If you speak to anyone about your marketing strategy or business development, I'm sure you've heard something along the lines of 'you have to be blogging'. But why? And where do you start? It can be intimidating to sit down in front of a blank screen, and even more so to publish your content for the world to see (or even worse, not see). Blogging for business may seem difficult, but all it takes is time and planning.
Why should I blog for my business?
Blogging is an essential part of online marketing. Did you know that businesses using blogs get 67% more leads than those that don't? I mean, that's a pretty special stat. But if you're not won over by that cold hard fact, let me try and convince you another way…
- Brings traffic to your website
- Turns traffic into leads
- Builds your reputation and authority
- Can be recycled, reused, republished and linked to – it's an infinite resource
- Can genuinly help people out :)
Ok, you've convinced me to blog...
That's seriously awesome. Congratulations, I'm happy for you! And your business. And your inevitable success as a marketer and human being.
Before you rush into things though, a reminder that blogging isn't just spewing words onto a page (contrary to the impression I might sometimes give). You have to have a plan of action. An action plan. Plan for that blogging action. Here's a few things to consider:
Why am I blogging?
Yes, yes, I'm very aware that we just talked about this. But this is on a different level. We know why you (as in everyone) should be blogging, but why are you blogging? What's the purpose of your blog? What are you trying to achieve? What message do you want to send to your readers?
Establish the purpose of your blog, and everything else will come naturally. Maybe you want to be a thought leader. Maybe you want people to know about the exciting products you're creating. Maybe you want to tell people about your amazing staff and company culture. Make a decision and go forth.
Don't make the mistake of thinking that your industry is boring and no one wants to hear about it or your company. If you (or your competitors) have clients, then there are people interested in your industry.
A lot of B2Bs believe that they can't produce interesting content, but B2B blogs are some of the best out there! Boring industries don't exist, only boring content. If your content is helpful, it will have an audience.
What are my business goals?
While it's easy to get excited imagining your amazing blogging success before you've even started, you have to be realistic. That's why setting goals is essential. Preferably SMART goals:
Use this SMART goal template for your blogging campaigns:
Increase [visits/leads/customers] by x % (from y per month to z per month) by [date].
Now that you've set a SMART goal, you can say whether or not your blogging campaign was successful.
Don't assume you're going to get a lot of traffic after just a few weeks. Blogging requires patience and consistency. You can't expect immediate results, but you can expect steady improvement and returns if you get it right.
Who am I blogging for?
It's really important to know who your audience is and why you're targeting them. Make sure your buyer personas are well-developed. You need to understand their motivations, problems and goals.
Think about what your target persona is looking for or hoping to read. What do they need help with? How would you talk to them in person? Always write with your ideal reader in mind – your content should focus on their needs, not your business.
How do I blog?
To blog successfully, you need three things:
1. A content management system (CMS)
A good CMS makes things much easier. It means anyone can write and publish to your website and you don't need technical help for every little adjustment. There are lots of CMS options out there for every budget and preferences. It's important to do your research and find the right one for your needs.
We at Connect Labs use and recommend HubSpot. It makes everything look good without much effort and makes sure your SEO, keywords and social media are on point. Plus it comes with really great reporting tools so you can measure your content's performance. In fact, G2 Crowd recently named HubSpot the Best Web Content Management Software for customer satisfaction and market presence.
Whichever CMS you choose, make sure it offers mobile optimisation and analytics.
2. A person in charge of the blog
Someone needs to own the blog and take responsibility for it. This might be your Content Manager, Marketing Head or even the CEO, depending on the size of your business. More than one person should contribute to the blog (in fact, I'd encourage that), but one person should be in charge.
3. A content calendar
You need to know what you're going to write about and when each post will be published. Plan your content around events, topical issues, industry news or even just what you want to talk about! Make sure everyone knows what they're going to write and when it's due. And follow that schedule.
How often should I blog?
There's not right or wrong answer to this, but the one thing that's certain is that you have to be consistent. You can decide what you're capable of and what suits your business in terms of time and resources. A good place to start is one blog post a week. If you're regular, readers know what to expect. And people love dependability.
Starting a blog can be intimidating, especially since there's already so many people out there doing it well. However, if you're proud of your business, then don't doubt that you have something to offer.
You don't have to be the best writer, you just have to offer real insights and advice to your audience. Make a plan for blogging and follow through with it. Be consistent and have confidence, and you will see results.