Blogging for Business 101 – Finding Your Purpose

Every piece of content you publish on your blog or company website needs to get to the point quickly. Of course, as discussed last time, this is impossible to achieve if you’re not even sure what the point is yourself.

So previously, I asked you to make a list of what you think the most important benefits of publishing a business blog are. I also asked you to make a list of what you think your blog’s current strengths, weaknesses and opportunities are, and then compare those with your original list.

If you haven’t done that already, please do that now and come back to me when you’re ready so we can compare your list with my list below…

The Benefits of Business Blogging

  • Building Brand Recognition
  • Building Authority & Trust
  • Growing Site Traffic
  • Lead Generation
  • Backlink Generation
  • Increasing Social Shares
  • Customer Service
  • Community Engagement
  • Promotions

So how does your list compare? Is there anything I left out? This is not an exhaustive list by any means and there are no right or wrong answers. This was simply an exercise to get you thinking about the possibilities. After all, you know best what is most suitable for your company. But, although my examples are more generic, I’m certain you will have thought of some of these also, so let’s take a look.

Building Brand Recognition

Was this your first pick? Then I’m guessing you work in marketing. A properly utilised blog is a highly effective way to build brand recognition by publishing content which properly reflects your company’s brand, products and services. Therefore every single piece of content published on your blog should be doing this at the bare minimum.

Building Authority & Trust

Building brand authority is the next logical step up from building brand recognition. This is the difference between simply knowing you exist versus knowing who you are, what you stand for and eventually trusting your company enough to become a valued customer. And the quickest and easiest way to do this is by giving your readers good advice.

Help them make decisions, answer their questions, provide product reviews, product comparisons, how-to guides – anything that demonstrates your expertise and leverages your years of industry experience.

You can also supplement this with case studies which show how your business has positively impacted your customers, helping them solve problems, streamline processes, grow their revenue, etc.

Your blog is the perfect platform to show, rather than merely tell, why the public should choose your business instead of your competitors. Not only will this translate into more business, if done correctly, it also has the knock-on effect of raising your profile on Google, bringing even more traffic to your site.

Growing Site Traffic

Blogging is not broadcasting. So if your company only uses its blog to make announcements it’s missing the point completely. Your blog should be driving a large amount of search traffic for terms related to your business.

So if you sell sportswear products, for example, your blog should have relevant sports and lifestyle-related content on it to attract more visitors from Google. Any article that doesn’t fit these criteria (traffic growth and relevance) is therefore diluting the overall effectiveness of your blog and in almost all cases should be culled.

Lead Generation

Naturally, you want people to read your blog, but more importantly, you want them to buy your products or services. This is why it’s vital that you set up your blog properly and capture as many leads as possible.

Each article should have one strong call to action, where appropriate, directing users towards a desired outcome. This could be a transactional call to action directing them to make a purchase or download, or it could simply ask them to get in touch via your contact us form or phone number.

If neither of these outcomes works you can always incentivise visitors to subscribe to the blog or sign up for email updates. There’s no guarantee they will, of course, but any who do are clearly interested in the information your blog provides to them. This makes them valuable leads – so make the sign-up process as friction-free as possible so you can capture as many leads as possible.

Backlink Generation

Backlinks are the primary currency of Google ever since the company first launched in 1998. And while there are now various other factors which decide how Google ranks your website versus your competitors, the main deciding factor is, was and always will be, the quantity and quality of backlinks pointing to your site.

This means that just one link from the right source pointing at your blog could be the difference between your company ranking in the top 5 to jumping up to the top of the search results.

Major news publications are one such type of high-authority link source which carries significant clout on Google.

Of course, the Editor’s desk and your company’s CEO might have very different views as to what’s considered newsworthy, but if you strive to only publish high-quality content based on strong data that delivers real, significant value to readers, you increase your chances of gaining links from major, high-authority sources, including news sites.

This directly translates into greater search engine performance for your website as a whole, bringing more traffic, more leads and more revenue.

Increasing Social Shares

At an average of 50% or more, organic search traffic represents the lion’s share of web traffic. Social media, which averages 5-10% (depending on the industry) is noticeably less. But social is still a significant driver of traffic and the good news is that getting social shares is far, far easier than gaining high-quality backlinks.

So now is as good a time as any to start looking at every piece of content on your blog and questioning how shareable it is.

Is this just a puff piece or is it something you would willingly share on your personal LinkedIn profile? Is the content interesting, is the information genuinely useful, does it answer a question or solve a problem? Will people genuinely want to share it with their colleagues or friends?

If the answer is no, then bin it.

Because what’s the point of spending time writing and publishing content people don’t even want to share with their friends?

(And no – people liking and sharing something their boss did to curry favour doesn’t count.)

Customer Service

While it’s obvious why you should be liaising with your social media team regularly when blogging, other departments may provide equally valuable insights. Your customer service department might not seem like the obvious choice at first, but are likely to be a valuable repository of content ideas you can return to again and again.

Your CS team are on the front lines, after all, so nobody knows your customers’ needs, expectations and frustrations better.

Is there a question or issue which crops up again and again? Write a blog post that addresses it. Being proactive about it can help free up resources allowing your CS time to spend less time on that issue, increasing overall efficiency.

It also demonstrates that your company listens and cares.

Community Engagement

Your blog is also the perfect forum for engaging with your industry and your community. Post any events you are involved in, industry events your company is attending, any local outreach, sponsorship or charity events your company is involved in, or use it to showcase your ESG initiatives.

Your HR team may also have some ideas of topics to cover and perhaps you can also work with them about posting vacancies on the blog if you don’t have a dedicated jobs section on your site.

Once again, be sure to work closely with your social media team and PR teams to brainstorm community engagement pieces. These tend to perform particularly well on Facebook, especially if your company has a Facebook page but often struggles to know what type of content to share on it.

And if the content is particularly newsworthy, you might also get mentioned in the news. Maybe not by CNN or the BBC, but local and regional publications also carry clout – getting them to link to your blog will certainly help your site’s overall performance on Google.

Promotions

There’s nothing wrong with blowing your own trumpet every once and a while, as long as it also gives something of value to readers. This is why you should always promote any special offers, sales, bonuses, promotions or competitions on your blog if you are confident your audience will be interested in them.

Be sure to include all the relevant details of the offer or promotion you’re sharing, with contact details and full terms and conditions where necessary. Finally, have a strong call to action explaining to your readers in detail what they need to do to avail of the offer and what benefits they receive from it.

These kinds of blog posts, properly optimised, can also serve as fully functional landing pages for paid traffic. They’re also ideal for sharing on social media. So think about relevant special offers you’ve seen that resulted in large numbers of retweets. If you have some examples, share them with your social media team and start a conversation on how to replicate that success and convert that traffic into sales.

Launching Your New Blog

Once you have a better understanding of what your blog can do in theory, the next step is to put it into practice. Chances are you probably have lots of ideas but are still unsure of how to put them into practice and perhaps you’re thinking, “yes but what am I actually going to write about?”

The next post in this series discusses the brainstorming and planning section with advice on how to break your blog out into different categories.

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