Why are blogs important for your business? There are many reasons, but here are just a few:
- A business blog has tremendous SEO benefit and can help you attract high-quality leads.
- B2B marketers that use blogs receive 67 percent more leads than those that do not.
- Companies that blog have 97 percent more inbound links than those who do not.
- Information discovery is a fundamental part of the customer journey. By having a business blog that informs your customers (instead of selling to them), you are assisting them on their path to purchase.
So, we’ve made the case for business blogging. Now, let’s talk about how to get readers. To make your business blog stand out in your niche, you’ll need a way to separate yourself from the other business blogs.
How to do that is fairly simple, and these blogging best practices and tips are designed to get you on the right track.
- Excellent Blog Design
First impressions count! When you’re just starting out with your business blog, you may think having a kickass website design is difficult.
It’s not. Here’s the good news. You can get one for less than $100.
In fact, you don’t need to hire a designer. All you need is a Genesis framework and a theme.
The best Genesis frameworks will cost you about $59.95 while a simple one will cost about $35-40.
Here’s Short of Height, the blog that I launched with $90.
It’s minimal, fits with my lifestyle, and is relevant to the brand. I’m sure you can do something similar with a $100 budget.
- Write Outstanding Content
You cannot fail by providing superior content. That sounds easy, right?
Then why aren’t many business blogs doing it? There are a lot of blogs that publish quality content, but not many take it to the next level.
Here’s how to take it to the next level.
With Buzzsumo you can easily find the most shared content and put your twist on it. I’ve personally done this for many business blogs that I contribute to and have found great success. Many of these posts have over thousands of shares on social media. It all started with a little research on these two websites.
Write longer. Most business blogs keep posts between 500 to 600 words long. But longer blog posts allow you to explain in greater detail and give a company room to inject some personality into posts – something readers enjoy. A long form blog post can be 1,100 words or more and is designed to really dig into a topic and provide more than just fluff. This post fits into that category.
I have also written blog posts that are 2,000-4,000 words in length. Those tend to be tutorials or more researched-based post or eguides and they are designed to attract a reader who really wants to know more.
For example, this post, 30 Legendary Startup Pitch Decks, has over 2,000 shares. It has over 2,700 words and is packed with information that readers want.
Write like you speak. Many business blogs make the mistake of have a tone that is too formal. It may work for some, but it may also come across as monotonous and you run the risk of putting your readers to sleep.
The most successful business blogs are written by people who understand that their readers are people, and few people are interested in dry, boring, or worse, sales-pitchy business blog posts. My best tip is to simply write how you speak. This allows you to humanize your blog and if you can, find a way to add a dose of fun and some personality to your writing. It will deliver big benefits for you.
When I started writing, many commented that I should be writing more professionally since my target market was marketers and they tend to be ‘serious’ (according to them).
When I followed that advice, I lost interest in writing because it wasn’t ME. Traffic dropped, shares dipped, and my readers lost interest in my blog. I decided just to be me and write the way that felt more natural to me.
A few days ago, I got featured as one of the top 100 online marketers. One of the metrics use as criteria for the award was based on blog writing.
Tell great stories. Humans have been listening and sharing stories for as long as we’ve been using language to communicate. There is research that shows different parts of our brain light up, or go active, when we are listening to stories.
Stories can connect your business to your research. You can share stories by sharing your experience. Share what happened, how experiences affected you, and how you’ve overcome obstacles.
Your experiences and your unique story are your advantages. Use them instead of holding back.
Don’t ignore data. There is a reason that data is so popular. When analyzed, it provides valuable insight that you may not see at first glance. Data provides concrete information that you can make inferences from. Readers want to know that what you’re saying has merit and there is hard evidence to prove it.
You may have noticed more posts using the phrase ‘backed by science’ in their title. Prove your points by supporting them with data. Help your readers relate to the information you share.
- Use Quality Images and Graphics
Blogging and social media are increasingly dependent on visuals in recent years. Thirty four percent of marketers selected visual assets as their most important content in blogging, according to a survey last year, and visuals continue to be critical in today’s blogging environment.
Using appealing images with your business blog posts will make your blog more attractive to readers and posts with visuals get shared more often than those that don’t include a visual.
Here’s the thing. In many cases, stock photos won’t cut it. A lot of blogs use them, we can all spot them, and they definitely won’t make you stand out from the crowd.
Here’s what you can do instead.
Design your own. You can design your professional images the way successful blogs like Post Planner do for all their photos. They stand out.
Use simple images. You can also use simple images to represent what your blog post is about. Simple images are harder to pinpoint, because we all will have different perspectives on what simple images are, but use your imagination and I have no doubt you’ll come up with some cool ideas. Just think about what appeals to you, as a consumer, and let that drive you.
Jeff Goins does a great job of using simple images to complement his content. Look at his blog posts. In How I Published a Bestseller, got a 6-figure Book Contract, & Made a Million Dollars, Jeff used an image of people hiking on a mountain.
It’s simple, symbolic, and stands out.
Use a headline image. The importance of a headline image can’t be overstated. Sometimes the whole success of a blog post rests on a combination of that headline image and a catchy title. These are the first things that a potential reader sees about your blog post that draw a prospective reader in and gets a click. Use sites like pexels or unsplash as mentioned above to find a simple image, and then use Canva to incorporate the headline.
Here’s one I created for this blog post. It took me just a few minutes. Remember to create different variations and use dimensions for sharing on the various social media platforms so that your headline images will have the perfect look and feel for each particular network.
- Be Consistent
Consistency is key and a waning commitment to creating and publishing content is the number one reasons that business blogs fail.
How to remedy that? Get on a blogging schedule and stick to it. If you can manage to develop enough relevant content that you can publish daily without compromising your content, that’s fantastic. If you can only feasibly commit to publishing once a week, commit to that and make it happen.
I once read a blog that posted daily. I and many of their readers came to expect that daily post. One day, they skipped a post. No explanation. Many readers wondered what happened to them, but then moved on. The blog continued to post, but less frequently. Their schedule went from daily to once every few weeks, and their readership declined because they weren’t top of mind for most of their readers.
If you can tie your blog posts to themes, that’s even better. Think Thursday Tip! or Monday Manual! You’ll open a world of ideas for writing posts and your readers will be enticed to stick around because they know what to expect.
Blogging is an important part of an integrated marketing strategy for just about any business. It can help educate and inform both your customers and your prospects, and play a vital role in the purchase path for your customers. Blogging can also help show the human side of your business, and play a big role in building long-lasting relationships with customers.
Even if you focus on only one of the points above, I predict you will notice a positive impact on both your blog and your business. Put all the tips into practice and you will you make a significant difference that will no doubt make your blog stand out from the crowd.