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Eight tips for a successful business blog

Wednesday, 15 May 2013 | By Lauren Ridgway

Effective business blogging has a multitude of benefits including increased consumer trust, adding value to your customers, increased customer engagement, brand loyalty and improved SEO.


However, there are some mistakes you can make which lead to poor business blogging, which can end up being detrimental to your brand.


If you're thinking about setting up a blog for your business, or already have one, here are eight tips you should keep in mind.


1. Be personal, but not too personal


It's great to humanise your business by adding personal touches such as anecdotes and stories. This also helps make the blog relatable to your readers, so don’t be afraid of a showing some personality.


However, be mindful when discussing more personal details such as your family and relationships, as this can simply be too much information and can look unprofessional. Make sure whatever you share from a personal perspective is relevant to the post. Remember you are representing your business, so make sure ultimately your tone should still be professional.


2. Don't go the hard sell


Blogging is not about selling. Sure, a successful content strategy will ideally lead to increased sales, but the purpose of your blog is to engage the reader, not to disengage by polluting the post with sales messages.


Your blog topics should relate to topics of interest to your target market and should not always be about your brand. For example, on the MYOB blog, we post articles about how the federal budget will impact small businesses, tips on how to better market your small business, as well as updates on our accounting software.


We have a mix of content that is not just about our brand; in fact, only about 25% is specifically about MYOB. If a post is not going to be of interest to small business owners or accountants, we won’t post it.


3. Experiment with your content


Don’t just stick to text-based posts, but experiment with images, video, infographics, podcasts and other types of media. Using multimedia rich content can drive more traffic and is often easier to digest.


Can’t think of a topic to write about? Why not profile your employees, or customers? Perhaps conduct an interview with a thought leader in your industry? Think outside the box and try different things, you’ll soon discover what works and what doesn’t.


4. Proofread your posts


Proper grammar and spelling are important, as it is a way of demonstrating that you and your organisation are professional and intelligent. Poor grammar and spelling will give both you and the company you represent an amateur perception.


Ensure your posts are written clearly and make sense, we all know that sometimes we can accidentally slip-up!


To avoid being embarrassed, make sure you re-read your post prior to publishing, or share with a colleague. If your blogging software has a spell check, make sure you enable it.


5. Don’t forget SEO


When writing your blog posts make sure you use highly searched keywords so that readers will be able to discover your content through organic search. Use a site such as Google AdWords keyword tool to check on the popularity of certain terms, particularly when debating whether to title your post “Top 10 EOFY Tips” or “Top 10 Tax Tips”. A simple search will show you what is likely to get more traffic.


6. Get social!


Make sure your blog contains social sharing buttons so readers can automatically tweet out the article or share it to Facebook. And importantly, make sure you use your own social channels (both your company’s and your personal channels) to promote the post. Tweet it, Facebook it, LinkedIn it… you can’t expect readers to stumble onto your posts without a little help!


7.  Treat readers like you would customers


If a customer emailed you, would you ignore it? Then if a reader posts a comment, you should answer it! Make it your practice to reply to any comments, even if they are not questions, within 24 hours. Even a simple ‘thanks for your comment’ will encourage others to share their thoughts as well.


8. Don't start what you can't finish


Finally, don’t start a blog if you don’t think you’ll be able to commit to it. Nothing looks worse that a company blog whose most recent post is months old. Set time aside in your calendar and aim for at least one blog post per week. Share the load around if you have business partners or staff, a blog should ideally have several contributors.
Tend to your garden to watch it grow!