15 Key Steps to Run a Successful Business Blog in 2016

15 Key Steps to Run a Successful Business Blog in 2016

When a B2B marketer maintains a business blog, they get 67% more leads than marketers who don’t. What’s more, companies with blogs earn 97% more website links than those without.
Convinced you need to blog?
Maybe the only problem is this question. How do you become a business blogger? How do you find blogging success in boosting your company, rep, and rankings online as a brand?

Get our free guide: “The Fast-Paced Business Owner’s Guide to Successful Blogging In Just 5 Minutes A Day”.

The process isn’t as hard as you might think. We’ve outlined 15 key steps to get you going this 2016. Ring in the New Year the right way – with great business blog foundations!
business blog

15 Foundational Steps to A Successful Business Blog

There are 15 key things you should be focusing on for blogging success—here they are.

1) Determine your niche

With so many businesses online right now, it can be tough to stand out from the crowd. For this reason, it’s important to decide what it is that you can do better from anyone else. Determining your niche is the foundation of everything from your target audience to your style of content, and it can help you go far in terms of deciding exactly what and how you will write.

2) Determine your goal

If you don’t know where you’re going, you’re going to have a difficult time getting there! That’s why it’s important to make a decision about the purpose of your blog at the outset. Are you trying to drive conversions? Make sales? Increase engagement? No matter what your goal is, defining it will help you reach it.

3) Decide on topics

Now that you know what your blog’s goal is, which topics are you going to cover? The universe is a big place and it’s impossible to write about everything well. For this reason, it’s important to decide on which topics within your niche you’ll write about. For example, if you’re a business that specializes in inbound marketing, some of your main topics could be inbound lead generation and social media marketing.

4) Hone your point of view

Nowadays, honing your business’s point of view (POV) can go a long way toward earning you readers. Today’s consumers are much more willing to connect with a person than they are a company, and when you hone your POV you personalize your company, thus gaining a direct line into the minds of consumers.

5) Learn from your peers

Once you’ve decided what you want to write about and how, you’ll want to look around at what others in your industry are doing. Writing is a learned skill and if it doesn’t come naturally to you, you can learn a great deal from watching other people. Even if you are a strong writer, watching industry leaders can give you ideas for content and help you stay up to date on the hottest happenings in your industry.
Tip: Use a tool like BuzzSumo to find leaders and track the most-shared content in your niche.

6) Be consistent

One of the most important aspects of business blogging is remaining consistent. I almost put this as #1.
Just how consistent?
I’ve put out 600 blogs now between 2013 – today. 600. And 50+ website pages. Over 100 of my content pages (blogs, web pages) rank in the top 10 positions of Google. I gained that by writing and posting content at least 3x a week for over three years.
Business blogs that publish content on a regular schedule gain more leads than those who don’t. Additionally, every blog you write is one more page indexed in Google, which means that blogging on a regular basis can help produce an SEO boost that can make your company more visible online.

7) Interact with readers

Imagine if a band went out onstage and sang their songs but never signed autographs, gave high-fives, or took photos with their fans. Do you think they’d have fans for very long? Probably not! The same goes for your business blog. Once you’ve started to gain readers, it’s incredibly important to interact with those readers.
Tip: You can do this by reading and responding to your comments and polling readers about topic ideas and what they’d like to see more of. This creates an environment in which your readers are engaged and interested, which is the perfect platform for your business blog to thrive.

8) Be ethical

Your business blog isn’t going to get far if you don’t insist on ethics from the beginning. Blogging ethics can be a little complex and they go far beyond not copying other people’s work. Ethical blogging also includes things like ensuring your links are legitimate and not spamming readers or other bloggers. While building blog traffic doesn’t happen overnight, maintaining an ethical blogging practice is one of the best ways to ensure that your blog has a healthy, long lifespan.

9) Diversify your content

While 44% of B2B marketers have a content strategy, only 42% feel that the strategy is effective. Many experts believe that part of the reason for this perception this is true is that business bloggers aren’t diversifying their content enough. When you use your blog to share a variety of content types, you diversify the experience for users. This can lead to more readers, more leads, and more sales.

10) Use video & good visuals in your content

While it may not seem like videos have a place in a business blog, videos are some of the most popular content on the web right now. In case you needed proof, YouTube is uploading 72 new hours of video content each minute and, as a general rule, visitors spend approximately 88% more time on sites that include video. What’s more, video earns a site 3 times as much traffic as other types of content and consumers are a whopping 46% more willing to seek out additional information about a product, good, or service after being exposed to an online video.
Along with that, infographics and interactive gifographics do very well to spice up the content you deliver and publish and add visual flavor on your website. Attract more readers and viewers with content that’s visual as well as typed.

11) Include social sharing buttons on everything

We live in the social age and one of the best ways to ensure that your blog gets all of the traffic and shares it deserves is to include social sharing buttons on everything you write. In order to make your buttons effective rather than overwhelming, include no more than 2-3 buttons. For example, Google+, Twitter, and Facebook. While it may sound counterintuitive, whittling down your social sharing buttons actually increases shares by making the decision-making process more simple.

12) Categorize posts

One of the most important factors for both SEO ranking and user experience is a site’s organization. If your blog is cluttered and difficult to navigate, it’s going to drive readers away, which will harm your SEO ranking and reflect badly in the SERPs.
For this reason, it’s important to categorize your posts to make them easy to find. Using categories, tags, and labels helps ensure that your readers can find the information they’re looking for every time, which in turn makes your blog a more enjoyable place to spend some time.

13) Focus on SEO

One of the best ways to ensure that your blog gets the attention it deserves is to focus on SEO. SEO stands for “Search engine optimization” and is the process by which you make your blog more readable to both people and search engines, which allows it to be found more easily by Google users. To optimize your blog for SEO, you’ll want to target the correct keyword phrases, optimize your images, build your linking strategy, promote user engagement, and use social sharing to expand your reach.

14) Measure your results

Once your business blog is up and running and features several quality posts, you’ll want to measure your success according to several important blogging metrics. While there are many success metrics, the most important for a business blog are visits, traffic sources, returning visitors, audience engagement, subscriber conversion, social shares, and visitor activities (bounce rate, etc.).
These metrics can help you gain insight into how well your content is working, or not. If your metrics are lower than you’d like them to be, poll your readers for topic ideas, consider hiring an expert content writer to ensure that you’re publishing high-quality posts on-time, and seek to diversify your content. These simple fixes can often go a long way toward boosting your traffic and producing metrics that make you smile.

15) Have fun!

Business blogging doesn’t have to be a stuffy affair! Take it from us 😉
Example: Want an example? Consider new-to-the game startup MeUndies, whose mission statement is funky, bold, fresh, and inspiring – words that aren’t often used to describe something as utilitarian as underwear. Have fun with your content, tell your story, get creative, and we can promise you – your business blog will go far.

Conclusion: There’s No Time to Business Blog Like the Present

Download our free new guide, “The Fast-Paced Business Owner’s Guide to Successful Blogging In Just 5 Minutes A Day”.

If you’ve ever considered starting a business blog, there’s no time like the present. Blogging has the potential to increase your site’s traffic and help you make more sales while also promoting user engagement and helping you bond with your customers. Plus, blogging has never been simpler than it is right now. You don’t have to be a whiz-kid or an SEO expert to start a killer business blog, simply follow these 15 steps, keep and open mind, and work hard. Chances are, you’ll see results sooner than you can say “Publish.”

The Top Reasons You Should Be Using Pinterest for Your Business

The Top Reasons You Should Be Using Pinterest for Your Business

Social media is awesome, isn’t it? You can reach out to your clients via Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ and even meet new people, bringing them in and turning them into customers. There are so many excellent social channels out there that you might start to feel a bit overwhelmed and wonder just what else, outside of the social media trinity you should use.

Well, I am here to tell you about an incredible social channel that you might just be overlooking – Pinterest. That’s right! I am going to show you why you need to add this channel to your mix, as well as how you can use it successfully for your business.

Pinterest For Your Business: How To Succeed In Your Pinterest Social Media Marketing

Pinterest is a great resource for businesses, and can give you a wider reach and range for your audience. Here are some great reasons why you should be using it.

Use Pinterest for your business

1. Over 70 Million People Use It, & 93% of Those People Are Buyers. That’s right. The 70 million users is a stat from Wikipedia a few years ago, so it’s safe to say this may have even doubled by now. And Shopify is saying that 2 million people pin product pins daily, while 93% of all Pinterest users actually use Pinterest to plan purchases. If this isn’t your main reason to be on Pinterest, I don’t know what is.

2. You Can Use Pinterest to Help Increase Traffic. According to Jessica Meher from Hubspot, a great reason to use Pinterest is to help increase traffic. Research on the amount of traffic Pinterest provides shows that it can actually bring in more people than Facebook or Twitter, which is great for all websites. This is definitely amazing if your site is new or you rely on your site to help drive sales and bring in new customers.

3. You Will See High Amounts of User Engagement. Pinterest is amazingly addictive for anyone who uses it, and many people love to engage on it. In the article mentioned above, Jessica Meher points out that you will see more engagement on Pinterest simply because many people are on it and addicted to it. This means that they are very likely to pin, favorite, and comment on your pins while they spend their time browsing through the channel.

4. It Will Help Strengthen Your Brand. You can use Pinterest to strengthen your brand and drive trust among your client base. According to Nicole Kohler from Shareaholic, a great way to use Pinterest to strengthen your brand is to bookmark mentions of your brand and products. This will help you keep track when someone mentions your brand, giving you the chance to interact with them. This can help promote engagement, trust, and, as I’ve mentioned, strengthen your brand. It will also help you stand out from your competitors if you are regularly seeking out and engaging with your customers.

5. You Have Easy Access to Market Research. One of the great things about Pinterest is that you get the chance to do excellent market research easily. Pinterest gives you the ability to see what your users want to see while keeping you updated on the latest trends. You can follow your clients back and easily watch what they post and see just how they use social media, helping you create and curate excellent content for them.

And Here Are 9 Top Ways To Successfully Use Pinterest for Your Business

Now that you know a few excellent reasons as to why you should use Pinterest for your business, let’s take a look at just how you can use it successfully.

1. Integrate Pinterest With Your Website, Twitter, and Facebook. A great way to use Pinterest is to integrate it with your website, as well as your other social channels such as Twitter and Facebook. You can set it up to where Pinterest updates your Facebook and Twitter pages when you make a new pin, helping to drive your existing social media followers to your account. To integrate it with your website, you can include “Pin It” buttons to encourage visitors to pin product images to their own Pinterest accounts.

2. Learn What Your Audience Wants to See. You need to do some basic client research to be sure that when you use Pinterest, you are sharing what your clients want to see. You can create personas, but simply following your clients and taking a look at their boards can help you figure out what they pin and like to see. When you understand your Pinterest audience more, you can then start to develop things that are interesting to them, helping bring about engagement and driving more people to your website.

3. Focus On the Quality of Your pins and Not When You Post. Trying to find the best time to post to social media is something many people look for to help bring about more clicks and views. However, according to Kevan Lee from Buffer, when it comes to Pinterest, you need to focus on the quality of your pins and not when you post. High-quality pins are more important to Pinterest users and many people are on Pinterest at varying times. When you post something that is high quality, you have a higher chance having more people pin your pins and click on the links.

4. Create Excellent Captions With Each Pin. Just like with your blogs and other social media posts, the headlines and captions on Pinterest are vital. When you go to create a pin, make sure you have an amazing caption that can capture a user’s attention, convincing them to click. Focus your attention on making something that is engaging that gives clients enough information to be curious but not too much information that keeps them from looking further at your website.

5. Make Sure You are Driving Traffic to Your Site. You might be sharing a lot of interesting pins, but when using Pinterest, you need to make sure that you drive traffic to your site. For example, when you share a product image or an image from your blog, make sure to “Pin It” directly for your website. This will link back to your site visibly on Pinterest and will make it easy for a user to click on the image, taking them to the product or blog you are linking to. The only way to see the amazing traffic that Pinterest provides is to make sure you link back to your site.

6. Add a “Pin it” Button On Your Landing Pages and Blogs. As I mentioned earlier, adding a “Pin It” button to your website is a great way to integrate your account with your site. Make sure that the button is on each of your landing pages and product pages, as well as your blog. This will help make it easier for your clients when they want to share something from your site that they find interesting.

7. Have Proper Pinterest Etiquette. Just as in normal life and on other social media channels, having proper etiquette is great when approaching Pinterest. This can help you be more successful when using the social channel. Some good ideas for etiquette are to be nice, give credit to any sources you use, and don’t be overly self-promotional. You can also comment on your clients’ pins when they pin something from your website, and just maintain a fun, great client-business relationship.

8. Add Your Keywords and Use Hashtags. When you go to create your awesome captions, make sure that you include your keywords in the description. This will help someone locate your pins when they are searching through Pinterest for those keywords, just like when they are searching Google.

You can also include hashtags in your Pinterest post. This will help categorize your pin with a specific hashtag such as #weightloss or #shorthair. In addition, Anna Bennett from Business 2 Community says that it will help if you have your Twitter and Pinterest linked up. This means that once you make a pin and it gets sent out over Twitter, you already have the hashtags in place.

9. Use Secret Pinterest Boards to Curate Content. You don’t want to overwhelm your Pinterest followers with several pins all at once, but you also don’t want to lose the great content you’ve found. A great idea from Cynthia Sanchez at Social Media Examiner is to create secret boards that only you can see and curate excellent content.

This can help you with your whole social media strategy, as well as a blogging strategy. But it can also help you keep all of the excellent content you find in an easy-to-access location. Once you set up these boards, you can always go through the pins and begin pinning them throughout the week.

Pin Away, My Fine Friends!

As you can see, Pinterest for your business really can happen. It is a great social media resource and there are many ways you can use it for the betterment of your business. If you don’t have a Pinterest account, go ahead and set one up and start pinning. If you are looking for help with your social media strategy, look no further than Express Writers. Our social media services can help your business have a brilliant, shiny social media presence that you are sure to enjoy.

Why Your Business Needs Blog Writing Services

Why Your Business Needs Blog Writing Services

Having a blog is essential in today’s business world. More and more companies are realizing that a business blog is one of the most effective ways of promotion. If your company’s not one of them, you’re going to fall behind – fast.
But creating and maintaining a blog is a lot of work. It might be logistically impossible for you to do it yourself, and you might not yet have the capital to hire a full-time copywriter. If that’s the case, you might want to consider hiring a blog writing service to jump in whenever you need them.

(more…)