For Professional Services Businesses – Advice, Guidelines, Tips & Resources
The reality is that you, your firm or your company should be blogging, especially if you are providing a unique or high quality product or professional service. Still not convinced???? We put together a list which includes 7 reasons why having a business blog should be mandatory for any company. Plus a guideline on how to write good blog posts.
This is not about social posts or posting cute photos or videos, this is about creating educational posts about your services or industry, and to show some authority.
1. GENERATE TRAFFIC:
In order to generate traffic to your blog, consider using search engine optimization. If you can figure out which keywords/phrases people are typing into search engines, use these keywords within your blog. This will help your blog page rank high for those keyword/phrases and drive traffic to your landing page. Search engines love valuable useful content and you will be rewarded for it. Consider creating Skyscraper articles to share and get backlinks, if it is considered useful. Give some thought to this as the key phrase or term will need to be a focus of the blog post along with as many synonyms as possible.
2. CONNECT WITH CUSTOMERS/POTENTIAL CUSTOMERS:
A Blog can give your company a personality and it allows you to interact with your customers. A blog allows a company to introduce new products or services or comments on timely news events. The list is exhaustive of potential materials to add, checklists, photos, videos, reports, recommendations etc. Consider finishing your blog with a leading question or call to action to encourage interaction with readers and potential customers. This can help develop stronger relationships with your customers, keep you front of mind and set you up as an authority figure or subject matter expert.
3. COST EFFECTIVE MARKETING INVESTMENT:
Every post you publish is a long-term asset that helps build brand awareness and promote your expertise, products and professional services. You don’t have to invest much for a nice looking blog, let alone for its content, most of which can come from your own head. But that small price you pay in time can give you amazing results not just today, but for months or years to come. All and all it provides a good return on your investment. As you build or curate these useful articles or blog posts, they get more and more traction in search, so they become more and more valuable to you. Always include a Share button to allow people share the articles if they like what they see.
4. SHARPENS YOUR BUSINESS FOCUS:
Most ‘bloggers’ will have a particular target market when posting a blog. A blog without a particular focus will find it difficult to attract readers. Blogging on a regular basis forces you to stay up to date with new technologies/services/innovations/changes in your industry. A blog without a particular or niche focus will find it difficult to engage readers. Blog writing can be challenging and will make you think of newsworthy or readworthy items pertaining to your customers and industry. There is nothing like a focused passion to improve your creativity. This also feeds into your ‘content marketing strategy’, which is a topic for another post.
5. CREATES OPPORTUNITIES FOR SHARING:
Think about it…… every single blog you post, creates an opportunity for your audience to share your blog with others. Whether they link to your blog post, share it on Facebook, Google Plus, Tweet it, add it to Linkedin or email it to others, it’s free marketing and it further validates you as a credible business or authority figure. Prominently post appropriate social sharing buttons to remind readers to share your blog posts with their social network.
6. BUSINESS BLOGS CREATES A STRONG SOCIAL MEDIA PRESCENCE:
A company blog can be used across various social media platforms. In Social Media marketing, your brand and business can be discovered by targeted audiences. This has the potential to turn into leads and sales. Like any other digital marketing channel, social media needs content, preferably good content. You can take quotes from your blog items and make them tweetable, even recommend tham as being tweetable. You may feel you only want to have your local target market read your blog, however Google will be impressed if you get readers from al lover the globe, who are happy to read your blog. Hits and time on page will help rank your post and show you that you did a good job.
7. LINK TO OLDER RELATED POSTS:
A key rule that successful bloggers understand is that just because a blog post is old doesn’t mean that it has to die. Each time you write a new blog post think “what other posts have I written that add information not available in this post, that my visitors would find value in reading?” Then link to those older posts in your new post, like a chain of links in the website to posts that support your expertise, such as your main service offering.
Before you start, ensure that you are going to add value, to write something useful, that readers will appreciate on the topic of your chosen key phrase. Create a layout or plan to cover the start, the end and all points in between, including the layout, the tweetable bits, the images, videos, the external and internal links etc.
Here are cover some dos and do nots when it comes to blogging. The focus should be on what you are good at, have a passion for or have something to pass on. Will visitors be educated or entertained when they visit your blog. Do you cover any particular area very well, answering questions, solving problems in a well laid out form, with graphics and backed up with video and audio. Help not hype.
It is worthwhile taking the below points into consideration when creating a blog:
• Blogging is not a quick fix option.
• Blogging is a long term solution or project.
• Blogging is time consuming and getting traction can be slow.
• Blogging is a way to show competence or authority.
• Blogging is or should not be a blatant Sales Pitch. This is not a landing page or services page.
• Blogging needs to be consistent in quality.
• Blogging needs to have a structured plan.
• Blogging needs to be consistent, every Monday at 6.01 am or every 1st of the month whatever you like.
• Blogging needs to be effective for you and your audience, so ask for feedback, get direction, tweak your offering to make it useful, engaging and of value
• Blogging needs to be seen, so ask people to share your content or promote in in your social or in your advertising. Blogging blind, is a waste of your time – measure its effects.
Blog article size
It is recommended to be about 2000 words of useful content, well laid out and structured, easy to navigate and sharp to look at, so the reading experience is good. Some items may only merit 1000 words or simply be a short news or supporting item. Some will be closer to 10,000 words. Tip: Proof read twice and have someone else proof read too.
Blog article content
Content should be something you are qualified to write about, if you are creating genuine content. It should flow like a story or handbook, so that it makes sense as the reader moves from paragraph to paragraph. Credit any external sources where you use content from someone. Curate the article and add to it or improve it as time goes on, build on it. Use a House Style, so that all articles look similar and do personalise the content, so the reader gets a sense of your own personality
Blog article title and any headlines and sub headings
Need to be sharp as people really skim over pages and pages, so you have to make it easy for them to see what the article is about. Use one H1 heading and then H2s, H3s and H4s sub headings to help with layout and add breadcrumbs, so readers can see where they are at any time. This also helps search engines and is good SEO, as well as structure.
Blog article width
Keep width to less than 100 characters, so that it does not look too much like a newspaper, which is physically easier to read,
Blog article layout
“Tell them what you are going to tell them, then tell them it and finish by telling them what you told them.” Make the headline snappy and easy to understand. Sprinkle sub headlines to make it easy to read. Use Bullet points or number lists to highlight groups of points. Make good use of spacing, punctuation, italics, bold and styling. Add some relevant images for colour. Keep paragraphs short and delete any fluff or unnecessary words. Be consistent in your presentation, make it a familiar layout for readers, so they get used to where you put everything. Include any CTA or ‘Call to Action’ and finally your contact details and any disclaimer.
Blog Menu structure
Use categories to help people find their way around your Blog items, to find the category they want and it should only include logical related articles, many of which may have internal links to each other.
CTAS Calls to Action
Have one or more CTAs or a Contact Form at the end of the article to encourage readers to make the next desired move. Include Social Sharing buttons at the bottom of every article. Include in-text links to other relevant pages or related posts. Ask readers to take action, to do something as a result of reading the article, perhaps to sign up to your newsletter or to get a free guide, checklist or cheatsheet in PDF format. This can add greatly to your organic mailing list. (Never buy lists)
As with any article include Metadata, so a page title less than 70 characters and a description of about 100 characters. Add in your keywordsor key phrases/terms for good measure. Add synonyms in the written text. Add the key phrase in photos, ensuring they are suitably sized and have a proper naming convention. This is all standard On Page SEO – see our guide to this here. (Yes that is an internal link – well spotted)
Get your own domain name and create your blog in your own website, rather than doing it on ‘Rented Land’ in a third party website, such as Facebook or Linkedin or Google My Business, where you just generate traffic for them. Make the url logical just like our link https://meanit.ie/the-ultimate-guide-to-business-blogging/
You can have a blog in your own website which we highly recommend, because you own that space and you may have loads of related content, but you can have a blog on Google Blog platform or on a simple Wordpress blog theme which works well, Tumblr or Medium, even Google My Business or Blog.com. You could use Weebly or Wix to create a simple blog web presence. A WordPress website is the obvious blog platform and works well for bloggers, with loads of plugins or apps if you want them.
Warning: Every app or plugin will slow down delivery of a website and they need to be updated regularly. Joomla offers a plugin called Zoo which offers the facility of a good dynamic blog tool. WordPress does the same. You may want to use an offline client to allow you work without internet access, but nowadays you need this less and less.
Revisit your blog items regularly and update them with relevant information, making them bigger and more useful with time. Build up a library of useful ‘Skyscraper’ or ‘Cornerstone’ articles, in an area where you are competent, that offer value and if you plan on having quite a few, then categorise them, so that it is easy to navigate through your articles. Link them together internally using tags and hyperlinks within the articles. Use your article title and use Google to do a search it, to see who else has done the same article, then make sure you create a better article than that one.
Tip: If there is such an article, find out who links to it, then write to them to ask if they would link to your better article, to get good organic backlinks. Keep doing this, to add natural organic backlinks – never ever buy backlinks. Also do use internal links from other articles to this one. Show Google that this important Skyscraper item or Hub article is referred to by other smaller articles, possibly much smaller ones. These smaller ‘supporting articles’ should ideally have just one link and it can be to this Hub article. You are just reinforcing the fact that this Hub article is one of your more important articles, full of useful resources. This is also the best approach to your main service or money pages. All ‘main’ pages should have supporting pages, working together as a ‘silo’.
Blog Broadcasting or Marketing
Do not keep it a secret. When you have created good blog content or articles, share it via your social media on a regular basis, make it shareable, emcourage sharing and invite people to share it and link back to it. Do related guest blogs for other bloggers that have a link back to your own website article content. Also use this information to answer questions in Forums to help people and get some credibility which will bring them back to your own website. Share blog material or snippets via Linkedin, Youtube and Facebook, images via Instagram or Twitter etc. Ask for backlinks from interested webmasters or industry connected sites, ideally big or authority sites.
You need to do a bit of SEO Search Engine Optimisation for every blog item and its chosen key phrase. Check out your proposed article title and see if anyone searches that term – use Google Search and Google Keywords or Adwords Planner the keyword tool. Check out which articles rank on page 1 for this term, as these are the articles you have to out do, to be better than – no pressure. If the top placed one has 2000 words you needs more. If it has 10 images, you want 11 and so on. You may want to choose a less competitive phrase. When you have chosen a logical title, add a description with less than 140 characters and a Page Title of less than 70. Optimise for one keyword, phrase or term and have it in the article title, page title, description, article and keywords. Avoid keyword stuffing, so use synonyms. Add a link to your blog in your email signature.
You can make money from a blog in one of two ways.
1. Offer valueable information to attract visitors and sell books or courses or 121 coaching as a recognised authority or expert in a particular area
2. Attract very large numbers and sell onpage advertising or get affiliate commission which is more like a media website, where you keep your material up to date, to generate visitors and focus on conversion.
You can host like a website on shared or defined hosting, but you do need good hosting, preferably secure and ideally dedicated hosting and with decent support service.
USEFUL BLOG RESOURCES:
• Thesis – a professionally designed WordPress blog theme with many configuration options. Do some research before choosing any theme and make comparisons withthemes like Genesis
• Citrus – a fresh WordPress theme with some great features.
Blog Training and Guides
• BlogMastermind – a six month paid training and mentoring program by Yaro Starek for bloggers wanting to learn how to blog successfully and profitably, his Entrepreneurs Journey
• SEO Book – learn how to optimize your blog for search engines.
Andy Crestodina Guide – How to Start a Blog is a good resource from someone who knows his stuff
Neil Patels Guide How to Start a Blog is also a great read from a prolific writer on this topic
And this annual who’s who list by One Woman Shop is packed full of 100 people doing it well including Maddy Osman the Blogsmith who recommended it to us.
Blog Topic Generator
• Hubspot Blog Topic Generator – if you are stuck for ideas this is a useful tool which will generate blog topic ideas for you instantly.
Questions about Blogging
Did something get overlooked ? Are you still asking yourself a question ? Send it to us and we will reply, plus add anything useful to this article. Oh and feel free to share this article if you found it useful.