Blogging is a lot like a relationship – it takes time to build one, you need commitment, and you’re going to have to be creative, but in the end, the benefits far outweigh the work. Having a content rich, focused blog can pay huge dividends for your business. Blogs not only make you appear favourably in the eyes of search engines, they’re also a huge benefit to business. A company blog is a great forum to provide added value to your current and potential customers by letting them know what you’re up to, what you’re excited about and what’s on the horizon. But how do you develop a strategy and keep readers coming back? Here are some tips for starting a blog that can help shape your company’s identity and increase the value of your website.
1) Knowing Your Reader
When you first start a blog it’s important to nail down your audience. Ask yourself: who is my target reader? What topics would they be interested in? What websites do they already frequent? What do they have in common? Am I writing to be found in Google and boost my page rank? Or am I just looking to convey the personality of the company? Or do I want to do both?
2) Keep the Content Flowing
Be vigilant about gathering content, keep your antennae up, share knowledge across the company, realize that the conversation you just had about that latest iPhone app can potentially be turned into content for your blog. Your opinions also matter, have you read something that didn’t sit right? Is there something that’s changing the face of your industry? Again, all content that’s ripe for your blog.
3) Making Use of Productivity Tools
- RSS readers like Google Reader are amazing tools to help you scan other blogs and websites that will help you gather ideas and topics to inspire content for your own blog. Instead of visiting all of your favourite sites RSS readers amalgamate all those different feeds into one interface, allowing you to quickly browse new articles. Reserve a half hour each morning to reading and you’ll be surprised with how much useful material you will take in.
- Google Alerts are great because they allow you to subscribe to alerts for webpages containing keywords you choose. Simply add keywords and every time they appear on the web you’ll get a digest email with brief summaries and links (you can tweak the settings to suit your preferences).
- It almost goes without saying that blogs need social media to inform your readers about new posts. Tools like HootSuite and TweetDeck allow you to spread the word about new blog posts across multiple social networks with one click.
- Using social media itself to help inspire new content. Like pages on Facebook and follow people on Twitter who write about similar industries and subject matter.
- We definitely recommend WordPress as our preferred blogging platform. It has the most plug-ins and integrates really well with Windows Live Writer, a tool that allows you to preview your blog posts as you write them.
4) Having More Than One Blogger
Being the sole author of a blog can be tough. Not everyone has the time to post consistently (consistency is a must if you want to retain your readers). Sharing the load with others in your company is a great way to ensure fresh content and diversify the tone of your articles.
5) Adding Media to Your Blog Posts
Things like embedded YouTube videos, slideshows and pictures help add variety and create a visual element that can help enhance the content of your blog. Take the time to find imagery and the analytics will show you that people will spend more time on each blog post.
6) Measuring Your Blog’s Performance
Add Google Analytics tracking code to your blog and you’ll be able to get an idea of which posts are being found in search engines, what posts are the most popular, how many unique visitors your blog is getting, etc. Gathering all this data can help shape your content going forward, giving you an idea which subject matter resonates most with your audience. If you want to make sure your analytics code is implemented properly, try using our GPablo Google Analytics tracking code analyzer.
7) Writing With Keywords in Mind
Don’t stuff your posts with keywords, but don’t leave them out either. If you’re just starting out try throwing in some longtail keywords that have relatively low competition in search engines. Remember that Google is looking for content that’s useful to a person who’s searching for those keywords, not an article that’s stuffed with them.
Assuming you’ve read this entire post, you’re either really serious about starting or maintaining a blog, or you’re my mom. Either way, I hope these tips will boost your productivity and help you create content that adds value for your customers.
Great insight, I will be sure to follow up with these tips!