Depending on how you operate it, a business blog serves a number of useful purposes, from developing your brand to demonstrating your expertise, collecting data from your marketplace to releasing corporate information.
But if this is the first time you’ve developed a business blog specifically for your company, then there are a few essential points that you need to be sure of before you start.
A business blog, while it might resemble a personal blog in form, has a different function, and it doesn’t make sense to carry over the same techniques. How do you build your business blog? How do you promote your blog? How do you even get started?
Most companies have their blog in a section of their main websites. As such, you’re reliant on the performance of your web host. Selecting the right hosting provider is one of the most important things you can do when taking a business online – you are dependent on their reliability.
While sufficient uptime is vital – you should be looking for 99.5% minimum really – remember that even if a company guarantees you 99%, that still translates to around three days your site could be offline every year – many providers will also offer a raft of other incentives which will come in handy for your blog. For instance when you buy UK2 Business Hosting you can receive inclusive analytics software so that you can learn about who is visiting your blog and how they interact with it.
Before you even publish a single post, you should be clear about what the actual aims of your blog are. A few were mentioned above – you might also be thinking about boosting sales, or making more of a name for your company on social media, or just trying to get people talking about certain issues you feel are important. Once you know what you want the blog to do, your content strategy can be defined.
Think about who you’re actually going to be writing the blog for, as this will determine the tone of voice you want to be using, and the type of information you’ll be posting. Get as much information about your readers as possible whenever the opportunity arises, especially in learning about why they actually read the blog – what problems do they have that you might be able to solve for them here? For instance, if you sell different types of insurance then you might be blogging about how to protect your home from flooding during the winter months; how to keep safe on ski holidays, or basic maintenance tips for car drivers.
Now you know what you want your content to actually do, you need to work out what type of content will be appropriate. Text-heavy blogs can be difficult to read, so ideally you want to be breaking written copy up with images, graphs, videos, infographics, whatever is appropriate. If you can, mix it up a little – for example, one day you might share an infographic displaying facts about your industry, the next a series of relevant YouTube videos, the next a presentation on a series of slides. More video content is likely to be one of the big trends for SMEs in 2016.
You also need to decide what content you are going to be giving away for free on the blog or sharing on social media, and what you’re going to reserve for subscribers, assuming you’re building an email list simultaneously. A good idea would be to have a pop-up appear whenever someone visits your blog, inviting them to sign up for a newsletter with exclusive content. To encourage sharing as widely as possible, attach social buttons for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, again wherever is relevant, to the bottom of every post.
Who is actually going to be writing the blog? Assuming you want to be posting something every day, you’re probably going to want a member of staff assigned to it full-time. It can help with the tone of voice if it’s just the one person, but having different contributors, especially guest authors from outside your company, can help build trust in your brand. When you know with what frequency you want to be posting, you can devise an editorial calendar labelling responsibility for different pieces.