Accelerate your blog: 10 things every effective blog must have

effective business blog

Introduction

Is your company blog effective?  What makes a blog effective anyway?

You established your company blog to reap the benefits of blogging.  You want to establish thought leadership, build trust, and generate leads.

There are 10 actions you can take today to make your blog more effective.  Each one is just a small action, but they add up to an effective company blog.

  1. Know your AUDIENCE(s)

The trick is to create blog content for your buyer personas.  But who are you talking to?  For a water effective business blogindustry blog, your audience may change through the sales funnel.  There are project managers investigating a problem their company is facing.  There are upper management decision-makers considering proposed solutions.  There are technical boffins assessing if the proposed solution will solve the problem.

Your blog shouldn’t be about a hard sell.  It shouldn’t be a platform for discussing current trends.  Your blog should be a way to educate your audience.  A way of engaging with prospects and moving them through the funnel.

  1. Name your blog AUTHOR(s)

Naming a blog author establishes credibility and builds trust.  You can work on developing a unique voice in your industry.  Because your audience changes through the sales funnel, your content should too.  You might establish several blog authors, that address different aspects of your buyers’ journey.

Blogging is a key element in establishing your company as thought leaders.  Naming your authors provides a sound foundation to build on.

  1. Keep the same DOMAIN

A major benefit of a company blog is moving your company page up in the rankings of major search engines.  Each time you post a blog, a page is added to your website.  That’s another page for search engines to investigate and rank.  But it only works if your blog is on the same domain as your company website – blog.domain.com or domain.com/blog.

  1. Enable SUBSCRIBERS

Don’t miss the value of building up a following of loyal blog readers. The more readers that subscribe to your blog, the more opportunities you have to fill the top of your sales funnel.   You also increase the number of visitors coming to your website regularly.

Every time you post a blog a message goes out to your list, letting them know it’s up.  Your subscribers may share that email with friends and colleagues, who then may subscribe themselves.  Every new subscriber is a potential lead.

  1. Maintain CONSISTENCY

An effective blog provides its readers with quality content on a consistent basis.  This is where your blog planning pays off.  An important part of a blog plan is the publishing schedule.  With a publishing schedule in place, it is much easier to post regularly.  Whether you blog monthly, weekly, daily, or multiple times a day, you want to keep it consistent.

  1. Provide quality CONTENT

A corollary to blogging consistently is providing quality content in each post.  Without quality content your blog may not achieve the traffic goals as planned.  You should monitor responses to each blog and how they impact site traffic on a monthly basis.  You may need to up the frequency to achieve your traffic goals.

  1. Encourage ACTION

Encourage your audience to take an action in every post.  A clear Call to Action (CTA) will pull them further into your site.  After reading quality content, your reader is primed for more valuable content.  Be sure it is relevant to the topic of each post.

For example, a powerful CTA:

  • is concise, and
  • action-oriented (maybe a short phrase using an action verb),
  • that plays on a visitor’s fear of missing out, or
  • evokes excitement and enthusiasm to stimulate action.

You might add an incentive to convert, some added bonus for acting.  Just be sure to encourage action in every post.

  1. Facilitate SHARING

Your blog should facilitate sharing with social share buttons. It’s the way your readers will share that fantastic article you recently posted.  The success of your blog depends on how many people read it.  As a matter of fact, social sharing buttons increased click-through rates by an astounding 55%!

There are several plug-ins that allow social sharing.  Be sure to include them on your blog.

  1. Optimize for SPEED and MOBILE

Optimize your blog so that it loads quickly on all devices.  There are online tools you can use to check loading speeds and identify areas for improvement.  One thing to check first is the size of images on the page.

Given the increasing use of mobile phones for internet searching, be sure to optimize your blog for smartphones and tablets.

  1. Boost your rankings with SEO

Although there are many channels for promoting your blog, you want to ensure readers can find you through search engines.  Part of optimizing your blog is in optimizing your content.  As discussed in the blog: 4 Ws and an H: Blog planning in five steps a couple of weeks ago, planning your blog topics around keywords makes it easier to optimize them for SEO.  Your focus keyword should feature prominently featured in page titles, headers, alt tags, and images.effective business blog

Another trick is to link other relevant content within your website.  Perhaps you have white papers or case studies on a related topic.  Where appropriate link to your product or services pages.  Search engines love this sort of linking and it will help move you up the ranks.

Ranking high on searches is incredibly important.  In fact, Marketshare found that 75% of users never scroll past the first page of search results.

Conclusion

That’s ten actions you can take to increase the effectiveness of your company blog:

  1. Know your AUDIENCE(s)

  2. Name your blog AUTHOR(s)

  3. Keep the same DOMAIN

  4. Enable SUBSCRIBERS

  5. Encourage ACTION

  6. Maintain CONSISTENCY

  7. Provide quality CONTENT

  8. Facilitate SHARING

  9. Optimize for MOBILE and SPEED

  10. Boost your rankings with SEO

By taking these actions you will find your blog effectively:

  • increasing site traffic,
  • establishing your thought leadership and building trust,
  • moving you up in the search rankings, and
  • converting leads.

Is your company blog doing what you thought it would?  How do you ensure your blog is effective?

If your team is already working to capacity delivering quality services to your clients, how do you manage to produce and consistently deliver a quality blog every week?  WATER COPY can help!  I provide blog writing services that will keep your content machine running smoothly.  Contact me to discuss your blogging needs.

CONTACT A BETTER BLOG WRITER

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Blog Writing: It’s not just about words.  Write blogs that get clicked, read, and shared.

business blog writer

Introduction

You’ve decided you need to upgrade your company blog.  You need to provide quality content to your audience to build thought leadership and generate leads.  You need to quit filling your blog with product launch announcements and trade show pics.

You’ve written the blog plan.  You have a production schedule and a list of topics.  Now you need to write.  This can present a challenge, whether you like writing or not.  How does one go about writing a blog?

Check out these three tips on how to write a blog that gets clicked, read, and shared.

Tip 1: Get the basics right

There is a basic structure to any piece of quality content.  Get the basics right and your blog is that much more likely to get read.

Title/headline

The headline presents the first impression of post.  It’s important to get it right or readers won’t click through to read the content.  A headline should be actionable and keyword-focused.  Try to keep it brief.  Be clear and definitive, maybe even intriguing.

There are lots of guides out there on how to write a great headline.  Most agree that you can spruce up a mediocre headline by:

  1. including numbers,
  2. adding an intriguing adjective, or
  3. using action verbs.

The body copy

Any piece of content will be more engaging if it is focused on one emotionally compelling idea.  A blog post is no different.  You should have that emotionally compelling idea based on your keyword research, as discussed in last week’s post.  Now it’s time to write the post.

Always start with an outline.  Organize all the information that supports the one big idea and make sure it follows a logical flow.  Use headings and subheadings to divide the supporting information into sections.

Start with an introduction, where you tell the reader what you’re going to tell them.  Follow with the body copy, subdivided into sections with headings and subheadings.  This is where the real information is.  Finish with a conclusion that tells them what you told them.

Unique to blogs is the chance to get a conversation started.  Find a way to invite your readers to comment.  Follow the discussion and contribute solutions.

The call-to-action

Finish every post with a call-to-action.  As a powerful top-of-the-funnel tactic, your blog is the perfect place to pull prospects further into the funnel.  Get your readers to subscribe to your blog or to contact you or to read about your product and services.  Be sure to include that CTA.

Tip 2: Readability IS the new SEO darling

Although keywords and keyword phrases remain important, search engines are increasingly focused on readability.  Search engines want to be sure your content will fulfill the reader’s intent.  Most readers prefer easy-to-read text.  Here are some ways to make your text easy-to-read:

Use personal pronouns

Using personal pronouns gives your writing a conversational tone.  Personal pronouns seem to connect the reader to the writer.  A conversational tone helps your reader focus on your message rather than your language.business blog writer

Avoid jargon

In the water industry, it is easy to fall into using technical terms that may confuse some readers.  If you must use a technical term, especially when you’re writing for non-specialists, define it so all your readers can understand.

Avoid padding

Words like very, really, actually, or carefully don’t serve any purpose.  Keep in simple, keep it easy to understand.

By adopting an easy-to-read style, you can start engaging your audience.  Use personal pronouns, where appropriate.  Avoid jargon by choosing the right word. Avoid padding your text with words that serve no purpose.

Tip 3: Design it so readers will move right through to the CTA

You may not want to know this but not all your readers will read your entire blog.  Many blog readers (43%, according to Hubspot) admit to skimming content.  Rather than being offended by this, play to those readers.  Cater to all readers with the design of each blog.business blog writer

White space

Dense blocks of text can intimidate readers.  Clever use of white space – areas with no text or graphics – will lessen the stress.  Put in a few pull quotes to add variety to the blog’s visual flow.

Headings and subheadings

Headings and subheadings not only help with the flow of logic of the post, they provide a break from the text.  They allow skimmers to get the gist of the blog without having to read the entire article.  Optimize headings for keywords where possible.

Bulleted or numbered lists

Anytime your information allows, break up blocks of text with bulleted or numbered lists.  Again, they cater to skimmers, but they also help organize information into short concise portions.

Images

Photos, graphs, charts, and tables add visual appeal while providing in-depth information in an eye-catching format.  Keep graphs and charts relatively simple.

 

Conclusion

After all the meetings, the brainstorming, the planning, it’s time to write.  Writing posts for the company blog may never be your favorite thing to do but with these three tips you can help to ensure your post will get clicked, read, and shared.

 

How do you check the readability of your content?  Which tools do you like best?

 

If your team is already working to capacity delivering quality services to your clients, business blog writerhow do you manage to produce and consistently deliver a quality blog?  WATER COPY can help!  I provide blog writing services that will keep your content machine running smoothly.  Contact me to discuss your blogging needs.

CONTACT A BETTER BLOG WRITER

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4 W’s and an H: Blog planning in 5 steps

business blog planning

Introduction

Although by nature blogs have a certain spontaneity about them, an effective company blog is meticulously planned and consistently executed.  Planning ensures you meet your marketing goals by publishing quality content on a regular schedule.  Your subscribers and interested readers want to know when they can expect new content from a source they have come to trust. business blog planning

The blog plan sits within and supports your greater content marketing strategy.  However, a company blog is such a valuable marketing asset that it needs a plan of its own.  A plan that describes:

  1. Why you blog – Goals and objectives
  2. Who you blog to – Market and audience research
  3. What you blog about – Keyword research
  4. When you blog – Production scheduling
  5. How you blog – Promotion planning

This post will examine each step in building a blog plan.

Blog planning in 5 steps

1. Why you blog – Goals

The first step in any plan is to set goals.  In a blog plan, goals for the blog should support the company’s business goals as well as the goals of your content marketing strategy.  Goals like generating leads and building thought leadership.  By establishing goals and objectives for your blog in general and for each individual blog allows you to understand what success looks like.

2. Who you blog to – Market research

Market research helps to define your audience and assess your competitors.  The more you learn about your audience, the better able you’ll be to provide the content they want.  By understanding your competitors, you can craft better content.

Audience research

Getting to know your target audience is key to crafting relevant content.  You need to learn what:

  • people expect from blogs in your niche;
  • kind of content do they find useful and exciting;
  • benefits do they expect to receive from your blogs; and
  • makes them tick and compels them to keep coming back for more.

It may not be easy to define your target audience when you have no blog subscribers.  One way to get an idea of what your audience wants is to conduct a survey.  Ask what your audience wants more information about.  Ask what they like about your blog and what other blogs they like.

Competitive analysis

As well as understanding your audience you need to understand your competition.  How are they promoting their content?  What are they blogging about?  By having an insight into their content strategy, you can fine-tune your own.  Find your own unique voice in your niche.  You can only do that if you know the competition.

3. What you blog about – Keyword research

While there are many sources of ideas for topics to blog about, you can boost your search results by using keywords to come up with topics.  That means carrying out keyword research.

Start with main your main keyword.  Keyword analyzers suggest keyword combos then rank them on # of searches a month.  You should check out related words and terms.  Search on semantically-related words like the individual components of water treatment systems.

Long-tail keywords – 3 to 4-word phrases, will get you less traffic but more targeted searchers.  When they find your page, they are more likely to become a lead because the search was more focused.

business blog planningYou can find keywords and phrases through the auto suggest on Google.  When you type in a keyword or phrase, a dropdown list will display previous search phrases.

At the bottom of the Google search page is another source of keywords.  Google provides a list of other search terms and phrases that are similar to the current one.

By basing the topics on keywords and featuring the focus keyword in page titles, headers, alt tags, and images you can optimize your blog for search engines.  Be sure to provide links back to your power pages – products and services, and a call-to-action that encourages further engagement.

So, certainly, contact your sales team and find out what questions are being asked.  Join and follow forums in your niche, paying attention to problems being discussed.  Just be sure to research keywords regularly to keep you blog on the first page of Google.

4. When you blog – Production scheduling

The production schedule for your company blog fits into content calendar of your greater content marketing strategy (that further establishes thought leadership and builds trust by publishing white papers, case studies regularly.)business blog planning

You may want to plan posts in a series with a contextual lead magnet at end of each.  Start with big ideas based on market and keyword research, and then keep subdividing until each topic is based on one compelling idea.  Plan to post weekly to begin with but that is really a minimum.  Hubspot found that B2B businesses who blog at least 20 times per month have five times more traffic than those who blog less than four times per month.  Just keep it at a frequency you can maintain consistently.

5. How you blog – Promotion planning

The whole point of a blog is to get your posts read by as many people as possible.  That requires promotion.  The first place to post you blogs is on your company website, of course.  But there are other ways to get your information out to your audience.

Share each post on all your social media channels.  Have your employees send it out to their networks.  Send updates out to your email list with links to your recent post.

Set up your blog so readers can subscribe to get regular updates.  Allow social sharing by including those buttons on the blog.

Your blog is well planned, and you are consistently publishing quality content.  Be sure to get it read by as many people as possible by promoting it effectively.

Conclusion

Follow these 5 steps and you will have a plan that describes:

  1. Why you blog – Goals and objectives
  2. Who you blog to – Market and audience research
  3. What you blog about – Keyword research
  4. When you blog – Production scheduling
  5. How you blog – Promotion planning

Implement this plan consistently and reap the rewards!

Next week’s post examines how to make sure your blog is readable and visually appealing.

Do you have a blog plan? Is it documented and implemented?

 

If your team is already working to capacity delivering quality services to your clients, how do you manage to produce and consistently deliver a quality blog every week?  WATER COPY can help!  I provide blog writing services that will keep your content machine running smoothly.  Contact me to discuss your blogging needs.

CONTACT A BETTER BLOG WRITER

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Blogging benefits the water industry in four ways

Introduction

Why blog?  Is it that important in the water industry?

Let’s think about marketing in the water industry.  What are you selling?  Highly specialized and often complex technology that has a long operational life and a hefty price tag.  These kinds of systems don’t sell themselves nor will the hard sell impress the people who buy them.blogging benefits

How will a company blog help you sell your water treatment systems and services?  What your audience needs is information.  Not about your products but about the problems they are facing.  Once they figure out the problem, they need information about available solutions.

In fact, a typical B2B buyer is more than half way through the buyer’s journey before they engage directly with a supplier.  You gain trust by giving your audience quality information without a hard sell.  An important channel for publishing this information is your company blog.

Blogging benefits the water industry in four ways

You need to think about your company blog as a long-term marketing asset – a critical part of any inbound marketing program.  And although there are many direct benefits to the water industry from maintaining a company blog, four stand out.

Benefit 1:          Increasing traffic to your websiteblogging benefits

A water industry website tends to be static.  You may occasionally publish product updates or refresh some text, but the content mostly stays the same. With a blog, subscribers and new readers come to your site regularly for the fresh content.  Once they are there, they may browse other pages and find further value.

Your products and services pages are important.  Putting in-links from keyword-optimized hyperlinks in the blog will increase traffic to these critical pages.  In-links help boost your site with search engines too.

Benefit 2:          Establishing thought leadership and building trust

Sharing information allows you to establish thought leadership and build trust.  A blog is the perfect place to do just that.  Provide information about problems water managers may be facing and the solutions available.  Keep your blog updated and engaging so that when it comes time to contact a provider, your company comes to mind.

A key aspect of content marketing in general, and blogs in particular, is to avoid the hard sell.  Your posts should inform and entertain, not constantly blast your audience with ads, brochures, or technical fact sheets.

Convince prospects that you’re an involved and informed industry player.  Sharing information on your blog gives your readers insight into the value you offer.  Guide your audience and educate them in how to solve their problems.  But make sure they understand the complexity of the problem and its solution.  Let them know how your company can solve their problem seamlessly.

Benefit 3:          Optimized posts moving you up the search list

Search engines love blogs.  If you blog frequently, and frequency counts, you create more pages and more content for indexing.  This enhances organic traffic to your site when you blog comes up on the first page.

Optimizing each blog for keywords is a must.  Develop blog topics around industry-specific keywords.  However, ‘stuffing’ content with dozens of mentions of keywords is not optimizing.  In fact, search engines frown on the practice, which could lead to your site never appearing on the first page of Google.  Used strategically, however, keywords will bring more traffic to your blog and help to generate leads.

Remember though that SEO is not limited to keywords anymore.  Search engines now assess the readability of content.  The idea is readers prefer content that is easy to read.  Readability and visual design will be the topic of an upcoming blog.

Benefit 4:          Converting leads through Call-to-Actions

Blogs are a classic example of a top-of-funnel tactic.  An excellent top-of-funnel tactic.  Prospects that come to your blog for the quality content can quickly become leads.  Bring them further into the funnel with a clear, compelling call-to-action (CTA) each time you post.  Make the CTA relevant to the topic of the blog.  Invite the prospect to download educational or useful content in exchange for contact information.

An effective CTA leads to an offer that a prospect is willing to trade their contact information for.  What to offer, the lead magnet, will be covered in an upcoming series of blogs.

Conclusion

Clearly, there are many benefits for the water industry in maintaining an effective company blog.  The problems your clients are facing are complex.  The benefits your solutions provide can be difficult to quantify.  Your prospects want information.  A blog provides a powerful platform to provide that information.

By blogging, the water industry benefits four ways:

  • Benefit 1:   Increasing traffic to your website
  • Benefit 2:   Establishing thought leadership and building trust
  • Benefit 3:   Optimized posts moving you up the search list
  • Benefit 4:   Converting leads through Call-to-Actions

An effective company blog is a cost-effective way to raise awareness at the top of the sales funnel.  Consistently publishing quality content on your blog will position you as thought leaders in your field.  It keeps you top of mind with your clients.

The trick, of course, is to post informative and interesting content consistently.  Next week’s post is all about blog planning, and how to develop a production schedule that will keep your blog on track.

What benefits do you reap from your company blog?

If your team is already working to capacity delivering quality services to your clients, how do you manage to produce and consistently deliver a quality blog?  WATER COPY can help!  I provide blog writing services that will keep your content machine running smoothly.  Contact me to discuss your blogging needs.

CONTACT A BETTER BLOG WRITER

 

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