Committing to content development takes up valuable time – and that’s time you might think you’d rather spend on straight business development. But we hope that by now we’ve convinced you that content development IS business development and that you’ve decided to add blogging to your marketing efforts. Remember, building a business blog following from scratch is a process that takes time – realistically you may be blogging for six months or a year before seeing noticeable engagement. That said, here are 13 ways to speed up that process:
1) Brand it like a boss
Don’t just talk about your business blog in the abstract! Give people the title and make sure you mention your company name, too, whenever you’re networking. Put your blog’s name and url on my business card. Make sure the link is easy to find on your business’ website and that the design of your blog harmonizes with your overall website design. Present your blog as important and people will want to check it out.
2) Steer clear of hype
Too many business blogs are just vehicles for product promotion. There’s no objectivity at all, just constant cheerleading. Your blog is not the venue for tooting your own horn, but rather a spot where you can offer your customers and potential customers something of value that they won’t find anywhere else. If people can find what they need at your blog, they’ll keep coming back.
3) Invite and then respond to comments
Blogging should be part of your business’ overall social media strategy, which means that it can’t be a one-way street. Make sure your comment preferences are set to ON and assign someone at your company the task of moderating the comments that do come in. Maybe that same person is responsible for answering questions or responding to comments. People like to feel like their voices are being heard.
4) Be real
Ideally, you’ll have an actual person who understands your business writing your blog posts, but if you do decide to work with a company to enhance your blog consider creating a persona with a face and a name. This persona becomes the voice of your brand – someone relatable that customers and potential customers can connect with.
5) Don’t neglect the content
While you’re doing all this branding and social management and personalization, remember that blogging is also about adding quality content to your website for people and for the search engines. In fact, 80-90% of your efforts should be focused on creating or sourcing high quality content that gives your readers something of value.
6) Stop stretching yourself so thin
Focus your promotional efforts on what will give you the most value. Is Pinterest where your audience is, you should be there, too. If your audience avoids Twitter like the plague, what are you doing there? Concentrate on giving people value – don’t spend tons of time commenting on other people’s blogs or retweeting. Work at making your own blog a place where people want to be.
7) Ask for comments. Be blatant
End every post with a question that invites people to contribute their own take on the topic at hand. Doing this not only gets conversations going, but also gives you a source of ideas for future content. You’ll find out what people want to know more about, what problems they have that you can solve, and who exactly your audience is.
8) Bravely express opinions
We’re not suggesting you reveal anything controversial about yourself, but if you have strong thoughts about what’s happening in your industry, share them on your business blog! You’ll either get a whole bunch of people agreeing with you, in which case you’ve just attracted your newest team of cheerleaders, OR you’ll get a whole bunch of people disagreeing with you, and the resultant debate might just go viral.
9) Link to your stuff
Whenever there’s a blog post relevant to what you’re doing in the moment, share it. Whenever one of your company blog posts is relevant to a current event, share it and explain why it’s related. Look for any opportunity to highlight one of your company blog posts on Facebook, Twitter, in an email… anywhere!
10) Don’t follow the herd
Reposting the same five links that everyone in your industry is posting that day doesn’t do anything to set you apart. Instead, look for ways to take that same viral idea and share it in your own voice so your blog post is the one being shared.
11) Switch things up
If all your posts are the same length, the same format, and cover the same topics, people are going to get bored. And boring people should be something you actively avoid. Change how you blog for business on a day to day basis – even if you secretly follow an editorial calendar from month to month to make things easier on yourself – and readers will keep coming back to see what cool thing you’re going to do next.
12) SEO is important, but don’t go overboard
Keywords can actually be helpful as you create a content development plan. Those same keywords, used in excess in your business blog posts, can actually be a huge turnoff to readers. Generating traffic by giving people cool content can be a slow process, but it’s worth the time it takes to build a loyal readership (and a loyal readership trumps pure pageviews).
13) Use an editor
Things like typos in your headlines and bad writing in your posts will negate all of the effort you put into your blog because errors like that are a sure sign that you don’t actually care enough to put real effort into blogging.
Have you seen your business blog blow up after committing to content development?