In the last decade, business blogs have become virtually a mainstay on business websites.
Blogging can be many different things, but essentially it provides a simple way for the blog owner or manager to provide information that entertains or educates an audience.
People go online seeking information of all kinds. Some are seeking answers to questions. Others are seeking stories and other forms of entertainment. Businesses have found that blogging, along with other forms of content marketing, is a great way to provide value while increasing awareness for their brand.
If you’re new to business blogging or looking to improve, here are a few tips to consider…
1. Your First 12 Titles
Business bloggers often get excited in the early days. It’s easy to get ahead of yourself. You’re thinking about all the traffic that’s going to come in. You’re thinking about the positive comments and the shares on social media and all the attention each post will bring.
Another reason for early excitement is that there are usually about 10 or 12 ideas for blog posts. You’ve had time to consider the ideas. You know your audience is interested in the topics. You’re excited to write about them.
This is a good thing for new business bloggers. You want to brainstorm these first 12 ideas. Think about them. Then get them on a schedule along with notes or thoughts. Then write them and get them scheduled and ready to go.
2. Your Ongoing Title Routine
In music, it’s relatively common for successful artists to have a great first album and then a bit of a slump with the second. The often cited reason is that the routine for the first album is completely different than it is for subsequent albums.
In a sense, an artist has their entire life to prepare for their first album. Writing songs. Finding the best 10 or 12. Then the album hits, they go on tour, they become very busy. Soon, a year goes by and it’s time to record another album and they have no songs. They rush to put something out.
Artists with sustained success figure out how to write or find songs in their new normal.
Blogging is very similar. Once you get past your first 10 or 12 titles, you need to schedule time to brainstorm new titles. No write, but brainstorming ideas. Reading other blogs. Looking at comment sections. Keyword research. Forum research. Listening to customers.
Build the ongoing brainstorming into your blogging routine.
3. Scheduling Posts
With business blogging, you’re basically never breaking the news. So it’s not necessary or even advisable to publish posts the moment you finish writing them.
Scheduling is a negative word for a lot of people. They like to think that blogging is an art and that it should only occur when inspiration magically strikes. An idea hits your brain, you open your laptop and start furiously typing. After an hour, you’re done. The keyboard is on fire from all the typing. You hit publish and sit back in wonder at the amazing post you’ve just written.
Back to the music world…
The big songwriting communities around the world – Los Angeles, Nashville, New York… – all follow a very scheduled process. Writers book time with other writers five or six days a week. Sometimes two sessions per day at about 3-4 hours per session.
Then after a song is written it goes through more schedules. A demo. Pitches to producers are artists. Then it’s recorded. Then it’s turned over to the record label. Then the label figures out the distribution and marketing. Then it’s scheduled for release.
It’s not glamorous or sexy. It’s very regimented. But that’s how the best songs are written and released.
You want to schedule time to brainstorm, write and publish your posts. Sticking with a schedule builds routine. It eliminates the need to rush things. Anything that needs to be rushed to publish probably won’t have a long lifespan. The best blog posts are those that are good today or in ten years.
4. Learning From Others
Throughout your blogging career I think it’s good to read other blogs. I think it’s good to consume other types of content. From established creators and from new creators.
In my early days of blogging I read tons of other blogs. Seeing what worked for them. Taking the best attributes and building them into my own blogging.
We all learn from others. We don’t have all the answers.
If you’re going to be a blog writer, also strive to be a blog reader.
Leave room in your blogging process for experimenting. With new styles. With new tones. With new formats.
What I’ve found is that many posts are how to posts or list posts. There are many variations within. When you’re starting out, you’ll probably have a couple different types of posts. Then you’ll find good feedback on one. You’ll do more of that.
That’s a good thing.
But leave room for experimenting. Shorter posts. Longer posts. More images. No images. All kinds of things.
Maybe 80-90% formula and 10-20% experimenting.
This ensures that you’re always trying something new. And once in awhile you’ll hit on something that really works and you can expand on it.
6. No Selling
Leave the selling out of your blogging.
This is one of the most difficult things for business bloggers. We’re all about the conversion. But blog readers are rarely ready to jump from a mindset of seeking information to buying a product.
In over 10 years of blogging I have found that jumping the gun with sales pitches usually leads to no initial attention for your posts or turns readers off if they do find your posts.
Instead of selling, think about the next step in the sales process. Suggesting additional articles to read. Maybe send them to your homepage or about page. Maybe ask them to signup for your newsletter.
7. Internal + External Linking
Linking is a good thing. Both internally and externally.
There can be a hangup with new business bloggers to think it’s bad to link to other sources of information. But readers typically get value from it. It can provide assurance and proof that what you’re saying is valid and backed up by others.
It doesn’t send people away from your blog. If you’re providing value, people trust you and come back to you in the long run.
8. Quantity Goals
I think the goal for the first year or even the first two years of a business blog is to write and publish a certain number of posts.
I recommend 50, 100 or 200 as the goal.
We find that an average frequency for successful business blogs is to publish 1-2 posts per week. That means that within a year or two you’re going to hit those total post quantities with a regular schedule of 1-2 per week.
Hitting this number allows you to build efficiencies around researching, writing, publishing and promoting. You’re not focused so much on attention, but on building your skills. And a very nice side effect is that you start hitting a point where your posts are getting more traffic.
9. No Analytics
Where many bloggers get hung up in the early days is looking at their stats. They see minimal traffic. Maybe minimal engagement on social media. They figure blogging doesn’t work and they move on. Sometimes after only 5-10 posts.
Add analytics to your blog from Day 1. But don’t look at it until you’ve hit your quantity goals. Once you’ve built the routine of writing you can go back and learn more about what’s working and what isn’t working.
10. Assessing Future Responsibility
After some time you’re going to start to realize if blogging is something you’re capable of doing for the long-term. Whether you have time in your schedule or even the fact of whether you like doing it or not.
If you feel that blogging just isn’t right for you, it might be time to consider another writer. Whether internal or external. And it might be just to supplement what you’re going to do once in awhile.
Blogging is a time and energy commitment. Usually for it to work you need to cut something else out of your schedule.
Business blogging remains a great strategy for just about any business. I think the industry is just hitting early maturity. Search engines are more advanced at parsing information than ever. More people are coming online every day to find information. Blogs provide a great way for businesses to provide value and earn attention that can drive business growth.