Running a business blog is nothing exceptional; Fortune 500 companies down to your local pet store operate blogs as a part of their websites (if you don’t have a blog for your business, don’t panic! Just use this guide to business blogging to get you started). Unfortunately, many business blogs miss the whole point of business blogging: to grow your brand, and thus your bottom line.
Too many business blogs end up being overly promotional or lack quality content. Blogging for your business is not like advertising, and it’s not like personal blogging—it’s an entirely different beast. Here’s how you can effectively build your brand by creating a blogging strategy:
Become a Resource for Your Readers
You will instantly create customer trust and brand loyalty if you become a go-to resource for your readers. You can do this by positioning your brand as a knowledgeable source in your market niche.
First, you need to build a platform for your blog. You can do this by figuring out what your niche is going to be. Check out what other brands in your market are producing, and identify the gaps you can fill. For example, are competitors in your market providing a lot of basic information, but not enough really detailed, thorough content? Or is there too much detailed information, and newcomers to your market have nowhere to find resources for beginners? Once you’ve identified where the gaps are in your market, you can fill them, thereby creating an authoritative platform for your blog.
After you’ve established a strong platform in your market niche, you need to produce awesome, high quality content. You can start creating strong content by coming up with a content strategy. Use the steps below to get you started:
1. Identify Your Audience
You can’t create great, relevant content that your audience wants to read if you don’t know who your audience is. Start by sending out surveys to your readers to get to know them better. Then you can start actively networking with them by going to events they typically go to. You can also check out any research your competitors have released on their audiences. Here are some key questions you want to ask about your readers:
• What are their demographics (age, gender, income, etc.)?
• What are their main sources of influence (TV, family, magazines, news, etc.)?
• What do they want and need (basic information, in-depth analyses, tutorials, etc.)?
2. Find Out What Questions Your Audience is Asking
In order for your content to be relevant to your readers, you need to know what questions they are asking. You can do this through keyword research, which probably means using Google Analytics. By using this tool, you can see what key words people typed into their search bars in order to find your site (for more information on how to use Google Analytics for keyword research, check out this detailed instructional video).
For example, if you run an online fine jewelry business, you might discover that most people may find your site by typing in the key words “popular engagement rings.” Your blog should then have an article (or several) covering current engagement ring trends (or maybe something more specific like celebrity engagement ring trends), thereby answering the most common question your readers have. You can also talk to your customer service department to see what sort of FAQs your customers are typically asking.
3. Determine How to Answer Audience Questions
Once you establish what questions most commonly bring people to your blog and what questions your customers typically ask, you need to figure out how to best answer those questions. While this step may seem unimportant, the form your content takes can make all the difference to your readers.
Keep in mind that you should not decide on a blanket form for all your content (i.e. you shouldn’t write only tutorial articles, because not all topics are suited to that particular form). Think about what’s most helpful to your readers: a list of examples, a comparison article, or a review, etc.
You should also check out what other businesses are doing in your niche. Is there a gap in content form? If readers can find tutorials in a number of places, you might consider posting a video tutorial, or at least a tutorial with plenty of useful pictures.
By implementing this content strategy, you can begin blogging with a clearly defined goal: to grow your brand by establishing your business as an authoritative resource. Becoming the go-to resource to your readers will create customer loyalty, trust, and brand credibility, which is a much more effective blog strategy than just putting out irrelevant content or trying to get “likes.”