Anyone can publish a blog, and as a quick look at B2B blogs will show, just about anyone will. Poorly maintained blogs that get new posts only once or twice a year, rambling posts about the blog owner’s pet and blogs that are nothing but another ad delivery system are everywhere. Professional blogs are more than just a collection of posts; they follow a cogent strategy that fits with your overall content marketing plan.
Make It a Part of Your Site
One of the biggest mistakes businesses make with their blogs is squirreling them away somewhere far from their websites. Creating a blog that isn’t directly linked to your company website is like advertising a New York business on a billboard in Saskatchewan. No matter how amazing that billboard looks, few customers are going to make the drive. Place a prominent link to your blog on your main menu and use a URL that echoes the main site’s in some way. The design of the blog should also be consistent with your site; it’s jarring to visitors when they go from the sedate maroon and navy color scheme of a law firm’s site to a bright yellow blog. A blog that isn’t closely associated with and fully integrated into your site is doing you no favors.
Find Your Voice
The rest of your site may be fairly static, but your blog changes at least a few times a month. It’s less formal and more chatty, yet it’s more in-depth than social media; you can only say so much in 140 characters, but with a blog, you can expand on topics that excite you. Because your blog serves multiple purposes, it can feel unfocused or scattered without something to unify it. Developing a voice that speaks for and about your company is crucial to your branding efforts, and nowhere is that voice more readily apparent than in your blog. A talented content creator can match your company’s culture and personality with a distinctive voice that will keep visitors coming back even if they already know what you’re going to say – just to hear the way you’ll say it.
Keep Readers Connected with Newsletters
Newsletters are great for keeping your best clients and prospects informed, but they’re especially effective when paired with a blogging strategy. A blog has great synergy with a newsletter. Take either the newsletter or the blog post as a starting point, and you automatically have a compelling subject for the other. Your newsletter can alert subscribers to new and upcoming blog posts, or your blog could drum up interest in your latest newsletter. Either way, you win when your prospects get double the exposure to your brand. Bring social media into the mix, and you have an even more potent branding strategy.
Think Seasonally and Regionally
Evergreen blog posts, articles about timeless topics, deserve a permanent home on your blog. These posts are the foundation of your knowledge library and will continue to generate traffic for years after you post them. The trouble with evergreen posts is that the streams of traffic they bring to your blog are burbling little creeks, not mighty rivers. By contrast, seasonal and local posts can create a flood of new visitors, many of whom will come for the seasonal post and stick around for the other treasures they’ll find. Not every industry is seasonal, and some locales don’t lend themselves to regional blogging, but finding timely topics for your blog posts can still pay dividends. Go through the archives of this blog for examples of posts about Google updates and content marketing strategies that were timely when published.
Give Google Some Lead Time
Magazines have an editorial calendar that stretches six months to a year in advance. While you’re shoveling snow, editors are working on summer-themed articles. Google’s lead time is far shorter, but it’s still noticeable when you post seasonal blogs. Give your content creation team or professional blogger enough time to take advantage of the two- to four-week time it may take Google to index your site. By blogging about holiday topics in October instead of waiting until your customers are trimming their trees or getting their menorahs out of storage, you give search engines a chance to know your post is there.
A successful blog rests on a sound strategy, not just isolated posts that appear when you get around to it. By turning it into the centerpiece of a complete content marketing campaign, you maximize your blog’s value.
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