Beginner’s Guide to Blogging for Business

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12 strategies to use your blog to market your business

Turn your blog into a marketing machine easily and quickly with these strategies that focus on getting the most return on your blogging investment.

Blogging is an important marketing tool for staying in touch with existing clients and engaging new ones.

Engagement means that people like what you post and return often to read more. Post topics that people care about, answer their questions and give them solutions. The more valuable your information, the more you engage readers, and the more they want to work with you.

You want people to spread the word about your business and its unique value by sharing your posts. When you provide valuable information, people will forward it to their friends and clients. Make this easy by asking them to share your posts and by including social media icons. All they have to do is click on the icon to spread the word.

Use your posts to explain how you work with and help your clients. Your posts are not ads; you cannot just talk about what you do, but you can explain how you work with clients to achieve the outcomes they want and need. Share success stories (with the client’s permission) or describe how you would handle a hypothetical situation. Give potential clients a taste of what it would be like to work with you.

According to HubSpot, Marketers who prioritize blogging efforts are 13x more likely to see positive ROI.

 

Strategy 1: Decide What You Want Your Blog To Do

Before you can use your blog as a marketing machine, you need to set some marketing goals to measure its success. These questions can help you decide what you want your blog to do.

What are your reasons for having a blog:

  • Gain visibility for your business?
  • Showcase your expertise?
  • Communicate your client value?
  • Add potential clients to your contact list?
  • Stay in touch with existing clients?
  • Get referrals from existing clients?
  • Enhance your reputation in your field?
  • Other:

Rank the importance of each goal on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the most important and 10 being the least important.

Keep these goals in mind when you are planning and writing your posts.

Strategy 2: Target Your Market

targetyourmarket
Credit: geralt @pixabay

In order to reach the customers you want, you must identify who they are and where they can be found. This will help you target your posts to your specific market segments.

Write a description of your target market here with as much detail as possible and then answer the questions that follow:

  • Gender: M F Both
  • Age range:
  • Average annual family income:
  • Family status:
  • Occupation:
  • Average annual income

Where does the majority of your target market live?

What are your target market’s concerns?

What struggles does your target market have?

How can you help your target market with these concerns and struggles?

Describe the value your blog gives your target market.

Add any additional information about your target market.

So, you have a blog, but want more traffic? First, check your motives: Is it help people, be a resource, and make a difference? Or to make you famous?

If the latter, quit blogging now. If you’re blogging for self-serving reasons, then that may be the real inhibitor to your blog’s growth. Because here’s the truth:

People want you to talk about them, not you. @Jeff Goins23 Ways to Immediately Get More Traffic to Your Blog

Strategy 3: Choose Topics with Legs

A topic with “legs” is a topic that lends itself to many different posts or a series of related posts. The longer the “legs,” the more likely readers will return for more of your valuable information. You also can repurpose your posts into information products that can serve as opt-ins or bonuses.

What are five topics with legs that you can create several posts about?

Strategy 4: Focus on Your Clients

focus your clients
Credit: free-photos @pixabay

Don’t have an idea for your next blog topic? No problem, there are few key sources you should always turn to if you don’t have an idea and they both begin with C; your customers, and your customers, are great places to develop ideas from. @Tom Britton, How to brainstorm blog topics in 3 easy steps

Let your clients tell you what topics they want to read about.

Questions

The questions your clients have are topics for your posts.

What are the four questions your clients have?

Write four posts, each of which answers one of these questions.

Challenges

The challenges your clients face are topics for your posts.

What are the four challenges your clients have?

Write four posts, each of which answers one of these challenges.

Fears

The fears your clients have are topics for your posts.

What are the four fears your clients have?

Write four posts, each of which answers one of these fears.

Strategy 5: Plan Your Posts for Repurposing

I’m a firm believer that content must do double and triple duty. I never create anything for myself or my clients that can’t be combined and repurposed into an information product.

You can repurpose your content to create free opt-ins, eBooks, marketing materials, guides, tip sheets, and more. You can even use them as starting points for workshops, and even coaching programs.

Delivering consistent, valuable, informative, and useful content to your audience will ensure that they become loyal to you. They’ll become lifelong customers and fans who will want to share what you’re publishing because it’s so easy to understand. People learn in different ways, and you’ll show that you care about your audience by providing different ways for them to consume your content. from Connie Ragen Green Repurpose Content: Strategies that Work

Strategy 6: Include Calls to Action

include call to action
Credit: JanBaby @pixabay

A call to action can be a link to your homepage or to a product, service, or another blog post. You ask for their contact information in return they get a free tip sheet, special report, or eBook. This is also called an “opt-in,” and it is used to increase your contact list.

Plan your posts around the products and services you want to market. You want your calls-to-action to drive people to your website where they can find information on them.

What opt-ins can you create that is tied to your products and services?

Users want to complete tasks with minimal effort. The CTA label should be task-focused so that expectations are set for the next step of the journey. They are also orienting, so should reassure users they’re in the right place. This means when labelling a button with the next task, it should be consistent with the title of the next screen. Rachel McConnellLet’s do this! How to write better calls to action

Strategy 7: Build a Backlog of Posts

Content scheduling is an easy way to keep your brand vocal and influential around the clock, without actually having to be on social media around the clock. @StartaFire, Don’t Annoy Your Audience With Bad Content Scheduling

Building a list of followers and fans is one of the more important reasons to blog frequently and regularly. The easiest way to do this is to build a backlog of posts.

Here’s a process that will save you time and ensure that your blog continues to give value.

  • Once each week, take your list of posting topics and compose four or more posts in one writing session. This will give you one post per week each month. Sometimes, you may need to do some research, so complete that ahead of writing time.
  • By doing four posts at a time, you build momentum, and it is easier to create linkages from one post to another, which increases your SEO ranking. (See the bonus report for information on SEO.) If you can’t write four posts in one session, write as many as you can. The most important thing is to post at least weekly.
  • Set aside time on your calendar each week to focus on creating your blog posts. Honor this time as if it were an appointment with a client. If something happens that prevents you from blogging for a while, your followers will continue to experience your posts.

Strategy 8: Write What People Want to Read

What People Want to Read
Credit: rawpixel @pixabay

Do you read every word of email, book, or other documents?

Do you skim documents, reading a sentence here and there?

Skeptics tend to read a document thoroughly; they like to seedocumentation and facts to support statements. Use lots of supporting details and evidence and provide examples, statistics, and facts to support everything.

Skimmers want to get to the point quickly and move on to something else. They often decide whether to read something or not based on just the first sentence. If that grabs them, they will skim the document, looking for key points. To make skimmers happy, start with the main point — the one thing you want them to remember.

Write Above the Fold.

The majority of people are reading electronic documents on portable devices like tablets and smartphones. Above the fold is what they see when they open a document.

Make sure your blog post packs a punch above the fold. Keep everyone reading by providing relevant content that focuses on your target market and gives them something they want or need.

Break Up Copy.

Use short paragraphs and leave lots of white space. Include bullets, lists, quotations, and call-outs. Most people will read heads and subheads, so use them to capture key points.

Choose Powerful Images.

Use images that capture the feeling or theme of the section to come. Make sure you have commercial rights so you can use them as sales pieces and in the information products you want to sell. Give credit to the photographer or artist and website. @Pixabay and @Unsplash are excellent sources for art and photos that are free for commercial use.

Considering that 65% of people are visual learners and articles with images get 94% more views compared to those without, it makes perfect sense to create compelling images in all areas of your digital marketing efforts. Larry Kim5 Easy-to-Use Tools You Need to Create Compelling Images for your Blog Posts

Strategy 9: Include Keywords

Blogging is the window of your business. It needs to reach customers and entice them to go to your website where they can buy your products and services. In order to do this, you need to use keywords in your posts so that your posts rank well in search engines.

Just as you did when choosing topics, listen to your clients to understand how they ask for information or describe their problems. The words they use are your keywords.

Make sure you put keywords in the title of each post. When a reader looks at the title of your page in search engine results, they should be able to determine what the post will be about and whether or not it is something they want to read.

The title of your blog post will also appear in the URL address, so it should be simple, straight to the point, and include a keyword.

Just as you did when choosing topics, listen to your clients to understand how they ask for information or describe their problems. The words they use are your keywords. Blog posts and webpages should be filled with useful, original, and fresh information that readers will enjoy reading. You should write to entertain and inform readers and skip trying to stuff all types of keywords into posts in an attempt to have it rank better.

Make sure you put keywords in the title of each post. When a reader looks at the title of your page in search engine results, they should be able to determine what the post will be about and whether or not it is something they want to read. The title of your blog post will also appear in the URL address, so it should be simple, straight to the point, and include a keyword.

There’s a science to SEO. The trick is finding keywords have low competition, and are capable of generating quality traffic. But at the same time, they must be relevant to your business and buyer persona. To get an idea of who’s targeting what, type in long-tail keywords into a search engine and perform a quick competitor analysis. This will give you an idea of the types of keywords your competitors are using to generate qualified traffic.Shane Barker7 Ways Your Social Media Strategy Might Hurt Your SEO

What are some keywords you can use?

Strategy 10: Spread the Word

Spread the word
Credit: geralt @pixabay

A vibrant, active social media presence gives you opportunities to interact with customers and potential customers, promote your products and services, and demonstrate your expertise. A focused social media strategy opens the door to the business and needs to be part of your overall marketing plan.

Here are some tips to sharpen your social media savvy:

  • Make sure your blog and each post have direct links to social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Stumblupon, and so on.
  • Send a notice and a link to each new blog post when it is published.
  • Establish a presence by posting updates regularly. Announce new products and services, make offers, share information, etc.
  • Join — or form your own — special interest groups on social media sites and participate in conversations to demonstrate your expertise.
  • Learn how to use hashtags (#) and backlinks to drive people to your website and blog.

To be effective at social media is about so much more than setting up accounts and letting them tick over.

I know you know this.

I know you also know that managing social media is a time-consuming task.

This is where the right tool comes into play. With the right tool in your box, you can manage your time online so much more effectively and efficiently. @Marie Ennis-O’Connor, 10 Free Tools To Help You Save Time On Social Media Tasks

If you do not have time to set and manage social media to your advantage, you can hire a social media manager or virtual assistant to set up and maintain a social media presence.

Strategy 11: Always Respond to Comments

Blogging is by far the easiest/best way to become a better person. You’re constantly having your views attacked/challenged, while others keep their thoughts to themselves. Congratulations, you’re going to grow 1,000% faster than everybody else. Tom Kuegler50 Things I Learned after 50 Months of Blogging.

When someone takes time to let you know how your post affected them, make sure you respond. Freely answer questions and engage people in a dialogue. This is a sign that you are reaching people. Even if the response is critical or negative, take it seriously and be courteous in reply. Every comment you receive is a sign that you’re doing something right or that you need to make changes.

Strategy 12: Blog Writing Made Easy

blog writing made easy
Credit: geralt @pixabay

Here is a quick, easy formula for writing a blog post.

  1. Start by taking one problem your clients have. For example, an image consultant may have clients who want to update their wardrobes without spending a lot of money. A tax consultant probably has clients who want to save taxes.
  2. Write a short description of the problem and how it affects your clients.
  3. Describe what your clients will gain or avoid by solving their problems. The image consultant’s client will save money while being fashion-forward. The tax consultant’s client will put more money in their pockets.
  4. Offer three solutions to the problem, preferably tied to services or products that you offer.
  5. Devote one or two paragraphs to each solution. In our example, the image consultant could write about using accessories to update clothing, adding one or two trendy pieces, and mixing and matching existing pieces in new ways. The tax consultant could create a list of often-overlooked ways to reduce taxes.
  6. End with a list of tips, action steps, or a checklist the reader can use to implement an immediate solution.
  7. Add your contact information and a free offer that takes readers to your website or a landing page.

That’s it — writing a blog post in five easy steps.

The real entrepreneur starts with a target market. He or she observes people from that market, talks to them, listens to them and constantly keeps trying to figure out which problems they solve. @Tim Rettig, How to Find a Great Target Market

Should You Work with a Professional Writer?

You probably have heard about ghostwriters. Ghostwriters create communications that are published over the name of the client. No one knows you hired a ghost to write it for you.

Ghostwriters make sense if your writing skills are weak, or you don’t have the time to write and edit your own work.

While you can hire someone to write for a couple of dollars, you probably will get something that doesn’t work and often is grammatically incorrect. Inferior writing will not enhance your business or reputation.

In addition, inexpensive writers rarely take the time to review your objectives, evaluate your existing content and brand messaging, and suggest blog topics that integrate with everything else.

You don’t want a ghost blogger who pushes out generic content that anyone could have written. You also don’t want someone who doesn’t care if you get any results from your blogging efforts.

Your blog is one of your most strategic content tools and must support your business.

A ghostwriter will charge a per-blog or per-month fee or a flat fee for several months of blogs. The cost depends on:

  • The technical complexity of the content
  • The amount and type of original research the ghost must perform
  • Integration with your other content and brand messaging
  • Adding links to other posts and your website
  • SEO optimization
  • The cost of images

Put Your Blog to Work for Your Business

Blogging regularly to up a following takes time and effort. The key to success is using strategies that leverage your efforts to deliver results. As much as possible, automate the task of turning your blog into a marketing machine by creating systems and processes that you follow every time you sit down to write.

Patricia Haddock is a full-time professional writer, consultant, and trainer who helps entrepreneurs and career professionals overcome obstacles to unstoppable success. Visit her new, just-published blog for a free checklist to turn one client problem into an entire line of passive income products at www.theunstoppableprofessional.com.

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