This is a guest post by Gary Dek, founder of StartABlog123.com
Here’s your guide to building a business blog that people will want to read.
1. Understand Your Motivations
Know why you are blogging. First, know your reasons for creating a blog. What is the purpose of your content marketing strategy? The primary purpose shouldn’t be to sell. No one wants to read a blog that constantly pushes a sales pitch.
Content marketing works best when your goal is to develop a relationship with readers and potential customers. Blogging is a subtle form of selling by building a brand that is trustworthy and authoritative.
2. Optimize Your Content Creation
Business blogging is all about providing customers with useful content. Here’s how to do that:
Research your topics/keywords. As a business blog, you have to know where to allocate your limited resources to maximize results. SEMrush.com and Google’s Keyword Tool are ideal resources. Search for a handful of online competitors. Enter each URL into SEMrush and see what keywords they rank for.
Then visit Google’s Keyword Planner, choose “Search for new keyword and ad group ideas”, enter that keyword, click “Get ideas” and go to “Keyword ideas”. You will get an idea about other relevant keywords and their corresponding average monthly searches and competitiveness. For a new blog, focus on low to medium competition topics before tackling difficult ones that may takes months or years to rank for.
Create a flexible editorial calendar. An editorial calendar involves knowing what topics to publish and when. While there are no hard and fast rules regarding how far into the future your editorial calendar should be, it is can be helpful on a monthly basis, particularly if you outsource your content creation and need to establish accountability for yourself, employees, and freelancers. An editorial calendar will also set expectations for your audience.
For example, I know that Neil Patel at QuickSprout.com publishes new posts Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and Fridays are usually infographic days. I don’t bother checking his site the rest of the week, and that prevents me from visiting his site only to be let down by finding nothing new. In a way, Neil has managed my expectations by publicly sharing his editorial calendar.
Create an outline before writing. Even for natural writers, I always recommend writing an outline, or at the very least, research 2 or 3 comprehensive articles to emulate. Knowing where to start and where you want to go – and how to get there – will not only make the writing process more efficient, but it will also result in a more coherent, high quality piece of work.
Always hire quality writers. When I first started developing websites, I was somewhat price sensitive when it came to my writers. Fortunately, I quickly learned that, like all things in life, quality is worth paying for.
Better and more experienced writers require less editing, have an established online presence and social following, can potentially link back to you from their other freelance gigs, and generally facilitate the content production process. If you want faster and more consistent results, hire freelance writers and/or editors who are knowledgeable about your industry.
Keep it simple and optimize your posts for readability. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you need to impress your readers with SAT vocabulary words and intricate sentence sentences. Keep your writing as simple as possible, and format your posts for fluidity. This includes breaking up the text into digestible chunks with relevant, eye-catching images.
Be consistent in the quality and frequency of your posts. Continue to publish content that readers will find interesting, relevant, and useful. Stay away from fluff. Keep providing practical and valuable information.
3. Grow Your Audience
If you can establish yourself as an authority in your niche, your blog will become a “must-read” for anyone in the industry. The fundamental question you must ask yourself is – of the hundreds of websites available online, why should readers choose to spend time consuming your knowledge and content?
Show off your credentials. You’re an expert in your field and people should listen to you because you have unique and insightful information or experiences to share, but how do you say that without sounding full of yourself and alienating your readers
- Don’t be shy about sharing your educational background and professional experience. My personal finance site, Gajizmo, benefits from my background in financial analysis and career as an investment banker and private equity analyst.
- Tell personal stories. Interesting stories will grab your reader’s attention and force them to keep reading. Wouldn’t you prefer to read a story and learn something rather than be lectured?
- Numbers, statistics and facts are concrete. Use them to cement your authority and strengthen your arguments/opinions.
Write posts that dig deep into the subject matter. Research indicates that longer, more comprehensive articles tend to dominate Google’s top 10 search engine rankings. While short posts may be applicable for quick news updates, if you want to build a blog that will withstand all future Panda updates, focus on posts that will provide your readers with immense value.
Get interaction from your community. A successful blog requires some intimacy. It’s hard to relate to someone who is distant, aloof, and anti-social in real life. The same goes for online relationships.
- A “Comments Section”. Have a comments section where readers can interact and ask you follow-up questions. You can encourage this by asking a compelling question at the end of every post.
- Respond to reader comments. If you ask readers a question at the end of every post, expect answers in the comments. If you expect them to comment, you should also do your part and reply to their comments. Not only will this make your readers feel heard, but it will help you build a personal connection with them, resulting in a loyal audience.
- Establish your presence on social media and participate in conversations. Like it or not, social media has become rather intertwined with blogging, and you can take advantage of it for more exposure. Ask your readers for questions, concerns, or problems you can solve. Check out these social media tips for starters.
Start an email newsletter. Another effective way to increase your reader base is to create an email subscription list. The results may not be immediately evident, but over time email marketing can insulate you against changes in search engine rankings.
When starting your business blog, take the following quote to heart. It will guide you when developing your online brand, from deciding your blog’s layout and design to how you will address complaining customers.
“The golden rule for every business man is this: Put yourself in your customer’s place.” – Orison Swett Marden
Author Bio: Gary Dek is the founder of StartABlog123.com. He specializes in SEO, content marketing, and generally helping new and professional bloggers build sustainable online businesses. Previously, he was an investment banker and private equity analyst.