As blogging has become a mainstream communications tool for businesses, I find that the requests from clients to consult with them about creating or improving their business blogs are increasing. As a woman business leader and business owner, my blog has not only amplified my visibility on a personal level, but has also helped me develop new business alliances I would never have had the opportunity to pursue. Blogging is no longer an adjunct to an overall marketing plan, it’s an essential part of a communications strategy.
Even though I have been blogging professionally for years, I’m always on the alert for ways to improve my blogging effectiveness. Here are five tips from Lee Odden that offer some really sound blogging basics to get you started or build on your existing blog:
- Customer. Problem. Solution.
Gather information related to what your target audience wants, likes and needs are in relation to your industry, company, products and services. Other audience considerations include the people who influence buyers but may never be buyers themselves—journalists, other bloggers, industry analysts, business and marketing partners, existing customers, current employees and potential employees.
- Define the topics.
Once you’ve decided on goals, audience and key value propositions the blog will communicate, the next step towards constructing a great corporate blogging plan is to identify the topics. The outcome of this exercise is the start of your blog editorial plan. In fact, any content or media produced and promoted through a business blog should be leveraging search engine optimization (SEO) best practices. Being visible through search as well as sharable through social networks is a powerful combination.
- What’s the story? Plan the narrative.
Storytelling is one of the things that’s most often missing in many SEO-centric efforts towards blogging. Planning topics for specific audiences is great, but tying them together through a themed content plan, topics and keywords is even better. That means a story expressed through text, images, audio, video, interactive applications and any other content or media that can deliver the customer/brand experience in a meaningful way.
- Attract & grow your audience.
One of the most effective models for business blogging and community development uses a hub. We like a hub and spoke model of content marketing and social network engagement which allows for a deep, topical repository of knowledge to be supported by a constellation of social networks and other channels of content sharing. The combination of links and off-site engagement can expose the brand’s expertise to the media as well as new audiences that are not currently aware of the brand’s blog.
- Set goals, monitor progress, measure results, refine and repeat.
With any content marketing, it’s important to engage in an adaptable cycle designed to make iterative improvements to content effectiveness. That means based on goals, monitor progress through key performance indicators like blog comments, links, mentions, referred social network traffic, referred search engine traffic and the behaviors of visitors once they arrive on the blog.
The five tips above will help you start your blog’s content marketing strategy, but to be truly effective, you will need to continually adapt, change and restructure your social media marketing and monitoring.