Remarkable website content is critical to an effective inbound marketing strategy and blogging is one of the best ways to create this content. In fact, companies who blog receive 67% more leads and see 13x greater return than those who do not. (HubSpot). By blogging, you will also:
- Establish your business as the thought-leader in your market
- Transform your website from an online brochure to an interactive source of information
- Engage your visitors rather than interrupt them with a premature sales pitch
- Build trust with potential customers and prepare them for the next step of the sales process
- Improve your search engine rankings
How Do I Get Started?
There are many blogging tools and platforms that will help you setup your blog quickly and easily and often for free. However, it is important to note that your blog must be hosted on your own domain in order to fully reap the search engine optimization benefits blogging offers (yourcompany.com/blog vs. yourcompany.wordpress.com).
Once your blog is up and running, you have the make it worth reading. Start by writing articles that pertain to your industry and are useful to your audience. Some examples: how-to articles, analysis of a current industry trend or challenge, announcements of upcoming events, and feedback on articles you read in print publications.
After you get the hang of writing informative articles, go ahead and mix it up. Include a list of links to relevant articles you’ve read or video you’ve watched. Read another blogger’s work and write an article in response with your own insight. Design a comic strip that pokes fun at a common occurrence in your industry. As you come up with good ideas for your blog, pay attention to the best times you work and carve out a time slot so you can follow through with those ideas without interruption.
Why is Guest Blogging Important?
In addition to writing your own content, you’ll want to invite others to contribute as well. Guest bloggers can be almost anyone with an interest in your industry, from local professors to satisfied customers to industry analysts and bloggers like yourself. Guest blogging can benefit your company in a number of ways. First, it will expose your company to other thought-leaders in your industry. Most guest bloggers will be flattered by your invitation and you’ll have the opportunity to engage with them on a deeper level and maybe even learn a thing or two. Second, your audience will have the opportunity to read new perspectives that will reinforce your company’s unique value. Third, guest articles lighten your creation load. As a rule of thumb, you should publish a blog post once a week at minimum. Spreading the work around to other voices inside and outside your organization will take the pressure off of you and give them a chance to write about what they know.
I’m finished writing, now what?
You spent a lot of time and effort writing articles for you blog, so wouldn’t it be a shame for all that hard work to go to waste? We live in a society where we are inundated with new information 24/7. Your articles are competing with hundreds of other pieces of information, so they need to capture someone’s interest in literally less than half a second. The best way to make an article popular is to start with a catchy title. Most copywriting experts say you should spend just as much time coming up with a good title as you do writing the article itself, so don’t skimp on title brainstorming.
After you publish an article to your blog, take the next step and share it on your social media networks, like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. If your industry has a social bookmarking site or discussion forum, you’ll want to share it there as well. Spend time answering questions, responding to comments, and thanking readers for their input even if they disagree with you. Not only will this give you a public opportunity to practice handling objections, it will allow you to exhibit your excellent customer service skills.
As a new blogger, it’s important to start establishing authority. You can do this by making connections with those Google considers “field experts” by subscribing to their blogs. As you read their articles, leave thoughtful comments. If the author finds your comments intriguing, he may write about your ideas in a future blog post and link to your site or invite you to write a guest post. Your comments will also act as permanent breadcrumbs to your website where other readers can find you and perhaps become leads.
Blogs are almost never an overnight success. Instead, the build cumulatively over time. If you spend your time and energy on advertising this month, you’ll get some traffic from it, but you’ll have to spend more money the next month to continue to see results. Blog posts, on the other hand, hold value forever. The more you blog, the more you’ll benefit from blogging. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.