Content Marketing 101: “What the heck is a blog?”

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content marketing for businessAn integral part of our business is not just digital marketing execution but education. Our clients are experts in their chosen industry, but don’t always know the specifics of search engine optimization, social media and content marketing. We hear a lot of questions like, “What the heck is a blog?” “Why should I be on social media?” and “What does SEO do?” One of the key digital marketing efforts that we’ve seen work for our clients’ business is content marketing through a business blog—even though it’s also one of the most misunderstood. If you don’t know what a business blog is, or why you should care, let’s start at the most basic question and walk you through the process of incorporating a business blog into your digital marketing plan.

“What the heck is a blog?”

Let’s start with one of the most common content marketing questions, usually asked in many different forms (this is our favorite). A blog is a website filled with content, such as written articles, videos, photos, podcasts, infographics—the possibilities are endless. The goal of a blog is two-fold:

  • To give your audience what they want. Remember, the #1 rule of marketing is to know your audience. If you are a sports retailer, your audience is going to be different than the audience that follows a spa or wedding venue. The common phrase is to find out what your audience wants to know and give it to them. How do you figure that out? Ask them. Listen to them on your social media sites. In a way, you’re using a business blog to provide customer service.
  • Build trust. If you give your customers and potential customers what they want: entertainment, answers to their questions, knowledge, you can earn their trust. In the old days, this trust was earned over the phone or in person. Now, customers are using search engines to find information. They’re cruising the web because it’s convenient and easy to find what they need, both in information, services and products. Or they’re clicking on links they receive in their email. A business blog gives them the information they’re looking for on the internet, and gives them links to find more out about products or to contact a business. A second part of this goal is that regular content builds trust with a tool that more than 90% of online users turn to for information: search engines. Top search engines gauge your website’s validity and the strength of your pages based on the content of your website pages. By posting regular blog posts, you are showing search engines that your content is updated, quality and relevant—three criteria they use to rank websites for search engine users.

“What do I write about in a business blog?”

This is the million dollar question because it seems at some point, all bloggers search for inspiration for blog content. We’ve already made a few suggestions, but here’s a list to get you started:

  1. Answers to readers’ questions
  2. Content related to a trend in your industry
  3. Entertainment/fun post
  4. A list of your favorite somethings (New Year’s resolutions, tips, etc.)
  5. Frequently asked questions
  6. Content that shows you care
  7. Story about your business

The sky’s the limit for topics, but use these two R’s in the content you produce. Don’t forget to include visuals as your content, or part of your content, and a call to action.

“What is a call to action?”

A call to action, or CTA, is an element on a web page that asks the reader to do something: to contact a business, download a document, etc. One of the most important elements of a business blog is a call to action, whether that is a part of the blog post, a button, ad, part of a video…your options are endless. When adding a call to action to your business blog, remember that the average reader doesn’t want to get a concussion from your aggressive selling. Remember, the goal of a business blog is to give your audience what they want and build trust, which can best be achieved with advice, tips, entertainment and a few calls to action. Readers don’t want to land on a page with a great title and just selling—and no quality content.

“Do I just add content to my business blog…and let it sit?”

No, no, no! One the biggest myths surrounding a business blog is that you build a blog, and let it sit, waiting for visitors to come. A business blog is full of content that should be shared via social media sites, emails to your customers, as guest posts on other blogs, even as customer service when a question is asked.

“How much time does it take to run a business blog?”

We’re not going to lie to you. A successful business blog is a labor of love and time. Successful business blogs contain relatable and regular content. What does regular mean? Regular means that you post content once, twice, or three times a week, or twice a month—whatever you can manage—without gaps in content posting. Unfortunately, many business blog writers start out with the best of intentions and lose steam. If you don’t have time for a business blog, contact a content marketing company that can keep your blog updated with content specific to your business. We’ve said it before: there’s no shame or blame in outsourcing. Use this list of do’s and don’ts for outsourcing, and remember that you still need to allocate time to give input. The result of your efforts? A successful business blog with relatable and regular content—the answer to your customers’ and potential customers’ needs.

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