The benefits of a business blog are well documented.
According to HubSpot’s Marketing Benchmarks for 7,000 Businesses, companies with blogs generate more inbound leads and traffic than businesses without. In fact, the average HubSpot customer included in the study saw a 45 percent growth in traffic when they increased total blog articles from 11-20 to 21-50.
And those are just the benefits we can measure with numbers.
A successful business blog develops critical thinking skills, improves writing, helps establish business credibility, raises executive profiles, gives your business a more human face and allows you to demonstrate industry leadership.
A well-written blog often leads to other opportunities, including speaking invitations, media coverage and other writing gigs.
There is only one problem with business blogging.
If you want to achieve business blogging success, it takes hard work, dedication and commitment.
According to a 2008 Technorati study, the blog abandonment rate is 95%–more than nine out of ten people and businesses eventually give up on their blog. Other estimates put the blog abandonment rate at 50% within the first 90 days.
If you are writing for personal interest, an abandoned blog will not damage your reputation. But if you are blogging for business, prospects and customers visiting your site will wonder if you are still in business if the most recent post was written several months ago—or longer.
So before you start, there are some important preliminary steps to help ensure your business blog’s success.
#1 Understand your business blog’s goals
What is the purpose of your blog? How will it help you meet your business objectives?
B2B organizations typically use a blog to help generate qualified leads. Others want a blog to demonstrate thought leadership, build a community of like-minded professionals or even develop content for a book or white paper.
Have a clear understanding of what you are trying to achieve before you start blogging so you avoid disappointment.
#2 Dedicate adequate resources to your business blog
Do you have the resources to write thoughtful content two to three times a week? Do not just pile responsibility for the blog onto someone who lacks the bandwidth for additional work. Consider reassigning part of their workload or pull together a team to share the task.
Make sure your “head blogger” possesses the required skills. Are they a decent writer and editor? Do they have a flair for creative, as well as critical thinking? Can they juggle deadlines? Do they know how to encourage the rest of the team, without nagging?
It is wise to out-source some of the writing, but you still need a point-person to manage the writers, edit their drafts and write original material. Services like Zerys and Writer Access are inexpensive ways to create blog content, without blowing your budget.
#3 Educate the C-Suite
C-Suite support is critical for business blogging success. Make sure the executive team understands the link between regular blogging and your business goals. When senior execs do not understand the importance of a blog, it falls to the bottom of their priorities—and completely OFF the bottom of everyone else’s to do list.
#4 Read other successful business blogs
Research other business blogs, including competitors as well as those in different industries (you can find them by searching Google Blog Search).
How often do they post? What do they write about? Are they using a variety of content to tell their stories, including curated content, video, charts, audio, guest blogs or infographics? Are readers sharing their posts on social media or leaving comments on their posts? Add the blogs you like to your RSS reader so you can review them regularly and think of ways to incorporate their best qualities into your own blog.
Take the time to comment and start to build your online community. It takes time, but the payback is big once you start writing your own blog.
#5 Get the blog’s technical set up right
Do not publish your blog on its own domain (www.hereismyblog.com) or on a free blogging platform such as WordPress.com (www.mycompanyblog.wordpress.com). The ideal home for your blog is in a folder of your main website (www.yourcompany.com/blog), or in a sub-domain (www.blog.yourcompany.com).
You want your blog to contribute to your site’s findability in search engines. After all, SEO is one of the biggest benefits of a business blog. Each new blog article you publish creates a new page for the search engines to crawl and represents another opportunity to rank for a keyword. When your blog is part of your company domain, any Google juice it generates will also benefit your corporate website.
There are many other considerations when starting a blog. What will you write about? How will you promote the blog? What best practices do you need to incorporate? Let us know what you would add to the list in the comments section.
If your business needs help starting a blog, get in touch.