Blogging for business has certainly grown popularity in the past 18 months. More companies are using blogs to establish their credibility, boost visitor numbers and boost their PR.
There are some incredible statistics to back this up:
- 77% of Internet users read blogs according to Universal McCann
- 72% say they blog in order to share their expertise.
- 56% say that their blog has helped their company establish a positioning as a thought leader within the industry.
- 58% say that they are better-known in their industry because of their blog
With that in mind, running a business blog is becoming part of the online marketing mix. I am often asked about information on what makes a good business blog.
Here are my top 10 thoughts on running a business blog
1. Tone of voice – Think of how you would deal with a new business call. You wouldn’t use slang, be abrupt or not help out the potential customer. Same point goes for how you write the blog posts, as this is an opportunity to engage with potential customers to establish your credibility.
2. Be a thought leader – don’t just write about the news in your business or about your products or services. Write commentary on news in your industry, or a specific trend you have noticed or information that will help a potential customer. When growing your credibility it is important for potential customers to feel that you are an expert in your field. This is your opportunity to shine!
3. Set guidelines for digital engagement – engaging online certainly can do a lot of your business, but you also need to be aware of the risks. Ensuring the team involved in running your blog are aware of the risks associated – such as damaging the company’s credibility, publishing misleading information, moderating comments.
4. Choose the right platform – there are many blogging software platforms available, such s blogger or typed. WordPress has definitely got the edge as it has more plugins available to extend the functionality.
5. Custom domain name – you can set up a domain name to reflect your main website URL. You can either set the blog up as part of your main website (www.youdomain.co.uk/blog) or set it up on a sub domain (blog.yourdomain.co.uk) or a separate domain entirely. Point being don’t leave it as the domain that’s set up as a default URL, such as your blog.wordpress.com.
6. Look and Feel – invest some time and resource into customising the look and feel of the blog to it reflects your website look and feel. From a credibility view, the brand look and feel needs to be consistent across your different profiles online. Are potential customers going to take the content seriously if the rest of the blog has been left as the default settings? Spending time to be ‘dressed for the occasion’ shows that you are investing in your online credibility
7. Stick you your niche – your blog should grow around the niche topics around your products and services. Widening the breadth of the blog will mean that you’re appealing to a broad audience. Sticking to the subject matter around your industry will grow your niche audience who are interested in that subject matter
8. Optimise your blog posts – search engines look for regular addition of content on websites as one of their key criteria for search engine listings. Using a blog is a quick and easy way to add content to a website. If the blog posts are around key phrases that people are searching, then the this will boost the ranking of the page. Commenting on other companies and people’s blog is a great way to get inbound links. Inbound links are another criteria Google looks at for ranking a website.
9 – Market your blog. Once you have got some content posted on the blog you need to start driving visitors into your blog. Think about how you can sign post the blog within:
- your main website
- LinkedIn Profile
- Online Directories
- Other online profiles
- Email signatures
- Offline marketing
10. Engage with your audience / target market - when there are unplanned events such as the ash cloud in 2010 or the bad snow in November 2010 – your blog is a great way of keeping your customers up to date with news which impacts them. It’s a great way of growing your credibility as you are providing them real time pertinent information which will help them.
Like wise if you are looking at improving your products or services – ask for their feedback or what enhancements would be beneficial!
Happy Blogging – what are your top tips on business blogging?