How do you write a successful business blog?
Communicating with customers, patients and business partners is the key to new business success in our increasingly digital world. However, doing so effectively can be a daunting process, especially at the beginning!
Blogging is a great way to build authority, credibility, and search engine rankings.
The goal of a blog is not to blog for the sake of blogging.
Your blog should ideally help new people find you who don’t already know about you. The goal is for them to find your content when they are searching for an answer to their problem. You want to be the answer! The knowledgeable resource who can solve their problem.
In this blogging for business guide you will learn:
- My top tips on how to get started blogging
- How to keep blogging after you have gained momentum and traction
- A free SEO checklist for your blog
Why should your small business have a blog?
A blog is a great way for small business owners to connect with clients, increase search engine optimization (SEO) results and get your content found by key prospects.
According to Inside View, research shows that B2B marketers who blog generate 67% more leads than those that do not.
Other research shows that business websites that have a blog with more than 20 posts per month get five times more traffic than those who blog significantly less (less than four times per month). Blogging should be a critical part of your ongoing communications strategy.
Companies such as Whole Foods, IHG, Starbucks, and YouTube all have blogs. Their content is consistent with the brands’ key messaging and includes thoughts from the CEO, recipes, and even travel tips.
Benefits of Blogging for Small Business & Medical Practices
What are the benefits of blogging for small businesses, lawyers and doctors?
- Enhanced page one search engine results (SEO)
- Increase search visibility for keywords (SEM)
- Get found by reporters (PR!)
- Build brand authority and subject matter expertise (thought-leadership marketing)
- Enhance company reputation as a leading expert (online reputation management)
BLOGGING FOR BEGINNERS: HOW TO GET STARTED
What is business blogging?
Business blogging is the practice of distributing thought-leadership content that ties into your larger B2B digital marketing goals and objectives. The goal of blogging is to drive potential customers to your website and keep them engaged with your content. Ultimately, you want to convert business blog readers (leads) to customers through an inbound marketing strategy.
“Your blog should be a personalized expression of your brand.”- Kris Ruby
TARGET AUDIENCE MARKETING: WHO ARE YOU REALLY WRITING FOR? The RMG Rule of 3
How do you create content for a target audience?
When you think about content marketing and blogging for your business, there are three audiences you are writing for.
Audience 1: New customers, patients, clients
Audience 2: Existing customers, patients, clients
Audience 3: The Media
Each blog post that you publish should always address someone in one of the three buckets. For example, this article can be used to reach all three audiences? How? Well, a doctor who is looking for help with medical marketing could find me from this blog post. I could also share this blog post with a current client that wants to further understand content marketing while I am developing a strategy for them. I would rather send them to a resource I have written on the topic than direct their attention elsewhere, so it is a win-win! Third, the media can see that I am a knowledgeable expert on social media marketing and content marketing from this post. If they are looking for a source in this area, this article clearly achieves that purpose that I know what I am talking about if they are doing background research on me. If you publish a piece of content that does not fall into any of these 3 buckets, it most likely has zero value for your practice or business and should be deleted.
How to write a blog post to promote your business
Your blog should be targeted towards prospective customers, clients, and patients and it should answer questions prospects have when researching other companies to work with.
Before you start a business blog, ask yourself the following questions to formulate a strategy:
- What will the decision-makers want to read in our target audience?
- What do you want to be positioned as?
Tip: Create content around specific keywords related to your business or medical practice.
Tip: Do keyword research before you write an article, not after.
Put yourself in the shoes of the target audience. What are they searching for on Google?
How do you structure a blog post?
What content format is most appealing to your target audience? For example, busy professionals may want to hear a podcast during their workout or commute whereas prospective patients may want to read a long-form written article. If you are a chef, a step by step listicle or video would be more applicable.
Types of content can include:
- Written articles (long-form content/ blogs)
- How-to Guide
- Slideshow (SlideShare)
HOW TO WRITE CONTENT PEOPLE WANT TO READ
Look at the type of content that ranks. Is the format different than the format of your article? For example, does the content appear in a featured snippet and people also ask box? Or does video content rank? This will give you a good clue as to how you should format your content. If you were thinking of writing a listicle, but Google ranks a podcast or video in the top search result, that should give you a clue about how people want to consume the answer to this information. You have to listen. Look at what is already ranking, and learn from it. Make it better, but do not reinvent the wheel in terms of the type of content and format of content that works best. Is your article objectively better than what already ranks in Google’s top ten search results? The goal is to rank for closely related keyword search terms.
Ideas for your B2B business blog
Maybe you want to be positioned as a key opinion leader on consumer behavior.
If you are a digital marketing agency, your target audience would be CMO’s at large companies.
If you are targeting CMO’s, think about the content they are searching for on Google. For example, you could write a blog post that says, “We have conducted some research on your target audience that you might find interesting.”
For a coworking client we worked with, we created a “spaces” section, which included a picture of the coworking member’s office space and how they utilized the space in a new and visually exciting way. Readers enjoyed seeing real-world use of the space and gained inspiration from the posts.
Other blog topics for a client in the coworking space could include:
- Personalizing Your Office Space
- 5 Best Practices of Successful Business Owners
- How to Stay Focused When Working Alone
- Travel Tips for the Everyday Businessman
- Conducting Casual Meetings: How Casual is Too Casual?
- Affordable ways to decorate your office
Their blog included tips such as: how to work from home, office space trends, business travel, new member of the month spotlight interviews etc.
The key is to write content that is interesting to the people you want to attract in your sales funnel.
What is Search Intent? And why is it important for your content marketing strategy?
Does your content meet the searcher’s intent? This is the #1 most valuable key takeaway from this whole blog post. You must learn to optimize anything you write to answer this question. Your URL must match the topic you are writing about. Things must correlate together to meet the searcher’s intent.
The keyword and topic must ALWAYS match the searchers intent.
Google knows if you are achieving this objective after observing the bounce rate. This is why keyword stuffing is essentially useless. If you are on page one of Google for a search term, but the bounce rate is high, you will not remain on Page 1 for long, because Google takes bounce rate into consideration when it comes to ranking. They want to give people two things: the best content that matches the searcher’s intent AND a good user experience. This is why they prioritize things like AMP, speed, HTTPS, and mobile-friendly sites. User Experience matters just as much as the words on a page do when you are trying to rank. If your content is great but the user experience is poor, your chances at ranking will always remain low. You have to think about breaking up your text with visuals and graphics to keep people on the page for longer. Write for humans instead of robots, but also make sure your content can be understood by both.
Does your article give searchers what they are looking for? Or does it lead them on a wild good chase?
What is the searcher intent behind the keyword? Ideally, you want to try to rank for “buy” terms that show a user is a few steps away from buying a product and is far along in the sales process. Someone searching for “NY doctor” has a different search intent than someone searching for “NYC allergist Waccabuc NY who accepts insurance.” See the difference? One is broad and is most likely a window shopper. The second is someone who is optimizing for someone who is ready to “buy” and choose a provider.
- Visual instruction with a video?
- Explanation with words?
Make data-driven decisions
Data and user behavior signals show what people want. Listen!
What content will satisfy users on all levels? It is important to remember that people learn differently. While text may be ideal for some of your audience, the other half of your audience may only be interested in listening to your content on a podcast while they are commuting. A one-sized approach does not fit all when it comes to content marketing in the 21st century.
Blog growth strategies: Checklist
Prior to clicking publish, make sure you can answer the following:
- Will marketing decision-makers read this or want to read this article?
- Is this consumer-centric content? B2B or B2C?
- Who will this content appeal to? Does this content truly appeal to my target customer?
- Is this content useful?
- Would someone want to link back to this article or blog post?
- Is this content sticky/ evergreen? Is it timeless?
- Will this advice be useful one year from now?
- Does this content solve a searcher’s problem?
- Have I left every stone unturned? Or will someone still have more questions after reading this?
- Does this article cover the full depth of the topic?
How can I use blogging to promote my business?
Blogging is a powerful inbound marketing tool to promote your business.
The key is to use blogging as a way to attract prospective clients into your funnel.
Pro Tip: Create content about your target audience that is most relevant to your prospective clients.
BUSINESS BLOGGING 101: How to build a successful business blog
How do I come up with content for my blog?
Start writing down the questions you are most frequently asked. Then, write content around it. Be sure to do keyword research on the search volume to make sure your posts are optimized around topical phrases people are using to search for content in your industry.
Blogging for the sake of blogging is a mistake most business owners make. You must do keyword research before you start blogging instead of after or you will be wasting your time and resources.
Remember: What you find interesting may not be what your target audience is searching for. This should also be done in step one of building an integrated marketing communications plan for your business.
PRO TIP: Research the search terms people are using before you start writing!
How does blogging help your business?
FACT: Google rewards fresh content.
Google favors websites that consistently put out fresh content. What does this mean? Writing high-quality content and updating old content to increase the user experience should be a top priority in any business content marketing plan. Blogging is the #1 way to make Google happy, as long as you are blogging high-quality content. Posting a bunch of thin content less than 200 pages will not make Google happy and will lead to a high bounce rate. The content you put out must be high quality in order to have a chance at ranking. Thin content will not rank. What is thin content? A blog post that is 200 words is an example of thin content.
Your blog content must be substantial. Typically, long-form content that is greater than 1,000 words has a much better chance of ranking on page one of Google search engine results. One key tactic (and secret weapon!) to consider for business blogging is the strategy of historical optimization.
Tip: Deeper coverage of a topic leads to a higher search volume and a greater chance at ranking.
What is historical optimization?
Historical blog post optimization is when you go back to your old blog content and update each post to make sure the article has fresh and relevant content for your readers. This post is an example of historical optimization. We originally wrote it a few years back but optimized it this year to make sure it is in line with best practices and the questions people are searching for! Are your older articles targeting the wrong keyword? Optimize for the right keyword through historical optimizations and updated keyword research.
Optimizing your blog content for Google
Knowing what people search for around a specific topic will help you to create better topic clusters. It also leads to more useful content for the people searching for it. That is the magic of keyword research. It isn’t just about ranking or keyword stuffing. It is about fully exploring the depth and scope of a topic in entirety to answer every possible question a searcher may have about a topic that you may not have thought of.
What pages rank for the keyword you are trying to rank for? Update your article with more relevant search queries. People’s search patterns change over time. Plus, with the increase of voice search and artificial intelligence, people will be using different phrases to search than they are when they are typing them. Consider this when you are updating your content.
Is there a topic you can expand on?
- Study the keywords competing web site pages rank for.
- What do they rank for but your page does not rank for? This could be an opportunity.
- Add a few paragraphs in your article to add value while inserting those keywords.
- Study popular searches relevant to your main query.
BLOG TOPICS: WHAT SHOULD I BLOG ABOUT?
Blog Tip: The best source for new content topics for your blogs is the questions your clients already ask you!
What questions are your prospects and clients asking you? Write them down.
This is a critical component of developing your blog strategy.
If your client or patient asks you a question, they know they need more information on it and can’t find that information online. Jot down the question and turn these questions into a blog. Then, send them the link!
Develop an adequate resource guide to answer the questions your clients have. Take advantage of this opportunity to develop content that people actually want to read!
Have you provided strategic insight that will help your prospect or end-user solve a problem?
Yes! The problem or pain point I helped my prospect solve through this blog post is _________________________
HOW TO CREATE A SUCCESSFUL BLOG STRATEGY
What should a blog post include?
Every blog post should include keywords, images, infographics, answers to questions your prospects have and rich media content. It should also include extensive keyword research and optimization. Here are some great free keyword research tools to help you get started. When you are doing keyword research, you want to closely evaluate a few critical factors including:
- Monthly search volume
- Search traffic potential of a topic
- Ranking difficulty
- Domain Authority of page 1 search results
Free keyword research tools:
The best content is….
- Authentic information with the inside scoop
- Information you can get from your customers
- Data/ key insights from industry experience
- Stories on the people/clients/sources you have unique access to
Here are ten more tips for creating a successful B2B blog for your business:
- Create an editorial content calendar: Don’t just wing it. A schedule of topics and deadlines will keep you focused and allow you to build up momentum and followers.
- Know your audience: Who are you trying to appeal to? Write to that audience. If you’re trying to reach customers, do not use the blog to talk about employees or company news (use a press page for that). Write only about what is important to your prospects and what they want to read.
- Link your blog. Discussing key trends in your industry? Link back to a previous article you wrote on the trend. Be sure to link articles, discussion posts, and tweets to your blog to increase traffic to the site.
- Create a blog roll: Add relevant industry blogs to a blog roll on your site to direct users to other viewpoints on the topics you are writing about. Add these blogs to the “blog roll” to show strategic alliance and to get on the radar of the bloggers you want to impress.
- Invite a guest: A blog serves as a personalized expression of your brand and will serve as a platform for the company. You can encourage employees and members to contribute to blog content. In turn, they will often help to promote their content and, as a result, bring more readers to your blog. You can also invite experts in your industry to guest blog. This is great for increasing backlinks for SEO and positive link juice!
- Share helpful information: Maintain a balance between posting unique content and sharing content from related blogs to your industry. All of your content should address the pain points of your target audience.
- Update frequently: Your blog should be updated at least several times a week and should continually include tips, articles, industry news, etc. For example, if you design office spaces, then post inspirational ideas and create a contest for a customer. Readers will repost and re-tweet contest information and provide feedback on the ideas.
- Integrate SEO keywords: You want your blog to make its way up the Google rankings. To do that, you need to insert Search Engine Optimization (SEO) words into the copy. Learn what keywords you want to rank for and optimize accordingly.
- Promote your blog: Tweet a link to your blog post, talk about it on Twitter, send out a teaser in your newsletter, mention it when you do interviews, and put your blog address in your e-mail signature line.
- Keep tabs on your progress: Google Analytics will provide key insights into click-throughs, who is reading your blog, and what posts are most popular. This is extremely important when you are planning an editorial calendar. For example, if you are writing for a 30-50-year-old audience, but the majority of your blog readers are in their 20s, you need to tweak your content to their media preferences. If you are spending a ton of time writing content that isn’t getting high traffic, you may need to alter your content calendar accordingly. Remember, you are writing for your audience first and foremost. The content that they want to read may not that be what you want to read.
Blog Promotion Tip: One of the best ways to build buzz for your article is to include interviews with well-known subject matter experts who will promote your content once you click publish. Leverage their built-in networks and fan base to drive traffic to your article. The more they promote your link, the more SEO juice you will build.
Pre-Publishing Blog Post Checklist
- Have you clearly defined the goals of your content marketing strategy?
- What is the main topic of your blog?
- What are the subcategories of content for the blog?
- What SEO keywords do you want to rank for?
- Who is your ideal reader and prospect that you want to optimize content for?
- How often will you publish new content?
BLOGGING TIPS & IDEAS FOR DOCTORS
Our NYC PR agency specializes in healthcare PR and we handle quite a bit of blogging for doctors, so this post would not be complete without covering this critical area!
Should doctors blog? The importance of blogging for your medical practice
Yes! Every doctor should blog. Content marketing is a critical factor in the pulse of a medical practice. People want to see your thoughts around topical health-related issues in the news. Blogging is a free way to establish yourself as a thought leader and share your opinion in a public forum. Plus, it can score you major SEO points if you optimize your content!
HOW TO GROW YOUR MEDICAL PRACTICE WITH A BLOG
Why every doctor needs a blog
If you are a physician who is serious about blogging, you need to start blogging. It is non-negotiable. Social media networks come and go in popularity, but healthcare content marketing is here to stay. Blogging falls under the “owned” media category. The ROI on blogging is substantial for your medical practice. One high-ranking piece of content can be a great source of lead generation for your medical practice for years to come!
How often should a doctor blog?
Doctors should blog at least once per month depending on their patient schedule. If you aren’t putting out new blog content for your medical practice, you risk Google seeing your web site as a fresh source of content.
PR Blogging Pro Tip: Write tip-oriented blogs or listicles that can also be used to pitch the press to assist with your Medical Practice PR campaign.
BLOGGING FOR DOCTORS AND MEDICAL PRACTICES
Ask us about our healthcare content marketing services for doctors, dermatologists, and plastic surgeons! Our medical clients always write the meat of the article, but we handle the rest! This includes content optimization, image sourcing, and turning interview answers into blog posts. Contact us today to inquire about our highly coveted medical practice marketing blogging services for your healthcare practice. If you are a medical professional who is interested in medical ghostwriting services, let’s talk.
P.S. You should never hire someone to ghostwrite for you. However, you should hire someone who can edit your content so that it is still coming from you, but it is also optimized for search engines.
HOW TO OPTIMIZE YOUR B2B BLOG FOR SEO
It is no secret that Google prefers long-form content. Just look at the first page of the SERP’s for any target keyword. You will rarely find a top-ranked page on page 1 that is less than 2000 words.
Use your keywords throughout the copy of your blog but be sure not to keyword stuff. Measure keyword density and use variations of your target phrase.
Higher Click-Through Rates (CTR’s) can often be attributed to more compelling titles!
Consider creating clickable blog graphics with free information to keep people on your B2B blog for longer. If you are not a graphic designer, don’t worry! You can use Canva to create stunning visual graphics.
BOOST YOUR BLOG CONVERSION RATE OPTIMIZATION TIPS:
How can I double my conversion rate on my blog?
- Want to increase the click-through rate (CTR) of your blog posts? Use free headline analyzer tools like CoSchedule and Headlime.
- Link to previous articles you have written to increase the average duration of time users stay on your website. Keep a master list of topics, keywords, and links to pull from.
- Add statistics, original data, and sources to your content. Use Cite4Me to site sources.
- Break up the blog post with visuals by including links to user-generated content (UGC) on Instagram. Embed the link within the blog post by clicking “Add media” and drop in the link.
- Include a call to action (CTA) at the end of your article to encourage visitors to take a sales-driven action. Clearly lay out what action you want your reader to take next.
Blog Post SEO Checklist
- Is your blog post more than 2000 words?
- Have you used your target keyword in the headline?
- Did you add in keyword tags and select the proper category?
- Did you use keywords in Alt tags?
- Did you include your target keyword in your H1 tag?
- Did you remember to use the keyword in the image file name?
- Did you use the primary keyword in the page URL?
- Did you remember to add internal links to pass link juice and page rank?
- Did you use an on-page SEO checker or plugin like Yoast to make sure the content is optimized for search engines?
- Did you update the meta description with relevant keywords?
- Did you run your copy through Grammarly and Microsoft Word to check for grammatical errors?
- Do you have CTA’s clearly written out at the end of each blog post?
- Did you remember to break up long paragraphs of text?
- Did you add images to break up text?
WHAT TO DO AFTER PUBLISHING A BLOG POST
Make sure the “about the author” is included at the end of each b2b blog post.
BLOG PROMOTION TIPS: CONTENT PROMOTION TACTICS
How can I promote my blog?
- Submit new blog articles for indexing on Google and Bing. Use the Google Search Console URL Inspection Tool before requesting indexing. To submit a URL for indexing to Bing, log in to your Bing SEO webmaster account and click ‘submit URL’
- Update your Instagram bio to include your latest blog post when you publish new content. Use (link in bio) to drive traffic to the article.
- Post the blog on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest.
- Post the article in relevant social media groups pertaining to the topic of the article.
- Update your Google My Business listing with a link to your latest blog article.
- Ask your employees to consider sharing the new blog article on their personal social media.
- If your article mentions other partners, media or influencers, tag them in all social media promotions to increase the chance of your article being shared. Tag business partners and brands in both the picture and the caption to increase exposure. This will alert people in their network they have been tagged.
B2B BUSINESS BLOGGING CONTENT MARKETING RECAP
- Longer blog posts rank better if you are trying to improve your search rankings on Google.
- Embed social media content into blog posts and consider adding rich media and videos too.
- Add sub-headers to break up content and use bullet points and numbered lists to break up the text.
- Include visuals to make your B2B blog more engaging.
- Link to valuable resources within your blog and cite all sources.
- Consider promoting other influencers and key opinion leaders in your blog content to drive traffic.
- Link articles, discussion posts, status updates, and tweets to your blog to increase traffic.
- Keep blog posts informative and relevant for fans to be engaged with the content
- Encourage employees to contribute to blog content.
- Invite industry experts to guest blog.
- Maintain a balance between posting unique content and sharing content from related blogs to maintain credibility.
Compelling blog content can bring new customers, clients, and patients from Google directly to your web site.
But the key question is: what do these visitors do when they land on your web site or blog? Can you keep their attention, or do they bounce?
See, it’s not just about getting the traffic. It is about converting the traffic into paid customers, clients or patients. Ranking for the sake of ranking is virtually useless if you are ranking for terms for products unrelated to the services you offer.
For example, our web site ranks high for “Kimora Simmons” and “buying and selling Instagram followers.” That’s great that we rank for those terms, but who really cares? We do not offer services related to either of those search terms.
Think carefully about the search terms you want to rank for before you start writing content.
Search engine traffic potential is not the same as business potential.
Ask your friends what your article is about. If they can’t tell you what the article is about in one or two words, how can Google figure it out? If humans can’t navigate your article, how do you expect robots and web spiders to be able to? Would you email this article to a friend? If not, it probably is not that valuable. If you wouldn’t genuinely email your article to a prospective client, current client, or member of the media, rewrite the article until it meets that criteria.
CONTENT MARKETING AGENCY SERVICES
The truth is, even if you write award-winning content, authority and credibility still have a huge impact on the content you create and the ability for that content to rank. When Google is determining E-A-T, they are measuring authoritativeness, trustworthiness, and expertise. All of these are core public relations functions. When you look at, “Who is the most qualified person to write an article?” Public Relations services can instantly boost your perceived credibility in a digital landscape and can position you as the most qualified person in the eyes of Google. That is why digital PR must become a part of every content marketing strategy. Content marketing without digital PR is like a fish out of water. It just doesn’t work or make sense. If you are looking to boost your credibility, contact our content marketing agency in New York for a consultation.
Who is the most qualified person to write the article? (Hint: This is where a PR firm can help you!!)
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*Date last updated 2020
About The Author
Kris Ruby is the CEO of Ruby Media Group, a public relations agency in Manhattan. She is an award-winning and seasoned content marketer with over 12 years of experience. Kris has completed the AHREFS Academy Blogging for Business course and handles content marketing for private medical practices, bestselling authors and Top NY Doctors.