How to make your business blog successful and get more readers

Lead Forensics, Thursday 12 January 2017

A business man at his laptop, looking at a Blog pageDo you feel like your business blogging efforts are falling a bit flat? Are you spending hours and hours writing blog posts that hardly ever get noticed?

Don’t worry, it happens to the best of us!

Here, we take a look at 8 super-hot tips, designed to improve your results and help you achieve the impact you’re looking for.

Setting up a business blog is a key part of any comprehensive content marketing strategy. Get it right and it can help you achieve some great things:

1. It can position you as an expert on your chosen topic

2. Help you shorten your sales cycles

3. Help you get found on search engines

4. Give you content you can share across your social channels

5. Help you build a ‘community’ (aka create an audience)

6. Help you drive sales by turning anonymous visitors into known leads who can then be passed on to sales

So, it’s time to get your blogs the attention they deserve.

 

8 hot tips for high impact business blogging

1. Find your super niche

We get it, you know a great deal about a lot of things and it can be tempting to write about all those topics - particularly for bigger companies. But in order to achieve your goals, it's better to focus on a niche area you can ‘own’.

Choose one topic that you think will be your strongest. Search for the topic online and see what the competition is doing, then make sure you do it 10 times better! In today's online world, it will take time to rise to the top, so choose wisely.

One exception would be to go super niche, with a topic that’s only relevant to a few people. But if those specific people find you, then you're winning.

Often it isn't so much about the actual numbers you achieve - whether that’s 100, 1000 or 10,000 visitors to your site. It's more important who visits and that you achieve your lead generation goals.

If you're selling a commodity the number will have to be high and you need to churn out a lot of content to get there. However, if you're a small B2B niche, then sometimes all you need is some solid pieces of content to start ranking.

It is, of course, possible to then venture out into other topics, but your main goal should always be to master a specific topic, then perhaps add another one. You may also want to do different blogs for different target audiences (something HubSpot, among others, does very successfully).

2. Address the problems of your readers

In business blogging, it’s usually down to one person who will write and plan the blog topics. Now you may ask, ‘what's wrong with that?’ and the answer is nothing - except it may not be hitting the mark with your readers.

You need to consider what will be of genuine interest to your target audience and write articles for them that solve their issues and answer their questions.

People don't care about you and your products, people just care about their own problems! David Meerman Scott

The most important question to ask yourself when you start blogging is "How can I be useful to my readers?". If you do that, what follows will be well received by your audience.

Marcus Sheridan is a great example.

Top tip: Want to know what other people are talking about in your niche? Hop over to Buzzsumo and find out.

3. Write blogs that are 10 times better than other people's

We’ve touched on this already but your articles need to be 10 times better than any existing ones. Without that, you won't be found on search engines. Google and others are now using more and more sophisticated techniques to find answers to the questions people are searching for.

In the past, SEO (search engine optimization) was as simple as setting up a blog and writing articles around a set of specific keywords. Mention them often enough and you would rank.

Now, the most important thing is the quality of the content. So, longer articles are performing better, lots of internally linked articles works well (because it helps Google and others understand the overall topics of your blog) and in general, the rule of thumb is to become the best commentator on any one topic.

4.Think about regularity and length

Having clockwork regularity with your posts is not as important as it once was. No one who reads your blog will be checking up on you!

Certainly, the frequency of your posts shouldn't be too stretched out. But even with a small blog, a few articles can rank well if those articles are high quality and in a particular niche. It basically always boils down to the topic you have chosen and what the existing competition is.

The issue of blog length is always a hotly debated topic. Some suggest they should be 800-1000 words, but recently posts around 1600 words have performed the best. In the end, what matters most is quality. To string out a post just because you want to hit a certain number of words simply won’t work.

Instead, focus on explaining everything in a succinct way. Don't try to stretch out your word length for the sake of it. If it takes 800 words to say what you want to say, then fine. Equally, if you need 3000 words to do it, then as long as you can maintain the quality, that's ok too.

5. Headlines are super important

Having a strong, eye-catching headline is really important. That’s what will get your blog posts read.

This example describes it well. In 2012 Forbes took a story from the New York Times (NYT) and got a lot more traffic for it. In fact, the NYT got 12,900 views and Forbes 680,000 views.

How? By changing the headline:

"How Companies Learn Your Secrets"
“How Target Figured Out a Teen Girl Was Pregnant Before Her Father Did”

Guess which one was which....

Copyblogger suggests spending at least half your time figuring out a great headline.

6. Make your blog Google-friendly

Apart from writing outstanding and high quality content (one of the most important criteria) there are a couple of technical things you can also do, to help you be found on Google.

In their own starter guide Google suggests:

  • Use the meta tag description (short summary in one sentence what to expect from the content)
  • Make navigation of your site easy
  • Use keywords in the URL and avoid long URLs
  • Write descriptive anchor link texts (e.g. "read this white paper on calculating supply need" instead of "click here")
  • Use subheadings
  • Use alt-text for each image (this is also important for accessibility of your website, reading the alt-text is how blind people get to know what's on an image)

7. Links and backlinks - find good sources

Google still uses links and backlinks to determine successful websites. If many pages (particularly from good sources) link back to your site, then this is seen as an indication of good quality. This simply means the more external links you can get pointing back to your site, the better.

So, how do you go about getting these backlinks?

Again, this has changed in recent years. Google now understands well what a true backlink is (i.e. a genuine recommendation) and what’s not.

One tactic you can apply is to strategically link to specific sources in your industry. In other words, share their links and help them rank better.

After you've done that a couple of times, you can reach out in an email to them, to let them know that you value their content and link back to it often. Ask if there's an opportunity for them to link back to you as well, or at least to share your content on social media.

It’s a good idea to build a referral and influencer network that will help you amplify your own content. It won't be difficult if you excel at the most important issue with your blog – excellent quality writing.

8. Build your list

When you finally get traction, and start driving traffic to your blog, if you don't offer a way for those visitors to be converted into leads, then it will all have been for nothing. What you need to do is start gathering email addresses at the very least.

The most valuable asset any company holds is its own database. Nothing beats a nurtured, up to date database of contacts. It is the holy grail for any serious B2B marketer.

In order to build one via your business blog, you need a conversion option. Like the one below this post that leads to a landing page, where visitors can enter their email address in exchange for receiving a piece of content that interests them.  

Bear in mind that this downloadable content needs to be truly valuable, so they deem it to be worthwhile giving you their email address. It should not be advertising for your products - that type of content is useful much later on in the nurturing process.

 

Key learnings

So, what have we learned?

  • Successful business blogging is about narrowing down your topic to find a super niche area you can dominate
  • Blogs should address the interests and problems of your target audience, not talk about you and how great you are
  • Posting regularly is good but producing high quality is more important
  • Nobody will read your post if the headline is weak or uninteresting
  • You can increase your traffic with on page SEO (making content Google friendly) and backlinks
  • To make the most of the traffic you’re generating, you need to turn visitors into leads and for that, you need a conversion mechanism

Now it’s time to put it all into action and get writing some high impact blogs. Good luck!


Essential Guide to getting started with content marketing

Topics: Content marketing, Drive Traffic

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