Growing your business and attracting new customers heavily depends on how strong your online presence is. People have started spending a significant amount of time – 6 hours and 42 minutes, to be more precise, and this means that the internet is among the main sources of finding the information they need or learning about new brands, products, and services.
Blogging is one of the best ways of making the most of this trend and sending qualified traffic to your website and it is great for place to publish your guerrilla marketing ideas, that can help you reach more customers.
Given that more than 400 million people read blog posts every month, it’s obvious that your business will greatly benefit from publishing useful, relevant content that will help your potential customers solve their problems.
“Stop selling, start helping,” is a powerful new business mantra, and running a successful blog is in line with this approach.
Why Your Business Needs a Blog?
If you’re still wondering whether investing your time and resources into crafting and publishing blog posts regularly, it’s important to discuss how exactly this entire strategy will pay off.
Here are some of the most noteworthy reasons why you should start a business blog. And, I have written separately on another site: How to Start a Travel Blog.
1. Target Your Audience by Helping
Promoting your business directly isn’t always an effective way of attracting potential customers.
Traditional marketing methods have become somewhat obsolete since the modern consumer doesn’t want to be a passive recipient of marketing messages instructing them what to purchase. Instead of pushing your agenda and disrupting your audience’s browsing experience, it’s much more effective to talk about their challenges and pain points, your industry, and the products or services you provide.
That’s how you’ll give them what they need to make an informed decision.
The key is in aligning all these topics and educating your potential customers about how your business can help them solve their problems. For example, if you’re running a sporting goods store, you can target different segments of your audience by writing about running, walking, and trekking shoes and other equipment.
Not all people know how to pick the best shoes for their sports activities and they need expert advice, which is where your blog posts come in and provide useful information. Such an approach is evidently more helpful than simply targeting your audience with ads.
2. Establish Yourself as an Industry Authority
If you want your potential clients to come to you, it’s essential to convince them you’re an expert in your field. In other words, when they want to make a purchase, they have to know that you understand their needs and challenges as well as that you can find the best solution.
Your blog posts will demonstrate your expertise and ensure you cut through the noise, thus making you a recognized, go-to source of high-quality information.
Having the right content will turn you into a magnet for potential customers, meaning that they will come to you whenever they want to find a solution for their challenges and find out about the latest industry trends.
3. Build an Engaged Community
Although blogging doesn’t seem like a particularly interactive strategy, it can generate substantial engagement and spark meaningful conversations.
All this happens in the comment section, which is why it’s important to write blog posts that are conversational and relatable. Make sure to respond to every question and encourage discussions.
Using your personal tone and unique voice will set you apart from the others and show that you’re not publishing blog posts just for the sake of it.
As a result, you’ll get much more genuine comments and feedback and learn a lot about your potential customer’s preferences and needs.
4. Leverage Engine Optimization
More than 25% of people click on the top organic result in Google search, while rarely anyone go to the second page of search results. Therefore, if your content isn’t optimized, your potential readers and customers will hardly ever find it in an avalanche of other search results.
And waiting for them to accidentally stumble upon your blog isn’t exactly an effective strategy.
This means that having a blog that’s well-optimized for search engines will increase your rankings and help your business appear on the first page of Google. Subsequently, this will bring you a lot of fresh website traffic and conversions.
By harnessing the synergy of content marketing and SEO, you can position your business properly and make yourself more visible to your customers.
Now that you understand how a blog can help you grow your business, let’s discuss how to set it up and tweak it for the best results.
1. Pick the Right Blogging Platform
Assuming that you already have a business website, the easiest way of adding a blog is by having it in a subdirectory. For example, if your existing domain is www.xyz.com, your new blog will be located under www.xyz.com/blog.
This way, you won’t mess up your website and its settings.
It’s worth mentioning that WordPress is a powerful and user-friendly content management system, which is why you should consider using it. As a matter of fact, 35% of the entire internet is powered by this platform, and if we’re taking only CSM-built sites into consideration, then 60% of them are built on WordPress.
If your website hosting provider supports this platform, you can easily install it.
However, if that’s not the case, you can switch to another managed WordPress hosting provider like Cloudways and install WordPress. In order to ensure better rankings, install your blog in a folder such as news or articles – don’t use a sub-domain or a separate domain.
The best thing about WordPress is that you don’t have to be tech-savvy in order to run a blog, and there are numerous how-to guides and manuals that can help you figure everything out in no time.
Another great benefit of opting for WordPress is that it boasts a lot of different themes and plug-ins that will make your blog visually appealing and easy to navigate.
Scalability also matters, and with WordPress, you don’t have to worry whether your blog will be able to support a drastic increase in traffic. Both small blogs and large, corporate websites with millions of visitors a day can be run seamlessly on this platform.
Finally, WordPress allows you to accurately monitor your traffic stats and provides you with valuable insights to help you identify which posts are the most popular.
However, you should do your research and check whether another platform, such as Blogger or Ghost, might suit you better.
2. Identify Your Target Audience
You can’t create high-quality content if you don’t know who your target audience is. What’s even more important is to understand is that your target audience consists of different segments, that is, subgroups based on different demographic, behavioural, psychological, and other shared criteria.
In other words, you need to know what people who buy from you want to read about and what their interests and challenges are. Bear in mind that not all your customers are the same – your product or service caters to multiple customer groups with different needs.
And your content should reflect that.
Let’s use the sporting goods example again. Your store sells shoes and equipment for women, men, and kids. Some of those people are amateurs, while others can be professional athletes who compete.
It’s easy to conclude that a seasoned marathon runner won’t be interested in the content dealing with the basics. Hence, you’ll need to tailor your blog posts for each of these segments and cover the topics that are relevant to them.
By identifying your target audience and its segments, it will be much easier for you to connect your content with your product or service and present it as a solution to your potential customers’ issues.
If you aren’t sure how to identify and understand your target audience, here are a couple of tips.
- Ask yourself what kind of problems your product or service solves, and create your content around that purpose.
- Analyze who your existing customers are, and segment them based on different criteria, including location, age, budget, or needs.
- Check out your competition and learn more about them. This is how you can find helpful information, so browse through their social media channels and the About Us page.
- Highlight the unique features of your solution. Figure out what makes your product or service stand out from the competition, and this will tell you why customers pick you instead of them.
After you’ve found the answers to these questions, you’ll be able to understand
- The purpose of your content
- Who will find it useful
- Who your competitors are and what they are doing in terms of content
- Why your audience should opt for your content and solution.
As you can see, this process requires a great deal of analyzing your business and products, so it’s crucial to unearth why you’re doing all this and the purpose behind your efforts.
3. Post Consistently
Consistency is crucial for the success of your blog.
Think about your posting frequency before you even start blogging, as that will allow you to plan in advance.
Companies that publish more than 16 blog posts a month, receive 3.5 times more traffic than those that post 0-4 times a week.
While this stat clearly shows that the more often you post, the more traffic you’ll get, don’t let this pressure you into setting unattainable goals. Churning out several blog posts a week is quite an endeavour, and it makes sense only if you have enough resources.
Don’t confuse consistency with quantity – posting high-quality, valuable articles according to a predefined schedule is what matters. If you can achieve to come up with 3 superb blog posts a week, great, but if that means spreading yourself too thin and underdelivering on quality, then it will only hurt your efforts.
Go for once a week, or even once in two weeks if that’s how much you can commit to.
Just make sure to stick with that schedule so that your readers can be sure when they can expect the next blog post.
However, if blogging consistently is too overwhelming given that you have a business to run, it’s a good idea to outsource this task to a freelancer or hire an in-house writer who will help you with your content marketing strategy.
4. Conduct Keyword Research
We’ve already mentioned the importance of SEO for the effectiveness of your blogging efforts.
These two strategies go hand in hand, and no matter how stellar your blog posts are, they will be virtually buried under tens of thousands of other search results unless they’re properly optimized for search engines.
The first thing you should do in order to improve your SEO is to conduct keyword research. It’s true that after the previous steps you already have an idea what you’re going to write about, but you have to bear in mind what people are searching for on the internet.
With the help of the right keywords, you’ll not only target your potential customers but also tell search engines what every particular blog post is about so that they can easily index and rank it.
By including relevant keywords in your blog post, you make it possible for search engines to find it when someone searches for that particular word or phrase and show it in the search results.
Besides that, by conducting keyword research, you’ll also gain insight into what your potential customers are searching for, as well as discover the exact phrases that they’re using.
In order to start your keyword research, come up with a list of relevant topics that might be of interest to your readers. Let’s say that one of your topics is “content marketing,” and when you enter this phrase in the Google search, you’ll get a number of suggestions such as “content marketing stats,” “content marketing examples”, “content marketing strategy”, “content marketing for Travel“. all of which are the phrases people search for.
2. People Also Ask (PAA)
Another valuable source of keyword ideas is the People Also Ask box that appears below on the first page of search results. These questions are closely related to the keyword, and you can use them to enrich your content and make it even more relevant and searchable.
3. Keyword Research Tools
Using keyword research tools such as Ahrefs or Google Keyword Planner will tell you not only what your target audience is searching for but also how popular and competitive a particular keyword is.
Keyword difficulty is a metric that shows how competitive a keyword is, that is, how hard it will be to rank for it. Finding the right balance between search volume and keyword difficulty is crucial – try to identify those with easy or moderate keyword difficulty and a good search volume.
4. Spy on Your Competitors’ Keywords
Since you share a target audience with your competitors, it’s only logical that you should use the same keywords.
But how can you find out what keywords they’re using?
There are tools that can help you with this, such as Ubbersuggest, SEMrush, or SpyFu, as they allow you to check what keywords your competitors are ranking for, how well they’re performing, and how much traffic they are driving.
5. Earn and Build Backlinks
Authority backlinks are links on respectable and trustworthy websites pointing to your content. They play a very important role in SEO as they, in a way, vouch for the quality of your blog posts, thus helping you rank better.
It’s worth mentioning that backlinks are a major ranking factor, especially when they come from so-called aged domains.
The first step necessary for successful link building is high-quality content.
Once you identify your best pieces or, even better, create a superb blog post that provides the most value to your readers, start reaching out to the people and companies you mention in that blog post. The odds are that if your blog post is good, they will be more than happy to promote it on social media and add a link to it in their own blog posts.
It’s also a good idea to connect with industry influencers and offer to write a high-quality guest post for their website. This way, you’ll get a free backlink, and they will get some great content for free.
Creating evergreen content, that is, long and detailed blog posts discussing topics that are always relevant to your readers, is an excellent way of earning backlinks.
6. Aim for Long-Form Blog Posts
When it comes to the length of your blog posts, you should know that long-form pieces, that is, posts with 2,000+ words rank better in search engines.
According to an analysis based on the top 50 most popular blog posts on HubSpot, the ideal average blog post length is somewhere between 2,100 and 2,400 words. But this doesn’t mean that you should force it – blog posts under 1,500 perform well too.
Basically, you should explore the topic you’re about to discuss and make sure to include all the relevant information in your blog post, but try not to flood your readers with unnecessary details that don’t add value.
Don’t forget about keywords here. Namely, the longer your blog post is, the more often you’ll be able to include a keyword without resorting to stuffing. And that’s good for SEO and the visibility of your blog posts.
Apart from targeted keywords and phrases, it’s important to include both internal links and outbound links to authority sources.
When you’re exploring a certain topic in detail, you should help your readers find related content and navigate your website easily. And that’s exactly what internal links do. You’ll score some brownie points with search engines if you use this strategy because if your content is interconnected, it will be easier for Google crawlers to find every page on your website and index it.
Pages that aren’t linked to from any other page are called orphan pages, and they’re practically invisible to both visitors and search engines.
7. Add Visuals
Images, videos, and infographics will attract the attention of your readers and generate more engagement.
People are visual creatures and our brains are much better and faster at processing visual data. Therefore, if you want your readers to grasp the information you want to share and retain it, use infographics and charts in which the key points of your blog post are highlighted.
As for video, this format has become increasingly popular and according to estimates, an average person will watch online videos for 100 minutes every day in 2021.
Besides that, people can watch (and listen to) videos even when they’re doing something else, which is why you should think about converting your blog posts to videos and allowing your readers to learn the main takeaways without having to read entire articles.
Given that many people are busy and that the average attention span dropped to just 8 seconds, this approach will make sure that you will get your message across.
8. Leverage Customer Questions
The questions your customers ask can be an excellent source of ideas for blog posts.
Everything they want to know about your business and products or services can be used as a topic for your next article. This way you’ll not only answer frequently asked questions but also include your customers in the content creation process.
Does this sound like your regular FAQ page?
Maybe, but there’s a big difference – blog posts will cover every question in detail, which is great for SEO.
Answering customer questions in blog posts will help you educate your prospects, build trust with them, and deal with misinformation. In addition to that, your customers will understand that they’re being heard as well as that you care about what they have to say.
The relevance of this kind of content will make it appealing to both your customers and search engines, and it’s very likely that your rankings will be positively affected.
Having a blog for your business is a must, but if it doesn’t offer high-quality, relevant, and tailored blog posts that your audience will find valuable, then it’s a waste of your time and resources. With the help of these tips, you can start and grow a successful blog and attract potential customers.