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Blogging platforms like HubSpot, WordPress and Blogger have made publishing content on the web easier than ever. Now that you have developed a clear understanding of your business‟ keywords and optimized your website for search engines, your next step should be to attract more visitors. Blogging and creating other content like ebooks and webinars are powerful ways to help more of the right people discover your business online.

How to Think About Business Blogging

When thinking about blogging, take off your hat as a business owner or marketing manager and instead try to think like a magazine publisher. The goal of your business blog should be to publish articles that are not promotional but instead share industry expertise, much in the way a column or an article in an industry magazine would.

Think about what you are writing and the words you are using. Don’t use industry jargon that only you and your employees would understand. Just as you did when brainstorming keywords, think of the words your customers would use to describe your business and use those keywords in your blog posts. Section One of this ebook should serve as a helpful guide for the types of terms to include in your blog posts.

Getting Set Up With Blogging

While writing content that is interesting to your prospective customers is important, you first need a way to publish that content online. There are many paid and free tools available that provide a way to let you easily publish content online. When selecting a blogging platform, take a few things into consideration. The most important thing you can do when you first start blogging is to make sure your blog is a section of your business website. Without a blog, a website is kind of like a brochure that doesn’t change often. A blog makes your website more dynamic by automatically injecting new content every time a blog article is published. Search engines reward higher rankings to websites that consistently add fresh content, and these higher rankings translate into new visitors and leads for your business.

Blogging Platforms to Consider

While it is important that your blogging software be easy to use, it is more important that the content you create be interesting. If you are looking for a blogging platform for your business, some options include HubSpot, WordPress, TypePad, Drupal, Posterous.

These platforms all offer a content management system (CMS) that allows you to easily add content to your blog, without needing to know any HTML code. This enables you to quickly update your site with industry news or other timely information, without having to wait for a webmaster to post your changes.

Key Components of a Great Blog Post

A well-constructed blog post should include several key components:

An Attention-Grabbing Article Title: Because your blog article‟s title is the first thing people will see, it‟s important to make sure it clearly indicates what the article is about, is concise, keyword-rich (because the header tag is the most important for SEO), and attention grabbing.

Well Written & Formatted Text: The body of your article should be well-written and formatted in a way that makes it easy to read. Consider using header tags and bulleted lists to break up the content into sections.

Images/Videos: Relevant multimedia content can make a blog article more memorable and fun to read. It also helps to break up text to make it more pleasing to the eye.

Links: Include in-text links to relevant content. These can also point to landing pages (which we‟ll discuss more in Step Five) to help you generate more leads for your content.

Call-to-Action: Each and every blog article you publish should include a relevant call-to-action at the bottom of the article to help boost lead generation.

Deciding What to Blog About

Most business blogs start with a purpose. What are you trying to educate your industry and potential customers about? This education is not about your product, but instead about common industry issues and the problems your potential customers face and that your product or service helps to solve. A great way to start blogging is to think about the 10 most common questions you get asked by prospective new customers. Take each one of those questions and write a short article explaining an answer. Do this once a week for 10 weeks and you have the strong foundation for a successful blog. Once those first 10 weeks are over, check out this list of additional ideas to keep your business blog packed with interesting content. Remember to let your expertise and passion shine through your blog content and keep some of these business blog best practices in the back of your mind.

Convert Blog Visitors Into Leads

In Step Five, you will learn how to create landing pages and calls-to-action (CTAs) to help drive more potential customers for your business. It is important to remember that your business blog is an important platform to use these conversion opportunities. Create a call-to-action of some type at the end of each blog post. These CTAs work best if the offer is closely related to the subject matter of the blog post. Additionally, you can place image-based CTAs in the sidebar of your blog as a secondary way to convert more visitors into leads.

These calls-to-action should link directly to a landing page that provides downloadable access to a more in-depth learning experience such as an ebook or webinar upon the completion of a lead generation form. We‟ll discuss CTAs and Landing Pages in more depth in Step Five.

For additional information on converting blog visitors to leads, read this post on blogging lead generation.

Other Types of Content

While it‟s a great place to start, blog content isn‟t the only type of content you can be creating. Consider producing longer-form content items like ebooks, whitepapers, or research reports than can be used as lead generation offers for your calls-to-action. Also consider non-text based offers such as how-to videos, webinars, slideshows, etc.

For more tips on business blogging and content creation, check out HubSpot‟s Business Blog Marketing Hub.

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