Business blogging is a form of content creation that can build credibility and top-of-mind awareness for your brand. And, it can be one of the easiest, most powerful ways your business shares information and engages readers.
The benefits of blogging for business are well-documented. But, getting started can be difficult for businesses who are new to the idea of blogging. Once you're well-equipped with the necessary tools and a few blogging tips for businesses, you'll be able to hit the ground running. Here's what you need to know.
A Targeted Audience
The first thing you want to decide is who you’re talking to in your blog posts. Ask yourself:
Who do I want to read my blog?
Who am I trying to attract?
What would they want to learn from my business?
As you can tell from the questions, you want to get more specific than “someone.”
With business blogging, it’s important to consider who might read your information and find it helpful and interesting. Ideally, your target blog audience is your ideal customer or client. Think about what their questions are, what kind of issues they have, and how your blog can show them that you are a knowledgeable, reliable source for industry information.
Once you’ve nailed down who your target audience is, think about what you can talk to them about. When choosing blog topics, keyword research is vital. Why? Because keywords help your audience find information. So, incorporating those keywords makes it more likely your content will be read by your audience.
Use keyword research to help identify the words or phrases your audience is searching for and seeking information about. When your audience is looking for information, and they see a keyword in your title that is related to their search, they know they’re in the right place.
Instead of aimlessly writing a business blog post without an optimized keyword or phrase, do some research upfront. Then, decide what benefit(s) your blog will bring to others.
A Catchy Title
Ok, so you’ve got an audience in mind, and you did your keyword research thing, now what? It's time to name your blog post.
A great blog has a catchy title, but not one that leaves readers wondering what it's about. There is a delicate balance between creating a title that is intriguing and makes someone want to read more, and writing one that causes confusion. To help avoid confusion, work on crafting a business blog post title that incorporates your keyword or keyword phrase – this will spark interest in your audience.
Here are five best practices for a blog title:
Never promise something in your title that you don't deliver in the blog.
Be concise and to the point - for SEO and short attention spans.
Try to keep blog titles at 70 characters or less. (Otherwise, the title will get cut off in search engine results pages.)
Include at least one keyword. (I know, I know. I already said this. But it is extremely important, especially if you want to show up in search engines.)
Make it pop, spark, stick, and catch; make it click-worthy. Easier said than done, but it will increase the odds that people will choose your article out of the thousands of options available.
The Right Word Count
Research shows that on average, we read blog posts for about seven minutes. After that time, we only continue reading if we find value in the information and are interested in learning more. If we’re not hooked in the first minute or two (your intro and first few lines), readers leave. Knowing this, how can you decide the right length of your blog post? It’s a bit of an art, and there isn’t necessarily a right or wrong answer.
In seven minutes, an average blog reader reads and absorbs between 500 and 800 words. When writing blogs, our team sticks to posts between 600-700 words. A blog post within this word count window is long enough to be thorough and dive into a particular subject, but is also easily digested.
If you start writing and your blog is over 1,000 words, consider splitting it into a two-part blog series and elaborating a bit more. If you don’t think there’s enough worthwhile information to share in two blogs, go through your content with a fine-tooth comb and focus in on your idea and tighten up your wording.
Of course, there are always exceptions to this rule suggestion, and proper length will depend on your audience, topic, and voice or writing style. For example, this blog is right around the 1,200-word mark, but it is fitting for the nature of the blog. It is OK to break the rules once and a while, as long as it is intentional and purposeful.
A Complementary Photo
There are a number of different reasons to include an image in your blog post. For starters, it breaks up text and helps you use "white space" in your blog (readers really like white space). An image that complements the blog topic or further explains what you’re talking about can improve the flow of your blog.
It’s no secret that we live in a visual culture. Studies show that content with images gets more views. With the popularity of Pinterest, Instagram, and other social platforms at our fingertips, it is best to make content as shareable as possible. Pictures do just that. Blogging tips for businesses: make sure you use a professional, legal, and understandable photo – you don’t want your image to be the reason a reader is turned off by your brand or information.
A Related Call-to-Action
With our inbound marketing efforts, we’re continually talking about calls-to-actions (CTAs) and their importance for both your business and your audience. Think of a CTA as a suggestion for what you want your blog reader to do after they’ve finished looking over your blog post.
This action guides them along to their next step in their buying or information gathering process. Maybe you want them to do something simple like sign up for your newsletter or subscribe to blog posts. Or, maybe you have a great offer that would interest them and provide more information, so you ask them to download an eBook, Case Study, or Comparison Chart. Whatever your blog topic is, think through the purpose of it and what you’d like your audience to do after they’ve read through it.
But, make sure your CTA never asks readers to buy your product or service directly. Instead, CTAs should guide them along to the next step in the buyer’s journey. Hard selling within a blog post is a quick way to lose your reader’s trust; they'll assume you’re just making sales pitches, not providing information for their benefit.
Hopefully, this information gets you well on your way to creating awesome blog posts that you are proud to share with your customers, clients, and team. For more information on how you can make a killer business blog, download our Intro to Business Blogging eBook.
As Director of Inbound Marketing I get to explore all areas of marketing including writing, brainstorming, strategizing, analyzing, and thinking big. My enthusiasm for people and creativity fuels my commitment to creating inbound content that produces positive results for our clients. I love writing, talking, learning, laughing, doodling, and finding a great quote. Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, reading, all things musical, and being crafty.