Blogging is good for business.
BlogHer states that “61% of U.S. online consumers have made a purchase based on recommendations from a blog.” That’s money in your pocket. Boom.
In our first post about blogging, we told you WHY to start a blog. If reasons like SEO and storytelling aren’t enough, consider the following benefits.
More traffic.Once you write 21-54 blog posts, blog traffic generation increases by up to 30%, according to Traffic Generation Cafe.
More leads. According to Inside View,B2B marketers who use blogs generate 67% more leads than those that do not.
However, only 33% of B2B companies use blogs.
Why? Because it’s hard work. Starting a blog is not for the faint of heart. Count on hours of time to create the content then more hours to integrate the content so that it fits into your overall digital marketing strategy.
Is this scary to you, savvy business person? No? Good. Because we think you can do it, too.
Now that you’re committed to starting a blog, let’s begin. We’ll cover some basic questions like how you go about adding a blog to your site, how to choose topics, who should be writing the blogs, and what the right word count should be.
Add a blog to your site
The very first thing to do is to have a conversation with your web developer. Adding a blog to an existing site is a skill better left to the professionals. Whether your site was built on WordPress, Squarespace, Kentico, Hubspot, or any other platform, your web consultant will know what to do. But you can prepare a bit. Be ready to answer questions like:
- Do you want the author and date to be referenced?
- Would you like for readers to be able to share your posts on social platforms by using share buttons? (The answer here is YES.)
- What will your call-to-action be at the end of your posts? This could be to “Contact us,” “Learn more,” “Sign-up now,” “Download a terrific and informative white paper,” or anything that makes the reader take action!
How do you come up with topics AND stay organized?
This is where the real work begins and it’s a topic that we get questions on routinely (which is why we’re writing about it).
The first step to great topics is knowing your audience! Who will read your blog? Look at Facebook’s Audience Insights (if your fan base is large enough) and you can see a breakdown of who likes your page and how many of them engage with content based on their online behavior.
Once you’ve got your audience, brainstorm!
Brainstorming sessions are a sure way to stockpile ideas for now and later. Be sure to get a diverse group together. In addition to the marketing team, invite the owner/founder, a customer service operator, an employee in sales or who has the most daily interactions with customers, or the finance guru. All of these perspectives will add value to the session. To make it worth everyone’s time, keep brainstorming sessions short. 30 minutes will do most of the time. Throw out ideas and see what sticks!
Ideas to get you started:
- National ? Day.
- Customer testimonials or spotlights.
- Listicles like “Top 5 Questions to Ask Your Plumber”
- Activities or news events specific to your city
- Consider your bank of keywords and search phrases. Check Google analytics to see which search terms are driving traffic.
Stay organized by creating a content calendar that all writers have access to. Google Sheets is great! List the 10 best ideas on the first tab and have a column for the person it is assigned to and a column for a due date.
TIP: Make sure you have a creative environment where people feel safe to throw out ideas! There are such things as bad ideas, but they can lead to good ideas in the right setting!
Who should write your blogs?
This one is a biggie. Will the owner/founder write? The marketing director? An intern? All can be good choices as long as it gets done. Make sure the lucky person knows their grammar, has knowledge (or can learn) about your industry, is organized, is interesting, and can write for the web. Blogging is not like writing a college paper. Engaging, entertaining, and informative is the way to go.
It’s a good idea to have a “keeper of the calendar” who will lead the brainstorming sessions, take charge of delegating the writing assignments, and publish them to the site. We also recommend taking advantage of group brain power! In a small organization, consider creating a committee who will meet periodically to flush out ideas and hold each other accountable not only for the blog but for an overall digital strategy.
TIP: Uncover an employee’s hidden talent! Send out an email to folks in your company and ask for them to write a short post on a particular subject. Let them choose between three light topics. Include a due date and an incentive of some kind like a half day off! Who knows, you may find that one of your employees is a brilliant writer!
What’s the right word count?
It depends. Blogs can be anything from a short informative post, a series of images with captions, or gifs like this blog we wrote for Doomswell. They can be longer if the subject allows for lengthy explanation, just make sure there’s no rambling. On average, shoot for 400-600 words. Blogs needs to be easily digestible for your audience group. Be sure to ALWAYS include an image of some kind.
Not only is it time consuming to come up with ideas, but you actually have to sit down and write! Our next post will take you through our writing process.