Anna Sonnenberg is an experienced writer and editor who focuses on digital #marketing, travel, and natural products — but rarely all at once. With a background in research and the arts, Anna has a solid sense of the art of storytelling, along with a drive to gather the supporting data.
Regardless of industry, your business blog has the potential to build your brand, produce an endless stream of leads, and sell your products and services. You may never achieve these goals with a run-of-the-mill blog, however. Instead of letting your efforts fall flat, use the following six tips to make your company blog a dynamic, information-packed resource.
For #blogging, content is critical, but the headline is responsible for grabbing readers’ attention in the first place. Even if your content’s quality is unsurpassed by any competitor in your industry, your time and effort can get wasted if your blog doesn’t attract the readers you need. After all, most readers quickly skim headlines and move to the next article if the teaser doesn’t sound compelling enough.
For the most eye-catching and clickable headlines, you’ll want to follow a few best practices. Studies show that headlines that include numbers tend to attract attention, and larger numbers often have greater success. If numbers don’t apply to your content, include the words “guide” or “introduction” in your headline to lend a new level of authority.
Stay current on viral words and use them in your headlines to enhance shareability. Read through the Hootsuite Social blog for countless examples of enticing headlines and smart blog posts to back them up.
Even if your business has a relatively focused suite of products and services, your customers won’t all have identical needs and wants. Not all of your blog content should have the same tone or rely on similar marketing tactics. Otherwise, your content might appeal only to a narrow slice of your customer pie.
You can remedy this similarity by taking the time to identify your main customer segments. If you created a comprehensive business plan, refer back to your target markets and create a detailed picture of the different types of customers you want to engage in conversation. Get as detailed as possible by giving your personas a name and job title and noting key demographics such as age, gender, and location. Add goals, challenges, values, and fears to the mix, and you’ll have a well-developed persona.
Once you’ve fleshed out a handful of marketing personas, incorporate these personas into your content calendar. When you develop ideas for blog posts, tailor them to these personas. Be sure to rotate through your list on a regular basis so that your blog content adequately addresses all of your target markets. Take a look at Zipcar’s Ziptopia blog for a well-executed example of appealing to different types of consumers.
When you’re writing for a small business or a large corporation, your first instinct might be to use commercial blogging to sell your business. Although growing your audience, generating leads, and selling products and services should be your goals, these motives shouldn’t be the focus of the blog. Keep in mind that the best company blogs focus on the audience, not on the business.
Set the overt #sales pitches aside and craft your posts so that your content puts your audience first. Position yourself as a mentor for your readers, and position your blog as a resource for your audience. What are your readers’ most pressing problems? Are they dealing with seasonal challenges? What are their primary goals? How can you help them solve these problems or meet these objectives? Rely on the marketing personas you’ve developed to connect with your readers on their terms.
As a key player in your industry, you’ll want to show off your expertise, much like Richard Branson does on the Virgin company blog. While you should bring your knowledge into each blog post you write, you should also craft more in-depth content that demonstrates a high level of expertise.
Start by researching competitors and identifying areas where their online offerings fall short. Fill in those gaps by writing your own blog posts that serve as comprehensive guides for your audience. Not only do guides help establish you as an authority, but they’re also more likely to be shared widely on #social media platforms.
Add in outside data and information to take your content to the next level. With customer testimonials, new research, and expert quotes, you can position yourself as an expert in your industry.
While you might have high-level knowledge of several key topics, you can’t be an expert on every subject. However, your lack of experience with a subject doesn’t mean you can’t tackle new-to-you subjects on your blog, especially if these areas are relevant to your business. Instead of dedicating valuable time to research, however, spend that time developing a network of knowledgeable guest bloggers.
When you collaborate on blog posts with colleagues or industry consultants, you’ll not only allow guest bloggers to share their insights and enhance their reputations, but you’ll also do much more. Thanks to your dedicated group of collaborators, your business blog no longer has to have a narrow focus. With a network of guest bloggers to draw from, your blog can evolve into a treasure trove of informed posts that appeal to a wider audience. Establishing this network can be instrumental in growing your brand and increasing your traffic.
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