If you don’t currently have a blog site or a blog on your website, now is the time to get one going. Your blog can be a hub for your content marketing efforts, powering your social media marketing, improving your search optimization, and increasing your sales. I’m always tickled when I find some of my blog posts (otherwise referred to as articles if over 400 words) on other people’s websites.
Not only is blog marketing a highly effective way to increase your reach and build trust with your audience, but it can help you create a targeted community around your brand. Whether you choose WordPress, Blogspot, or some other blogging platform, the following DO’s and DON’Ts of small business blog marketing will help you get more out of your blog. Let’s get started.
• DO incorporate your blog into your business website to make it more visible and easy to access. To do this, you will have to register a domain such as blog.your-business.com.
• DON’T fill your blog with ads. Rather than an ad revenue source, your small business blog can be used more effectively as a platform for informing, entertaining, and connecting with your audience.
• DO incorporate keywords in your blog titles, subheadings, and content. These will make your blog easier to find online, directing more traffic to it from Google, Bing, and Yahoo search engines.
• DON’T write your blog posts for a faceless mass. Instead, use Google Analytics to understand who your target audience is and write all your posts as if you know the “you” in them personally.
• DO create a content marketing strategy that incorporates your promotional calendar and any events you may host. Use this strategy as a basis for developing your posting schedule.
• DON’T forget to include links within your posts in the form of references to previous posts, resources, research and studies, and other relevant blogs and sites in your market. This is a must have!
• DO write content in advance, scheduling it days, even weeks before publication. I collate four weeks’ worth of articles at the start of each month.
• DON’T serve your audience a wall of text, but rather use subheadings, bullet points, and a legible font to make your content easier to digest and encourage visitors to spend more time on your blog. Even two or three sentence paragraphs make it easier for your readers to digest your information.
• DO reply to all comments you receive, answering any questions your readers ask you and starting meaningful discussions. By responding to comments, you encourage more comments. Comments keep your blog engagement at a healthy level. Comments also demonstrate social proof.
• DON’T post only text. Enhance your content with original images and videos, infographics, slideshows, downloadable reports and case studies, and other types of content that break the monotony of text. Posts with images and videos are shared more than those without.
• DO promote your blog content to make sure it reaches a broad audience. You can do this by delivering your posts as newsletters, automatically publishing them on social networks you’re active on with tools such as Hootsuite, or by adding social sharing buttons to your posts.
• DON’T fail to optimize your blog for mobile devices, as many of your blog readers will be using smartphones and tablets. Using a responsive design is the best way to make your blog mobile-friendly.
• DO encourage your employees to share their experiences and expertise with your blog readers. This helps you produce content for your blog, and to do it in a personal way that fosters engagement.
• DON’T forget to post something fresh on your blog at least every week, and preferably two or three times a week. The freshness of your blog is a key factor for its success, and has an impact on your search engine ranking as well, increasing your online visibility.
• DO invest time and financial resources in your blog to polish the design, optimize content, and continually improve it all around. Creating a blog and posting on it content now and then isn’t enough. You have to create worthwhile content and make your blog marketing efforts a priority.
In the end, don’t forget to measure the results of your blog marketing campaign, including traffic, clicks, views, engagement, and sales. Blogging platforms such as WordPress and tools like Google Analytics make this easy, by generating user-friendly charts, graphs, and reports.