How’s your business blog doing? Running out of ideas? Struggling to keep it up-to-date?
You’re not alone. In the busy-ness of business, keeping your blog fresh is not always at the top of your mind and not always the easiest chore to check off your list. The problem is, if you really want to make an impact you have to keep your blog updated regularly to keep visitors interested.
Here are a few other reasons to keep your blog fresh:
Search engines love to provide their customers with relevant, helpful, and up-to-date content and blogs provide this. Blogs are also less formal than static web content and this conversational tone is akin to the way people query search engines and connect with the content they find.
An up-to-date and informative blog is also an essential tool in your social media arsenal. If you keep your blog current you’ll never run out of useful tips, insights and relevant information to share with our Facebook and Twitter fans. It’s also a great way to get your audience to engage with your business and each other (via comments), and of course, a great way to drive traffic that you wouldn’t normally get to your website.
As a business blogger you don’t need to post five blogs a week; you just need consistency, relevance and a little inspiration.
Here are some tips to help you keep your blog fresh and relevant:
Write Within Your Means – You don’t need to write a long blog post (over 500 words) every time. Keep your posts brief if you need to. A great way of doing this is to use “fillers” (posting links to other blogs, event pages, YouTube videos, and so on) and frame them with an intro. Don’t do it all the time but it’s certainly a way to keep content fresh without spending too much time researching and writing.
Listen to and Get Blog Ideas from your Customers –Your customers, and potential customers, are your target audience and a great source for blog topic ideas. Listen to them. What are their challenges? How can your skills and expertise help them with their pain points? You don’t need to delve into how your product helps them; do that and you run the risk of sounding like a sales pitch. Instead, focus on your area of expertise and write about what is relevant to your customers.
For example, if you run a law business and get hundreds of questions about “How do I write a will?” or a fashion boutique owner who regularly finds yourself offering your customer’s style tips. Use your blog articles to share your expertise and answer the questions you get every day. In this case the law business could write about “5 Things You Need to Know about Writing your First Will” and the boutique owner might wish to share “6 Tips for Pairing Old and New in your Closet”.
So lend an ear to your customers wherever they are — on Facebook, on Twitter, in your store, in their homes, wherever you come into contact with them.
Look to What Others are Writing About – Inspiration can come from a variety of sources, and don’t feel that you have to reinvent the wheel with your blogs. Take the time to follow and read other blogs that relate to your field. What’s going on in the news? Is there a new industry development that’s worth writing about? Oftentimes you can spin a different angle on a topic that’s already been written about, or even reference that blog and weigh in with your comments (but never copy the article).
Showcase People – Why not feature willing customers? What they do, why they use you, real simple stuff. What about your team? Do you have any quirky characters or rock star employees that your customers love – showcase them so that your readers can get to know the people behind the business!
Invite Guest Bloggers – Take the burden off yourself every now and again while also opening the door to a new voice. Guest bloggers often cover ground that you can’t or provide a useful insight into another aspect of your industry. Guest bloggers might include a business partner, a vendor, or an industry expert. Be sure to give them plenty of advance notice to write the blog, and be prepared to discuss the angle you want their topic to take. You also want to subtly ensure that your quality is not impacted. Don’t be afraid to edit the guest post, just be sure to share the edits with the blogger as a courtesy – most guest bloggers welcome a second pair of eyes to review and polish up their work.
Turn on Comments –Simply put, comments are another way for readers to interact with you and each other. Don’t disable them, and be sure to monitor them for SPAM, etc.
Develop an Editorial Calendar – This is an absolute must and can really make the process of writing much easier because you do all the planning in advance. Use a simple spreadsheet to schedule your blogs – quarterly plans are good, but a monthly plan can also work. Remember, you don’t need to post any more than one or two blogs per week but having an editorial calendar can help you formulate your ideas in advance. Your calendar should identify your topic, describe the angle you are going to take, and assign an author and a due date. Be sure to check for any industry or market updates that might impact the angle your blog takes. Then, when you’re ready to write the blog you can hit the ground running.
Keep it Focused on Business –The number one golden rule of business blogging: never veer into personal musings on how fast your kids are growing up or what the dog got up to at the park. Yes, you can add your personal wit and humor to the tone of your blog, but do keep it focused on your business interests and not your personal life.