Is your website just a fancy online business card? Because, you know, your website can do a lot more for you and your business. If you have a business blog, it can act as your…
- Best salesperson, bringing leads and sales to your business 24/7
- Trusted customer service advisor, informing and building trust and loyalty with your customers
- Knight-in-shining-armour, defending you against those crappy clients or customers who absorb all your time and cause you stress
- Personal ‘Town-Crier’, someone who will pull in the crowd and get traffic to your business
Publishing content consistently could help you rank higher in the search engine results and drive more traffic to your website. More traffic from the right kind of people means more leads and, ultimately, more sales. Ka-ching!
But getting results from your business blog takes time, and you have to be doing ‘all the right things’. This is why we put together this guide for you – covering everything you need to know about running a successful business blog.
Ready to grab a brew, sit comfortably, and get stuck in?
How to create a successful business blog
The first thing you need to decide (before you even get started) is what you want to achieve with your blog. Maintaining a business blog requires time, focus, and consistency, so you don’t want to do it just for the sake of it, right? Like with anything you do in life and in business, you need to have a specific goal in mind. Otherwise, how do you know if it’s working or not?
For your blog to be successful, you need a goal for it first.
So what do we mean by goals? What can a business blog actually help you achieve?
Here are some examples…
1. Drive more traffic to your website using your blog
Publishing regular content on your business blog can help you drive more traffic to your website. How? Well, how many times in a day do you search for something on Google? Loads, right? Every time we need information, we head over to Google. And your ideal customers are exactly the same.
So if you publish content on your business blog that answers their questions, bingo! You immediately increase the chances of your website popping up in the search engine results (ideally super close to the top), which in turn means that more people might click on the link, go visit your website, and read your articles.
Want some tips on creating content that gets found on Google? Check out our SEO For Beginners: The Ultimate Guide.
2. Attract more qualified customers with your business blog
Once you get people on your website, your amazing content is your chance to show them who you are, what you have to offer, and how you work. And your web pages (like your Homepage, your About page, your sales pages, etc.) can do that to an extent. But with the articles on your business, you can showcase who you are, what you stand for, and what you know in a lot more depth.
So what happens when people land on your website and find all your valuable content? They either feel they can relate to that (and find it interesting and relevant), or they don’t. And if they don’t, they’ll hit the back button, go back to Google, and move on to the next piece of content.
Now, that might seem like bad news for you. But it’s not, really. Because if someone can’t relate to you your content, they’re not the right people for you! You don’t want to work with them as much as they don’t want to work with you!
We’ve written loads about this, so if you want to find out more, check out How and Why You Should Create ‘Wrong-Fit’ Content, or How to Stop Customer Issues Before They Happen (Using Content Marketing).
What you really want is for the people who are the right fit for you and your business to stay on your website and engage with your content. Because these are the people you ultimately want to work with – the people who will buy from you and who will prove to be great clients. These are much better-qualified prospects. And you can attract them (like moths to a flame) simply by sharing awesome content on your business blog.
3. Increase your sales by blogging
Did you know your website can sell for you? That’s right. A lot of people treat their websites as fancy online marketing material. But if you play your cards right, your website can actually make sales for you.
How? Because people don’t care what you say – they care what you publish. And the content you share on your business blog can help your ideal customers get to know, like, and trust you. When you answer all their questions, reassure them you’re the right choice for them and the person who can solve their problem, the next logical step is for them to press the buy button and work with you.
And wouldn’t it be nice if instead of spending hours on a sales call with a prospective client, that call only lasted 15-30 minutes? If you publish enough of what we call decision-based content on your website, people will start to self-qualify, meaning that they’ll only go ahead and get in touch if they’re truly interested in working with you. So by the time they jump on that sales call with you, it’s only to finalise the details, sign on the dotted line, and ask when they can get started!
If you want to find more about that, here’s a handy blog post we wrote: How to Make Content Part of Your Sales Process (so you get more sales, faster!)
4. Grow your email list through your blog
Another goal you can achieve through your business blog is to grow your email list. When you give people something of value through a lead magnet (this could be a pdf guide, a quiz, an eBook, etc.) you can ask people to give you their email address in return. And with that, you get the privilege of landing straight into their inbox as often as you like.
Sure, you can advertise your lead magnet on your Homepage, but how well do people know you by then?
Probably not much.
But when they consume content on your business blog and learn about your views about a certain topic, it’s a lot easier for you to include what we refer to as content upgrades that people can download for free by entering their email address. Once they’re engaged with your content, your readers are more likely to want to grab the freebie you’re offering and land on your email list as a result.
So now that you know what you’re trying to achieve with your business blog, let’s try and work out how often you’ll need to share content.
Important! What to do if you have multiple goals...
You’ll probably have multiple goals for your blog.
In fact, our blog helps us achieve all the points above. We use it to get traffic, increase sales, deliver excellent customer service and to make sure we attract the right people to our business.
We know At some points in the year, we focus on sales – creating sales content for specific products or services we want to promote at that moment.
During non-sales-focused periods, we focus on creating content that will drive traffic to our website and grow our email list (this blog post is an example of that – notice it’s published in December, a particularly quiet month for us).
And then there’s the content we create that helps deliver excellent customer service and helps us attract only the right customers – this generally will come from the questions that people ask us.
How often will you blog for your business?
If you’ve decided to start a business blog, the worst thing you can do is to publish one blog post and then disappear from the face of the earth for months on end. (Seriously, don’t do that).
Unfortunately, as much as we all wish blogging was like waving a magic wand, it’s not. It’s a game won with showing up regularly and consistently. So if you’re going to start, make a solid commitment and stick to it!
Yes, we know it’s hard. And that’s why we run our 90-day Content Marketing Challenge a few times a year to help you produce consistently good content that gets ranked on search engines. We also help you get faster and more efficient at content creation and, ultimately, get more leads and sales from your website. The cherry on top? We give you accountability and feedback and break down all the technical stuff that’s holding you back so it becomes super easy and actionable.
You can find out more and join the next 90-day content marketing challenge here.
Decide on your blogging frequency
So, now you’ve made the decision you’re going to blog, you need to work out how often you’ll publish new content. We find that consistency is key, so whatever you go for, make sure you stick to the deadlines you’ve given yourself.
Ideally, if you could blog weekly, that would be amazing, especially if you’re just starting out and don’t have a library of content yet. Nothing stops you from blogging more though – you could publish content 2-3 times per week or even daily if you wanted.
Blogging frequently tells Google and the other search engines that your website is updated regularly, which must mean you have great content to share. So by publishing more content you’re not only giving yourself more chances of being found for more search terms that are relevant to your business, but you’re also telling Google that your website is the place to be to find new and relevant information.
Having said that, you need to strike a good balance between quality and quantity.
Publishing a piece a day of only 300-500 words might not give you as much as going really in-depth into a topic and writing a good 1,500-2,000+ word article. So if that means blogging every fortnight or every month, then that’s a great start. But be consistent. Because your audience will expect to see new content from you on a regular basis, and delivering on your promise helps you build trust with your readers.
Decide on your platform – where should you put your business blog?
We’ve seen some companies use various platforms for their business blog, including…
- A separate website for their blog
- A website they don’t own like Medium
- Using LinkedIn articles to replace their blog
- Housing their blog on their own website
We recommend you house your blog on your own website. That way your articles will rank and get found by people searching on Google. And then easily be able to find out about your products or services or sign up to your email list.
You can always repurpose your blog posts for Medium or LinkedIn articles, but it’s wise to publish on the platform you own first!
What will you share on your business blog?
I know what you’re thinking now. “This is all well and good, but I don’t know what to write about!”
Well, we know that getting started with something new is always tricky. But once you get going, you’ll have so many ideas you’ll never run out again. Promise!
So let’s look at some content inspiration for you.
“How to” content
This is the most popular form of content you’ll find on the internet and business blogs in general. There’s a reason for it – it’s great for website traffic. Because when you don’t know how to do something, you head over to Google to find the answer, right? So your “How to” articles provide your audience with the know-how they’re looking for.
Although this blog post you’re reading doesn’t have “How to” in the title, it’s a “How to” piece of content. It tells you everything you need to know about the topic of starting and running your own successful business blog.
So think about the kind of things you’re an expert in. What do you teach in your business? What do you find yourself explaining to your customers or clients over and over? Sit down with a cuppa and make a list of topics – you’ll end up with an awesome starting list of potential articles for your business blog.
Here are a couple of examples from our own business blog:
“They Ask, You Answer” content
In a nutshell, this is about answering the questions that your existing customers or prospective clients ask you all the time. The term comes from the book They Ask You Answer, by Marcus Sheridan. You may have heard us talk about this book before (we love it!), and that’s because its teachings have literally transformed our business and the way we use content marketing to generate leads and sales.
If you want to find out more about the exact topics that Marcus Sheridan recommends you create content about and want more inspiration, head over to the blog post, How to Plan 50 Pieces of Content in 30 Minutes.
“Content Fortress” Content
If you’ve come across any of our content at all, you’ll probably be familiar with the phrase “Content Fortress”, which is the title of our book and online course.
So what does this phrase mean? Imagine your business is the ‘castle’ you’re trying to protect. To keep it safe, you might want to build a wall or some sort of structure around it. And for us, the way to build this ‘fortress’ is to create content. That’s it. Creating a content fortress means protecting yourself (as the most important asset in your business) with content.
With us so far?
“But protect yourself from what, exactly?”, you might ask.
Glad you asked.
From bad clients, for example. From people who aren’t right for you and your business – people who come with the wrong expectations or assumptions. Or people who might be after a product or service you don’t even offer!
See, the thing is – when you create the right type of content around your business (and publish it on your business blog), you start to attract more people who are right for you and repel those who would you might say yes to despite your gut telling you not to, and they turn out to be people who aren’t a great fit for you (or you for them).
Like we said earlier, repelling clients might sound like a bad thing, but it’s really not! Especially if it protects your mental health and ensures your business occupies a positive place in your life.
If you want to find out more about all this, head over to the blog post, What is a content fortress?
Pillar content is long-form content that goes really in-depth into a topic. We’re talking 2,500-4,000+ words here. Yes, it’s epic! But that’s what’s so good about it. It’s comprehensive, it goes into detail, it answers loads of questions that your ideal customers might have, and it’s great for SEO. It’s your typical “Everything you need to know about X” content.
Here’s an example we have on our website, SEO For Beginners: The Ultimate Guide.
When you write this type of content you’re not just providing a great customer experience for your users, but you’re also increasing your chances of being found on Google. Why? Because when you write long-form content you’re probably going to use lots and lots of handy phrases that people might search for (a.k.a. keywords) and also link to other pieces of content you’ve created. And these are the kinds of things that the SEO gods absolutely love!
Plus, with articles of this length, you’re also telling the search engines that their users are more likely to find what they’re looking for in your piece, rather than in your competitors’, who may have written a short 500-word article on the same topic. So you’re winning all round!
There’s a lot you can do here. You could share newsjacking content, which is all about creating a piece showcasing your thoughts and opinions based on trending news topics or breaking news stories. This could be anything you have an opinion on, but we’re talking about your business blog here, so ideally, stick to topics that relate to your industry, niche, or business.
For example, are there any changes coming up to rules and regulations that affect your industry? Could your readers benefit from you breaking down key information and explaining how the changes impact them? Say you’re an accountant. I’m sure you have loads of clients who could do with an easy explanation of what Making Tax Digital is all about and how it impacts them, right? (No, seriously, are you that accountant? Help!)
And finally, when it comes to news-related content, it could be something about your own company. Although, we always say to try and limit this because as much as this is your website and your business blog, the harsh truth is that your prospective customers don’t care about you – they care about how you can help them.
So whenever you’re sharing news about yourself and your business, make sure they’re relevant to your audience. An example of this may be talking about ‘your why’ (i.e. why you started your company and do what you do).
But how do you write one of these blog posts?
Once you know your topic, then you actually have to write them damn thing. And even if you’re a seasoned blogger, there’s always so much room for improvement. We know, we learn something new on every post we create.
You’ll want to make sure you hit the key points that make a great blog post. Including…
- A killer headline that attracts attention (and helps you rank)
- An opening paragraph that grips the reader and gets them to read on
- A structure that is easy-to-understand and follow
- A conclusion that gets your reader to take action
We’ve actually created an in-depth blog post on how to write a blog post.
What will your blogging schedule look like?
Okay, so now that you know what you’re going to blog about, it’s time to look at how you’re going to do it. How will you distribute content across your business blog?
You have a few options here:
- You could mix and match your topics, choosing from the different types of content we shared in this blog post. This gives your audience a good variety of topics and ensures you’re not only just creating the same kind of article week on week. This is exactly wa
- Goal-focused approach. If you have a particular goal you’re trying to achieve (for example, increasing your website traffic), you could decide to create a lot of ‘How to’ or Pillar content to attract more visitors to your website from the search engines. Or, if you’re trying to rank for a particular keyword, you might decide to create a series of articles on that topic for a month or two or until you’ve said everything you wanted to say about that topic.
- Campaign-driven approach. This is about choosing the one thing you want to sell and going to town with creating content around it. If you want to read more about this approach, head over to our piece, How to create a 90-day content strategy.
- Awareness days content. You could also decide to create content around specific awareness days, such as Mental Health Week, Dry January, or whatever you choose. Again, you want this content to ideally be relevant to your industry and your business, as this gives you a chance to let your readers see what your take is on a particular issue and add value to them.
How will you optimise your blog posts?
So you now know how often you’re going to blog, what you’re going to blog about, and how you’ll distribute your content creation. What’s next?
You’ll notice we talk a lot about SEO and the fact that having a business blog where you publish regular and valuable content will help you be found on Google.
But the thing is – it doesn’t just happen by magic. There are things you need to do before, during, and after writing your blog posts to make sure they are picked up successfully by the search engines. This is called optimisation, and even if you don’t know the first thing about it, you don’t need to be a techie or hire an expensive SEO agency to be able to do it.
You can learn everything you need to know about optimising your blog posts in this handy guide, WordPress SEO For Blogging – How to Optimise Your WordPress Blog Posts.
And once you’ve done that, simply set aside an additional 20-30 minutes to optimise each of your blog posts, and you’ll be good to go!
How will you drive traffic to your business blog?
Now that you have the most amazing business blog, the last thing you need to do is to start driving traffic to it. You’ve got this incredible content you’ve spent all this time and effort creating, so of course, you now want to make sure people find it, right?
Definitely (and pleeeease) don’t fall at this last hurdle! We see so many business owners do this, but your job when it comes to business blogging doesn’t stop when you hit the publish button. You need to get eyeballs on your content. Because that’s the first step to generate leads and sales from it.
So what are some of the things you can do to promote your blog posts?
1. Repurpose your content
Optimisation is of course the first big step in making sure you’re ticking all the right boxes so that Google and the other search engines pick up your content. But you can’t just leave it at that. So the next thing you can do is to repurpose your blog posts into other pieces of content to get them in front of more people.
So, for example, you could repurpose your blog posts into:
- LinkedIn articles.
- Guest posts on more influential websites with a broader reach than yours.
- YouTube videos.
- A series of slides, a talk, or a presentation.
To get more ideas and information about what repurposing is (and find out how to do it), head over to the article, How to Repurpose a Blog Post (and Save Yourself So Much Time!)
2. Share on social media
Sharing your content on social media also gives you a chance to reach more people. However…
How many times have you seen a post from someone on your social media feed saying,
“Hey, here’s my latest blog post! Go and read it! Here’s the link.”
Do you honestly stop scrolling and go and read it? We’re willing to bet that most of the time you don’t. (Unless the title or the title image happens to jump at you as the thing you’ve been wanting to look into for a while).
So instead of just broadcasting and letting your social media audience know you’ve published something new, try repurposing that content (see above). You can do that by pulling out some of the key points you covered in your blog post and inviting people in that way. You’re more likely to grab their attention and have them click on your link to head to your website and read.
3. Share with your email list
If you have an email list (and if you don’t, why not?), it’s another great chance to let more people know about the new content you’ve published on your website. A brand new blog post gives you a nice excuse to email your list, but (again) don’t just drop the link and run. Make sure your email shares something of value that links nicely to your latest blog post. And then you can drop the link.
And if you’re looking for tips on how to grow your email list, head over to the article, The Ultimate Guide to Generating More Leads From Your Website.
4. Paid advertising
Another way to drive traffic to your website is through paid advertising. You could run paid ads via different social media platforms (like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, etc.) While this isn’t free (the clue being in the name), when done right, paid advertising gives you the chance to get in front of new audiences, especially if you don’t already have a large following on your social media channels.
You see, social media platforms hold lots of information about their users that you could never dream of getting direct access to – things like where people live, how old they are, what interests they have, etc. So by using social media advertising, you’re in a much better position to utilise that data and get your content in front of more of your ideal customers and clients.
How to generate leads and sales from your blog
So now that you’ve driven traffic to your website, what’s next? Well, the last thing you want is for people to just come and have a quick read and then click the back button and never come back. When that happens, you have no real visibility of who’s been on your website, which means you can’t interact with them and steer that relationship in any way.
Instead, you want to generate leads – i.e. capture your visitors’ details. You want people to give you their email address in exchange for some sort of freebie or giveaway. It could be someone booking a call with you or filling in your contact form.
As we explained earlier when talking about using your business blog to grow your email list, you can do this by offering:
- A freebie or lead magnet. This is something you offer on your website to all your visitors.
- Content upgrades. This could be, for example, a free checklist or PDF that expands on the content you covered in a specific blog post.
- A paid product. Similar to a content upgrade, this product fits in with the content of your blog post, but instead of being something your audience can download for free in exchange for their email address, it’s a paid-for product.
You can learn more about how generate leads through your blog and website in general in our blog post, how to create a lead generating website.
Want to Cut Your Blogging Time in Half?
So there you have it. Everything you need to know about business blogging! As you can see, there’s A LOT that goes into blogging and creating a blog post can take a lot of time. This is why we’ve created our Blog Post Template pack. It includes 10+ fill-in-the-blanks blog post templates that will save you so much time and increase your traffic and rankings!
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