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business blog

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.

Final Word

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.

 

Unlock Team's Creativity 1

Businesses thrive or nosedive based on their ideas.

These days, we live in what’s called an Information Economy (as opposed to a Manufacturing Economy).

Way back in the mists of time (well, not that long ago really), businesses made money by creating stuff. This was manufacturing, hence the Manufacturing Economy.

Now, businesses make money by coming up with ideas. That’s the Information Economy.

Think of it this way. You can hold stuff in your hands. You can put stuff in a wheelbarrow.

Ideas? You can only hold those in your mind.

In the Information Economy, coming up with ideas is vital if your business is to succeed.

1. Unlock Everyone’s Creativity

Unlock Team's Creativity 2Being creative isn’t just for the designers, marketers and leaders in your business. Everyone in your business is creative. Yup, that includes your janitors and your accountants.

How can you unlock their creativity? Establish a business culture where everyone’s ideas are listened to and respected. This could be as simple as having an “ideas box” that anyone can contribute to. It’s even better if you can give feedback on how the ideas are used.

The more you acknowledge and celebrate creativity, the more your team will give back.

2. Go Green in Your Office

office plant creativityNature is always creating and renewing. Little wonder then, that exposure to natural light – and to green spaces – has been shown to boost creativity.

That means if you want your team to be creative, it’s best to have your office flooded with natural light. If you only have a limited number of windows, it’s worth rotating desks to make sure everyone gets a chance to work in natural light.

You can also green up your office with indoor plants for an added creativity boost.

3. Allow for “White Noise” Time

white noise creativityWhite noise is the sound you get from a TV or radio when it’s not tuned to any station (want some now? You can get 10 hours of white noise here).

“White noise” time is when you tune out from the chatter in your mind. You log off your emails, and kick back and relax.

How does this boost creativity? Creative ideas tend to emerge when we’re not looking for them. Tuning out of being busy and just sitting in white noise is a way of not looking. You’ll be amazed at how many ideas bubble up amidst white noise.

Twitter newbie

Twitter is a fantastic place to meet new people. Whether you want to connect with other entrepreneurs and business owners, hook up with journalists, or just expand your mind by meeting interesting people, Twitter is the place to do it.

But for Twitter to work, you need to attract followers. Start using Twitter, and you’ll naturally do that. That is, as long as you avoid these mistakes…

1. Saying “I Don’t Get This” and Walking Away

Twitter’s a tough gig when you first sign up. You’ll follow all kinds of folks, and very few of them will follow you back. You’ll feel disheartened and start to wonder “will anyone talk to me here?”

Stick with it. Here’s how to get the most out of Twitter when you’re starting out:

  • Treat is as a news source. To begin with, don’t beat yourself if people don’t engage with you. Instead, get as much value as you can out of Twitter by tweeting your feed as a news source. You’ll come across lots of interesting stuff you wouldn’t otherwise have discovered. This alone is a great reason to keep tweeting.
  • Tweet every day. It takes discipline, but the more you Tweet, the more you’ll engage other people, especially if you use hashtags.
  • Do as much as you can to engage other people. Answer their questions. Say hello to your new followers. Target Twitter influencers who you’d like to get to know.

You’ll start to build invaluable connections and eventually you’ll start to wonder how you ever got by without Twitter.

2. Leaving Your Profile Picture Empty

As soon as you join Twitter, upload a profile picture. When you’re networking in the real world, you like to meet people face-to-face, right? The same is true online. People want to see your face.

It’s especially important to upload a picture before you start following others. That’s because when you follow people, they’ll probably check out your profile, and they may follow you back. It’s highly unlikely they’ll follow back if you leave your profile picture blank.

In fact, research by HubSpot found that Twitter users with profile pictures have, on average, ten times as many followers as those without.

3. Failing to Fill Out Your Bio

When people check out your Twitter profile, they’ll make a snap decision on whether to follow you. An empty bio makes that decision easy – they’ll just ignore you.

A well-written bio, on the other hand, entices people to follow you. It piques peoples’ curiosity, so they want to know more about you.

Not sure how to start? Check out the best ever tips on writing a Twitter bio that we collected from across the web.

4. An Empty Timeline

Social media is a two-way street. It’s not like the TV or radio, where you passively consumer media. On Twitter, you’re a creator and a consumer. You create media by writing tweets.

Creating tweets is the best way to get noticed. The more tweets you share (within reason), the more you’ll stand out. And people will look through your tweets when they’re deciding whether to follow you – so make sure everything you share is valuable, or at least will brighten somebody’s day.

5. Not Linking to Your Website

You’re on Twitter to engage with other people. Ideally, at some stage, the engagement will move beyond Twitter, and you want to create as many opportunities as possible for this to happen.

That’s why it’s vital to have a link to your website in your Twitter profile. This link also gives people the opportunity to find out more about you before they decide whether to follow you.

6. Following Too Many Tweeps

When you’re starting out, it can be tempting to follow everyone and anyone. You just want to make some friends!

However, it’s important to be discerning in who you follow. We recommend sticking with:

  • People you care about (e.g. friends and family members)
  • People you want to network with (e.g. business contacts and potential contacts)
  • People who share useful stuff (you can see whether they do this by checking out their Twitter profile)

If a person doesn’t fit into one of these categories, don’t follow them. There are millions of other interesting people out there. And Twitter limits the number of people you can follow to 2,000 (until you collect 2,000 followers), so it’s important to be discerning.

Talking of not following everyone, beware of the temptation to join Team Followback. These are people who will follow anyone who follows them. While it might seem like a nice gesture, it will clog up your Twitter feed and so reduce your levels of engagement with people you’re genuinely interested in.

7. Selling

We only needed to use one word to explain this mistake, yet we see it all too often.

Twitter is not a business convention. It’s not a showroom. It’s a networking tool. Twitter’s a place to meet all kinds of new people. But it’s not a place to sell.

Yes, all businesses need to sell. But Twitter isn’t the place to do it.

8. Forgetting Anyone Can See Your Tweets

On Facebook and Google Plus, as a general rule, only your friends will see the things you share.

Twitter’s not like that. Twitter is a public platform. When you Tweet anyone can see it.

So keep your Tweets professional and clean. Yes, you can (and should) show your personality. But there’s no need to get intimate.

If you wouldn’t want a stranger on the street to know about something you’re sharing, you shouldn’t be sharing it on Twitter.

Talking of Twitter being public, you also shouldn’t be…

9. Going-In “Protected”

Twitter gives you the option to “protect” your Tweets so only approved followers can see them. Very few people protect their tweets in this way (thank goodness!). It’s not a good idea.

Twitter is a public space. It’s for communicating with the world. If you want to keep things private, then send an email or share your update on Facebook.

Protecting your Tweets sends the message “I’m too special to join the conversation.” And Twitter is all about conversation.

Over to You

What are the worst offences you see from Twitter newbies? Let us know the comments, below.