What are blog posts?
Originally, people thought of blogs as a sort of online, public diary. Nowadays, blogs are an essential component of any small business’ marketing strategy.
At the most basic level, blog posts represent a value that your company can provide your current or potential customers. This includes:
- News updates
- Guides or explainer content describing certain processes, services, or products
- Interviews with staff members
- Announcements of updates to your brand’s offerings
- Charity or volunteer work your team has done
- Research or industry studies
Blogs attract new customers or clients. They can suggest how much you know about your service or product. Through your writing and topics of discussion, you can differentiate your brand’s public perception in articles that people discover daily. The key to a successful blog post strategy is to find relevant topics that add value or help solve for your customers’ pain points.
Although building a robust content writing strategy takes time, the benefits you reap make it all worthwhile.
Why should I start a blog?
Build Your Audience
It may not be immediate, in fact, it may take a few months to get going. But over time, you’ll start to notice more people paying attention, and more people reading the blogs. You may also receive a few more inquiries or phone calls to your business. This is because blog posts become virally pretty quickly. One Facebook post about a new article can get dozens of shares, can multiply the number of clicks. As long as you maintain it and ask for reader feedback, you’ll be able to attract every person at each stage of your sales funnel.
Improve Your (Google) Search Engine Ranking
Another way in which blogs can help build equity with search engines is by constantly providing fresh, dynamic content. Basically, search engines tend to rank pages based on backlinks (a number of links pointing to that page), the way the keywords are optimized on the page, and how often it’s updated. Blog posts tick all of these boxes, making them the ideal tool to make your website (and your business) more popular. Comments on blogs also count as page updates, so old blogs can continue to pay off. Even if you think nobody will read your website, Google will.
So what does Google like to see? For one, it’s all about contextual keywords, the various keywords, long-tail keywords, and synonyms that describe a particular topic or concept your business specializes in. If you sell guitars, you can write about acoustic and electric guitars, strings, fretboards, capos, picks, or different brands and types of guitars. The more you write, the more Google realizes your website has content that specializes in a particular niche or industry, and it helps determine your ranking.
Develop Your Brand
Repeatedly producing high-quality blog posts, articles, research, and resources brings favor in the eyes of your audience. And when you include a robust keyword strategy in your content, you can position yourself as an industry leader in the eyes of the search engines. If no one else in your niche is posting blogs in your area, you could gain a significant boost to local awareness and audience engagement.
How do I start a blog for my business?
There are three phases to starting a blog:
Research and Setup
First things first, set aside some time in your schedule to work on your blog. You will be posting content regularly, so it may work best to make blogging part of your weekly routine. The amount of writing, editing, publishing, and promotion that a blog post goes through can take a lot of time and experience, so consider hiring an agency that specializes in content marketing to save yourself time and give yourself peace of mind. If not, consider who will write, who will edit, and who will promote. If it’s all the same person, assign the hours and deadlines for each task to ensure a constant output of content.
Before actually writing your blog post, conduct a bit of online research. Your team may be experts or veterans in what you do, but it can be helpful to get a feel for the rest of the industry. Find out which companies in your space have blogs and gauge how successful you think they are. This research is also helpful for finding sources that you can link to in the body of your post.
Start a WordPress blog. WordPress is the most used and most reliable content delivery system. It’s been used by Vogue, Bloomberg, Playstation, and The New York Times, and much more. If you’re not clear on how to use WordPress and get it started, The Minimalists have a great guide that walks you through each step.
Writing and Optimizing
Start writing frequently. Write at least weekly if you can. It’s a good starting place to set your schedule and expectations. As you write, think about the tone of your brand and how you want to come off when you’re read. Is it professional or casual?
Try to have at least one other person review your blog posts before publishing them. No matter how talented of a writer you are, it can be helpful to get input from others. This could save you a lot of time, and ultimately, help to increase the frequency of your blog posts.
Don’t forget about graphics to complement your blog. Stock photos are acceptable if you can afford a license and use them creatively. You can also create your own infographics and branded designs using Canva, which is totally free. Finally, you could hire a professional photographer to take photos of your product, service, or facilities.
In terms of blog composition, remember to remain clear and concise. Do not use overly complicated terms in your writing. You want to make it simple enough for your potential customers, and be able to speak confidently enough and show off your brand’s experience. You also want the post to be easy to navigate so that readers can quickly find the answers to their search queries.
Optimize your content. It’s one thing to create a blog relevant to your industry, but it is another thing to include the right keywords in the right places throughout your post. Make sure your keywords are relevant and organically threaded throughout the post. Ensure you format your headers correctly. Be sure to read our posts on building your content strategy, and 10 Common SEO Strategies You Should Know.
Promotion and Analysis
Promote your posts. Blogs don’t generate traffic overnight. Publish your blog on a social media network to multiply your business’s reach. Think of all the different directories and networks your brand could use. LinkedIn for professional firms, Pinterest or Instagram for younger more casual audiences, Twitter for news and breaking updates. Think hard about where your readers may be found.
Finally, analyze your audience and evaluate your performance. Are people reading your blog posts? Are people engaging with them? Do they draw more interest or generate conversation? There are many tools that search and content agencies use to analyze metrics like reading duration, hotspots, and user demographics, but Google Analytics is an easy first step and one of the most widely-used ones.
Do I need an agency for my content strategy or can I do it myself?
The most commonly asked question is whether content writing is worth it. The best way to evaluate is to estimate how much a single conversion, one person taking an action or indicating interest in further business, is worth to your business. Is it $50, $500, or $5,000? Each business is different, and each conversion is worth something different.
But let’s assume that you can make $100 from someone taking a certain action on your website, and they take that action because of what you posted or wrote about in your blog. Now picture that your blog receives 50,000 visitors a month after it gets going. Even if only 10% end up converting, that’s still 5000 new leads, worth $500,000! Imagine how the potential it can produce in a year or two after you gain a better understanding of your audience and their wants and needs. Every business is different, but the long-term ROI can far outweigh the cost of a specialized agency.
Take a look at your space and see whether they’re employing some content strategy. It may surprise you to see your competitors are already making efforts to improve their content strategy in promoting their business.
For more on search marketing and SEO tips, visit Arcalea’s full blog. Interested in learning more about what a robust blog and content marketing strategy can do for your business? Send us an email today.