The Fundamentals of Blogging – Inbound Methodology
Blogging is critical to internet (inbound) marketing and success in eBusiness. Blogs (blog posts) not only allow you to demonstrate thought leadership, but they allow you to educate your prospects, answer their questions and solve their problems. Blog posts are also incredible at enhancing the search engine optimization (SEO) of your website. They help to generate more visits, leads and customers.
Blogging fits into the “Attract” stage of Inbound Methodology – We blog [write blog posts] to attract the right kind of website visitors to our website.
Did you know that companies that blog get 55% more web traffic and 70% more leads than those that don’t?
Why are blogs important for business?
Blogs provide business owners with unprecedented ways of reaching and engaging with large audiences in a way that the traditional one-way information push of a company Web site could never do. Not only this, but blogs can help put a human face to your business while showcasing your knowledge and passion for your chosen field. For example, a business owner can share knowledge of industry trends and expertise. Just about anyone from a landscaping business to an IT company can share tips of the trade that connect them with their customer base. And unlike the static content of a business Web site, blogs are collaborative and invite comment – a great way to engage with and solicit feedback from your customers!
Blogs can even be lead generating. If you can create content that’s relevant and useful to your audience, your search engine optimization will go through the roof.
If you are thinking of starting a blog you need to have an underlying strategy in place to ensure it is a success. Here are four things to consider before you enter the world of blogging or blogosphere:
1. Identify a Purpose, Goal and Intention for your Blog
While you obviously want to promote your business, don’t be over-promotional in your blog content strategy. Decide early on what you want to accomplish with your blog – and this should drive your content.
Most blogs are typically centered on positioning businesses or business owners as thought leaders in their space or for sharing information and tips that readers find useful. For other ideas on how to shape your blog strategy, Get ebook – Introduction to Business Blogging to learn the basics.
Once you have defined your goal, be sure to adhere to it. Consider publishing your blog objective on your blog home page or intro. For example, the objective of a hypothetical company – My Business Services – might be to provide tips that help consumers maintain a thriving business, online and offline, which could be summarized and published as: Better Business Blog Tips (hope that’s not a real blog) from our team of experts to keep your business operating at its online and offline.
2. Getting Started – Blog Software
Once you have decided to start blogging, you will need to consider the software options available for hosting your blog. Many social media experts advise businesses to be wary of some of the free blog tools available, since their basic features don’t offer integration with existing business Web domains or allow for brand customization.
Truth be told, however, if you are just getting started with a blog, free blogging software can be a cost-effective and easy solution for many small businesses and entrepreneurs. Plan for future.. Develop an effective eBusiness strategy. If your blog does take off down the road, you might want to consider migrating to blog software that is installed on your domain and integrated with your Web site. And don’t forget to devise a communication plan to let your readers know that you are moving hosts!
3. Commit to Blogging Regularly and with Relevance
There are two tell tale signs that a blog has lost its way – no posts for two weeks or more, and content that has veered off course. Neither will give a favorable impression of your business or company.
A good way to keep posts regular is to share duties with others. This also adds a diversity of voices. Having an editorial calendar can also keep you on track. Written in advance (for the coming month or quarter), an editorial calendar should include not just the working title of upcoming posts, but a summary of the objective of each post too. Also include hyperlinks to other resources that can help you craft your post quickly and efficiently when it comes time to write. Don’t forget to include placeholders for topical posts that spring up at the last minute. For example, in the case of our hypothetical company – Better Business Blog Tips – topical posts that address current issues such as Social media marketing trends can keep your blog relevant and compelling.
4. Develop a Plan to Generate Traffic to your Blog
Last, but by anymeans least, generating traffic to your blog is critical. The trouble is, many bloggers either do nothing to leverage the tactics available to them, or they go overboard and saturate their blog pages with links and social media icons to drive inbound traffic.
There are many traditional and non-traditional ways to drive traffic to your blog – from ensuring you have RSS feeds built in to adding a link to your blog from other customer touch points such as your email signature and main business Web site. This article from *Louis Gray – “10 Pointers for Generating Traffic to Your Blog” – is essential reading to get any blogger started in thinking about ways to promote their blog content and drive inbound traffic.