Could your business cope with a doubling of the inbound traffic it currently receives? How would 25 times the number of leads help move the business forwards?
If your business doesn’t yet have a blog, you need to read this.
If you already do have a blog, and you haven’t yet seen this kind of growth, then it’s almost certain that you’re not employing the four key inbound marketing techniques for business blogging, and so you need to read this. Unless you’re too busy of course, and an increase in business will negatively impact on your free time…
Recent statistics reveal that those businesses which blog regularly receive, on average about 55% more inbound traffic than those businesses which either do not have a blog, or only update it very occasionally. This increase in traffic can in part be credited to the fact that companies which maintain a good blog have around 97% more inbound links than those which have no blog.
I can throw another couple of facts at you if you’re in the mood for finding out just how vital a decent business blog is: research has revealed that, on average, businesses with a well maintained blog have up to 434% more indexed pages listed on the major search engines, such as Google and Bing, compared to companies with no blog, and astonishingly those businesses spending time blogging enjoy up to 25 times the number of business leads than businesses who have not embraced this inbound marketing magnet.
But perhaps crucially the point to consider here is not that a blog will generate more traffic, increase leads and maximise indexed pages and number of backlinks. Those benefits don’t occur without a very great deal of targeted effort. They are generated as a result of businesses understanding what a business blog can be, how it can work, and how to maximise its effectiveness.
If you still think that a business blog is a kind of personal diary of observations then you’re almost certainly not one of those who has witnessed this measurable increase in traffic and growth. Because you’re almost certainly not embracing the four key techniques that make business blogs work.
So What Are The Four Secrets To Making A Business Blog Work?
First of all, let’s sweep away some of the things which are not blogging secrets, at least not when it comes to business blogs. For example, a business blog is not a personal diary, in which you detail everything from the problem with the staff loos leaking to the difficulty the CEO has parking his Bentley Continental GT in his reserved parking place. Customers aren’t really interested in this sort of information, and neither are the search engines.
Neither is a business blog best used to promote and push products or services. it should not be a series of advertisements informing people just how good the business is, how wonderful its products are and just how much you really want to buy them. That’s what the website is for, not the blog.
A business blog should also not be a patchy, sporadic series of unrelated articles cobbled together by a copywriter who lives halfway round the world from the business and who has little or no affiliation with, knowledge of or interest in the business, other than churning out a set 400 words every three days.
Right then, with those misconceptions and mistakes out of the way, let’s find out what the four essential techniques to successful business blogging really are.
Not only does a blog have to have a clearly defined purpose, but so does every single blog post. And that purpose should never, ever, EVER be something as sloppy as ‘because it’s Monday’, ‘because we haven’t posted anything in a while’, ‘because we couldn’t think of anything else’, or ‘because one of our rival companies wrote something similar’.
Bearing in mind the caveats I mentioned above, the purpose of the blog should also not be to push or promote the products and services of the business – at least not overtly.
It’s important that when identifying a clearly defined purpose you think from the point of view of the customer. Why would I as a customer seek out your business’s blog? To learn about the CEO’s parking problems, or the latest water cooler gossip? No. To find out more about the company? Possibly, although clearly this would need to go beyond the information contained within the main website, including the ‘About Us’ page, so this would have to include more up to date stuff, such as the business’s role in a recent conference.
As a customer I might be looking to read information about how the business was able to help someone recently, giving case examples, testimonials or other details relating to recent work or projects that might help me decide if my business could benefit in the same way.
Possibly it might be information relating to how the business is helping to support the community, improve its green credentials or provide an even better level of service.
And of course as a customer I might be looking for advice and help with choosing the best way forwards, identifying the problems, and learning about the solutions.
When you have a clearly defined purpose for both your blog and for each and every post, you’re 25% of the way towards making your business blog successful. But only 25% of the way there.
With the US currently in the throes of its Presidential Election and with UK boroughs currently voting for their local Police Commissioners it puts me in mind of the fact that whenever there is an election I suddenly discover who my local councillors are, and who my MP is. Then after the election it all goes quiet again.
A business blog should not be like this. Blasting a dozen posts out in a week and then going quiet for three weeks isn’t going to work. Customers look for a steady stream, or even a trickle, rather than being deluged one moment and then left feeling as though they’re the only one left at the party.
Don’t over commit yourself to blogging. Trying to blog daily is rarely going to work. Set yourself a more reasonable target, such as just one post per week. If you find yourself with additional ideas, then by all means write the posts, but hold on to them. You may find yourself snowed under with work in a couple of weeks time or even away on a business trip. That’s when having a few draft blog posts in the pipeline can be very useful.
Every blog post needs to add value in terms of what is being offered to customers and visitors. Just because you’ve written 600 words about the business’s recent attendance at a conference doesn’t in itself provide value to the customer. It’s important to consider carefully what it is that the customer will be able to take away with them having read your blog post.
That ‘take away‘ factor is the value of the blog. It’s also the main reason why your posts are likely to be shared by visitors through their own social media channels. In order to know whether a blog post has value, ask yourself what reason the customer or visitor would have to share that blog post with their friends, family, colleagues or business contacts. If you can’t think of any clear reason, then the post probably doesn’t offer any real value, regardless of how up to date, relevant and well written it may be.
Nothing will get your blog post shot down in flames by the search engines more than failing to provide original content. Copying content, or just reworking existing content is not acceptable. Taking blog posts or articles which have been written and published by other businesses, and then rewording them is not an acceptable business blogging strategy.
To begin with, no matter how much you might try to reword the post, the core content will be the same, and this will be recognised by the search engines. But it is also highly probable that any rewording of an original post will sound awkward and forced. The pace, tone, rhythm and overall weight of the post will feel wrong, and won’t get the message across in an entertaining, informative and effective way.
If you can’t think of anything original to say, say nothing. Although failing to blog is not going to help your business, it’s not as bad as blogging awful content that’s been lifted from other sources, because this is what can result in your website actually being hit hard where it hurts – right in the search results.
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