Aaaaah, the business blog. A welcoming destination where visitors get to glimpse behind the velvet ropes and experience your organization’s unique business personality. Where they’re drawn to captivating content that speaks to them. And where feedback and conversation are encouraged. Do these statements describe your organization’s blog? Or is it a foreboding place that posts business updates and pushes corporate propaganda? If it’s the latter, or if you want to improve the results of a so-so blog, take a few tips from Jeff Ente, publisher of “Who’s Blogging What ?” and Mark Evans, award-winning blogger and journalist.
Jeff and Mark gave business bloggers a host of great ideas to improve their blogging success at our recent webinar: “The Changing World of Business Blogging: How to Make Your Blog Pay Off in 2012 .” Registrants also received our new 30-page social media white paper  “7 Expert Perspectives on Using Social Media to Move the Business Needle in 2012.” (Get your complimentary copy by clicking on the icon above.)
Here are ten tips to help you better your business blogging:
Blog Tip #1: Consider why someone would want to read your blog. Before blogging another word, remind yourself of your organization’s unique perspective. Why should someone add your blog to his or her reading habits? Think about what that “someone” might be interested in talking about today. Competition for online attention is fierce; make sure your blog has unique appeal.
Blog Tip #2: Don’t forget to have fun. Your blog should be more fun than your website. Create content with a personable voice. Consider including images, videos, polls and contests. Invite user submissions. And don’t take yourself too seriously. Let your personality show through.
Blog Tip #3: Turn your blog into a social-sharing content hub. Push great blog content beyond your corporate site to social sharing sites such as Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, Facebook and LinkedIn. Today’s successful blogs are not standalone entities but are part of the social media spectrum.
Blog Tip #4: Make sure your blog is easy to find. Search engines need to know who you are, so keep your blog tied to your company’s website. You are not myblog.blogster.com or myblog.com. You are either mycompany.com/blog or blog.mycompany.com. And make sure that it’s easy to navigate between your blog and your home page.
Blog Tip #5: Spark a conversation. A good post results in dialog. Make sure that you always give readers something worth responding to and include a “call to respond” at the end of the post. And incorporate comment fields. Reader comments inspire content ideas, get people involved and nurture relationships. They’re often what turns interested readers into customers and strengthens existing customer relationships.
Blog Tip #6: Attend to looks and accuracy, but matchy-matchy… not so much. Go out of your way to make your blog readable and well-designed. Don’t use walls of copy; break it up into bite-sized chunks instead. Use graphics, charts and photos and don’t forget comment design. Ensure correct grammar and spelling – errors lower your credibility. Finally, reflect your company’s branding, but try not to match your website too perfectly.
Blog Tip #7: Keep the idea fountain flowing. Nothing’s more of a turn-off than a blog that hasn’t been updated for months. You lose readers and miss out on search engines’ ongoing quest for fresh content. For ideas, monitor what’s being discussed on social networks and subscribe to content aggregators. Another idea: solicit ideas from people representing all functional areas and levels of your organization.
Blog Tip #8: Put on your thinking cap – titles matter. Often blog post titles are after-thoughts. But you should give them at least as much thought as you do your post. The main reason is SEO. Search engines index keywords, so your title should reflect your blog’s content. In addition, a captivating blog post title captures the spotlight, shows your personality and gets people involved.
Blog Tip #9: Give your internal processes a tune-up. Is your organization able to consistently publish on-target content? Find out what frequency means to your audiences and determine how their needs change over time. Create an editorial calendar that spells out what and how often you should publish, who writes the posts, who edits and approves them, who answers comments and who monitors posts for out-of-date content.
Blog Tip #10: Toot your own horn. You devote a lot of time and effort to creating interesting posts, but if no one reads them, your work is for nothing. Social media offers many options for spreading the word. Depending on your audience you may choose Facebook, LinkedIn, Reddit (for more technical types) or Pinterest (if your content is image-based). Emailed newsletters are also an effective way to alert folks to blog posts of interest.
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