You heard about the benefits of business blogging and decided to create one for your own company, but now you’re not seeing the results you wanted. Don’t take this as a sign that you should abandon the project altogether! Blogging takes time and dedication (no blog is going to become a success overnight), and whether you’ve been at it for a few weeks, or a few years, there are number of things you can do to help get the most out of your blog.
Here are 5 actionable tips you can start using right away to improve your blog.
1. Schedule Posts Using an Editorial Calendar
Consistency and frequency are key to blogging success. According to HubSpot, blogs with twenty posts each month get five times more traffic than blogs with fewer than four posts per month. While not all businesses will be able to produce a new piece of content every day, getting organized with an editorial calendar will help you reach the content volume goal that you set. If the term “editorial calendar” sounds intimidating, don’t worry, it simply means scheduling out your blog content in a calendar format. The method you choose is entirely up to you; options range from WordPress plugins and free templates you can download online, to Excel spreadsheets, and even paper calendars.
Whichever option you pick, make sure that you’re plotting out (at minimum) the subject of the blog, the author, and the date it’s due. Whether you’re the sole writer for your blog or your working with an entire team, an editorial calendar will keep you on track, instead of sitting around waiting for ‘inspiration’ to strike. Not only will you be producing more content, but your readers will also come to expect – and look forward to – your new posts. If there are multiple contributors to your blog, a calendar ensures everyone knows what they’re responsible for, and acts as an easy way for writers to see what type of content has already been posted / will be posted to avoid creating duplicate content. Here’s a hypothetical editorial calendar that ProBlogger put together to demonstrate how you can schedule content as well as blog related tasks (such as commenting or writing guest posts) using Google Calendar.
2. Set Goals for Your Blog and Include CTAs to Achieve Them
You’re company has a blog because, ideally, you want your readers to do something more than simply enjoy the content you share. Each post should have a purpose beyond bringing in traffic to your website. Do you want to build your social media following? Are you looking for more leads? Including relevant calls to action (CTAs) at the end of each post tells consumers what you’d like them to do next, and makes it easy for them to complete the action.
For instance, if your goal is to increase your social media fan base, you could include a box at the end of your blog encouraging readers to follow you on Twitter or Facebook in order to receive exclusive offers, company updates, or notifications when you publish new content. Make the process simpler by including buttons that link directly to whichever social media profiles you want them to visit. Alternatively, if your goal is to generate more leads, at the end of a post you could include an offer for a free eBook your company created on a related topic. By requiring information such as name, company, and email address from readers before they can download the offer, you now have the ability to convert unknown blog visitors into leads. The example below is from HubSpot’s blog, and has two different CTAs, one to register for an upcoming event and one to subscribe to their blog content, found at the end of each of their recent posts.
3. Write What Your Customers Want to Read
Writing about a variety of topics appeals to a wider variety of readers, which means more traffic to your site, right? Wrong! This lack of focus ultimately harms your blog by preventing you from building up a loyal following of readers. For instance, if you enjoy this post on blogging you may choose to look through the rest of the company’s blog, expecting to find more useful marketing tips and information; as a reader, you’d be confused (not to mention disappointed) to find a whole host of miscellaneous content.
Deciding on a theme for your blog and focusing your posts on relevant topics allows you to build your company’s status as an authority within your industry. Having a smaller number of consumers who view your site as a helpful resource is better than having a high volume of traffic made up of visitors who never return to your site. Another thing to keep in mind is that no one will want to read post after post about your company and your products. Always write with your audience (your target customers) in mind; when brainstorming blog post idea, put yourself in your reader’s shoes and think, would I want to read this post? Notice how the categories listed on Internet Marketing Ninja’s blog are industry specific, and deliver on their promise of “the latest SEO Industry news, notes, and chat.”
4. Get Social and Share Your Content
Even the best content needs help getting found. Take advantage of the power of your social networks and consistently promote your blog posts across your company’s Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ pages. Creating a check list, or automating the process, will ensure that every new post gets shared with your fans and followers (just make sure that you’re not only sharing your own content). You can also submit your posts to link sharing sites, like StumbleUpon, to reach even more readers.
In additional to promoting your blog, social media makes it easy for other people to share too. The best way to encourage sharing is including social share buttons directly on each post. This allows readers to easily share content with just a click of their mouse, and lets them see how popular the post they’re reading is. If you’re reading this on Powered by Search’s blog, you’ve probably noticed the bar along the left hand side of the post that lets you quickly share this content with your own social media followers.
5. Optimize Your Blog for Search Engines
Another thing you can do to help customers find your content is search engine optimization. While your blog posts should be written for your target customers first and foremost, there are some simple SEO steps you can take to improve your posts organic search ranking.
The first step is to come up with a list of keywords related to your products and industry that you want your blog posts to rank for. While creating this list it’s important to think about what your target customers are searching for, but don’t forget that popular keywords are harder to rank for. Focus on one target keyword per post, and include that keyword in the title, URL, and meta description. Titling your images and adding tags to your posts also helps tell search engines what your content is all about. Setting up Google Authorship is another simple thing you can do to make your links more credible, and make them stand out from search results by placing an author photo beside the description.
New to SEO? Check out this guide for the best free SEO tools you can use to get started.