Business Blogging 101: Lessons from the Experts

Business Blogging 101: Lessons from the Experts Featured Image

If you didn’t already know that blogging is good for business, it’s time to accept the facts: The more you blog, the more traffic your site receives. And if you’re selling to consumers, frequent blogging means more inbound leads.

According to a study by Hubspot, businesses that post at least 20 times each month had an average of five times more traffic than brands that only posted once a week. If you’re a B2C company, the news is even better: B2C companies had four times the number of inbound leads than those companies that blogged less often, while B2B companies had three times the inbound leads. Clearly, posting new content frequently and consistently is an important tool for driving traffic and increasing conversions.

Before you run off and starting posting whatever is on your mind, keep one important point in mind: If your content is boring or worthless, you might get visitors once or twice, but they won’t return, and they won’t share your content with others. There is enough quality content available online that consumers aren’t going to flock to a site that has nothing to offer, so while you need to post often, you also need to post well.

Experts Weigh In

The importance of quality content was highlighted by Eric Enge of digital marketing consulting firm Stone Temple. Enge reminds business bloggers that “blog readers are not looking for commercials” but want to be entertained and informed. Instead of using your blog to rehash your business brochure or product descriptions, he recommends using an editorial tone to create fresh content that is highly relevant to the rest of your site. Doing so will increase your brand’s authority, thereby gaining the trust of your readers and building organic links.

Other experts agree with the notion of creating fresh and relevant content. But founder and CEO of SEOmoz Rand Fishkin notes that not only should your content be original and engaging, it should also be written with an eye toward readers sharing it with their social and business connections. Social sharing is an important factor in determining your authority and search rankings, but just as importantly, when readers share your content your traffic increases exponentially and drives more conversions.

Does all of this mean that you need to ignore SEO? For years, SEO was the driving force behind most content creation, and Fishkin cautions that you shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bath water when it comes to refining your blogging strategy. Learn the basics of SEO and how to apply them to blogging, and write your posts with an eye toward SEO without making it your focus. “SEO, when done right, should never interfere with great writing,” he argues, pointing out that ignoring optimization altogether for fear of running into trouble with Google is a wasted opportunity. Again, balance is the key, creating relevant content with natural, well-placed keywords and search phrases.

The key points from Enge, Fishkin and numerous other experts?

  1. Blogging often increases traffic; CEO of blogging software company Zemanta Bostjan Spetic noted that blogging daily led to ten times the visitor traffic to his blog.
  2. Quality content builds authority, which drives traffic and search rankings.
  3. Quality content is vital. If you can’t create good content yourself, get help from a professional.

Reaching New Audiences

There’s no denying that blogging drives traffic, but you can’t ignore where that traffic is coming from. Multiple experts note that regularly creating fresh content will bring in new site visitors, often via organic searches.

For example, in 2009, Search Engine Land helped a B2B client boost traffic by adding a fully integrated, SEO-friendly blog to the corporate website. Unlike other sites, though, this blog was maintained by seven different staff members who each contributed one post per week. After 15 months, the number of unique keywords that brought traffic to the client’s website had tripled, and the site generated more than half of the company’s new business — and the blog contributed to more than half of the organic search traffic to the site.

While the simple act of adding the blog and keeping it up-to-date with fresh content undoubtedly played a role in the marked increase in traffic, Search Engine Land attributes the success to two additional factors:

  1. Keyword diversity. While the bloggers were constrained by certain style requirements, there was enough variation in how they wrote that they were able to authentically and organically develop unique keywords to drive traffic.
  2. Enthusiasm and freshness. In this case, the bloggers were allowed to write about topics of personal interest, within reason. Because each writer had a unique voice and perspective, and interest in the topic, it shined through — and kept readers coming back for more.

While using multiple bloggers is effective for both practical and results-based reasons, that doesn’t mean you should farm out your blog to anyone with an opinion. Staying on message and maintaining focus on the website goals should always be the top priority. Don’t be afraid to ask senior management to participate. Posts from the perspective of “thought leadership” illustrate the human side of a business and convey the current thinking and vision of the business as a whole.

In the end, bear in mind Rand Fishkin’s final piece of advice when it comes to blogging:

“Don’t give up. Success in blogging terms is often measured in years rather than months, and many a would-be high-profile blogger has thrown in the towel far too early. If you’re doing all the right things, people will surely come.”

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