Blogging Best Practices: Tips for Starting a Blog
Should I Start a Blog?
Tips for Starting a Blog
If you could do one thing for your business that would:
- Provide up to 67% more leads
- Position you as an industry thought leader
- Get 55% more website visitors
Would you do it? What if I told you that one thing was a commitment to regular, consistent blogging. Now, would you do it?
Here are three common reasons why more people are not regular bloggers:
- It takes too much time
- I don’t know enough about writing
- It’s too technical
Let’s address these concerns so you can decide if blogging is right for you.
I’d love to tell you that blogging is easy and it doesn’t take a lot of time. That might be true for the blogs you don’t read (or wouldn’t want to) and the blogs that don’t create the results stated above. But, creating content that readers value takes time, care and planning.
Here are some guidelines designed to save time.
- Make a plan
- Set goals — decide what you want from your blog.
- Know your audience. Knowing what you want to say and who you want to say it to is the difference between writing with purpose and merely putting letters on a page.
- Create and follow an editorial calendar
- Curate content from other sources:
- Your industry
- Your company
- Your geography
- Current events
- Utilize existing talent
- Sales and support staff
- Industry experts
A blog is a conversation, not a thesis. Over time you will develop an approach, a tone and voice that is uniquely yours. The sooner you find it and share it in your words, and style, the easier it will become to speak with it consistently. For clarity, each post on your blog should cover a single topic.
Make it yours. Be bold. Be opinionated. Tell your readers what you really think – even at the risk of being wrong. Use data to support your views.
Ensure each blog post has a purpose, whether you want to drive traffic, engage readers, change behavior, i.e. convert viewers to subscribers. Each post should be designed to encourage a specific behavior, such as growing your subscription list, with easy to follow instructions and a link to a landing page, for example, so you can capture contact information and let them know when you have new valuable content to share with them.
Follow these blog-writing guidelines:
- Make it visual.
- Use images to break up your text and make your post visually appealing.
- Include a unique image for each post that can be used in social shares.
- Make it pleasing to the eye.
- Create a reusable template.
Share it. Include social sharing buttons so it’s easy for readers to pass the post along to their own audience if they like it. Share it with your email lists, too. Be a true marketer: document and measure everything!
Every piece you write should resonate with your audience. When you produce quality content for people, the search engines will find you. However, set aside extra time to write a really good headline. What constitutes a really good headline? A really good headline grabs the reader’s attention but also describes your post.
The words used in a headline should be researched and optimized to correlate with search terms a reader from your potential audience would use to find information on this particular topic.
The best headlines are short. Technically, that means no longer than 70 characters so it does not get cutoff in search results. Each industry has its own ideal length. Finally, if you have a choice, place your keywords near the beginning of your title.
In order for your blog to stand out, it’s got to meet a lot of the criteria outlined here. Stimulate a reader’s mind by asking questions, being interesting and thought-provoking. Survey existing clients to find out what they are currently reading or what kind of information they want to learn about in your line of business. There’s no harm in asking – just remember to pay attention to feedback and respond accordingly.
Your blog should:
- Position you as a Subject Matter Expert
- Consist of content that is timely, relevant and meaningful (TRM)
- Tell a story
Over time your voice and your blog will build trust, credibility and value. According to a Technorati Media survey:
“Blogs were found to be the fifth-most trustworthy source for overall information on the Internet”
One of the biggest mistakes bloggers make is that they move to ‘sell’ before they have earned the right to do so. If you are committed to blogging on a regular basis and are providing value for your readers, you will generate a level of credibility and a following that will in time allow you to monetize your subscriber base.
Do not risk your ability to do this by selling before you have built the trust and respect of your audience. One of your goals is to become known as the blogger who is knowledgeable and concerned about others as opposed to self-serving. Don’t worry about giving away too much information for free. If you haven’t already, you must read Gary Vaynerchuk’s Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook!
Each post should only long enough to get your point across. When it comes to correct length, there is no definitive answer. Some posts are 100 words, some are 1800 words. Yours will vary. After you write a few you will you have a better idea of what works for your blog and your readers.
Blogging takes some work but if you have a process that’s easy to follow, it can minimize the amount of time you spend on it. Blogging on a regular basis can be fun, informative, and productive. Considering the benefits, there may be no better investment of your time.
What’s preventing you from blogging at your company? Let us know in the Comments section below. A real person reads and responds to all Comments.
If you found this article helpful, share it on social media. Have questions about your blog?Contact me anytime
At Crest, we help companies
- Create content that separates them from their competition
- Become subject matter experts in their field
- Measure the effectiveness of their marketing $$
- Generate a consistent pipeline of high-quality leads for less
- Turn clients into evangelists