Posts Tagged ‘Business Blogging’

13 Great Guides to Growing Your Blog Audience

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

You’ve put extensive effort into your business blog design, content strategy, research, and execution. Now—how you attract and retain a large audience?

The short answer is to write great content and then promote it effectively. Simple—but not easy.

How to grow your blog audience

Image credit: GreenPal

The longer answer(s) are presented below. Why isn’t your blog attracting a higher level of traffic? How often should you post? How can you generate more organic search traffic? Email? Social media? Industry influencers?

Find guidance on those topics and more here in a baker’s dozen of the best guides to growing your blog audience from the past year or so.

Business Blogging: Five Reasons You Have No Readers by Spin Sucks

Eleanor PierceGot a well-written business blog, but a shortage of readers? Guest author Eleanor Pierce shares “a few ideas … some possibilities you may want to investigate” to address the issue, such as “You haven’t developed a point-of-view…it’s simple advice. As Oscar Wilde said, ‘Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.’ But it also means you have to put some work into developing your own niche, your own point-of-view, and your own voice. Don’t think corporate blogs are immune from this advice. You still need to have a perspective.”

105 Tips To Make Your Blog Rock by jeffbullas.com

Jeff BullasJeff Bullas shows you how to find your audience, help your audience find you, craft enticing headlines, “secrets” on how to use social media to spread your content, how to become a thought leader in your field and more in these 100+ helpful tips and tactics. Among them: “In the meta tags for your photos, make sure the labels/words are what you want them to be – search engines can’t “read” photos, only the labels/meta tags.”

Survey of 1000+ Bloggers: How to Be in the Top 5% by Orbit Media Studios

Andy CrestodinaAndy Crestodina reports on findings from the Department of Blogger Labor Survey, which asked 11 questions of more than 1,000 bloggers. Among the results: 37% of bloggers spend, on average, 1-2 hours writing each post. But nearly half—46%—spend on average 2 hours or more. 5% of bloggers spend more than 6 hours, on average, on each post they write. Half write during business hours. And while less than 5% publish daily or more than once per day, 28% publish multiple posts each week.

10 Tactics to Improve Blog Readership by Xpressly

Ruth ZiveRuth Zive showcases an infographic with tips on how to “engage your audience, build your credibility, enhance your search ranking and drive meaningful business results” with a business blog, such as mentioning, quoting and referencing industry influencers, “but not the big ones; go after mid-level and niche influencers” as they are more likely to notice, appreciate, and amplify your efforts.

29 Free Ways to Promote Your Business Blog by Zude PR Blog

David SawyerDavid Sawyer promises several takeaways from this post featuring more than two dozen helpful blog promotion tips, including “a step-by-step business blog amplification process,”all you need to know on the places you need to go—social media, communities, groups, blogging platforms, influencers—to boost your next article and get thousands of visits,” and “nine medium-to-long term tips on things you can do to get more people reading your content.” Among his insights, this regarding LinkedIn groups: “You don’t have to go overboard. But unless you’re sharing and commenting, few people are going to take time out to read your latest blog post.”

How to Get More Traffic and Traction by Promoting Your Content Like a Boss by Boost Blog Traffic

Andy Crestodina (again) observes that some bloggers “get way more shares than you. They get tons more email subscribers than you. They get much higher search rankings than you. And it sucks, right?” Unless you are getting Mashable-level traffic, you know the feeling. Fortunately, he then reveals “what promotion-smart know that most bloggers miss”—that search, social and email need to be integrated and coordinated (i.e., use the WPO framework); how to use your blog as the ultimate networking tool; and “always be collaborating” among other tips.

400 Blog Posts Later – What Works and What Doesn’t by Inspire to Thrive

Lisa BubenLisa Buben shares “16 things that have worked well and what hasn’t worked so well” across here first 400 blog posts, including her tips for Twitter (her #2 traffic source after Google search), Triberr (“a great way to reach other bloggers and share their stuff and for them to share yours too. If you haven’t signed up for this yet please do. You will notice a difference but not immediately. Give it time”) and Bing search (with a link to how Bing differs from Google’s webmaster tools).

34 Ways To Increase Your Blogs Email Subscribers List…..Number 32 Is SUPER Important! by Niche Hacks

Yes, the style (and even the blog title) scream “spam!” but once you get past the inevitable annoying pop-up ad, there is actually some very solid guidance in this detailed post. I won’t give away #32, but #12, for example, is: “Make your opt-in boxes stick out like a sore thumb…Making opt in boxes stand out by using different colours or shake can boost conversion rates—forget design it’s all about email sign ups.”

9 Potent Tactics to Promote Your Blog Posts [Infographic] by Social Media Writing

Mitt RayMitt Ray showcases an infographic that summarizes blog promotion guidance from experts like Larry Kim (“Respond quickly to trends: it’s easier to get bloggers and journalists to write or share information conttaining an interesting new angle on something that was was already at the top of their mind [sic]”), Brian Dean, Rae Hoffman, Elisa Gabbert, Ian Cleary, Ann Smarty, Cendrine Marrouat, and Peg Fitzpatrick.

4 Key Steps the Pros Use to Get Traffic from Search Engines by jeffbullas.com

Jason ChestersGuest author Jason Chesters details four key strategies for generating more search traffic to your blog, such as starting with keyword research after you write (“remember this rule: Great content first, keyword research second! Once you have completed your article, make a note of the subject and the main topic. Now this will immediately give you a basis for your keywords”) and the seven key attributes for on-page optimization of each post.

100+ Bite-Sized Tips To Get You More Social Shares (And Traffic) by Blogging Wizard

Adam ConnellNoting that social shares not only increase direct traffic but also provide other benefits such as increased search visibility, Adam Connell passes along more than 100 useful tips to generate more engagement from Twitter (“@mention any individual or company that you have included in your content”), Google+ (“Add a share button to your blog rather than a +1 button”), Pinterest, Facebook, and other social networks.

7 simple ways to optimise a blog post for the search engines by Fairy Blog Mother

Alice ElliottFor those who’d like their blog content to rank better in search but can’t justify the expense of hiring professional SEO talent, the smart and delightful Alice Elliott outlines seven “simple procedures that can be put in place that will make a big difference” in search visibility, like optimizing images and meta tags (she explains how), as well as keeping text links limited and highly relevant.

9 Effective Ways To Revive A Struggling Blog by Blogging Wizard

Marc AndreIf your blog growth has stagnated and you’re feeling frustrated, check out these nine tips for reviving a struggling blog from Marc Andre. Among his tactics: survey your current readers and subscribers “to make sure that you are covering topics that your readers care about,” analyze your results “to determine if there are types of posts that you should eliminate due to a lack of reader interest,” and adjust your posting frequency.

This was post #2 of Blogging for Business Week 2015 (#b4bweek) on Webbiquity.

#1: Welcome to Blogging for Business Week!

 

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Welcome to Blogging for Business Week!

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

It’s blogging for business week on Webbiquity. Along the lines of the content marketing week series presented here previously, starting tomorrow and running through next Tuesday, a series of posts will cover business blogging strategies, tactics, tools and resources.

Blogging for Business Week 2015As reported here previously, content marketing is nearly ubiquitous, with 93% of b2b marketers using content while 88% of business buyers say online content plays a major to moderate role in vendor selection.

Blogging is often viewed as the core of content marketing strategy, and its use continues to expand due to its compelling benefits:

  • • 34% of Fortune 500 companies now maintain active blogs – the largest share since 2008. (Forbes)
  • • 37% of marketers say blogs are the most valuable content type for marketing. (NewsCred)
  • • 17% of marketers plan to increase blogging efforts this year. (Forbes)
  • • Blogging increases web traffic by 55% for brands. (Rocket Post)
  • • B2B companies that blog generate 67% more leads than those without blogs. (Social Fresh)

Want to join in? Just write a post focused on some aspect of blogging for business, and tweet it out using the hashtag #b4bweek. That hashtag will be monitored, and the posts (subject to human limitations) shared. The best may even be bookmarked for inclusion in a future best-of post here.

Hope you enjoy (and share!) the posts here over the next week, which will feature valuable guidance from dozens of top experts.

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24 (of the) Best Business Blogging Guides, Tips and Tools of 2011

Monday, January 16th, 2012

Despite any recent recent rants you may have seen about how blogging is dead or blogs are passé, the fact of the matter is that business blogging is now more important than ever. With Google’s most recent Panda algorithm updates, attributes like content freshness and social signals (strengths of blogs, not corporate websites) will gain increased importance in search ranking.

But as the blogosphere continues to expand (as noted by Diana Adams below), it becomes more difficult to stand out and be heard above the noise.  How can a company launch (or relaunch) a new blog properly? Write great blog post headlines? Promote new content most effectively? Optimize blog content for search? Emulate the best corporate blogs? Take advantage of free or low-cost blog tools and resources?

Get the answers to those questions and more here in two dozen of the best blogging guides of the past year.

Guidance for New Bloggers

20 Common Mistakes Made By New Bloggers by Ink Rebels

Diana AdamsNoting that will well over 100 million blogs on the web now it can be challenging to stand out, the effervescent Diana Adams shares a list of common mistakes to avoid such as making your RSS button hard to find, posting inconsistently, and failing to respond to reader comments.

12 things every business blogger should know how to do by Ragan’s PR Daily

Susan YoungContending that “blogging isn’t that difficult until educated, professional, bright grownups begin to overanalyze things,” Susan Young provides a dozen pieces of commonsense advice for business blogging success, such as sticking to what you know and enjoy, and writing “to express, not to impress.”

The Entrepreneur’s Advisor | Why and How to do a Blog Right by The Entrepreneur’s Advisor

Stuart W. Smith provides some blogging basics and helpful tips for those relatively new to blogging. After making the basic case for a blog, he delves into keywords, developing quality content, links, calls to action and more.

6 Tips for Blogging for SEO in WordPress by Business Insider

Sue ReynoldsSue Reynolds offers a half-dozen tips for SEO on WordPress blogs, helpful particularly for those just getting started.

Business Blogging Tips, Tactics and Best Practices

8 Ways to Get Your Blog Ready for the Big Time by Blog Engage

Kristi HinesFrequent best-of honoree Kristi Hines offers eight tips to get your blog ready for a surge of traffic if you happen to get mentioned or retweeted by a highly influential source. Among the tips: optimize your site for speed, delay your opt-in popup form (or better yet – lose it, they’re obnoxious) and make sure your key pages (About, Contact, Guest Post Guidelines, etc.) are easy to find.

How to Be an Awesome Blog Commenter by HubSpot Blog

Kipp BodnarKipp Bodnar offers half-dozen tips for “how to be a thoughtful and engaged commenter” that apply to social networking sites as well as to blogs. Much of it comes down to appropriate social etiquette, and always striving to add value to the conversation.

How to Turn a Lousy Blog Headline into a Great One by The Backlight

Tristan HigbeeTristan Higbee steps through the creative process of turning a boring blog headline into a better one and then, eventually, into one that is both search-friendly and compelling to potential readers.

26 Ways to Enhance Your Blog Content by Social Media Examiner

Debbie HemleyAnother delightful A to Z post from Debbie Hemley, this one alphabetizing the business blogging process from attributing source material through links and blogging as a hub of social media efforts through YouTube and “Zigzags and Leaps” (“mental moves that might open up things a bit, allow a little more in, including, we hope…discovery”).

7 Key Elements to a Successful Business Blog by TopRank Online Marketing

Lee OddenLee Odden defines the key characteristics to consider in terms of “branding, community, SEO, PR, recruiting and taking midshare away from your competition” with your blog including the URL, name, design and navigation. (For more on this topic, see also Eight Factors to Consider When Launching a Business Blog previously published here.)

12 Things to Do After You’ve Written a New Blog Post by Content Marketing Institute

Brody DorlandNoting that “even great content can go unnoticed,” Brody Dorland recommends 12 steps for promoting your blog content, from the obvious (utilize keywords for SEO, use syndication) to the creative (using a post to answer a question on Twitter, promoting posts via your email signature).

21 Ways Bloggers Engage by Heidi Cohen

Heidi CohenHeidi Cohen details 21 ways bloggers can engage with readers beyond just responding to comments, among them: inviting others to contribute guest posts, providing social sharing buttons, enabling readers to subscribe by email, and participating in Twitter chats.

The Blueprint for the Perfect Blog Post (Infographic) by Business 2 Community

Brian RiceBrian Rice graphically illustrates nine components of the “perfect” blog post, beginning with a compelling post title. in this nicely-done infgraphic. He also shares six blogging lessons learned, including the importance of user experience and letting your audience drive your the conversation.

Displaying Social Proof – What the Marketing Experts Use by KISSmetrics

Kristi Hines studies the AdAge Power 150 blogs to see how leading bloggers are displaying their social clout. Tools and methods used include displaying FeedBurner reader count, a Facebook Like box, LinkeddIn share button, or multi-purpose tools from AddtoAny, Share This, or AddThis.

Blog SEO

SEO success for your blog in 10 easy steps by {grow}

Eric PratumGuest blogger Eric Pratum outlines a “10-step prioritized plan to improve the SEO for your blog without spending a lot of time or money,” from keyword strategy to sitemaps.

How to Optimize Your Blog for Google by Social Media Examiner

Dino DoganIn this extensive and detailed post, Dino Dogan walks through the process of search optimizing a blog, from audience targeting considerations and keyword research to SEO plugin settings (presuming you are using WordPress).

Where to Use Keywords in Corporate Blog Posts by TopRank Online Marketing Blog

Lee Odden lays out a non-technical five-step process for getting a corporate blog to rank well in search. His item #4 (“Use Descriptive References vs. Pronouns”) in particular should be required reading for ANYONE writing online content.

Top 10 Blog Directories 2011 by SEO Wizardry

Peter HollierWriting that “Blog Directories add an important element to your web site traffic generation and search engine optimization programs,” Peter Hollier lists and links the top 10 blog directories along with their Alexa ranks.

8 Steps to Optimize Your Blog Post by Search Engine Watch

Erez BarakErez Barak recommends a heavy focus on keyword research, selection and tracking among his eight steps for getting a blog post to rank well in search.

Examples of Exceptional Corporate Blogs

The 10 Best Corporate Blogs in the World by {grow}

Mark SchaeferMark Schaefer shares a few observations on the state of corporate blogging (e.g. the tech sector produces most of the best corporate blogs, the Fortune 500 lags the rest of the world in this area) as well as his picks for the top ten corporate blogs based on quality. Most of the companies are large, but the variety of industries represented is intriguing.

Outstanding brand blogs you should check out by iMedia Connection

Sarah KotlovaSarah Kotlova showcases four well-done corporate blogs (or in the case of Cisco, a collection of company-related blogs written by internal subject-matter experts) from both the B2B and B2C worlds.

Blogging Tools and Resources

Huge List of Useful Tools for Bloggers by ShoutMeLoud

Exactly what it says–a big list of tools to make your blogging more productive. This post lists and links to tools for SEO, writing, blog marketing and more.

Stock.XCHNG

Need an interesting photo for your latest blog post but don’t want to shell out big bucks, go through some convoluted licensing process, or risk violating a photographer’s copyright? This may be the site for you. Owned by Getty Images, Stock.XCHNG bills itself as “the world’s best free (image) stock site.”

veezzle

A free stock photo exchange where you can search, use, share and create collections of images for online use.

fotoglif

If the free sources above don’t have quite what you need, fotoglif offers reasonably-priced photographic images, in a range of categories including news, politics, business, technology and lifestyle.

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Eight Factors to Consider When (Re)Launching a Business Blog

Monday, November 21st, 2011

Over the last decade, business blogs have gone from being a novelty to a leading-edge practice to an essential element for any company seeking to optimize its presence on the web. According to Small Business Trends and HubSpot, the percentage of businesses with blogs has increased from less than half in 2009 to nearly two out of three in 2011.

Considerations When Launching a BlogWhy are so many companies now embracing blogging? In addition to the traditional benefits of business blogging, recent changes in the way search engines rank content have made blogging crucial for obtaining and maintaining high search engine visibility.

Three ranking factors that have recently taken on increased importance from Google (and will therefore likely soon become important to other search engines as well) are content quality and authority, social media links and content freshness. A blog helps on all three fronts much more than a standard corporate website. Google is also placing increased weight on link quality and diversity; thoughtful, helpful blog posts are more likely to attract such links than typical vendor product and service content.

What’s more, blogs are a central component of web presence optimization, and the core of a productive social media strategy.

Once your organization makes the decision to start a blog—or to re-launch one that’s been neglected or has underperformed—here are eight key factors to consider.

1. Location. Will the blog be part of your corporate site or have its own unique URL? The more common practice today is to treat the blog as a section of the website, often with a URL like company.com/blog. The primary advantage of this approach is that all of the SEO value of external links accrues to the corporate site, giving it more authority in the eyes of the search engines.

An alternative approach is to treat the blog as a separate entity with a meaningful URL. For example, if Acme Widgets wants to rank for the very competitive phrase “widget management software,” and their corporate site is at acmewidgets.com, they may want to use the URL widgetmanagementsoftware.com for the blog. This option is worth considering in product categories that are highly competitive in search. It also provides the opportunity to give the blog a distinct and less “corporate” personality of its own, as well as potentially providing the company with an extra spot on the first page of search results.

2. Author(s). The internet is littered with a hundred million abandoned blogs, for two primary reasons: first, it’s a fair amount of work to research and write quality content on a regular basis. And second, there is no instant gratification—it takes time to build an audience and authority with the search engines. Assigning multiple writers (i.e., creating a group blog) can help spread the load and allow for more frequent posting, a variety of styles, and broader topic coverage. Just make sure all of the authors have what it takes to be successful business bloggers: writing skills (of course), but also originality, subject matter expertise, a point of view, and most importantly—persistence.

3. Tone. Sassy? Intellectual? Helpful? Informative? Sophisticated? Technical? While a blog is likely to contain a mix of attributes (particularly a multi-author blog), think about the overall tone and personality your blog should have. Unlike website copy (which tends to be feature/benefit, marketing oriented), a blog can project a distinct and less directly sales-y side of your organization.

4. Design. Some corporate blogs (particularly those integrated into the company website) simply match the look and feel of the corporate website as closely as possible. But while a company blog should carry over certain key branding elements (e.g., colors, logo), it can also have some distinctiveness to its look, reflecting the tone (above) and setting it apart from the “commercial” content of the corporate site.

5. Platform. Just kidding, this really isn’t a tough decision: use WordPress. Sure, there are alternatives, ranging from other free or low-cost platforms (e.g., Blogger, TypePad) to fee-based systems (e.g., Compendium, HubSpot) to tools built into web content management system (CMS) platforms, but it’s tough to find an alternative that can compete with the flexibility, affordability, capability and search engine-friendliness of WordPress.

6. Structure (topics). Though these will likely evolve over time, it’s best to think about at least the obvious subjects for your company and industry up front. First, doing so will help keep subsequent posts organized into logical groups, without “category proliferation” (an excessive number of categories) or multiple overlapping topic areas.

Second, properly naming the categories is critical both for human navigation and for search engine optimization; a mis-named category (e.g., one that uses internal company jargon rather than the language of your prospects and customers) won’t attract as many readers as a better-named category would, and won’t help your blog rank as well for popular industry search terms.

Determining a set of baseline categories up front also helps in developing an editorial calendar. While this may be too formal for a single-contributor or small company blog, it can be very helpful for assuring topic diversity and a steady stream of content.

7. Post frequency. As Heidi Cohen points out, there is no hard and fast rule as to how often a blog needs fresh content, but the best strategy is to “blog as often as you can create quality content.” In terms of a blog’s impact on customer acquisition, posting once per week is nearly 50% more effective than posting only once per month, and more than twice as effective as posting even less frequently. But posting 2-3 times per week yields only a small incremental gain, and posting daily provides an even smaller incremental improvement.

Again, having multiple authors (see factor #2 above) can help increase post frequency without placing an excessive burden on any one contributor. Five authors, each writing two posts per month, would result in 2-3 posts per week—a highly effective frequency for customer acquisition. Spreading the burden should also (at least theoretically) improve the depth and quality of each post as well.

8. Features. Any blogging platform should provide the capability to add common features to your blog like a subscribe-by-email option, buttons/links to your social media accounts, and social sharing buttons to make it easy for your readers to share your posts on social networks and social bookmarking sites (though few platforms offer as many options for “pimping out” a blog as WordPress—see factor #5 above).

WordPress plugins let you add a wide variety of more advanced functions to your blog such as incorporating feeds from social media sites, enable your readers to rate posts, build customized contact forms, automatically display contextually related posts, add an online directory to your blog, display your most popular posts, insert a customized greeting based on the site that referred the reader to your blog (e.g., Digg, Facebook, LinkedIn), even create an e-commerce store.

By addressing each of these factors in your blog planning and setup, you’ll be ready to launch (or re-launch) a business blog built for success.

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B2B Blogging Trends for 2011

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

Blogging is often viewed as the core component of a B2B social media marketing strategy, and other than discussion forums, it’s the most mature component of social media. Facebook, Twitter and even newer tools like Quora may be sexier and get more attention, but blogs are the workhorses essential to making social media marketing work. Research from HubSpot shows that small businesses with blogs have twice as many Twitter followers as those who don’t. Increased search engine visibility, targeted traffic and enhanced brand image are just a few of the benefits of business blogging.

B2B Blogging Trends in 2011 - White PaperSo what’s next for B2B blogging? What trends are likely to emerge in the coming year? To answer those questions, the founders of the B2B Marketing Zone asked 22 of the most influential b2b marketing and PR bloggers—including Roxanne Darling, Jay Baer, Ardath Albee, Erik Qualman and Chris Abraham—for their prognostications. You can get the whole story in B2B Blogging Trends in 2011, a free (and no registration required) white paper from Aggregage (the software that powers the BMZ site). Among the findings:

  • • If you don’t have a blog yet, 2011 is the year to start one. As less than half of all B2B companies currently have blogs, there’s still an opportunity to stand out and establish thought leadership in your niche. If your company doesn’t have a blog, you’re not a laggard…quite yet. But time is running out to grab the best intellectual spots of turf on the B2B blogging landscape.
  • • Blogging helps a company demonstrate expertise, it’s ideal for search, and as Blake Landau points out, “As push marketing becomes less effective, blogs become more important.”
  • • Blogs are not islands; as pointed out above, they are the central point to social marketing efforts. Blogging is most effective when integrated with other communications efforts including PR and email marketing.
  • • Although there is still opportunity to get started with a business blog, it’s crucial to do it right. Jay Baer predicts an “explosion of bad B2B blogs” in the coming year as companies scramble to embrace the medium, but many fail to do it well. To stand out and achieve business success with a blog, it’s critical to focus narrowly on the information needs of your customers and prospects, as Kristin Zhivago and Harry Hoover both note.

There’s much more. Again, you can download the complete Aggregage white paper on B2B Blogging Trends in 2011 here.

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