and encourage your staff to do the same – it’s the best way of reaching a wider audience and increasing site traffic. Check out this post from our archive for more inspiration on how to use your social media platforms to promote your blog.
Tip 7: Finally, analyse
Experimenting is part of the process so don’t be afraid to try something new – but make sure you analyse the results afterwards! Compare your resuts to those targets and KPIs you set earlier.
You won’t know what works unless you take a look at the numbers. How will you know what ROI you are getting if you don’t peek behind the scenes?
Go back and take a look at what were your most popular blog posts over the past few months. Are there any you could rework and share again? Or what about creating a series of blogs based on the most popular themes?
Get to know the results and use it to shape your content calendar going forward. And of course, celebrate the amazing milestones your blog has achieved.
See, it’s simple once you know how! We bet you’re itching to get started on your business blog.
Best of luck and if you get stuck, you know where we are…