Do you want to be a better business blogger?
The simple fact is that setting up a blog for your business is one of the smartest moves you can make.
Why? Because content is the future of online marketing and businesses that are creating and promoting content on their blog on an ongoing basis are building a long term advantage over less savvy competitors. The problem? Blogging takes time.
Anyone who tells you that blogging is essentially free because you’re not paying for traffic in the traditional sense as you are with Pay-Per-Click (PPC) has obviously not run a business. If you’re dedicating time to your blog then that’s lost opportunity. That’s time that could be spent with your customers or building up your team.
The thing is that I would always recommend that the business owner "owns" the content strategy. What I mean is that they need to be the ones who determine the content goals of the blog and define the blogging calendar. That means that they have control over what content goes on the blog and the frequency.
Now that’s not to say that they don’t get help in for things like copywriting, graphics, outreach, social media and some of the technical stuff. But it’s important that the business owner has the overall editorial control. But as I say, this stuff takes time. So here are five daily habits that will make use of your precious time and make you a better business blogger.
1. They Research and Organize Great Content
If you’re going to be a top notch business blogger you need to seek out the best content. This will not only inspire you but it will also give you great content you can share with your audience. Blogging is about giving. It’s about sharing ideas with your audience and inspiring them. Sure, you can do this manually but you can also automate your content research.
Don’t believe the naysayers who tell you something like "don’t link out or you’ll lose link juice" or whatever. Linking out is 100 percent natural. In fact, by linking to great, authority content it works in your favor on a number of different levels, not the least of which is that it reinforces the level of trust that Google has in your website. But more importantly it helps you get your point across and it educates your audience.
It also has the positive benefit that the sites you are linking to will most likely notice if you are passing visitors over to them. So as you do your research or as you come across great content you need a way to quickly organize it. As you get used to doing research you’ll start to notice some blogs that feature regularly. These are ones that you’ll want to start keeping a close eye on.
The best way to do this is to get a feed from it so you can see what they have published and when. Sure you can subscribe to their blog and get updates and that is definitely recommended for relationship building (see below). But the limitation of that is that you don’t get a global view of all of the content they are creating. A great tool that will allow you to do this is feedly. Just add the blog into feedly and it automatically shows you their latest blog posts.
This way you have it all in one handy place and can reference it quickly each day for updates. When you see they have new content you can quickly check it out, leave a comment or whatever. If you just see some great content though and you just want to note it for future use then a tool like Evernote is perfect. Or even more simple just create a google doc or Excel spreadsheet.
2. They Collect Headlines
Headlines can make or break a blog. The reason for this is that they are the first line of defense for your blog. David Ogilvy considered one of the greatest Advertising Executives was once quoted as saying that “On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy”.
So let’s say you have a brilliant piece of content on choosing a Loyalty software application. You have a choice of two headlines:
- Headline A: How To Choose The Best Loyalty Software
- Headline B: 7 Amazing Loyalty Tools That Will Convert Customers Into Raving Fans
Now I’ve just made these up and I’m not saying they’re perfect, but I bet that Headline B will get more clicks in the search results. This is a really important point. If your headlines are better than the other headlines in the results then your content is going to get more clicks, i.e. a higher Click Through Rate (CTR).
Now most people associate CTR with PPC but it also plays a part in the natural, organic results. To cut a long story short, Google notices that your content gets more clicks because it has a better headline. To be more precise it has a headline which best matches the desired outcome of the person searching.
If you’re getting more clicks you get a higher CTR. A higher CTR will push your content up the rankings. Of course, you need to back it up with great content. You can’t just lead people up the garden path and not deliver. If that happens they’ll leave quickly and again Google picks this up as your Bounce Rate and low time spent on your site which could have a negative effect on your ranking, i.e. Google concludes that they like your headline but not your content.
As you are doing your daily research just keep an eye out for those brilliant headlines and make a note of them whether in Excel, Google docs or Evernote. Maybe they are not related at all to what you do, but can you adapt them to your business? The point is that when you start looking for headlines you’ll start to see the ones that stand out. Just grab them and keep them in a list and move on. Over time you’ll build up a bank of great headlines that will inspire you and trigger that next piece of content.
3. They Identify Influencers
Your blog can’t exist in isolation. You need help with the heavy lifting of promoting your content. That’s where Influencers come in. These are people who have a blog with an engaged audience and a following on social media. When most people think of Influencers they think of the big industry names. The Players. The A-Listers.
It would be brilliant to be able to to get them on board really quickly and easily. But think about it, if it was that easy then everybody would be doing it. That would dilute the power of their endorsement and devalue it. The fact is that the big Players are hard to get onboard. They’re busy people and they can pick and choose the people and projects they wish to work with.
That’s not to say it won’t happen and you shouldn’t keep trying. Don’t let me or anyone else stand in your way. All I’m saying is don’t hold your breath waiting for a reply and don’t pin all your hopes there. Another approach which stands more chance of success is to work on the edges and look for the up and coming Influencers and develop relationships early.
You’ll find them in the comments sections in the blogs of the "A-List" bloggers. Check out their blogs and their content. If they look like they are on the way up then add them to feedly and start to follow on social media so you’re on their radar.
4. They Cultivate Relationships
So you’re organizing great content and you’re adding up and coming bloggers and Influencers to feedly so that you know when they have new content. Over time you’ll see who is committed to their blog. When they have new content check it out and leave a meaningful comment and share on social media.
When I say meaningful I mean take the time to read it and try to add to the conversation. If you’ve some experience you can share then do so, taking care not to hog the limelight - it’s their blog after all. Or just ask a question about a point they’ve covered. Or just link to their content in your latest blog post. All you’re doing is getting on their radar so that you’re positioning yourself for the next step. Which brings us very nicely onto...
5. They Use Targeted Outreach
OK, you know who the up and coming movers and shakers are and they know who you are now. Now you can look at mutually beneficial options. Maybe they could write something for you or you could write something for them. This is where tools like feedly come into play. If they’ve created a really interesting post on a particular subject that went down well with their audience then maybe they’d like to write a similar piece for you.
Just a quick email will be fine. Something along the lines of “Hi, I noticed you did a great post on XYZ, could you do one for me? My audience would love it”. Don’t get too stressed on this. They know you know you comment on their blog and share their stuff on social media. Maybe you’re already linking to their content in your blog. Or if you’ve linked to them in your latest post just give them a quick heads up. What’s the first thing they’re going to do? You got it. Hit the share button.
Now you can cement the relationship and take things further. This targeted approach will give you a much better return on your outreach investment. Outreach takes time and it can be hit and miss. Ideally, you should automate your outreach as much as possible, but just a few minutes each day could mean you will dramatically improve your strike rate.
Blogging for business is a smart move. It’s also time-consuming so you need to make the best use of your time to get the maximum ROI. Getting organized and adopting good habits are vital if you are determined to have a successful blog which drives more leads for your business.