Articles and statistics touting the benefits of blogging are ubiquitous. You know you probably should be blogging, but how and what you should write about plague even the most seasoned marketers. If you aren’t sure blogging is right for you, let’s start with a few statistics.
- Nearly 40% of US companies use blogs for marketing purposes.
- 82% of marketers who blog daily acquired a customer using their blog, as opposed to 57% of marketers who blog monthly — which, by itself, is still an impressive result.
- 79% of companies that have a blog report a positive ROI for inbound marketing in 2013
Like many things, getting started blogging can be the hardest part. Use the following 11 suggestions to keep your blog going on a regular basis.
What should I write about?
Blogging is an informal platform. It can and should be written in a very similar tone to how you would speak to someone in a casual conversation. Here are 10 topics that can help you jumpstart your blog.
- Showcase a customer experience, anecdote or problem you have solved. Is there a time that you have come to the rescue for a client? Something you did that went above and beyond the call of duty? Share it on your blog. Write out the situation, the solution and what successes came from it and share it with the readers on your blog.
- Answer, in great detail, some of the most frequently asked questions about your company, products and services. Do you feel like you are always answering the same questions over and over again? Create a post for each one of your most frequently asked questions. In the post, explain industry jargon, why you do what you do, how you differ from the competition in this regard, what caused the policy to be this way, etc. If you don’t know what your most FAQ are, you can try answering the question “What do people need to know in order to do business with you?”
- Publish news and press releases on your own blog. Did someone in your company get a promotion? Earn an award? Accomplish something great (even non-business related)? Blog about it. A blog post showing appreciation for a stellar employee can do a lot for company morale, internal production and external promotion.
- Write about your experience with other industries. Did you just eat lunch at an amazing restaurant with superb service? Talking about the importance of service, delivery, brand messaging, etc. no matter what industry can be a great blog post. On this flip side, if you just had a terrible experience, that can also be a great blog post. Talk about what you would have done differently, how the situation could have been rectified and what you do to make sure a similar situation doesn’t happen in your place of business.
- Create a list. The internet loves a good list. Again, this can be about things in your industry or things adjacent to it. Do you have a list of the top 10 books that helped you succeed in business? Write about it. Top things you have learned from networking, from running, from ______ (insert your hobby here) can be a great, easy to read blog post.
- Talk about travel experiences. Have you had a once in a lifetime experience in a far off (or not so far off) place? Write about that too. How did it change you, what did you learn, what would you do differently? How did you manage the time away from work? In this 24/7, instant gratification world it can be very refreshing to see a business owner actually taking a step back and enjoying the life they are working so hard to maintain.
- Host a contest/giveaway/poll. People like to get free stuff! We worked with a client recently who ran an interactive contest with the grand prize being a week aboard their fishing vessel in Alaska. The contest was all about “why I deserve a week vacation”. People had to write a blog post on the topic and then share it on various social media sites to be entered in the contest. What it did was create a community of people who all wrote about how fun it would be to get away for a week aboard a fishing vessel. The client was able to use these contest entries as “guest” blog posts and gathered a lot of insight into why people want to take a fishing vacation. The content he gathered from this contest has been invaluable to his marketing efforts.
- Respond to news around you or your industry. Think about major events that are coming up in your area and how you could tie in your business to that event. Check with the local chamber of commerce and tourism board to see what events are happening that you could write about on your blog. On a broader scale, look at the world news and see what might be happening that you have experience and an opinion on that you would like to share with your audience. Maybe you have a unique spin on the Women’s US team winning the recent World Cup. Or maybe you just want to share your excitement about the win! Either way, currents are a great place to look for blog topics.
- Industry myths that need to be debunked. I’m sure every plumber has heard a bad joke about one of the many plumber stereotypes. If your company breaks the mold and is far from the stereotype, share that with people? Debunk myths that have lived for far too long about your industry.
- Talk about your future plans; both personal and professional. People tend to do business with people they like and trust. Posting your personal and/or professional goals and plans can seem like a vulnerable and private exercise, however, it will do two things for you. First, it may show a common bond that you are your customer never knew you had. Perhaps you both intend to run a marathon or bike across the state. Having something in common will increase your likability. Second, it can help hold you accountable to your goals. Statistics show that people who write down their goals have over an 80% higher success rate of achieving them than those who don’t. Putting your goals in a blog post will help create a roadway to success.
- Show off a talent. In your daily 9 – 5 you may be the consummate professional but after 5 you rock the stage in a jazz band! Let people know about your talents. Now, I don’t mean to say that you should start doing shameless promotion that distracts from your everyday business, however, a blog post that shares your passion for music (or whatever your passion is) can again build trust and show the human side to your corporate personality.
Hopefully some, or all, of the topics above have started the wheels spinning on what you could put on your own blog. If you do decide to start blogging, consider some of these best practices as well.
- Post in great detail. Aim for 1500 – 2000 words per post. If your content is relevant to your audience, easy to read, and meets a need, people will take the time to read a long post. Too few words and thin content can work against you if the reader feels their time was wasted.
- Source from your staff. Your blog can have multiple voices and tones to it. If you have a staff member that has something to talk about, give them the platform to do so.
- Try to use the words “you” and “I” in your posts as you would in everyday conversation.
- Make it easy to read. Bold items of importance, use bulleted/numbered lists and line breaks where necessary.
- Remember, what goes online stays online. Of course you can always delete a post, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a copy of it lurking around somewhere.
- Be consistent. Blogs that are posted to daily receive more traffic and conversions than blogs that are posted to monthly. Set a schedule and be consistent in your posts.
- Share, share, share! Now that you have a consistent blog, it’s time to get people to your site! Social media is a great way to start getting people to your site. Share your posts on twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn just to name a few. Ask friends to share your new blog as well. Then participate and comment on other forums and blogs that are relevant to yours. Be sure to include your blog URL in your signature on any posts you make to other sites and forums.
We’d love to hear about your blogging success. What has worked well for you and what hasn’t? Contact us today to let us know!