By Patti Rowlson
So, your website has a “blog” or “news” page, but you’re not doing anything with it. You are not alone.
Many companies have unused or outdated blog pages because they don’t have the time or desire to think about blogging, or because they don’t have a solid plan in place for generating content. If those reasons sound familiar, you may want to reconsider some of the benefits of blogging for business and work toward incorporating a blog into your marketing mix.
Maintaining a blog on a website can be a great marketing tool for businesses of any size. Blogs can be used to quickly add fresh content and relevant keywords to websites for search-engine optimization purposes. They can also be used to announce company news, share product information or educate potential customers about your industry.
Blogs allow businesses to generate their own news; articles you create and publish can be shared locally and globally via social media sites.
Benjamin Franklin once said: “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”
There are a couple of things to consider if you want to start, or re-start, blogging for business. First, make sure someone on your team likes to write and that they can do so effectively. If there isn’t anyone on your team who can generate blog content, consider hiring a local copywriter to write the articles for you.
Next, it’s important to be consistent so people will get used to visiting your blog for current information.
Just starting out? Set a goal of writing one article per month for the first 3 months. Work up to one per week once you get in your blogging groove. Setting aside a specific time each month to write articles will help ensure success.
As you start to write an article, keep these eight blogging quick tips in mind:
1. Make sure your blog is set up with social sharing buttons on the bottom of each article. This will make it easy for readers to share the article with others on sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest—or via email.
2. Articles can be short or long. A good goal for new bloggers is to aim for 250 – 300 words; try not to go over 800 words.
3. Ninety percent of the information shared should be given away for free; about 10 percent can be used for selling your products/services.
4. Think about search-engine optimization, also known as SEO, as you’re writing. Try to use industry keywords in your article headline and sprinkle keywords throughout the article (but don’t go so keyword crazy that the article no longer flows).
5. Plain text is boring. Add a couple of photos to spice things up.
6. When the article is finished, review it one more time. Look for places you can add hyperlinks to other articles you’ve written or links to specific pages on your website where readers can learn more.
7. Have a coworker, friend or family member proofread articles to help catch spelling or grammar mistakes.
8. Before hitting the “publish” button, make sure to tag your article. Tags help people find your articles online. Example: an article about healthcare options for senior citizens could use tags like “healthcare” “senior resources” or “Medicare”.
Lastly, a great way to learn more about blogging is to actually read other blogs. Check out a few competitors or national experts in your industry. Read their blogs, observe how often they add new articles and watch to see what types of feedback they receive from the public.
Do you subscribe to any marketing, business or industry-related blogs? Share a link in the comments section below.
Patti Rowlson of PR Consulting Services is a publicist and marketing consultant in Whatcom County. Her columns appear on BBJToday.com on the last Thursday of each month. Connect with Rowlson on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest for additional marketing tips, or visit her website at www.pattirowlson.com.