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7 rules for creating an effective business blog

Pretty much every business website writes a blog these days. It’s a great way to add keyword rich content to your site, raise your search ranking and gain traffic. But only if it’s done well. Too many businesses create blogs and update them only as an afterthought, when they could be gaining a lot more for the energy they put into blogging. So here are Oxygen’s 7 rules for creating an effective business blog.

An effective business blog means knowing your audience

This is the same starting point you’d use for all your marketing materials. You need to know who you’re talking to so that you can appeal to them effectively. And your blog should never be a thinly concealed advert for your business. It should provide genuinely relevant and useful information. What are your customers interested in? What are their concerns? Which questions do they ask most frequently? What is trending in your industry at the moment? All these questions can provide ongoing inspiration for your blog.

Keep to a blogging schedule

Ideally, you will want your readers to read your blog posts regularly. Because the more often they visit your site and find useful and expert information, the more likely they are to use you when they need your services. So set a schedule and stick to it. If you suddenly ‘disappear’ for a couple of weeks, they may start reading other blogs instead. Google prefers it, and is more likely to rank your page well if you blog to a consistent schedule too.

An effective business blog means keeping your standards high

Sometimes the sheer pressure of blogging can mean that you start concentrating on quantity rather than quality. But your readership will expect a consistent standard of quality information from you. Remember, an effective business blog represents your business just as much as your homepage does. Maybe even more so, because customers searching for an answer to a problem are more likely to find your blog post on the topic than your homepage. And if your standards slip, they will go elsewhere.

Keep a rolling list of topics to blog about

Staring at a blank screen wondering what to blog about and feeling pressured to post something (anything!) because it’s on your schedule won’t produce good posts. Start keeping a list of useful blog topics to which you can constantly add. Give yourself a little time regularly to search for new ones. You can blog about awards you’ve received, offers, giveaways, competitions, and news at your firm such as a move, a new staff member or expansion. You can offer insights into how your staff work with ‘a day in the life’ type posts. You can use competitors’ blogs for inspiration on topics, particularly those that generate a lot of comments and interest giving your own slant on them of course! Or you can use google keywords to find out which words and phrases your customers are searching for. Try to re-work these into strong headlines to increase your traffic. Additionally you can pick up on new developments which may be causing concern in your customers. Give them your expert take on the matter, or solutions to their problems, and you’ll build credibility with them making your business blog far more effective.

Use strong headlines and relevant keywords

Copywriters know that 80% of readers won’t read past a headline. This is even more true on the web where pretty much only your headline features, alongside all the others on the same topic, on a search page. So yours has to be strong because it’s competing directly with everybody else’s. Allow yourself time to play with headlines, coming up with perhaps half a dozen versions before selecting the strongest one. Consider using any of the others that are strong, as good headlines can also be the inspiration for a post. Make sure your post is littered with the right keywords, especially in headlines and subheadings. Again, google keywords is your best friend here.An effective business blog is easy to find.

An effective business blog means engaging with your readership

Many blogs are conversational and informal, rather like a good radio DJ. They can be fun, witty, opinionated or slightly irreverent. And that’s a reflection of the fact that they’re part of the conversation you have with your customers. Keep the conversation going by responding to comments or tweets they’ve posted, as it all helps to build your presence.

Promote your blog

It’s no good writing a really effective business blog if no one knows about it. Use Facebook and Twitter to inform customers about new posts that might interest them. Tweet about older posts if you think they’re still relevant, or they relate to a new trend. Facebook and tweet about comments you’ve received. Mention your business blog in interviews. Use every opportunity to direct traffic to your blog and build your readership.

If you don’t have time to blog, let Oxygen do it for you from our offices in Somerset and Devon. We can add regular, keyword loaded blogs that increase traffic to your site. Give us a call on 0845 2606 255 to talk about what you need.

 

 

Steve Lodge :Steve trained as a NCTJ journalist and is an experienced copywriter. He has over 15 years in agency, and started Oxygen in 2002.

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