Business blogs can serve many purposes, including improving search traffic to your
primary site and boosting your brand and brand messages. Unfortunately, without
sound and consistent execution of good blogging practices, it’s highly likely
your business blog will just become a shell filled with hopeful expectations.
Here are suggestions for making your new business blog effective at capturing
your expectations of success, or for making your existing business blog even
better.

Make it your own

Mike Volpe, VP Inbound Marketing at HubSpot, points out on the 19th slide in this presentation that the biggest mistake
people make when setting up blogs is using free URLs from Blogspot or Typepad.
Those URLs are not going to serve your brand very well because they are not
your URLs. Get a domain that fits your brand, or, add a blog to your existing
website. Once you do that and start posting, all the link love and page rank
will be yours.

Plan for success

Make an editorial calendar that shows posting frequency, post
titles, and most importantly, who is going to develop each post. Develop is a
key term here because a post should always try to be more than just writing; visuals,
podcasts, and video need to be planned ahead of time, whether they are sourced
elsewhere or prepared in-house. 
The graphic in Figure A shows one way you can set up an editorial
calendar using a spreadsheet program.

Figure A

Source: Duane Craig

To get a good, tight integration between your blog and your
entire social media program, you should plan to make your blog the anchor to all
your social media efforts. Your blog is where you can develop depth to your
brand’s personality and is where people can get a personable story about what
you do and what you sell. You should use the blog content to spin-off topical
posts to your social media platform pages and timelines. This, too, can be
planned ahead by looking at each planned post and listing the spin-off content.

Figure B shows the rest of the editorial calendar shown in Figure
A. This section shows how you might incorporate a social media integration plan
into your editorial calendar, keeping in mind that all that broadcasting requires
potential interaction.

Figure B

Source: Duane Craig

Take care of the technicalities

You should add social media sharing buttons to your blog and not
just on the home page but on each post as well. Where you can, you should have
your blog’s RSS imported to external social media pages that you maintain.

Your blogging platform will often provide the option of having
your post titles and URLs automatically added to your social media
timelines/walls as they are posted. There is an abundance of cautions about
automatically posting to social platforms, but unless you’re posting multiple
blog posts every day, the possibility these autoposts will reflect poorly on
you are pretty slim.

You should also provide outbound links within your posts to
content that adds value to the post. If you’ve taken the time to research a
topic, you probably have several links to related content that can add to
credibility and provide more depth of coverage for the reader. Particularly
when you quote something from another source, it’s a good idea to follow
journalistic standards and provide a link to the source of the quote. Don’t
overlook your own content. You may have white papers, case studies,
screencasts, webinars, slides, and other materials you’ve developed over time
that can add value for the visitor.

Make it memorable

Descriptive headlines draw the reader in and can improve search
results if also seeded with keywords that describe what the post is about. Using
descriptive phrases and words in headlines, subheads, and excerpts brings your
posts to life. For instance, instead of using great as an adjective, you should
describe what makes the subject great — is it innovative, easy to use,
futuristic, enthralling, or visually stunning?

While it takes longer and often requires multiple edits, there is
something to be said for writing finely crafted blog posts. Your time and
budget are going to dictate if any of your blog posts fit that description, but
even if 10% hit the mark, you’ve made the entire blog that much more memorable.
Of all the social media venues, blogs provide the greatest amount of space to
develop ideas and concepts and to tell stories. Blogs are not subject to the
same truncated displays offered by “timelines” and “walls.”
When you have a topic that lends itself to being presented as a mystery, try
putting it out there that way. If the topic could be analogous to a season,
craft it to mimic aspects of that season. For example, think of autumn, with
its shortening days and yellow light casting longer and longer shadows. That “feeling”
can be appropriately evoked in a post about a company’s decision to retire a
product or service.

Summary

It’s true that reading is being increasingly passed over for the
visual experience, but when words are fashioned into rich sentences and
paragraphs, they will inspire, inform, and spur action, often in surprising
ways. Blogs still offer ample opportunities for standing apart from the crowd.

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