I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news. But publishing epic business blogs that make your readers fall head-over-heels in love with you requires more than good writing.
If you want your business blog posts to rank on search engines, deliver website traffic, WOW your readers (and I mean really wow them) and deliver leads and sales, you’re going to have to approach blogging a bit differently.
Because there are actually six elements that make a successful business blog.
I know, I know. It sounds like a lot and you’re probably thinking, ‘I don’t have time for this, Lyndsay.’
But here’s the thing:
- Most businesses don’t do all six things (or are even aware of them) so if you do, you’ll be miles ahead of your competition
- I’m going to break down all six things below, so you know exactly what to do in each of these areas. Which makes everything much simpler for you.
Ready to learn the 6 key steps to a successful blog?
Let’s get stuck in…
1. Conduct keyword research for your business blog post
Hold your horses! Before you get to the writing, you’re going to need to do a sprinkling of keyword research first.
Because surely one of the reasons you’re publishing blog content on your website in the first place is because you want to be found on Google.
You want your blog to consistently send you website traffic, rank well in the search engines, and generate more leads and sales for your business.
It’s no surprise that bloggers who do keyword research before writing content see much stronger results.
And if you want that to happen, you need to be strategic about it. That means you need to do your research in advance to make sure you’re writing content about topics that your ideal customers and clients are searching for.
So far so good?
So how do you know what your customers and clients are searching for?
Customer’s questions give you an idea of what people are searching for
Well, first thing first, you ask them. And before you say you don’t have the chance to do that, we know for a fact that you do.
Every email conversation, every discovery call, or sales call you have with a prospective client is an opportunity to find out what problems they have and what they want to know.
They will ask you questions (lots of them!) and your job is to write them down and save them so you can create amazing blog content about those topics.
But if you want further ideas or find out exactly what search terms people are using when looking for information about your industry, niche, or business, then there are tools you can use to do your keyword research.
Some of our favourite keyword research tools for business blogging
When searching for keywords online, you’re aiming for phrases that are both competitive and profitable.
What does that mean?
In a nutshell, you want keywords that lots of people search for but that aren’t too competitive. So make sure you spend some time doing keyword research for every blog post you write and try to pick keywords that aren’t overused.
Some of the tools we recommend are:
Answer the Public. An amazing free tool (with the option to upgrade to the paid-for version) that helps you visualise real questions that your potential customers have asked via visual and intuitive search clouds.
Quora. This website is free to use and is completely user-generated. This means users ask the questions and others will reply to them.
Keywords Everywhere is a free Chrome extension. Once installed it will pop up on the side whenever you do a search. It’s free to use but a paid-for version is also available.
KW Finder. This is a paid-for tool that allows you to find the best longtail keywords to include in your content. It offers affordable plans depending on the number of keyword searches per month you need and also has a FREE 10-day trial.
Semrush. This is another paid-for, full-service research tool and allows you to figure out what people are searching for in relation to a specific keyword using their content marketing topic research.
You can find more information about each of these tools (including some cool screenshots that show you what they look like) in our blog post 23 of the Best Business Blogging Tools that Increase Traffic and Conversions.
Or, you can read a bit more about SEO and keyword research in our super comprehensive blog post SEO for Beginners.
Check competing blog posts for your keyword/phrase
Don’t forget this final important step: check your competition.
Don’t rely too heavily on your SEO tool to tell you how competitive a keyword or phrase is, instead Google the keyword or phrase and see for yourself.
These are some indicators you’re targeting an ultra-competitive keyword.
Go to Google (in incognito window) and type in your target keyword or phrase. If there is…
- A lot of ads
- Some well-known trusted companies writing about the topic
- Lengthy blog posts and guides dedicated to the topic
This could be a sign it’s super competitive. It may be worth digging a little deeper around that keyword. Is there a longer keyword or phrase you can use? Something more niche? But still with good search volume?
2. Plan your business blogging strategy
Different types of content will help you achieve different goals with different types of people who consume content on your website.
Most people think of content, especially business blog content, as something that will generate website traffic and rankings. That’s true. But actually, content can also sell too.
To do this, you must create content for every stage of the buyer’s journey…
Blog content at the awareness stage
People in the awareness stage of their buyer’s journey might not know about you yet. Actually, they probably don’t even know they need you just yet!
Let’s bring this to life with an example. Let’s say you’re a career coach who specialises in corporate, leadership roles. Some people might land on your website because they’re looking for a career coach that meets those criteria. And those people are further down the buyer’s journey already – they know they want a career coach.
But people who are still in the awareness stage might be looking for information such as “How to be a more assertive manager” or “How to become a better leader”. They don’t know about you or your services, so your job is to create content that answers those questions. And through that, they’ll want to find out more about you. Clever, right?
Examples of awareness stage blog content
So make sure you create blog content that tells people who you are, what you do, how you do it, and why they need to work with you.
This is educational and informative content that targets your customers’ pain points.
These two blog posts came directly from questions we had from our customers. The keywords actually didn’t show up on keyword research tools! But we were confident people were searching for this. A few months later, these were ranking for lots of juicy search terms. Years later, they still are!
Blog content at the consideration stage
Consideration-type content is what helps your customers see that your business is a valid and viable option for them.
They’re certainly ‘shopping around’ and looking to solve a specific problem, so they’re checking what’s out there.
At this stage, they aren’t sure what solution to find for their problem, so they are looking for help. For example, someone who wants more leads and sales could invest inbound marketing (like blogging and SEO) or outbound marketing (like Facebook ads). They haven’t decided yet, so your job is to help them make that decision.
Essentially, your job here is to help people find the right solution for them. This does not mean pushing your solution as the only viable option! In fact, you may recommend a different solution to what you offer in some cases.
For example, if someone wanted to get 100 leads in less than 24 hours, we’d recommend ads over blogging – even though we sell a blog management service!
Be honest in this content and speak to your audience as if they are a friend. Discuss the different options available to them without bias and explain who is the right fit for each solution.
Examples of consideration stage blog content
If you want to check out a few examples of this, we’ve created consideration content like, ‘What is an SEO Content Writer?’ and ‘SEO Content Writer vs SEO Agency, which one should you choose?’ You can see how both these articles would introduce this service as a potential solution to a problem.
Content at the purchase stage
Things are getting serious now. These are people who have decided to buy. They just need to be sure they’re making the best possible decision when going ahead and buying from you.
This is the point where you need to reassure them you’re the right and best option for them. It’s the last checkpoint before they press the BUY button, so you want to give them the last bits of information to help them take the plunge and buy from you.
They may be looking at your competitors too, trying to understand the differences between you and them.
This is where ‘sales content’ can come in helpful. This is content that talks directly about your products or service, not just your industry.
You can learn all about it and get some amazing sales content ideas here.
Examples of purchase stage content
Here are a couple of examples of purchase content we created on our website: Why You Shouldn’t Join Our 90 Day Content Marketing Challenge or Everything You Need to Know About our Content Fortress Course.
You’ll notice that these talk only about our products and services!
3. Create compelling business blog posts
The next thing you want to check to make sure your business blog is as successful as it can be is your copy. It needs to be engaging and compelling. And when we say that, we don’t mean you need to sound like Shakespeare.
Quite the opposite, in fact!
Your copy should sound like you. When your prospective customers read your content, they’re forming an opinion on who you are, the types of things you say, and how you work.
You want to make sure that the way you sound in your blog content is similar to how you sound when you talk to your customers face-to-face.
Make sure your tone of voice and your personality come across – don’t be boring and hold yourself back too much. But also, don’t try to be someone you’re not.
Your copy also needs to be direct, clear, and jargon-free. In your blog post, tell the reader exactly what the piece of content is going to be about and then deliver on your promise. This needs to start from the headline, so make sure you pick a great title for your blog posts. And if you want more information on how to do this, head over to 7 Ways To Write An Irresistible Blog Post Headline.
And all the way through you need to make sure your blog is well structured and makes keeps people engaged. You can read all about this in our article, how to write a blog post – which covers everything from start to finish!
Break the text down
To make your blog posts user-friendly, make sure you include plenty of sub-headings and paragraphs to structure your information so it’s easy to read and digest. As much as we all like to think that people who consume our content will read it all (word by word) that’s really not the case.
We know it.
And you know it.
And according to Nielson Norman Group, website users read on average 20% of the text on the page.
People who consume content online want to be able to get to the information they need as quickly as possible, so make your text ‘scannable’ by adding sub-sections (all with their own sub-headings) and bulleted lists that help you guide the readers’ eyes to the key bits of information.
Make sure you also include lots of white space and images (more on that in a minute) to let the page ‘breathe’ and ensure you break up the text. No one wants to read a big wall of text, do they? That’s the opposite of compelling!
Website design actually has a huge impact on your content, so make sure you do all of the things above. That way you maximise your chances of blogging success!
4. Include standout imagery in your blog posts
Photos and images are essential for your blog. In fact, articles with images get 94% more views than articles that don’t.
An eye-catching featured image (which is the first thing people see when they land on your blog) can help them decide whether to click on the link and read through or not.
This means more people clicking through your content rather than hitting the back button and heading off to another website! So make sure your featured images are striking, on-brand, and clearly include the title of your blog post.
The rest of the images you sprinkle throughout your article should also play a huge role in how successful your content is going to be.
Much like white space, paragraphs, and sub-headings, images help you break up the text and encourage your readers to stay on the page. When you choose the right images, they immediately elevate the quality of your content. Especially if you create bespoke imagery in your branding (i.e. your colours, graphics, fonts, etc.)
The right images help you stand out
We’re not trying to brag here, but people often tell us that the featured images on our blog posts are so unique that when we share them on social media, they’ll immediately recognise the post as being one of ours.
That shows that using the right type of imagery can make you stand out. People know it’s you before they’ve even clicked on the content and read a single word you wrote. And that’s a great place to be!
Plus, there are other benefits to using great images in your blog posts. Pictures can make you more visible and relatable. Rather than sharing generic stock images from the Internet, we always recommend you use pictures of yourself and your team. That helps you build trust and rapport with your readers.
And you’ve all heard the saying that “a picture is worth a thousand words”. It’s true. Choose your images wisely, and they’ll enhance your content.
You can optimise your images
There’s also a slightly more technical reason why it’s important to have images – you can optimise them! That’s right – it’s not just text that you can optimise for search. So if you’re trying to be found for a particular keyword, you can include that keyword in the title and description of any images you use in your blog post and increase your chances of ranking for that keyword.
5. Optimise each blog post for your keywords
Another important factor to help you decide whether you’re doing a great job with your business blog is optimisation. We know this is something a lot of people don’t even want to hear about, but it really doesn’t need to be complicated!
Optimisation is actually really simple when you know the key steps you need to take. All you need to do is to allocate 15-20 minutes at the end of writing a blog post to make sure you’ve included your keywords in a few strategic places.
How to optimise your blog posts
Remember that keyword research process we talked about at the beginning? Let’s say you went for the keyword “piano teacher in Liverpool”. You’ll want to mention that exact combination of words in the text of your blog post.
On top of that, you’ll also want to include it in:
- Your URL. That’s the web address for your blog post.
- The title tags. The headline and some of the sub-headings, if possible.
- The meta description. That’s the short description that appears on Google under the title of the blogpost that tells people what the content is all about. It’s what helps them decide whether they want to go ahead and read or not.
- Your images. If you’ve included any images in your blog post (and we really recommend you do), you should add your selected keyword in the Alt Description.
- Throughout your article. Include it naturally within your blog post. And if you can, within the first paragraph of your entire article too.
And finally, remember to add links to relevant and related content. These should be both internal links (i.e. links to other pages or blog posts on your own website) and external links (i.e. links to resources from reputable websites that aren’t your competitors).
And that’s all you need to do to make sure your blog posts are optimised! When you break it down, it’s still not the most exciting of tasks (yes, we can see that). But it’s easy enough to do, and it’ll definitely give a huge boost to your business blogging efforts.
You can learn everything you need to know about optimising your blog posts in this handy guide: The Ultimate Guide to Optimising Your Blog Posts.
6. Lead Generation
Last but not least, a successful blog post will help you generate leads. In other words, you want your business blog to attract your dream customers.
Driving traffic to your website is great. You definitely want more people to find you through search engines and consume your content.
But what you want even more is for people to give you their email addresses, sign up for a free trial, or hit that buy now button.
Tips to improve your blog lead generation
Here are a few things we recommend you do to encourage people to give you their email addresses…
Mention your products and services. Don’t be shy!
This is your business blog after all. It’s published on your business website! And while you can absolutely help people with the content you share, you can help them even more through your products and services. That’s why they’re here – looking for help. So let them know how you can serve them. (For example, did you know we offer an SEO Content Writing and Blog Management service? 😉)
Include a lead magnet on your blog posts
In this blog post, you may have noticed a Business Blogging Quiz. We include this in our blog posts about blogging (shocker!)
We also have an SEO quiz, and we mainly include this in blog posts about SEO. Either way, we are able to capture email addresses via our blog.
Use imagery throughout your blog post to promote your lead magnet
Rather than just signposting people to your lead magnets through a link (which isn’t all that visible) we recommend you use branded images with big and bright call-to-action buttons.
Images are more eye-catching and encourage the reader to spend more time on the page. Plus, these images will have a big button that people can press if they want to download your lead magnet. And give you their email address. Win-win, right
Make your lead magnet irresistible
So lead magnets are often a bit…meh. They are often a checklist or an email series, and that’s fine but it’s not exactly compelling. That’s why our quiz seems to work so well. It’s interactive, and fun and you also get a personalised report too. So that appeals to people. Try to think about how you can make your own irresistible lead magnet too!
And finally, the free blog post template!
Below, we’ve included a free blog post template you can refer to, to help you improve your blog posts! And if you want something more substantial, you can check out our blog post template pack which includes 12 fill-in-the-blank blog post templates.
What area of your business blog should you focus on first?
So there you have it. The 6 key steps you need to take to create epic, lead-generating business blog content. As a reminder, these are:
- Keyword research
- Blogging strategy
- Compelling copy
- Standout imagery
- Lead generation
To know which area you should focus on first, take our blogging quiz which will score you in each individual category and tell you EXACTLY how to improve.
Owner at Jammy Digital, Digital Marketing Specialist and Writer of Young-Adult Fiction.