Not every company needs to have a blog or will benefit from having one. Indeed, many companies that create business blogs often forget about them, publish stale or me-too content or use their business blog purely as an advertising vehicle. And, as a result, they fail to gain a following or attract new customers.
So how can you make your business blog a go-to destination for customers and influencers? Just follow these simple suggestions.
1. Post regularly. “Any form of online communication suffers from lapses in content,” says Linda Pophal, marketing communication consultant, Strategic Communications. And if you’re not posting meaningful content on a regular basis, “your audience will turn elsewhere,” she says. So to avoid a vacuum, “commit to a regular schedule.”
“If that means once a week, that's OK,” says Brian Whalley, director of marketing, InsightSquared, a provider of business analytics. “It's much better to be consistent than to be prolific for a week [and then] disappear for a month. When you have a burst of creativity, schedule your work to go out over a longer period and build up a backlog of content [to be used later].”
2. Speak your audience’s language. “Who are you trying to reach? What language do they use? If you are a B2C but your blog is full of industry jargon, then you are speaking the wrong language,” says Ashley Kubiszyn, marketing & communications director, TicketCity, an online ticket broker. “If your audience is the tech community, but you are watering your blog down so that even your mom can understand it, you are speaking the wrong language. Don’t just talk to your audience. Talk like them.”
3. Write for your customers, not yourself, and address typical customer pain points. “Blog about what your readers want to know, not what you want to tell them,” says Susanna James, a copywriter at HighQ, a provider of enterprise collaboration and data room software. “It’s tempting to see your blog as a platform to promote your business and your services, but you have to hold back and remember that the blog is meant to be a source of valuable information for readers, not just sales talk,” she says. “Find out what your target audience wants to know and use this to populate your blog with valuable, genuinely useful content that answers your readers’ questions and makes them want to come back for more.”
“Write about solutions to common problems or pain points,” says Hillary Read, director of marketing at 3Q Digital, a digital marketing company. “Talk to your client services [and sales] teams and figure out what issues they're trying to address for their clients or customers and how they recommend solving them.” Then write a thoughtful post addressing these problems and share it with a wider audience via social media. “If your clients or customers are experiencing those issues, chances are your prospects are as well,” says Reed.
4. Educate and help readers. “Instead of pushing readers to buy your product, offer them value: information, advice and insight,” says Ed McNamara, director of communications and marketing, SHI International, a provider of software, hardware and custom IT services. For example, “educate them on the types of questions they should be asking themselves and their vendors/providers [or] if your product or service has obtained industry certifications, explain the process involved.”
You can also use your blog to “define [and discuss potential confusing] industry terms or buzzwords,” he says. The goal is to “create a more informed buyer and build a relationship with your readers so that when they're ready to buy, they come to the trusted source, not the salesperson.”
5. Keep content timely – and capitalize on trends. “Try to find ways to bring trending topics into the fold,” says DJ Waldow, director of marketing of Zignal Labs, a real-time, cross-media, story-tracking platform. “For example, if your company specializes in data analytics, you could regularly feature data analysis on pop culture moments, like the recent Mayweather-Pacquiao fight [or the Triple Crown], to both showcase your company's technology and provide fun and interesting statistics on popular brands, events and people,” he says. It’s a great way to engage readers “and often leads to potential customers wanting to know more about [your] company.”
“We always look for opportunities to tie [our] Hard Hat Chat [blog] posts to what's happening in our industry and the world around us,” says Chuck Taylor, director of operations, Englewood Construction. “For example, after a fire in a local mall, we wrote ‘Commercial Construction Lessons Learned from the Sephora Fire at The Shops at North Bridge.’ And in the wake of the BP Deepwater Horizon rig explosion, we posted ‘Lessons from BP: The Ultimate Checklist for Commercial Construction.’ These timely topics keep our blog relevant and have landed Hard Hat Chat on the blogrolls and news feeds of industry websites.”
6. Feature posts about or written by customers (and employees). “Your customers add credibility to your brand and your blog,” says Josh Manion, CEO, Ensighten, a digital marketing firm. “Featuring them in blog posts, as authors or in Q&A interviews [or case studies], can be mutually beneficial.”
Similarly, have different employees contribute posts, or do employee Q&As and human interest pieces. They can help readers relate better to your company or brand.