If the answer's "no," it may be time to start one. Content marketing should be a major component of your organization's larger outreach efforts, and a business blog can play a big role in these campaigns.
Here are five tips to help rock your business blogging and content marketing strategy.
1. Settle on a style
One of the rules that is common to virtually all types of marketing is the need for consistency. Despite what many people claim, surprises usually aren't all that popular. Consumers would much rather know what they are getting themselves into than experience the unexpected.
That's true when it comes to business blogging, as well. For a blog to be successful, it needs to attract a large audience and, crucially, it needs to hold on to those readers. And if you want readers to keep coming back for more content, you need to firmly establish what they can expect from your blog.
That's why style is so important. You want your blog to have a distinct, stable style. Whether it's serious or funny, casual or formal, the writing will help you to attract and hold readers. Obviously, any given style is going to be off-putting to some consumers. That's okay. If you try to please everyone, you'll only end up pleasing no one. It's far better to settle on a style and then work to perfect it, maximizing your appeal to your chosen audience.
A style guide is very useful in this capacity, as industry expert Jason Baker explained to Business News Daily. While a style guide won't have an impact on the tone of your blog, it can smooth out inconsistencies in many other areas.
"Having a standard way to deal with names, capitalization, italics, links, etc., helps you establish that trust," Baker said, the source reported. "And if your blog features multiple writers, a style guide will help you bring all those voices under one roof."
2. Have a content strategy
But creating a blog with worthwhile content, produced regularly, is a lot easier said than done. It can be a genuine struggle to come up with new blog topics day after day, especially if you have a lot of other responsibilities at your business that demand your attention.
To overcome this problem, you should consider developing a detailed content creation strategy. This should include not just what kinds of subjects you plan on covering in the future, but an actual calendar, complete with potential headlines and sources. The more information you can plan out in advance, the better. If you don't have this plan in place, you'll either be forced to scramble in order to meet deadlines, or miss deadlines and potentially lose readers.
A content strategy can also address the question of who's going to write all of these blog posts. If you are the sole writer, then that's not an issue. But if you're divvying up the workload among a number of employees, it's important to have assignments distributed well in advance so that there is no last-minute confusion that can undermine your posting schedule.
3. Editing matters
Editing is a key component of successful business blogs, according to Baker. Specifically, editing can improve your blog posts in two ways. First and most obviously, proofreading will help ensure that everything you offer to your readers is grammatically correct without any typos, misused words or other silly, avoidable mistakes. These are the types of errors that can be difficult for the person who wrote the blog post to see, but easy for someone with another perspective to catch. It only takes a few extra minutes, and it can save your company a tremendous amount of embarrassment down the road, Baker explained. After all, these mistakes will reflect extremely poorly on your company, making your company appear unprofessional and sloppy.
The other way that editing can have a major impact is in terms of the style. As mentioned before, you want to establish and maintain a consistent style for all of your blog posts. This can be tricky for one writer, and even harder if you have a team in place. A style guide can help, but even more useful is a single editor overseeing all content. This way, you'll have one person in place who can offer feedback and make adjustments to smooth over differences, making it seem that all of the content meets your standards.
4. So does design
Most people realize that design matters a tremendous amount when it comes to websites. The same goes for business blogs, as Chic Marketing contributor Amanda Clark recently highlighted. When you create a new blog, you will have a number of templates to choose from, along with many optional features. If you go with a poor design, your blog will suffer.
Clark recommended limiting the sidebars, widgets and other flashy, unnecessary details that can potentially surround your blog posts. While it may be tempting to jazz up the page, these offerings can often distract readers from the blog itself, driving away your fans. However, she asserted that you should absolutely include social media buttons, making it easy for readers to share your content through their various social channels. This will tremendously help improve your blogs exposure, gaining new readers with every post. The easier you can make it for your readers to share your blog posts, the more of them will do so - it's as simple as that.
5. Generate conversation
But what makes a reader want to share your blog post? There needs to be something compelling about it, something that makes readers want to get other reactions to the piece. That means you should aim to generate conversations with your blog posts. You want people who read your content to immediately feel the desire to weigh in and share their own thoughts and feelings on the topic in question.
That doesn't mean that you need to be controversial with your blog posts. That works for some companies, but for others, it's simply too big a risk. But you can definitely encourage conversation even without controversy. The key is to offer a unique opinion on the subject matter in question. If your blog has a very clear point of view, then readers can agree or disagree with it, even if the argument you make is not controversial. If you offer a bland blog post without any viewpoint, though, no one will feel compelled to add their own opinion to the topic.
If you have a business blog, how do you keep it exciting over time?