I know that the vast majority of you who are reading this post have a blog. You have been told that having one is the best way to connect with your customers, to generate leads and to become an established expert in your niche. You have probably also heard it’s the #1 strategy you need for inbound marketing, AND that it’s one of the best ways to (ultimately) increase sales.
So, this begs the question…are you accomplishing any of these goals with your blog?
If not, you are not alone. While business blogging CAN be fun, I know you are not doing it simply for your own enjoyment.
You are doing it to grow your business and to increase sales. Period.
Yes, there are other benefits to business blogging that happen along the way, but ultimately, if your blog isn’t building your business, why bother, right?
Following are 33 ways you can use your blog to build a successful business blog and accomplish your goals.
No more blogging just because you ‘should’: follow these strategies and then sit back and watch your blog increase your leads, authority and sales!
1. Be serious about posting regularly – Don’t just post when you feel like it. Be intentional about what and when you post, and stick to a schedule.
2. Stick to a schedule….BUT be flexible – Be prepared to jump on breaking news. If something big
happens in your industry, don’t be afraid to change your schedule to keep current
3. Be a fly on the wall to find out what your audience REALLY wants – Through visiting niche forums, and reading blog comments and emails, figure out what your audience wants you to write about (as opposed to what you THINK they want to learn about).
4. Decide WHO you’re writing for – Who is your ideal customer? What does he or she want to learn about? You can’t please everyone all the time, so don’t even try
5. Decide WHAT the #1 goal of your blog is – Assuming it’s to drive business, what do you need to implement to make this happen? What does your online sales funnel look like? How does your blog fit into your funnel?
6. Investigate tools that will save you tons of time – Social Media Examiner has a GREAT list of tools top experts love to use.
7. Determine your voice – How do you want your customers to perceive you through your writing? Fun and casual? Professional and authoritative?
8. Decide if you can do this yourself – Be realistic about how much time you have to commit to blogging, and whether you have the skills that are necessary. Plan to delegate or outsource your blogging if necessary.
9. Write evergreen content – Write posts that stand the test of time…these will drive engagement and traffic for months to come.
10. Have an opinion – Don’t be afraid to be a bit controversial at times; you are a real person with real opinions and ideas!
11. Follow your own process – When writing, do what works best for YOU. Some experts say to draft an outline first, but if you find writing off-the-cuff works best (and your audience loves what you write), then forget what the experts say
12. Write for scannable reading – The majority of your readers will scan and skim your content, not read it word for word. Format your posts with this in mind
13. Use the best length for your audience – Some experts say your blog posts should be a minimum of 500 words, others say 1500+. Do what works best for YOUR audience!
14. Write about what your audience ACTUALLY cares about – See #3 above.
15. Focus on quality over quantity – If you have limited time, it’s better to write two or three high-quality posts each week than five ‘fluffy’ ones.
16. Be generous about giving away your knowledge – Make sure the vast majority of your content is available for free.
17. Spend time on your headlines – Your headlines are the #1 factor that determine whether your posts will get read or not, so focus on attention-grabbing titles. For help with this, see my post The Ultimate Guide to Writing Social Media Headlines That Get More Clicks.
18. Use eye-catching images – Use Creative Commons Search to find amazing images to include with your posts.
19. Ask questions at the end of your posts – Explicitly ask readers to comment on your posts. It’s amazing how one small call to action can make such a difference!
20. Take the time to respond to comments – Show you care by reading and responding to blog comments in a timely manner.
21. Get your readers into your online sales funnel – One way to do this may be to include a call to action to join your email list.
22. Respond to comments with a blog post (from time to time) – If you notice a particularly helpful comment from a reader, write a blog post in response. This shows you read and actually care about your reader’s comments.
23. Pay attention to your analytics…but keep it in perspective – Don’t obsess over data, but use it to determine whether your content is meeting its mark.
24. Watch for long-term trends – Paying attention to the growth (or decline) of your blog over time allows you to evaluate whether all your efforts are really working.
25. Pay close attention to what type of content converts – If your #1 goal is to drive sales, determine which types of content ultimately drives sales.
26. Respond to other people’s blog posts – Read and comment on other people’s blogs to drive traffic and build relationships.
27. Make use of guest posting – Post on other people’s blog, and have them post on yours. This is a great way to reach a new audience.
28. Regularly promote your posts on social media – This is the #1 way I drive traffic to my blog posts.
29. Be active elsewhere online – Be a regular in industry LinkedIn and Facebook groups and in niche forums, and engage with other people’s social media content.
30. Build links to your site – Have a plan in place for getting inbound links that help with both your search engine rankings and with referral traffic to your site.
31. Link to influential blogs within your content – This is a great way to reach out to other bloggers and potentially get a link back to your site as well.
32. Promote your content via social bookmarking sites – Publishing to sites like Reddit and Stumbleupon can drive TONS of traffic to your blog posts.
33. Post your content to Scoop.It – This lets other people curate your content and helps you expand your audience…without having to lift a finger!
And there you have it – The ultimate guide to building a successful business blog.