Blogging for Business: The what, why and how to

So as a marketing industry or business
professional you will have heard of and most likely seen blogs of all kinds.
Some may be personal blogs, others may be the blogs of companies you take an
interest in or who are even your competition. So if everyone is doing it, why
aren’t you? It is simple and in most cases free to set up a blog, and all it
takes is one post a week by yourself or maybe a few of your colleagues to get
it going. It is just a case of knowing what your audience wants and how to
mould this into a blog post.
The What

Blogs are a great way of sharing information in a quick,
easy and informal way with the masses. Business blogs often contain relevant
industry information, usually news and advice, and the posts are usually
written to reflect the personality of the company. For example a corporate blog
about finance would have a more formal and straight to the point tone, where as
a beauty blog created by a make-up company would have a carefree and colloquial
tone, as this is what their audience will relate to and appreciate most.  
The Why

So why is a blog be something your business should be
considering as part of their digital marketing strategy. There are plenty of
reasons behind this. Search engine optimisation is a constant uphill battle, and
blogs help ease the slog as they are constantly updated with recent content,
something search engines love and pick up on. Blogs also promote brand
awareness and allow people to get to know the brand’s personality and values,
and if you have the right content and encourage people to follow and comment
you have another platform on which to create a two-way conversation with your
audience. You will also find blogs direct more traffic to the company website
(especially if you integrate your blog with your site, something most free
blogging tools offer).
The How To

Setting up your blog:
So are you ready to jump in and start a blog for your
business? The first thing to do is consider which blogging tool you would
prefer to use. See our comparison below:
Decided which one you want to use? Here are some useful
links to step-by-step tutorials for setting up either a WordPress or Google Blogger blog.
So when starting your blog, it is important to consider the
  1. What
    is the focus of your blog?
  2. What
    are your objectives?
  3. Why
    should people read it?
  4. URL
    – what do you want to call your blog?
  5. And
    is the name available?
  6. How
    will you get traffic?
  7. How
    will avoid ‘post fatigue?’
  8. How
    will you get viewers to interact?
The answers to these eight key questions will be the main
part of what shapes your blog’s design, content and promotion tactics.
Managing your blog:
Once it is all set up and ready to go, you also need to
consider these important points about managing the blog:
  1. Who
    is responsible for the blog?
  2. How
    is it integrated into the marketing strategy?
  3. Content:
    original, curated or guest authors?
  4. How
    often should you post?
  5. How
    long is a post?
  6. How
    do you get viewers engaged?
7.       How
do you measure results?
It should also be updated frequently, and at least one blog
post per week to ten days is enough to keep it fresh. Make sure you have an
allocated person(s) who can post to the blog in a regular fashion (although
most blogs allow you to schedule your posts, there still needs to be someone
available to upload and schedule content), whether this be the writers
themselves or you/one of your colleagues. This is to ensure the job is done frequently
and the blog does not get neglected/forgotten about for weeks or months at a
time as many business blogs do!
Blog content:
Blog content is what makes the blog attractive and
interesting, and you need to predetermine the content of the blog with your
writer(s). Making a topic plan for each month is often the best idea, and then
any breaking/relevant news that comes up in-between can be slotted in. Make
sure the content is relevant to your audience, keep it short and sweet as
attention spans online are far shorter than in print, and most blog posts
should not take much longer than 2-3 minutes to read, unless there is engaging
multimedia such as video included.
Examples of good
business blogs

When creating and managing your business blog, keep in mind
some of the following examples and what they are doing well:
B2B Marketing Blog (Evonomie)We offer regular content that answers
the big marketing questions questions, and have plenty of links on the main
page that allow people to contact us if our content doesn’t answer all their
questions, allowing for feedback and audience interaction.
Starbucks – The international coffee house have taken the idea of consumer
interaction in the industry and ran with it. Their blog is mainly focused on
the development of new products and engagement of the audience by asking people
to offer up and vote for their ideas for new products, services and promotions
to be run by the chain.
Marriott – Corporate blogger Bill Marriott is a shining example of why personal
involvement sells. His blog has generated millions in direct sales, as people
love the personal touch of hearing the thoughts of a real executive, not his
PA’s PA who whips up a generic post every week for his blog.
Got any more examples of good business blogs that we have
missed? Please share them with us in the comments section below!