Ultimate Blog Startup Guide for Your Business
A business blog is absolutely worth your startup’s time.
In fact, HubSpot notes that businesses that blog have approximately 97% more inbound links to their site!
Coming to this realization is the easy part, however. The trick is knowing how to go about the process—and let us tell you, it’s multi-faceted and even overwhelming at points.
“How do I get started? How do I develop quality content consistently? Will folks even pay attention if I do?”
These concerns are understandable and justified. Sixty-three-percent of those surveyed in 2017 suggest that generating online traffic and leads remains their company’s top marketing challenge.
Of course, the onus doesn’t have to be entirely on you and your team—the option to outsource the work of blogging and creating traffic is always on the table. But we’ll get to that later.
For now, let’s talk about what you’re going to learn in this guide:
- How to understand your audience.
- How to brand your business blog.
- How to ensure your content resonates.
- How to perform keyword research and implement smart SEO strategies.
- How to choose and refine call-to-actions (CTAs).
- How to promote your blog posts.
- How to find the perfect writer for your needs.
There’s no time to waste, so let’s jump in!
Understand Your Audience
You have no business blogging until you handle the business of understanding your audience. (See what we did there?)
When’s the last time you really made the effort to carve out some time and talk with your patrons and clients? Have you ever conducted a survey? (SurveyMonkey can help!)
But it goes beyond that. As Marc Guberti points out,
The simple fact is that you cannot expect to generate good content on your business blog that your audience wants to read if you don’t first understand the ins-and-outs of your target demographic.
There are a number of ways to do this:
In this case, that pivot may help direct the content guidelines for your startup blog, too.
Check out Hubspot’s guide to social listening for businesses.
Brand Your Business Blog
Once you understand your audience, you should brand your business blog accordingly.
In most cases, you’ll want to avoid generically referring to your startup’s blog as “Our Company Blog” or “Your ‘Business Name Here’s’ Blog.” Why? Because there are a freakishly huge amount of blogs currently on our little blue orb.
Also, WordPress estimates there are more than 80 million new blog posts created monthly on its blog platform alone. It’s wildly clear that the need to stand out from the crowd is paramount.
- It’s catchy and memorable.
- It includes any applicable keywords (more on that below).
- It’s easy to spell.
- The URL is available.
More important than the title of your blog is the content you host, however.
Ensure Your Content Resonates With Your Audience
Common beginner’s blunders for business bloggers include posting content that is too broad, isn’t optimized for search, and/or just flat out isn’t relevant to reader interests.
As Arjun Basu quips,
OK, that seems pretty straightforward at least, right? Well, unfortunately, it isn’t that simple.
Ensuring your content both resonates with the reader and that the reader can find it in the first place is the true challenge here.
Let’s go step-by-step through some best practices for creating your business blog content:
1. Don’t purely repurpose old content. Yes, repurposing old content can at times be a sound strategy that bolsters your arsenal of articles, but it can’t be your “go-to move.” You should consistently be whipping up new content from scratch.
2. Find and capitalize on popular content. Need some help generating topic ideas within your niche? Consider a visit to AllTop for blogging content ideas, select a corresponding topic, and opt to narrow down by subcategory, too. And once you find killer content, set out to create something even more killer.
3. Consider episodic content. Episodic content can provide immense value to readers, spread out over time in a manner that also delivers incredible dividends to your startup. Learn about episodic blog content best practices.
4. Ensure the article reaches a conclusion that is useful to your reader. This needs to be reiterated. It’s not always what you’re getting out of the article—what is your reader gaining?
5. Incorporate a sound keyword strategy. Your content can’t resonate if folks don’t discover it to begin with. You must utilize the correct keywords in a manner that plays nice with search engines.
Keyword strategy is its own beast, though, so let’s tackle that in the next section.
Perform Keyword Research and Implement Smart SEO Strategies
It’s easy to believe—maybe even a fervent hope—that once you pick out a distinct term or two that relates to your content and sprinkle it throughout your blog, your work is done. But selecting keywords requires real research.
But don’t get it twisted. Although real work is required here, you don’t have to make it real complex.
In fact, marketing maven Matthew Woodward opines,
1. Google Trends. Want to visualize how popular a keyword is currently by search volume and also see how that popularity has changed over time? Google Trends has your back. You can also compare various keywords and phrases against each other on a single, easy-to-read graph.
2. Authority Labs. Want additional keyword details that go beyond Google Trends? Take a looksie at Authority Labs. It deals out keyword search rankings that range from country-wide and dial all the way down to a postal code level. And since it’s available with unlimited user support, it’ll cater to your startup no matter how much you grow.
3. Ahrefs. Sometimes, to beat the best you gotta figure out what the hell it is they’re doing. That sort of information often remains a mystery, but Ahrefs is a potent tool that enables sophisticated competitor research in the keyword sphere. It serves up data on approximately 240 million keywords in the U.S. alone. You’ll discover the keywords competitors are using and which ones are bearing the most fruit.
Of course, once you have your keywords all planned out, intelligent, savvy integration is paramount.
There’s also the question of long-tail versus short-tail keywords, meta description optimization, and more.
Are you beginning to see why it’s much easier to outsource content creation duties? (Again, more on this later.)
In the interim, feel free to gain a working knowledge of all the above via this HubSpot dedicated guide on how to search engine optimize your blog content.
Choose—and Refine—a CTA
Don’t forget the importance of the call-to-action (CTA). These are links that guide your readers to their next action on your site.
Many of your blogs will absolutely be value-driven, it’s true, but that doesn’t mean you can’t pitch your services directly to your audience, or encourage them to take a specific action.
In fact, failing to do so is an “epic fail” for your business blog.
But what is your goal with your CTA? You must determine this. And make no mistake—the importance of the CTA is overwhelming, as this is the tool by which you’re working to generate leads for your business.
Maybe you wish to encourage email list subscriptions or signups for a free trial. Perhaps you want to move visitors over to specific services landing pages or galvanize them to hand over their contact information in exchange for something like free Google AdWords credit. Ultimately, the CTA will be specific to your current business goals and should be tested for efficacy and then refined as necessary.
Bear in mind that CTAs for your startup blog should always:
1. Use actionable language. Start with a command verb!
2. Generate a sense of urgency. Tacking on “now” and “today” to a CTA has a certain power.
3. Be concise and easy-to-read.
4. Use numbers whenever possible to further grab attention.
5. Be customized for different device usage when applicable (mobile vs. desktop). This may be applicable if you’re creating a large button CTA graphic. (Learn about responsive design.)
Blog Post Promotion
While the purpose of this article has been primarily to focus on content creation, once the composition of your articles is complete, there’s still work to be done.
As Neil Patel states,
This is a part-time job in itself. Let’s break down several effective options:
1. Link to influential external blogs. If you incorporate a value-based, outbound link to a blog or website, they’ll likely become aware and may be willing to link back to you in the future, thereby boosting the authority of your site in the eyes of search engines.
Bear in mind you never want to link to a direct competitor, and your link should always take your readers to a page that directly relates to the content they were already browsing. Don’t waste their time!
2. Quote experts and tag accordingly. Quoting ace professionals in fields related to your content does two things:
a) It strengthens the content of your article and makes your startup look all the better.
b) It generates the opportunity for those experts to retweet or otherwise promote your content to their sizable audience.
A tag on Twitter, LinkedIn or related social media service should suffice, although you can always contact them by email, as well.
3. Include easy sharing buttons. You want your readers to share with their own audiences, too. So, make it easy on them! Floating social share buttons that move with your content as users scroll are available—check out this SumoMe guide for more.
4. Rock out on social media. We’ve mentioned tagging experts directly and including sharing buttons, but don’t neglect to publicize your work on a piece-by-piece basis on your own social media properties.
Whenever you publish a new blog, ensure you tweet out a direct link to the content, create a corresponding Facebook/LinkedIn post, etc. You can even auto-schedule these posts to go out at peak times for your audience by using Buffer.
5. Blast out emails. One of your commonly used CTAs may be to encourage readers to sign up for your email list. Ideally, you already have a sizable list to work with. Don’t let your hard work go to waste—use it!
Every time you drop a new, special piece of content—and especially if you’re developing episodic content—don’t hesitate to update your subscribers via an email blast. There’s super software out there that assists with list management. Personally, we dig MailChimp.
6. Use content syndication. A number of sites accept syndicated content. They’ll repost your business blog’s article on their own site, enabling you to jack into their audience. You need only compile a list of sites that accept content in your niche and then reach out to them via email or social media.
Hint: Try punching searches such as “syndicated content + your niche” into Google to help in establishing that syndicated content list.
The crazy thing is, the above are but a few promotional techniques! Neil Patel’s KISSmetrics has several more.
Don’t Wait—Day One Content
One final piece of advice:
Don’t wait until after publishing your first piece of content to begin working on new articles.
The best practice is to generate a host of early content filled with keywords, internal links, outbound links, and more so that you’re ready and raring to go on that first day and week.
This strategy gives you the best opportunity to grab immediate traffic, social shares, email subscribers, and backlinks, but it’s also not feasible for all businesses due to the upfront time commitment necessary.
Oh, and even if you can prep a day-one barrage all on your own, does your team have the capacity to keep that up and produce amazing content on a consistent basis in the weeks and months ahead?
Likely not. But don’t fret—you have options.
The first is to hire a freelancer. Such contractors work off-site and are not technically part of your team, but can deliver satisfactory results in some situations. However, while farming out your content work in this fashion may work for some, it’s ultimately a hit-or-miss strategy.
It can be difficult to find and vet individual freelancers on a per-job basis. Quality varies. That’s where a professional, premium article writing agency like Article-Writing.co comes in.
As discussed above, business blogs require strong audience and niche understanding, keyword research, call-to-action considerations, and a bevy of SEO knowledge in order to be sublimely successful.
That’s what Article-Writing.co does best.
Our team of vetted, professional writers understands how to use your blog as a marketing vessel. We “get” the world of difference between marginal copy and truly exceptional, thoughtfully crafted content.
A few points of interest:
- Our content writing services team is comprised of over 100 sensationally experienced article writers from across the US and Canada.
- Before delivery, our content is twice edited by a veteran staff of copy and content editors so that your delivered piece is clean.
- All content is SEO optimized, built to jive completely with SEO best practices, or custom to your specific SEO style guide.
- Unlimited revisions and guaranteed satisfaction.
The ultimate goal of content marketing is offering your target audience information and materials that will engage them and motivate them to choose your business.
Seems easy, right?
Often, companies will simply share general content to please everyone. But let’s be honest: you can’t win them all. And that’s okay!
Rather than throwing a line and hoping the fish will bite, create Thought Leadership content strategically catered to your target market. Consider the people who would genuinely need or care about what your business offers, rather than wasting time, effort, and resources on creating general, unfocused content. Successful content marketing involves promoting your products and services to the people interested in the subject matter, who will read the content, click on your company website, and take action.
As an executive of an organization, you are a valuable piece of the brand. Consumers want to know about the human presence leading companies, in order to understand more about the company’s values and goals.
Take advantage of your position as an industry expert and share extra content to attract more attention to yourself as an industry leader and your company. Your quality content will build your reputation as a reliable voice to earn your consumer’s trust. However, if it’s not focused on your target audience, you won’t earn many conversions from your content.
Consider these techniques to guide your Thought Leadership content so it can expand and strengthen your loyal consumer following:
- Identify your target audience by reviewing your current consumer data and identifying who is investing in your business or reacting to your thought leadership materials so far. Look for trends to find why these people are interested and if others like them haven’t been reached yet.
- Conduct customer research to learn how they will respond to your thought leadership content. Request participation in surveys, polls, social media comments, and more to learn about your existing impression on your audience and how you can improve your platform.
- Create target audience character profiles. Identify their interests, demographics, pain points, needs, and desires, and write to them.
- Find where your current and potential audience is active online. Catch their attention by being active and sharing your content marketing materials on these platforms.
- Pull inspiration from other Thought Leader examples. Research other executives within your field who implement successful content marketing through their personal platforms. Learn what qualities make their content attractive and why readers respond to it positively. These examples can offer a base for you to visualize what you want to achieve.
- Recognize your strengths as a Thought Leader. Often, leaders aren’t necessarily aware of the unique talents that give them an advantage in their industry until asked. Reflect on what topics you know best and how to input your insights to humanize your materials, make them original and more engaging for your audience.
Case Study: How Strategic Content Marketing Can Broaden Your Audience
In our client strategy calls, our team will interview our expert clients to learn about their industry expertise and find out what’s meaningful to them, their business, and then identify who we believe to be their target audience. We use these insights to inspire our content subject matter and tone to create impactful content for their current and potential consumers.
For example, our client, Dr. Nitin Desai, approached our strategy team to create content to promote his COVID Pre-Check app. His innovative software is intended to help employers ensure their employees who enter the office are COVID-free, providing a safe environment by eliminating the chance of spread.
Our team of strategists recognized that with Dr. Desai’s thorough professional knowledge around the COVID-19 virus, he had the potential to become a reliable voice in a culture of people seeking answers. We created content for Dr. Desai that focused on sharing COVID-related insights to reach a wider audience, which has been a successful mission. Our thoroughly planned content reflected his industry expertise, which brought him attention from various media outlets and publications, including Forbes.
By reaching out to our professional content marketing team, Dr. Desai achieved his goal of promoting his groundbreaking app, while also positioning himself as an authoritative voice in his field. Our team learned about his voice, discovered what was meaningful to him and his target audience, and optimized this to create focused, engaging content that broadened his consumer scope.
Ready to Invest In Your Article-Writing.co Thought Leadership Package?
At Article-Writing.co, we understand that you have a lot on your plate. Let us share your voice on your behalf, so you don’t need to add more time to your busy schedule to write your own content marketing. Our strategists and creators will develop a plan to create engaging materials to represent your Thought Leader brand through your own specialized Thought Leadership Package.
Let us help you strengthen and broaden your consumer base for continued professional success. Book a call today.