A well-written and consistently updates business blog is a vital core element of a successful content marketing program. As noted below, blogs are among the most effective tools for increasing website traffic, generating leads, and acquiring customers. Yet blogging requires considerably less expense and effort than other top marketing tactics like live events, webinars, and video.
What are the key elements of a successful business blog? How can you plan a consistent stream of compelling post topics? What are the most effective techniques for crafting killer headlines and gripping copy? How can you increase your content marketing footprint through guest blogging?
Find the answers to those questions and more here in almost two dozen of the best guides to business blogging strategy and tactics of the past year.
Two Guides to Business Blogging Benefits
Why the Company Blog is More Important Than You Think by Business2Community
According to recent research reported on by Business.com, “Three of the top (marketing) tactics (in-person events, webinars and video) require significantly more resources to deliver”than business blogs, though “compared to these three tactics, blogging is relatively cheap and easy to produce; and as a bonus, it provides a nimble and consistent message platform.” As if that isn’t enough, this post details four more “benefits an authentic company blog can deliver to the organization, beyond the top line” that make the effort required to maintain a high-quality, relevant blog presence worthwhile.
It really shouldn’t be necessary at this point to “sell” top executives on the concept of business blogging, but for those still struggling, Kapil Jekishan supplies “ten of the most persuasive statistics you can bring to the presentation you’re no doubt already preparing for your boss,” including the impacts of blogging on website traffic and customer acquisition, its advantages over advertising, and big-company validation: “Fortune 500 companies have never had reputations as early adopters, but even they have been forced into the business blogging arena to compete for customers”—which is why the percentage of Fortune 500 firms that blog more than doubled from 2008 to 2013.
Six Blogging Strategy Guides
Six Crucial Attributes of a Successful Business Blog by MarketingProfs
Michael Gerard details six attributes needed to “to launch and sustain a successful business blog” based on an analysis of more than 400 blogs at the 10,000+ visitors-per-month level. One noteworthy piece of advice: the best content marketers “market their marketing” though social channel, promotional tactics, collaboration with other internal teams, and tapping into “paid media such as Outbrain, Disqus, Taboola, and other types of promotional services.”
Corporate blogging guide: strategy and tips by i-SCOOP
***** 5 STARS
J-P De Clerck provides an outstanding detailed guide to corporate blogging, including consideration of various corporate marketing goals for a company blog, a look at 14 business blogging success factors, and an infographic loaded with statistics and facts about why blogging matters, e.g.: 128 million Americans read blogs; 57% of companies have acquired customers through their blogs; and companies that blog regularly have better relationships with their customers.
29 Musts You Need to Do Before Launching Your Blog by SteamFeed
DJ Thistle writes that building a successful blog “takes preparation, time, promotion, commitment, constant education, and most of all awesome”—and by that last word, he means following these two-dozen-plus recommendations, from starting with 10-12 posts in the bank to periodically creating evergreen content to connecting with “like-minded bloggers and influencers,” building an email list, and more.
B2B Blogging: Beyond the Basics by MLT Creative on SlideShare
This presentation from Billy Mitchell and the team at MLT Creative covers the benefits of blogging, how to keep company politics out of business blogging (“Everything starts with strategy. The blog must be aligned to strategy or you are doomed”), how to create a blogging strategy, how to get people inside and the company engaged with the blog, how to drive conversions, and more.
The State Of Blogging 2014 [Research – Charts] by Heidi Cohen
***** 5 STARS
First, yes, the helpful facts and statistics in this post still apply in 2015. Among the actionable treasures from Heidi Cohen here: the average blog post is 800 words—but the ideal length of a search-optimized blog post is 1,500 words. And 54% of bloggers say they publish at least weekly—but “to generate leads from your blog, the sweet spot for is 2-3 times per week according to HubSpot.”
30 Tips to Freshen-up & Rock Your Blog in 2014 by Pam Moore
These tips still work for 2015! Pam Moore details “30 tips to freshen up and rock your website,” starting with defining your objectives and audience and progressing through refreshing your content, creating an editorial calendar, inviting contributions from guest bloggers, engaging your audience (bring site visitors “in closer with social links, surveys, video, comment plug-ins, audio”) and more.
Two Guides to Generating Blog Topic Ideas
Stuck for post topic ideas? Amanda Gallucci provides more than six dozen ideas to kickstart your creativity, organized into 15 categories including tools (e.g., “Create a video tutorial that walks people through how to use a tool for a specific task”), lists, internal resources (“Find out what questions your account managers get asked most frequently. Put together a blog post or other resource that lays out the answers”), events, and “out of the box” ideas.
This Is One Of The Best Sources of Blogging/Social Media Information by Joshua Wilner
Joshua Wilner sings the praises of the Support section at WordPress.com, which provides answers to both common and not-so-common questions, “ideas and information about how to use social tools on your blog so that you can drive more traffic,” resources and information about how to change the appearance of your blog, and other do-it-yourself blogging resources.
Nine Blog Writing Guides
Kevan Lee outlines “the 7 essential elements of a perfect blog post,” from how to write the perfect headline (‘Readers tend to absorb the first three words of a headline and the last three words…[but] of course, few headlines will be six words long in total. In those cases, it’s important to make the first three words and the last three words stand out as much as possible”) to how to optimally use subheads, time your posts, and plan killer post topics.
No Time to Blog? 11 Tips to Create Content Faster by Blue Kite Marketing
Writing that “although many businesses see the benefits of it content marketing, they struggle with committing the time it takes to create content on a regular basis,” Laura Click serves up 11 “quick tips to help you create blog content quickly and easily,” such as recording short videos, publishing infographics, and re-purposing content (“Every company produces tons of content every day—it just might not be in the form of a blog post. Take a look around and see how you can re-purpose emails, FAQs, presentations, etc.”).
30 Stellar Blog Tips For Posts Your Audience Loves by Heidi Cohen
Heidi Cohen (again) lists 30 useful “blog tips for creating blog posts your audience loves to read,” such as design factors, use of images (“Take the time to ensure your images support your blog goals”), utilizing other content formats like video and presentations, crafting concise headlines, and focusing on helpful content over self-promotion (though using calls to action where appropriate is fine).
23 Tips for Writing Click Worthy Blog Titles by Prof KRG
Kenna Griffin summarizes the attributes of an effective blog title along with nearly two dozen tips for writing click-worthy titles, such as using strong verbs (“Use strong action verbs in your titles. Avoid passive verbs and ‘be’ verbs”), including a number (“Scannable list posts are popular among blog readers. If your post is a numbered list, use the number of items in the title”) and avoiding abbreviations.
This is a long post and the steps outlined require a fair amount of effort, but the process outlined here by Adam Connell can certainly deliver results. He delves into how to create high-impact visuals using Canva, how to use WordPress plugins to create shareable quotes, how to identify and get the attention of influencers (and how not to do this), and how to leverage niche social bookmarking sites.
10 Steps to Building More Effective Blog Posts by Blue Kite Marketing
Laura Click (again) explains her methods for “how to build and structure blog posts in a way that’s optimized for today’s website visitor,” from writing a compelling headline (useful tips plus links to additional resources) and including a strong introduction (“Next to the headline, the opening paragraph is the most read part of your blog post…Ask a question. Tell a quick story. Start with a problem. Share some statistics”) to including a call to action.
Scott Ayres shares the strategies Post Planner used to achieve some very impressive 12-month growth figures, all done with content marketing. Daily posting, aggressive list-building, and utilization of “11 key blog post ingredients” ranging from an irresistable headline and opening with a bang (“if you don’t capture the reader’s attention in the first couple sentences of the the post, they’ll just bounce”) to maintaining attention with internal cliffhangers and choosing an arresting image.
Sarah Goliger reveals results of testing on various types of titles and which work best. Among the findings: questions work slightly better than statements (“Frame your blog post title as a question to make it more intriguing”), “you-focused” language beats “me-focused” (“Craft your title language to be about the reader and what is interesting to them, not you”), and beginning your blog post with a number helps.
How to Stick to Your Blogging Schedule by Blue Kite Marketing
Pointing out that “One of the biggest reasons company blogs fail is lack of consistency” in serving up fresh content, Laura Click (yet again) offers 10 helpful tips for sticking to a regular blogging schedule, among them building a content plan (a simple, flexible editorial calendar), eliminating distractions, collecting ideas and researching as you go (the way posts like this are built!), and working ahead when your schedule permits.
Three Guides to (Properly) Using Guest Blogging
Proof That Guest Blogging Is Not Dead, Coming Right From Google by Monitor Backlinks
Felix Tarcomnicu argues that guest blogging isn’t dead, despite earlier statements from Matt Cutts, because Google accepts guest posts (with do-follow backlinks) on their blog, and “If Google is accepting guest posts on their Analytics blog…that’s the proof that guest blogging is not dead, and you should not stick a fork in it. Period! What you should do, is to raise your guest blogging standards.”
The Pros And Cons Of A Guest Blogging Strategy In 2014 by BirdBrain Logic
Frequent best-of honoree Amanda DiSilvestro outlines the pros (e.g., building relationships: “Part of guest blogging is building relationships with editors across the web. This is an excellent way to find new opportunities and stay involved in the community”), cons (keyword links have become less important), and the ultimate verdict on the benefits of guest blogging—concepts that still apply in 2015.
The Five Types of Guest Bloggers (Funny Graphic) by SteamFeed
Reviewing the panic caused by Matt Cutts and his “fall of guest blogging for SEO” announcement, and the ensuing clarifications, Jesse Aaron shares an amusing infographic characterizing the five types of guest bloggers, such as “The Guru” (the self-proclaimed expert who values image and follower count) and “The Spinner” (submits to hundreds of sites; what’s plagiarism?).
This was post #5, the final post, of Blogging for Business Week 2015 (#b4bweek) on Webbiquity.
#5: 22 Exceptional Business Blogging Guides, Tips & Tactics