The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Business Blogs

I am a huge proponent of blogging for business.

You can no longer just throw up a website and expect customers to come running. Most static business websites these days are treated with about as much respect as a throw-away glossy pamphlet, which is to say potential buyers will only give it a fleeting glance before tossing it into the garbage.

Blogging, on the other hand, is by its nature evolving, dynamic, and active. Over the past few years, blogging has become one of the greatest sources of new business for business owners and entrepreneurs who use it correctly.

The key is using it correctly. There are a lot of bad blogs and abandoned blogs, and those two tend to go hand-in-hand.

There are many different ways to use blogging for business. You can post new information quickly and easily – getting it out to your customers at lightening speed. New potential customers can use your blog to learn more about you and your services without either you or the customer having to spend hours getting to know one another. You can educate potential customers about your industry, market, or product category, so that you build trust and rapport.

Used correctly, individuals can also use blogging to develop a reputation as a thought leader in their industry.

The good news it’s very easy to get started or to grow your blog if you are already blogging. Here are my tips for blogging effectively for business.

7. Effective Business Bloggers Post Frequently

It’s no secret that blogging takes a fair amount of work. You need to practice the old saying, “a writer writes, always.” When you’re done writing, you need to write some more.

If you spend a lot of time in front of a computer surfing the web, you need to take a big chunk of that time and start devoting it to researching, writing, editing, and re-writing new blog posts. Although there’s no magic number of posts, I’ve found at least 2-3 posts per week keeps your blog fresh.

6. Effective Business Bloggers Plan Posts In Advance

You should also devote a good amount of this time to planning out your blogging. Start off by thinking strategically about where your business is heading and write blog posts in areas of your business where you want to cultivate more business.

If you are a financial planner and want to attract young couples with children, write blog posts covering topics that will be of interest to young couples with children.

If you are a photographer specializing in weddings, write tips for taking good photos at weddings.

It helps to maintain a working list of topics you want to write about in the weeks ahead, so that if you ever are stumped for a topic, you have a relevant post topic all teed up.

One of the advantages of planning strategically is eventually you will build up a body of work which can be repackaged in an ebook or some other form. In the words of respected small business marketing consultant John Jansch, “you have to think big picture about what your content will look like collectively rather than piece by piece.”

By brainstorming topics in advance, you prevent falling into a trap of writing about whatever topic hits your inspiration that morning, which could be far off topic.

5. Effective Business Bloggers Provide Value

People turn to the web to meet a need, answer questions, and solve problems. Blog content that doesn’t provide a solution or an answer fast will lose readers. Make sure your blog posts do not simply regurgitate stale marketing material that belongs in that dusty old pamphlet.

Two of the most popular types of blog posts are “How to…” and “list” posts, like this one. These types of posts are popular because they provide value to the reader, and meet an unsatisfied need in a convenient way.

4. Effective Business Bloggers Are Well Read

One of the key ways you can make sure you are providing value as a blogger is by reading other bloggers and writers in your niche. Take time to keep tabs on what is going on in your industry.

If you haven’t already, you may want to use Google Reader to follow RSS feeds from your most commonly read blogs and news sites, which is a very efficient way to keep up on your industry without spending half your day reading.

Here’s a helpful article on How to Use Google Reader.

3. Effective Business Bloggers Stay on Task

One of the most valuable virtues when it comes to blogging is discipline. Your interests may stray over time, but you need to keep the interests of your audience first and foremost.

For example, this blog focuses on providing legal and business advice to entrepreneurs and small business owners. Although I serve real estate clients in my law practice and I follow developments in this area of law, I try to limit writing about this area which would be off-topic for readers of this blog. Instead, when I do write about real estate matters, I try to relate it to interests of entrepreneurs and small business owners.

2. Effective Business Bloggers Do Not Get Discouraged

If you are just getting started blogging, you are going to get discouraged. It’s a near certainty. In fact, there should be a new colloquialism: “it’s as certain as death, taxes, and new bloggers getting discouraged.” It can take a long time before you start to build a following and attract readers to participate by leaving comments or contacting you directly.

Do your best to power through by participating in forums or leaving comments on other similar blogs until you get others reciprocating. Some bloggers say you need at least 50 quality posts before you will start seeing payback in terms of people contacting you or commenting on your blog posts.

1. Effective Business Bloggers Are Not Afraid to Be Bold

Most bloggers try not to alienate potential customers, and end up being appealing to no one.

If you qualify all of your statements and are too respectful of all of your reader’s opinions, you will never produce good content.

Instead, take bold opinions, take a stand, and don’t be afraid to ruffle some feathers.

What Qualities Do You Think Business Bloggers Need to be Successful?

Did I leave anything good out? What do you think is the most important quality a business blogger needs to be successful? Let us know in the comments!

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John Corcoran is an attorney with Plastiras & Terrizzi in San Rafael, California (Marin County).  He advises clients about real estate/land use, general civil litigation, and small business matters.  He can be reached at  (415) 250-8131  or jcorcoran@ptlegal.com.

 

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Photo credit: Flickr/Annie Mole

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