Blogging for business part 1: a tangibly valuable tool

Over the coming weeks, we’ll be talking about an online marketing tool that’s incredibly versatile, engaging, imaginative and practical. It provides tangible value to any organisation’s marketing portfolio, but has a tendency to be misunderstood, misused and overlooked. We are, of course, talking about blogging. Though there are businesses that blog, there are plenty that don’t, and – in our opinion – they’re missing out. Even those who do often can’t give it the attention it deserves as they fit their blogging duties around busy work schedules. In this series we’ll be exploring blogging for business, covering the following topics:

Posting frequency
Connecting with your audience
Content creation
Fostering interaction
Guest blogging

Whether you’re new to the blogosphere, or have been writing for some time now, we aim to give you a few handy tricks and tips that you can use to make your life as a business blogger easier.

Lesson 1: get strategic
As someone in the office quipped the other day, there’s a world of difference between ‘having a blog’ and ‘blogging’. It’s the difference between just chucking out a post each week and crafting a strategic plan to achieve set goals using your blog. Imagine that each blog post is a horse, and that your business is a carriage; if you don’t get them all running in the same direction, they’ll never move your business forward. And the first step in corralling your blog posts (we may be getting mixed up in our metaphors here) is working out where you want them to take you — what the point of your blog is, to be blunt.

What’s your aim?
You can gear your blog towards a wide variety of goals for your business, including:

• Lead generation: turning your readers into leads and then customers with posts that position your services in the context of your target audience’s pain points, with plenty of calls-to-action to promote activity.

• Gathering insight: asking your customers questions, encouraging their participation, and demonstrating that you’re prepared to act on that information to turn your blog into a goldmine of customer insight.

• Positioning: using your blog to demonstrate your company’s expertise, with guest posts from SMEs in your organisation or partner organisations, can help establish your blog as a trusted source of information for your customers.

• Sales enablement: creating a blog for your internal staff, delivering training and notifying them of marketing activity, and help your team get sales-enabled.

You don’t have to pick one and stick with it – you could switch your focus through the year to align with other sales and marketing activities, or even try and achieve two objectives with the same blog (though if you do, then be careful that you don’t dilute the effectiveness of your blog by turning it into a ‘jack of all trades’). Just remember that you do need to have at least one goal to give you enough direction to create engaging content that keeps readers returning week after week. At HN, our blog is designed to provide our audience with the knowledge to help themselves get ahead in the world of B2B marketing, so every post we write has at least one takeaway point that our readers can use. We hope you find it useful!

Any questions?
In our next post, we will be exploring how often you should write a blog post, and how to encourage your readers to read what you write. If you’ve got questions from this blog, why not ask us in the comments section?

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