I was scrolling through previous O’C&K blog posts and came across one we wrote in 2013. It was titled An online presence is just smart business – here. The content didn’t include blogging per se, but I thought that despite it being three years old it was still relevant.
This made me think about the relevancy of business blogging today and pushed me to write this blog. One thing is clear, though – it is even more vital nowadays that you manage your online presence in a pro-active manner.
Part of this pro-activeness would be aligning your blog activity with specific business goals such as awareness, credibility and even lead generation. A note of caution however – your blog will be a waste of time if it is not laser focused on and distributed to, a specific audience.
More and more we are hearing about content shock and the sheer tsunami of information available online. In this post, we are not going to approach this topic but will talk about why we think businesses should still blog. As usual, we will also provide some tips on how you might get better at it.
Just one caveat for this post – we are talking about business blogging and not personal blogging. Most personal blogs are a hobby or are a way of making money (from ads).
A business blog is simply another marketing tool for your business. Not unlike using social media channels, a blog can support your business activity by driving traffic to your website and help you to be part of a conversation.
Another point of difference is that a personal blog will reflect personal experiences (usually). A business blog will talk about topics that relate to your business. For instance, all O’C&K blogs fall under one of 5 sections – outline on the right-hand side of this page.
Each topic complements how we help organisations with their business objectives through Smarter Marketing. As a consequence, our Smarter Marketing Blog provides real tips and timesavers directly to our target audiences.
The O’C&K Smarter Marketing Blog provides real tips and timesavers directly to their target audiences.Click to tweet
Why bother with business blogging at all?
As alluded to above, every time you post a fresh blog post you create a new opportunity for somebody to visit your website, to read it and subsequently share it with a new audience. You are also improving the chances of your website ranking on search engines for that particular blog topic. A third advantage is that blog posts provide your business with fresh content to share on your other digital channels.
Depending on your own time, or whether it is outsourced, business blogging can be a relatively low-cost way to get your website found by business prospects. What you do with them on your site is a completely different story and probably a topic for a separate blog post.
As important as the quality and relevance of your content is, what is equally important is – knowing your audience. Usually, the topic for any of our blogs, reflect a particular issue that we are helping a client with. This, we find anyway, keeps the tips provided – real. One way we approach each post is by answering the following questions:
- Who will we be talking to
- What do we want them to know
- How do we want them to feel
- What would we like them to do after reading the post
However, we believe that this last question is evolving. In the current inter-connected world, the power has shifted to the consumer. The thing is you cannot ‘get’ them to do anything – but if you help them somehow they might decide to share the positive experience.
For instance – we will be sharing some pointers with you in the next paragraph. If you think they would be relevant to say a colleague or friend, would you share this post with them?
How can your business blog turn a scanner into a reader?
You might have spent hours / days / weeks researching, writing, editing and distributing your prize blog and then what? Nothing – no shares, no likes, no sharing, no site visits.
Yes, this happens but it is not always about your writing skills (or lack of). Think about it – most of us don’t read articles anymore – we scan them. The trick, therefore, is to make your blog post scannable.
Nine tips and timesavers for making your blog post more scannable:
- If you have a general topic you want to write about – break it into a few different, shorter posts
- Explain up-front what the blog is going to be about
- Try and stick to about two sentences per paragraph and even some with only one
- Use subheadings (min-headlines) frequently – they are the stepping stones from Headline to Conclusion
- If you mention a number in the introduction paragraph – use numbered bullet points
- Insert tweetable quotes throughout the content – they are a visual break and a CTA all in one
- Internal links make your site stickier and external links provide proof of research
- Don’t be afraid to be yourself – use italics and bolding – just don’t overdo it
- When finished re-read the formatted elements of your blog and see if they help the post flow
Where does business blogging fit into a marketing strategy?
We’ve already mentioned that your content must be interesting and relevant to your audience. It also has to be well positioned or it will not be found in the first place. So rather than just trying to attract any type of reader your blogging should form part of a bigger content marketing strategy.
A content marketing strategy will ensure that you address such elements as
- Goals, schedules and an editorial calendar
- A supply of keywords / phrases / topics that are relevant, useful and shareable
- Improved content so as to avoiding the selling-your-wares trap
- Improved SEO and SEM
- Planning for metrics such as email opens, mentions, reviews, queries and leads
From an audience point of view, every blogger is clamouring for attention and it is getting more difficult for the reader to sift through the noise to find what matters to them. Blogging does make sense for your business but can be a waste of time if you don’t address the noise problem. It is entirely up to you what you do to help your customers filter the noise.
I mean – why should anybody care about your blog (or your business) unless it helps them in some way.
Your blog is a way of putting yourself in a position to contribute in an area that your audience is already focused. For instance, social media allows you enter conversations that are already taking place. You need to talk about their issues, in their tone of voice and then just listen and learn.
Talking to yourself isn’t much fun nor is it profitable for business.
“Thank you for reading our blog post today” – Aidan & Jim.
Would you like us to notify you, by email, when we publish new content? If so, just let us know by clicking here. Of course, we can always meet face-to-face, just leave your details here and we might grab a coffee, cheers. Jim – O’C&K