We’re at Part 5 of The Blogging Blogs already: I can’t believe it! It only feels as if we’ve been talking about blogs for 3 years. I do hope some of you reading this are finding these guides useful but, if you’re not, I’d like to stay deluded if you don’t mind, so let’s pretend they’re fabulous!.
Anyway, enough of this silliness; here we go again…
Have You Got Something To Say?
One of the hardest things about writing a regular blog is thinking up things to blog about; writing it is the easy part, but coming up with subjects that aren’t going to bore the socks off your readers is tough. Luckily for you, GrowTraffic are here with a 2 part guide to give you some handy pointers.
So far in this series of blogs about blogging, we’ve discussed the benefits of penning a regular blog post and the whopping impact a great blog can have on your website and hence your business. I’m not going to go back over old ground, all of the previous posts can be found on the blog page of the website.
Instead, we’re going to move on from the theory and start to look at the more practical aspects of blogging, all with the aim of empowering you and your employees to maximise your website’s potential and proudly pen the best blog the internet has ever seen. Come on, there’s nothing wrong with aiming big!
In this first installment, we’ll take a look at what you should be blogging about and then, in tomorrow’s installment, we’ll give you a free practical guide on how exactly to plan your blogs.
The Value Of A Good Blog
As I have already said, we’ve thoroughly covered the theory behind blogging already and I know that, by now, you are all more than aware of the value of good content marketing to a website. For those of you who need a recap; more than any other factor, your website’s content will make it or break it and the humble blog is, hands down, the best and most effective way of elevating your site’s content above the boring every day.
A good blog will enable your company to reach out to your existing customer base and educate, enthuse and engage them, not to mention interact with them in a way that has never been possible before. You can treat them to special gifts, try new products or services out on them, gauge their opinion before implementing changes and encourage them to befriend your company and remain loyal to it.
Not only can your existing customer base be encouraged to increase their custom, but a good blog will increase that customer base ten fold and could just make you the bee’s knees of your business sector.
Getting It Right
Conversely, a bad blog will do none of the above and will ultimately be a waste of your time and money, so it’s vital that you get it right first time and produce a blog that people actually want to read. To add to the difficulty, there are a trillion and one blogs being published on the internet every day on subjects ranging from the life of snails to life on Mars; basically, if it exists, you can pretty much bet that someone is blogging about, so you have to make sure that everyone is reading and sharing your blog and not that of your sworn business enemy.
In order to achieve this, you’ll have to ensure that you’re blogs are overflowing with interesting discussions on issues that people actually care about, which may sound like a simple directive but, without proper planning, is guaranteed to have you pulling your hair out in frustration.
The Six P’s
The Marketing Guru himself, Mr Simon Dalley, has a saying (of which we are always trying to persuade him to adhere to himself!) that Proper Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance and your blog is no exception.
Essentially, as with every single other aspect of your marketing strategy, there needs to be a certain degree of planning done in advance, not only to give you a good idea of what you’re going to write about, but also so that the direction, tone and pitch of the writing itself can be agreed upon also. This latter is particularly important if your blog is being written by more than one person, as it ensures that posts are both consistent and in line with your company’s values and ethics.
Yes, blogs need to be responsive and need to be able to comment upon stories that are in the news or articles that have been recently published – we’ll come back to this point later – but establishing a basic structure around which the posts can be scheduled serves a number of beneficial purposes.
On the one hand, as we have already mentioned, it ensures that all important consistency and tone and also makes sure that everyone knows what the blogs are going to be about. On the other, it guarantees that your blog posts will coincide with important dates in the calendar, such as Christmas and Easter and thereby synchronise with the everyday lives of your readers.
Follow The Calendar
Achieving this synchronicity is easy and requires only a basic level of planning, starting with the trusty calendar. There are actually quite a lot of important dates in the British calendar, a good list of which can be found here and it will probably not be necessary for you to include all of them in your plan; instead, you will probably only need to pick out the principal events, such as Christmas, Boxing Day, Easter etc.
Again, which and how many you chose will depend on your market and your customer base, but it is important to also include some of the ‘fun’ dates, such as Valentine’s Day, St Patrick’s Day and Guy Fawkes’ Night, as these are easy to market and are a great opportunity to inject a little bit of humour and light-heartedness into your blog. They are also an opportune moment to interact with your readership, possibly by asking them to submit photos of their Halloween costumes and running a competition to see which the best is.
Whichever dates you ultimately decide to go for, you should have roughly around 25 important dates that you can then tailor your blog towards; so that’s 25 of your 52 already done – easy peasy.
Planning the Remaining 27
Once you’ve got your calendar dates sorted, you need to decide what the rest of your blogs are going to be about. One thing to remember at this point, as we’ve already touched upon, is that some of your blogs are going to need to be in reaction to current events; I would say that it would be prudent to put aside ten or so blogs, which will not be planned in advance, but will be used to comment on relevant events in the news or to respond to recently published research etc.
That leaves you with around 17 blogs to plan out, which, you must remember, should be drawn from a wide and varied subject range. Obviously, the exact nature of your subjects will depend upon the products or services you offer, but they should include articles about your company, what you can offer, new product lines or services and changes to your business, for example.
If you really are stuck for things to write about in your blog, then you could perhaps ask your staff to contribute, or even your friends and family and, if all else fails, you can always have a chat with one of the team at GrowTraffic; we love coming up with new ideas and can very quickly give you all the guidance you need.
Keeping Your Finger On The Pulse
In terms of responding to current events in your blog posts, then keeping your finger on the pulse of your business sector, whether that be through trade publications, networking events, group membership or newsletters, ensures that you will be one of the first to hear about new developments or events; after all, you want your blog to be at the vanguard, not discussing ideas that everyone else stopped talking about 3 months ago.
One of the easiest ways of getting inspiration for your blog or learning about current affairs is to do a simple Google search for news in your industry and comment upon or respond to related articles. Another option is to have a look in your social media feeds, Twitter and Facebook are particularly good for this, and see what everyone else is talking about and what issues are at the forefront in your business sector. This will ensure that your blog is always fresh and relevant and may even become fuel for those ‘water cooler’ moments.
An Example from GrowTraffic’s Own Caseload
Here, I’d like to give you an example from GrowTraffic’s own customer base, to illustrate the point that blogs should be interesting and varied. GrowTraffic had a client who operated in a very exclusive niche market, selling specific medical instruments to a small and limited customer base. The company wanted to expand their range of products and thus their customer base and so, very wisely, decided that a regular blog on their website would help them to achieve this.
Unfortunately, the blog that they began writing focussed solely on the medical products that they sold, often requiring a high level of prior knowledge to even understand what was being discussed, and thus was only achieving a very small readership. GrowTraffic pointed out to them that their blog was not being read because it was boring and difficult to follow, as it concentrated on a very restricted subject range that only they really understood.
With GrowTraffic’s help and advice, this company opened up their blog to embrace the wider healthcare sector, including, for example, news articles about the NHS and healthcare sector, government spending on health and recently published research relevant to their products.
As a result, their readership and social media following increased considerably and the company began growing their customer base and creating a formidable online presence.
Blogging for Links
One other massive benefit of opening up your blog to a wider subject range is the fact that it can be a great tool to help your website gain more backlinks and thus improve your link profile. Now, I must inject a word of warning here; blogging has, in the past, been misused as a way of gaining backlinks and, as we have discussed in previous blogs, certain search engines are wary of the technique. The only sure fire way of staying out of the danger zone here is to make sure that your blog posts are genuine and relevant.
By genuine and relevant, I mean that publishing a gratuitous blog post about another company’s product or service that is completely unrelated to your own, simply in order to get a link to or from their site to yours, will probably do you more harm than good. At the very least, it’s risky, so I would advise avoiding it altogether.
Instead, reviewing products or companies that have a direct correlation to your business, inviting guest bloggers from your own business sector or discussing other websites pertinent to your company is good; great even. Forging genuine relationships and networks between your site and others in your industry is beneficial on so many levels and, if you then get a link or two out of it in return, all the better. Remember though, it must be genuine and it must be relevant.
Ultimately, a good blog can be incredibly beneficial to your business and its online presence but it needs to be done right; by that, it needs to be interesting and exciting enough to entice readers in and encourage them to share it in return.
Your blog needs to stand out above the millions of other blogs that are out there and, so, you need to find a way to make it unique; you may do this with humour, or by finding your niche market, or even by using hilarious pictures of dogs in strange and unnatural poses to illustrate your posts!
By putting a lot of thought into your blog in advance and by planning out your blog according to annual events, you will not only ensure that your blog is a reflection of your company but you will also draw people in, assure them that your company understands them and encourage loyalty to your brand in return. It’s difficult to do this with any other marketing tool so, if you want to grow your business and reach out to new audiences, you’d best get blogging!
In the second installment of this blog, we will give you some more practical tips to help you plan out your yearly blog posts, so please tune in again tomorrow to get your Free Guide to Planning Out Your Blogs.
Please Get In Touch
If you’d like to know more about successful blogging, or even if you would just like to pick our brains or leave us a comment, then please get in touch with us in whatever way is best for you. You can call us on 07411 420 740 or 07455 138 803, you can email us at [email protected], you can leave us a comment on the form below or you can fill out the contact form on the website.
Thanks for reading and we look forward to hearing your feedback.