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A blogging best practice guide for businesses

A blogging best practice guide for businesses

Posted 15th November, 2018 by Janah

When you run a small to medium business, blogging isn’t always at the top of your priority list. In fact, it’s thought that less than 40 per cent of Fortune 500 companies even have blogs.

There are countless reasons why they should, though.

According to online marketing expert, HubSpot, active company blogs generate 67 per cent more leads than websites without blogs.

Blogs aren’t all about generating sales, though. They can also be used to answer commonly asked questions about your business and free up time that would usually be spent answering customer emails or calls.

Plus, if you post the right content, they can set you up as a leader or influencer in your field. Of course, the reality is that blogs, in general, have high mortality rates. In fact, depending on which statistic you read, up to 99 per cent of blogs fail in the first year.

The reason?

Nine out of ten times, the bloggers lose interest and give up.

Things are a little bit different when it comes to business blogs, though. When they’re viewed as part of the BAU, business blogs are more likely to survive.

However:

Hundreds of company blogs turn into contentless wastelands every year in the UK.

With this in mind, here are a few tips for blogging best practice to ensure your own business blog delivers rather than going the way of the dodo.

Create an editorial calendar

The most successful blogs have a plan behind them. In the marketing world, this plan is known as an editorial calendar.

It’s easy as pie to set up an editorial calendar.

Essentially, it’s a diary of content. You could use a wall calendar if you wanted, but many businesses choose to use an excel spreadsheet to set theirs up.

Once you have a spreadsheet full of dates you can start planning content into those dates.

How often should a small business post a blog?

The amount you blog will depend very much on your business. The HubSpot statistic mentioned in the introduction to this article shows that more is more.

However:

This only applies if you’re posting quality content. See below!

How do I decide what to blog about?

The golden rule of blog content creation is – avoid the hard sell.

In fact, you should refrain from using the soft sell too often, as well.

As with social media, best practice suggests that businesses should develop 80 per cent of their content to please their customers – creating blogs that help, advise, inform, entertain and engage.

And the other 20 per cent?

This can be used to promote your business – focussing on things like special offers, discounts and stats.

Every business should have a good idea of the sorts of topics their customers are interested in. A really helpful resource for developing blogs around these topics is the website Answer the Public.

This website lets you type in keywords that relate to your business. Then it shows you the questions that internet users are asking regarding that topic on the wider internet.

Post quality over quantity

In October 2018, Google’s John Mueller posted a tweet that said: “Just putting out more content doesn't necessarily make a site better.”

There’s been a saying in the marketing world for a while now that goes ‘content is king’. What this means is that all blog posts should be well researched and genuinely beneficial to customers.

Wordcount plays a part here.

Of course, it goes without saying that those XX words should be well-written and packed with information, insight or advise.

Here’s an example:

Type in the word ‘website’ and the following questions come up, among dozens of others:

  • Which website builder is best?
  • How does website search work?
  • How are websites created?

Make posts super readable

According to HubSpot, 43 per cent of people tend to only skim blog posts; searching for the information that’s most relevant to them.

Therefore, the best blog posts need to be easy to skim.

There are several techniques you can implement to make posts easier to read at a glance.

Firstly:

You can break your blog post up using subheadings, bullet points and short paragraphs.

Secondly:

You can use bucket brigades.

SEO experts Backlinko define bucket brigades as follows: “Bucket Brigades are an old-school copywriting tactic that were originally designed to keep people reading sales letters.

“[They] are words and phrases that keep people on your page.”

Backlinko claims that the use of bucket brigades, like those listed below, are the reason why the average user spends an impressive four minutes reading through its own blogs. Many users only tend to spend 40 to 50 seconds on a typical web page.

Examples of bucket brigades:

  • Here’s the deal:
  • Now:
  • Want to know the best part?

Add imagery

It’s thought that articles that contain images get as many as 94 per cent more views than those that don’t feature images.

Adding pictures or video footage to a blog can also help to break up swathes of content – helping out with the readability point above.

Video has its own merits, which you can read about in our blog on Video Marketing for SMBs.

Don’t get impatient

You can’t expect one blog post alone to open the floodgates as far as visitors to your site are concerned. Businesses should concentrate on the long game when it comes to blog planning.

The sweet spot?

That’s thought to occur around the 400th blog. Research shows that once companies publish their 401st blog post, they experience a significant spike in traffic (about twice the traffic of companies that have a total of 301 to 400 posts on their sites).

Add compounding posts to your editorial calendar

A compounding post is a blog post that sees an increase in traffic over time.

According to HubSpot, only 10 per cent of blog posts are compounding, yet they generate 38 per cent of blog traffic.

So how do you create a compounding blog post?

Essentially compound blog posts will contain content that remains relevant and helpful over time.

So…

The blog 10 Business Trends For 2018 will eventually become irrelevant.

Whereas, How To Perfectly Poach an Egg will always be helpful.

Create a balance of compound and non-compound blog posts in your editorial calendar and you’ll be onto a winner.

Categories: Tips, Blogging, Marketing, Small Businesses

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