Blogging for business sounds like an easy way to attract customer attention online. Just put out a few blog posts, and customers will start racing to your website, eager to read what you've published. However, it's not that easy.

In reality, blogging — like any other online marketing program — must be part of a comprehensive marketing strategy that helps your business achieve its goals. You'll invest time and money into a blog even if you do all the work yourself. Your blog must help your company acquire, retain and create loyal customers.

Blogging for Business: The Basics

Blogging is a type of marketing called content marketing, which uses written materials, graphics, videos or audio recordings to educate, inform and assist customers along the buying cycle. Blogging for business and other content marketing techniques work well in many industries, especially those with long buying cycles or intensive fact-finding before purchasing. If your customers have a lot to learn about your products or services in order to choose you as their supplier, blogging may be right for you.

Customer Personas and Marketing Strategies

Before you write your first blog post, it's important to create a customer persona. You need to have a clear idea about who will read your blog. Are your customers male or female, young or old, middle-class or upper-class? The more specific you can be, the better you can focus on whom you're addressing and their wants, needs and desires for information.

You'll also need to develop a marketing strategy. What is your reason for blogging? Some blog posts boost search engine optimization scores by adding keyword-rich pages to a website. Review your competitors' blogs to understand how yours might fit into the mix and how you can differentiate your blog posts.

Best Practices for Business Blogging

Now that you've figured out the key style points, the following are some best practices to implement in your new business blog:

  • Publish blog posts at least once a week. Set a minimum schedule and stick to it. Additional posts that coincide with relevant industry events can be helpful.
  • Develop an editorial calendar, or a topic and keyword calendar, one month in advance.
  • Learn how to use keywords appropriately to boost online visibility.
  • Add stock photos to enhance your posts. Learn the rules about how to share photos online legally. A good resource is Stock Photo Rights.
  • Add social media buttons so that readers can share your blog posts easily to Twitter, LinkedIn and other sites.
  • If you're not a strong writer, consider hiring a professional freelance writer or blogger. ProBlogger has a great job board where you can post ads to find a blogger. The site also contains plenty of articles to help you with your business blog.

Blogging for business can help you improve your search engine visibility and enhance your overall content marketing strategy. If you're willing to commit to writing at least one blog post per week or hiring someone to write for you, blogging can be a valuable marketing tool.

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