We’ve heard so much over the past couple of years on how useful corporate blogging can be – if you’re in business then you really do need to blog. Setting up and starting a blog is relatively easy these days with platforms like WordPress, Tumbler and Weebly offering ready-made templates to suit all tastes. If you haven’t yet started blogging or if you’re getting bogged down in your blog and are not sure of the way forward, then here are ten tips that can help make sure that your blog is awesome.
The first thing to decide is which blogging platform. Check out some blogs that you like the look of and see which platform they’re using – this will usually be at the bottom of the page, you may have to scroll down all the way. Then it’s just a matter of visiting the blog platform and registering for an account.
One of the most important things is to make sure that you choose a theme that will work well for you. If you haven’t done anything like this before you may find that you’re blown away by some of the colourful and arty choices in front of you. Stop right there! Think about your content and your audience.
Your content should be the most important thing on your blog, so don’t choose a wild or fussy theme that will distract your audience from the message you want to get across.
Then there’s your target audience – consider what type of people they are likely to be. If you’re aiming at an older audience, you probably don’t want a theme that’s too funky. Conversely, if your target audience is likely to be mostly made up of younger people then you will need something that’s not too staid to appeal to them.
If you’re having doubts on which sort of theme to go for, then visit some other blogs that seem to be enjoying success with your target audience and check out their styles. If you’re really not sure, then it’s probably worth seeking help from a professional.
Have an awesome “About You” page – this is your chance to let your readers know who you are and exactly where you’re coming from. If it’s a corporate blog, then you will need to let people know about your job and describe your workplace. Make it interesting and add some personal details – it’s the individuality that you add to your blog that will make it unique.
Draw your readers in and let them know a bit about you – some of your likes and dislikes and some of your quirky habits (don’t get too personal here though!). If you have a penchant for bacon and marmalade sandwiches or an interest in obscure 16th Century manuscripts or a collection of tacky frog ornaments, then this is where you tell people.
Content – this is the most important aspect of your blog and you’ll need to get it right. Make sure that it’s interesting and relevant to both your company and to your audience. This is where you need to get creative:
- Visit other websites to keep up to date with what’s going on in your industry. Pass on this information to your readers in a way that is easy for them to understand. If the subject is boring, inject some humour to make it more interesting.
- Visit other blogs within your industry and join in discussions there. Have a look at the comments to see if there are any issues that readers are talking about and use that as a starting point for a blog post.
- Check out the news and if there’s anything at all that you can tie in to your subject, then write a blog post on it with your unique point of view. If there’s any news on your specialist subject, then that’s a bonus – you will have an expert’s opinion that you can give in a blog post. Set up Google News Alerts for subjects in your field to make sure that you don’t miss out on any golden opportunities.
- Be seasonal – if it’s Christmas or Easter – write a Christmas/Easter blog post. There are loads of special days throughout the year that you can use for this. It’s just a matter of putting your thinking cap on and working out how to write some relevant content. It doesn’t all have to be on the seasonal subject – just use that as a starting point for your blog post.
Make sure that comments are enabled on all of your blog posts – this is a great way to engage your audience. When your readers do comment, it’s vital that you respond – not only to answer any questions, but make sure that you join in the discussions.
This is your chance to provide extra details and information and add value to your blog posts. Read the comments that your audience post – you’ll gain a useful insight into what interests your readership. Moreover, some of these comments may provide inspiration for future blog posts – double bubble!
If you find that you’re not getting any comments to begin with, then end your blog posts with a question, inviting readers to join in with their views and experiences. This could end up providing you with a wealth of future content.
Use social media, such as Google+, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter. Blogs are a type of social media so make sure that you have social sharing icons. These will let readers share your blog with their friends and contacts – a brilliant way to grow your audience.
Consider having a Facebook Page, a Google+ Page, a Twitter account and so on. Use these as often as you can to join in discussions there and also to post links – another effective method of driving traffic to your blog. Don’t just post links to your own blog, post them to other online content that you think would interest your readers. This is a way of spreading the love and getting it in return.
Get yourself some widgets. Widgets are applications that you can install on your blog pages for your readers to use. There are all sorts of web widgets available – some are useful and some are just for fun. Consider your readers and make sure that the widgets you include will be relevant to your target audience.
It’s important to add content to your blog on a regular basis – there’s loads of advice on this online. This means at least once or twice a week. Your readers will soon get to know how often they can expect to see new content and will visit your blog accordingly. If you want people to visit on a daily basis, then you need to add content every day.
So get into the habit of dedicating regular time slots for adding new stuff to your blog and try to stick to it. If you’re really organised, then let your readers know at the end of each blog post when you intend to add the next one. Try asking them what they would like to see there (another great inspiration for future posts).
If it’s a corporate blog – try running regular competitions. This will get your readers joining in and visiting frequently. The prizes don’t have to be huge – if you’re writing a blog for a small business, then a money off voucher for goods/services on a monthly basis would do the trick. Or the prize could be that you feature the winner on your website/blog – their 15 minutes of fame!
Last, but by no means least, use great titles for your posts. Make it relevant, but make it catchy. There’s an art to writing good headlines – they need to tease the reader into reading the rest of the post.
These ten tips should help you put together a decent blog and add to it on a regular basis. If you’re a small business owner and maintaining a blog is just not your bag, then consider tasking one of your employees with managing the blog for you. You never know, you could just have a budding social media expert working for you. If you really don’t know where to start, then consider asking for some professional advice to get you up and running.