10 Steps to Create a Successful Business Blog

blogging for businessA few years ago, I led a luncheon seminar for the Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce called “Blogging Basics for Business.” We discussed the power of social media, including blogging, as a tool for “pull” or "inbound" marketing. If you're wondering what inbound marketing is, check out this post about the power of inbound marketing and how to harness it in your business. I thought it'd be helpful to share some steps to help you get a business blog up and running. Here is a summary of the Ten Basic Steps to Creating a Successful Business Blog:  

1. Determine your goal

You must first be clear on the goal of your blog before you begin. Even if you have already started a blog, make sure your content matches your goal. Here are the four questions you can ask yourself to define the goal of your blog:
  • What is the purpose of my blog?
  • Is my blog for personal enjoyment?
  • Is my blog a way to share my hobby or unique interests?
  • If my blog is for business, am I targeting my customers, or my employees, or my prospects, or other people in my industry?

2. Select topics & content

Now that you know your goal, think about the topics and content in which you are interested and the types of readers with whom you want to connect. Choose the material for your blog that matches these two criteria. Make a grand list of topics that your clients and prospects might want to read about. What kinds of needs do they have? What questions are they asking? How can you add value to their business and life? What problems are they facing?

3. Practice your writing

Great blog content may need several drafts before you get the hang of it. Study the writing of other great bloggers. When you write, be sure to write in first person, from your perspective. Be sure to use a warm and professional tone. You want to sound like a person.

4. Stay Consistent

Bloggers update their blogs at different intervals. The most important thing to know about the frequency of your updates is that it should be frequent and consistent. Your readers want to know that you are an active, reliable part of their community. Consider creating a blogging schedule or editorial calendar for yourself so you can stay consistent.

5. Create interaction with your readers

Use your blog as an opportunity to reach out to your market and to make yourself accessible and available. Occasionally, include creative ways to interact with your readers. You can do this by asking questions of them on social media. Facebook is a great way to generate ideas and topics that your readers want to hear about. Twitter is another good tool to create a conversation with people.

6. Blog ethically

In other words, don't embarrass yourself, your mother, or your friends. Always tell the truth. And if you make a mistake, admit it. Don't steal other peoples content (pictures, quotes, etc.) without giving credit where it's due. Always link to other people's ideas and blogs if you use their content.

7. Reply to comments

If a reader takes the time to comment on one of your posts, be sure to take the time to respond back to him or her. Your time and effort goes a long way to showing attentiveness. Do this on Facebook and other social media platforms as well.

8. Use images and videos frequently

We are a visual society. Take advantage of different types of media to grab the attention of your readers. Don't forget to give credit where it's due and buy the appropriate rights to images you use.

9. Categorize your posts

Organize the topics of your posts into categories, labels, and tags. This helps steer your readers to learn more about a particular topic that interests them.

10 Maximize search engine optimization

Think about the words that your audience might be typing into Google to find your product or service. Now, be sure to include those words in your blog post. You can use Google's Keyword Tool to find them out (you'll need an AdWords account). Do some research on the internet on how to optimize your blog content to be friendly toward search engines. There are many other tips, tricks, and practices to making a successful blog; but if you'll follow these simple steps, you'll be well on your way to generating a good readership of your blog, adding value to your prospects and customers, and generating leads to get you more business!

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