I’ve written a lot of articles in the last couple years for small business bloggers. In going through them, it seems like the best ones fit into seven areas that I believe can serve as a guide for any business that’s just starting a new company blog. (And can serve as a reminder, perhaps, for those that have been business blogging already.)
So here’s my guide to the 7 building blocks for starting (or keeping) a great business blog. I’ll support the blocks by referencing almost two dozen articles from my archives that illustrate and expand on each one.
Block #1: Ownership
A great blog is hosted on your own servers and uses your domain. Blogs are valuable because they are owned content offering perpetual equity. Thus, a great blog isn’t hosted on WordPress.com or Blogspot.com — you don’t own those domains, and the equity you’re building belongs to some other company.
Block #2: SEO
A great blog is optimized with a strong SEO foundation. Blogs can be great weapons in an online marketing arsenal when the blog is setup correctly and when articles are optimized for the maximum SEO benefit possible. A blog should be written for humans, but that doesn’t mean it can’t also be optimized for search engines.
Block #3: Variety
A great blog is one that offers variety. Maybe not a variety of topics — if you’re an attorney, I’m not suggesting you start blogging about your favorite movies — but variety of content types, styles and presentation. List articles (Top 10s, etc.) are great, but readers will get bored if that’s the only thing you publish. Give your readers variety to keep their interest.
Block #4: Consistency
A great blog posts new content consistently. I won’t go so far as to say that you must publish on an exact schedule, but I will say that you have to keep your blog active and alive with new content.
You’ll struggle to build a loyal readership if you publish 3-4 times one week, and then not again for a month. Be consistent. Publish regularly. Find a schedule that fits your business and stick with it.
Block #5: Community
A great blog creates a community by inviting reader participation. This can happen in different ways — it could be via smart discussions in the comments of an article, or it could be via readers suggesting topics to write about. There are always exceptions to every rule (Seth Godin’s blog is one exception to what I’m saying here), but I’m a big believer that the best blogs are two-way conversations. You, my readers, have made almost everything I’ve written better thanks to your comments.
Block #6: Being Real
A great blog is authentic and exists to give the company a voice, not to give the company another channel for sales pitches. Being a business owner is tough. I don’t care what industry you’re in, how many employees you have, or whatever … it ain’t easy! Some days you make good decisions and some days you don’t. Sometimes you have answers for your clients and sometimes you don’t. Either way, readers want to know that what they’re reading is real. They want you to talk with them, not at them. Make sure your blog is much more than another place for sales pitches. Tell stories. Good and bad. Be real.
Block #7: Goals
All of the above sounds great and happy and like it’ll make unicorns dance across your monitor, but don’t forget: If you’re blogging for business, you have to do it with goals in mind. You need to know the reason(s) why you’re doing a company blog. You have to focus on the metrics that matter most, whether they be related to leads, sales, social visibility, increased brand awareness or whatever. Keep your goals in mind as you work on all of the focus points above.
(Stock images via Shutterstock.com. Used under license.)