The Ultimate Guide to Successful Business Blogging

snappa_1460375724

Blogging is still one of the most effective ways of driving traffic to your website.

In this article, you will learn how to:

  • Plan your blogging schedule
  • Produce articles for your blog which get you results (more £$£$)
  • Drive traffic to your post after it has launched

There are many misconceptions about blogging, the most common being that merely posting a blog is all you need to do to achieve success.

However, that is just the start.

There is a method of turning a blog post into a traffic and lead generating machine.

The steps you need to take to get there are detailed below:

Step 1 – Research what your clients actually like reading and find influencers within your niche

 

google-trends-min

You don’t want to be throwing out the same old rubbish as everyone else. That is not how to stand out from the crowd.

As a content marketing agency, we think about the content that you enjoy reading and the websites that you visit on a regular basis. Why do you keep visiting these sites?

It all boils down to one thing – value. If you didn’t learn from those websites, you wouldn’t visit them.

You therefore need to create content on your site that is actionable and interesting to your audience, as well as searching for other articles and topics within your niche that have worked well before.

A tool we use a lot to find content that has worked well is Buzzsumo – this allows you to analyse content that has worked well in your industry or for a competitor. In addition, find influencers and experts about your topic, you can reach out to share your content with them once complete or obtain an expert quote for your article.

home-min

Once you have found what works, you can do one of two things:

1 – Write something along the same lines.

2 – Use the other article as a foundation and make it bigger, better and more actionable. If the other article was 1,000 words, make yours 3,000 words. Add in quotes from industry leaders and relevant images.

Do all you can to make it bigger and better than anyone else’s on the web about your one topic. Search engines love that kind of content and so does your audience.

While you are doing this, you need to actively seek out influencers within your niche and interact with them through social media – search on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Connect with them and mention a great article of theirs that you have read. Keep everything light and friendly.

You do not want to come across as a stalker, so just reply to them if they post something interesting. Tweet about a great article they have published on their site. Do not mention anything about your blog post yet. Think about the long-term goal here. You want to build a relationship with them in order to eventually piggyback on their audience and amplify the audience for your content.

You want to build that relationship so when the time comes you can reach out to influencers by obtaining a quote from them for your article and asking them if they’d be able to share or link to your epic article.

These articles will assist you with this step:

Step 2 – Identify your topics & keywords

You want to make sure that your blog posts are very targeted. Don’t write about something that your audience is not interested in. Again, use Buzzsumo or even Google Trends to locate topics that people are searching for.

You also want to use different forms of content to identify what works best for your niche and audience.

Take a look at the image below and you’ll see the wide array of forms of content that you could look to include on your website.

content-stages-min

Image credit – Buzzsumo

We cannot discuss successful blogging without talking about how to select relevant and trending keywords, topics and tags. You must also learn the appropriate keyword mix and the importance of diversifying your keywords.

When writing a blog post I always try to target a key phrase – being ranked for a keyword with 500 searches a month may result in a few extra leads per month. Take this post, for example – I’m targeting “business blogging” and related searches. On average this is searched 390 times a month on Google, with a huge spike of 1,300 searches in August 2015 – now, getting this article to page 1 on Google will result in a steady stream of clicks through to this article.

adwords-google-Keyword-Planner-tool-min

Not only should you aim to get on the first page of search engines, but the longer and more in-depth the article you write, the more other sites within your niche will link back to it. Value is paramount to everything online – the more value you provide, the more leads and sales you will achieve.

These articles will assist you with this step:

Step 3 – Clearly define the goal of your blog

As with all other aspects of life and business, your blog should have clearly defined goals. Your goals should be both measurable and specific. For example, you want to increase traffic, but by exactly how many visitors each month?

blog-schedule-goals-min

You might not reach the target set, but mini-targets each month help to make sure that you are on the right track.

I look at increasing the number of links to my website, as well as newsletter subscribers and digital marketing leads. Set monthly targets to track against this as you go.

Blogging is a long-term endeavour so make sure you have a plan in place that you stick to.

These articles will assist you with this step:

Step 4 – Create a blogging schedule

Blog-Editorial-Calendar-min

Personally, I think that humans work better with a schedule. This helps us keep track of everything we need to do.

Creating a solid blogging schedule will allow you to make sure you keep your visitors coming back, keep your website up-to-date with fresh content and continue to increase your authority.

Hubspot has saved you the trouble of setting one up yourself, so all you have to do is sign up and you’ll have a blogging schedule to use – take a look at it here.

These articles will assist you with this step:

Step 5 – Identify your fellow contributors

I love having other people contribute to my blogs. People don’t always think in the same way as you. Having others contribute therefore gives a more rounded approach to an article.

As well as getting others involved with articles – this could just be in the form of a quote – you can also piggyback on their audience when the time comes to launch. Think about that. You won’t just have your audience to market the article too – you could have 10 or more influencers sharing your article. It all depends on how much time you want to focus on each article. The more time you put in the better the article will be.

view-sharers-min

Get others to read your article. Check to see what they think.

More eyes and opinions should help you focus on the ultimate aim of each piece of content and allow you to make sure that what you are publishing makes sense.

sharers-influencer-min

These articles will assist you with this step:

Step 6 – Learn and teach all writers about your style guide

Style-guide-for-your-blog-min

Image credit – CoSchedule

Each website and company has a different way of formatting articles and optimise them in different ways for their audience. Adopting your own in-house style means that each person who becomes involved in your content marketing follows the same style guide. You need to consider that each blog post should provide value to your reader.

These articles will assist you with this step:

Step 7 – Research before you write

Let’s face it, sometimes, your posts are curated from a place of true inspiration – where keywords, topics and even research are afterthoughts. This is perfectly fine, as long as the majority of your contributions are written with a purpose. There are many research tools to turn to before you begin writing.

These articles will assist you with this step:

Step 8 – Creating engaging content

content-marketing-challenges-min

Think about the last time you visited a blog, online newspaper or social media page. Thinking of the content you connected with, was it engaging? What “engaging” means will vary from person to person and from industry to industry. However, you must avoid the all too common “post-only sales and product-heavy” approach to content. This is rarely engaging, is not fun to read and does not encourage comments or sharing.

These articles will assist you with this step:

Step 9 – Diversify your blog content

Blogs aren’t just for writing, and you have multiple options when it comes to the content your post – both on your blog and throughout the web. While a good portion of your content will comprise written articles and posts, you must diversify. Also, consider guides, press releases, videos and infographics.

The key is to find what your audience wants and to give them that – ask them and build up some data using customer research. Far too many businesses just blog for the sake of it without any in-depth research. Within digital marketing, data is your friend.

These articles will assist you with this step:

Step 10 – Identify copyright-free sources for images and videos

Readers love images, videos, charts, infographics and any other relevant images you can add to your posts. Better yet, search engines love these things too! However, you have to post images and videos to which you have the copyright or you can be heavily fined. You must also learn how to post properly and share videos from outside sources such as YouTube.

Images and videos aren’t just there to pad out your posts – Content with relevant images gets 94% more views than content without relevant images.image-compressing-min

I`d also recommend using Optimizilla to help reduce the image file of your pictures, which will ensure that your images load quickly on your blog post.

These articles will assist you with this step:

Step 11 – Adding a newsletter to your blog

Success is all about a multi-faceted approach. If you are going to have a blog, you need to have a mailing list. You should maximise a mailing list by sending out a weekly or monthly blog.

mailchimp-send-better-email-image-for-conversion-rate-min

Mailchimp is our go-to place to help send newsletters.

Try different positions for your email sign-up form – a pop-up, at the side of your site, at the top, in the middle and at the bottom – track where people are signing up and improve this as your blog grows in size. You could even do a giveaway for everyone who signs up to your newsletter. This could be something simple like an e-guide of a few thousand words. People are willing to exchange their email addresses if they perceive that doing so will provide them with value. Stand out from your competitors by giving them more value.

These articles will assist you with this step:

Step 12 – Making social media work for you

There is so much to remember when it comes to social media and your blog. You need to select the most effective social media platform for your industry and target audience. You need buttons that link to your social profiles. Your readers must be able to share or “like” each post. You need a detailed posting schedule. You need a site to preschedule your posts. You need to post each new piece of content more than once.

social-media-marketing-platforms-min

Image credit – Statista

I personally tend to automate a lot of my social media work using – every time we post an article on our blog it is syndicated to around 25 social media platforms. Econsultancy have a great article about this here. Everything is all about testing – different images, titles and hashtags. Find platforms which work for you and where your audience resides then build up a following there – the whole point of this is that you have an audience interested in your posts when you publish them.

These articles will assist you with this step:

Step 13 – Adding internal and external links

If link building is new to you, you have some homework to do. The best place to begin is to learn what internal and external links are, and how they apply to basic blog posts.

With blogging, you can be a lot more aggressive with your internal links – so rather than playing it safe by using a company name link you can use a keyword that you may be targeting – such as “web design Leeds” and then link that through to the appropriate page. If you were a guest posting on another site, getting exact keyword links back to your site is trickier – so, when writing your blog posts for your site, be more aggressive – as long as it reads properly to a human being, you will be OK.

These articles will assist you with this step:

Step 14 – Seeking out additional link building opportunities

guest-posting-seo-min

Image credit – Backlinko

Now that you have a basic understanding of link building, it is time to expand your knowledge and actively seek additional link building opportunities. What is important to understand is that quality matters far more than quantity. In fact, a high number of low-quality links can be damaging.

These articles will assist you with this step:

Step 15 – Paid advertising options

There are an unlimited number of paid advertising options from which to choose to help increase the audience for your business blog. The great news is there are options to fit into even the smallest of budgets. A three-day Facebook campaign costs less than £5 to target thousands of people, but if your marketing budget allows, your options are truly limitless. Relevance, careful selection and analytics are all required when testing and selecting your paid advertising options.

These articles will assist you with this step:

Step 16 – Posting on relevant aggregate or syndication websites

There are many places you can post additional content online, all of which can be linked back to your blog, website or landing pages. Select sites that your target audience frequents.

As I mentioned in relation to IFTTT recipes , you can also syndicate your content onto other websites to amplify your audience.

linkedin-pulse-min

Image credit – Tom Treanor

Remember – the more people who see your article, the better: no one knows about anything unless they see it, so make sure you do everything in your power to share your content on a range of websites to maximise its effect.

Here are a few to explore:

Step 17 – Increasing and managing comments

When you first launch your blog, getting a comment is exciting. Excitement aside, you must know how to capitalise on your comments. You must also learn the importance of deciding if your comments should require approval. Between internet trolls and spam, most blog owners opt for approval.

disqus-min

Having an active and well-commented blog stems from providing valuable content and actionable tips – make it easy to comment and reply as soon as possible to follow up questions. It’s another way to build up an audience who will go on to share and interact with your content.

Just watch out for spam!

These articles will assist you with this step:

Step 18 – Rinse and repeat

These are all the steps that need to be taken to create a successful blog. Even once these steps are executed, you must maintain consistency and revisit each step in search of areas of opportunity and improvement.

google analytics-min

These articles will assist you with this step:

It would be great to hear your thoughts about how you have grown your website’s blog and any tips that have worked for you in the comment section below.