Blogging is a popular way for small business owners to drive traffic to their website and generate leads. It takes time and dedication to write blogs, and because people get the results they want right away, they often give up before they achieve success. If you are ready to give up blogging, wait! Follow these eight simple steps to creating a successful business blog.
Success begins with a PLAN
First you need to create a digital marketing plan to see how blogging will be part of your content marketing strategy, including the who, what, where, when and how. For each blog, you need to why you are writing the blog, whom you are writing it for, and what you want to achieve from the blog to help you define success.
1. CREATE A PLAN
For each blog, ask these questions
- What is the goal for your blog?
- What is the topic?
- Who is the target audience?
- What is the keyword for this blog?
- What do I want my readers to do? Call-to-Action
- How will I promote the blog?
- How will I measure success? Refer to the call-to-action & other digital marketing metrics (e.g. website traffic)
2. WRITE AN OUTLINE
Writing an outline helps to structure the blog logically; helping inform what research needs to be done, and provides the basis for scannable sub-headings.
Have a look at the headings in this blog, and you will see my outline. After creating the outline, I did some online research to find related articles to share and then began to write my draft based on my online research and years of experience in writing business blogs.
3. RESEARCH / COLLECT INFORMATION
Here are some examples of popular types of blogs
- Success Stories
- Report Summary
- Product Review
- Industry News
- Event Reviews
- Behind the Scenes
Sources of research can include interviews, online research, personal use of a product, attending an event, industry journals, research reports, documenting (product creation, day-in-the-life)
Examples of types of content - videos, podcast, text, photography, reports, statistics
4. WRITE BLOG
Even if the primary type of blog content is visual or audio, it is essential to include text in your blog.
WHY? Accessibility devices and search engines crawling your website cannot identify objects in an image. For those who are unable to use their audio at the time, they can scan and bookmark your blog to listen to, watch your video, or listen to a podcast at another time.
The following are essential sections of a blog to include:
- Lead-in Paragraph - This is the first paragraph and is usually 2-4 sentences to summarize your blog. Include your keyword in the first two sentences.
- Blog Title - This is your H1 [Heading 1] and the most important heading. Only have one H1 per blog.
- Call-to-Action (CTA) - When writing your blog, make sure you are clear what you want your readers to do and include it within the text; then prepare any supporting visuals such as promotional graphics or button graphics. Some examples include - subscribe to blog, sign up for email list, register for an event, buy now, and learn more.
Editing your Blog
Once you have your draft complete, make sure to check for spelling and grammar. A typical word document has some necessary spelling and grammar tools, but there are other more in-depth editing tools available, such as Grammarly.
Grammarly is an online, low-cost tool that provides editing and recommendations to improve the spelling, grammar, and readability of text and will check for any plagiarism.
Readability is critical in any blog. It is vital to make sure the content flows, is easy to follow (visually), is at the reading level of the target audience (intended reader), and avoid the use of jargon.
5. CREATE VISUALS
Include a feature photo or graphic.
Check with your website designer to see what size and where to post your feature image in your blog. For WordPress blogs, this is sometimes a separate upload area. If you are unsure, insert the image at the top of the page. Be consistent with the size and where your image is embedded in the post.
Use high resolution and related photos.
When including photography, make sure they have a high resolution and look professional. If you are not able to take high-quality photos, there are numerous stock photo sites available to purchase with a license to use them. e.g. Depositphotos offers a variety of quality, low-cost business related stock photos and images to choose from.
Ideas for blog visuals and other rich media
- Slide Presentations
- Social media posts
- Illustrations (e.g. sketch notes, line drawings)
6. POST BLOG
Create a new blog on your website and add the text into the blog editor field.
Remember to strip out any text formatting before copying the content to your blog. If you don’t do this, it can conflict with the format of your blog editor. A quick way to restore the document to simple text from a Word document is to highlight the text, change the formatting to a paragraph format, and take out any bullets; then copy and paste the text into a note-taking application (e.g. Notepad) or save as a plain .txt file. The text is now ready to copy into your blogging platform.
All media will need to be uploaded separately.
- Optimize your Post to make it easy to read - for your audience and for the search engines
- Check your Design to make sure everything lines up and there aren't any distorted images
- Add Category
- Check keyword density - optimal is 1-3%
7. PROMOTE BLOG
- Share on Social Media - When sharing the blog on various social media channels, make sure the image is showing. Try different messages and images to see what performs the best. If you find one that is outperforming the others, and have budget, consider using this information as a basis for designing an ad.
- Add backlinks - First link all related blogs and webpages to cross-promote and consider the goal of your blog and your viewer's journey through the various content pages on your website. Also consider looking for opportunities to have other sites and people link back to your blog.
- Some other channels to promote your blog may include: e-newsletters, internal team, individual messages to customers/prospects, and paid promotions.