Last month, we talked about seven digital marketing strategies for your business. This month, we’d like to dig a little deeper and focus on one in particular: The often misunderstood, and much maligned, company blog.
Often regarded by business owners as a high-maintenance hassle, the company blog is like an employee on your payroll who shows tremendous potential, but you just can’t quite figure out what to do with them. So, for years, you simply let it rot. And, as a result, you’ve compromised the structural integrity of both your website and your company. Perception is reality, and few things looks worse than
an outdated blog post. It’s the digital equivalent of an abandoned building or an empty storefront. You might think you’re better off not having one at all. But, stop right there.
A well-managed company blog has many benefits for your business. Updating it regularly with bite-sized content full of market and trade specific keywords (i.e., terminology related to your business) can help improve your site’s SEO (search engine optimization) rankings. This leads to more traffic to your website, and, ultimately, to new business. Information changes hands at such a breakneck pace these days. The average shelf life of content has diminished. Fortunately, there are new strategies you can implement so that your blog works for you.
With a little motivation and a bit of strategy, updating your company blog can be as easy as remembering to take your vitamins. Here are four tips to help you manage your company blog, low-maintenance style, for maximum effect.
1. Learn what goes on behind the scenes of your website. This is commonly referred to as the “backend”, or the administrative stage, of your website’s CMS (content management system). The backend is where all the nuts and bolts of your website reside. (Note: Think of the backend as the back entrance of your business and, conversely, the “front end” as the storefront entrance.) The backend is the behind the scenes place where both the complicated stuff (i.e., coding) and the simple stuff (i.e., basic formatting of text) are implemented.
We know what you’re thinking, “Wait, this is already starting to get too complicated. Get me outta here!” Not to worry. It’s not as complicated as it sounds. You’re not training to become a professional Web developer here. Managing a blog requires a lot less heavy lifting from a technical perspective. But you’ve got to be ready to do more than just write content and dump it onto the Web these days. There’s way too much static out there to begin with. Thankfully, there are simple steps you can take.
Optimize your blog posts before they’re published by designating them under assigned categories, adding important “tags”, adding SEO titles, and focus keywords. These steps form a kind of digital shadow around your content which, when cast onto the Internet, can make a big impression. Beware the post that casts no shadow. Optimize your Blog posts prior to publishing them.
Most CMS’s these days, (for example, WordPress, Joomla, etc.) include many user friendly and intuitive tools for managing content and many of these tools are pre-built into today’s CMS’s. You can systematically optimize your content, monitor it, and ensure its survival out there in the wilds of the Internet. By utilizing many backend default settings and tools, you are allowing your content to cut through the clutter and distinguish itself from the static. Take time and get more acquainted with the tools and settings available to you through your particular CMS.
2. Remember to keep it simple. This goes back to the aging blog that hasn’t been updated in years, with the wind whipping through its pages and tumbleweeds rolling on the ground around it. Most fallow blogs out there have been neglected because the bar was set too high in the beginning. It’s OK to lower the bar now. Keep your content short and sweet. Think of it like a journal, a brief dispatch from the trenches of your business. Long-winded posts are not only intimidating to write, they’re also hard to read.
3. Know your audience, but write for the web at large. I talk to a lot of clients who think that any news they could possibly share with the world through a blog is much too trade specific to be of interest to anyone. If you’re among those out there who feel this way, I say you are missing the point.
Look at it this way: All websites require regular, fresh content to stay relevant. Having a designated place on your website to put this content is a must for your business. Your company blog is that place. The older your content, the lower your rankings in the search engines of the world. Fresh content allows more people to find you.
Of course, the more consistent you are in managing a blog, the better your odds at attracting other trade geeks already well within your orbit. Certainly, you want to grow your network as much as possible among the converts and the uninitiated. Think of your blog less like a book club and more like a massive billboard. Billboards are simple, direct, and designed to get everyone’s attention.
4. Everybody has a story to tell. Talk about what you do. Here are three examples.
a.) You run a plumbing business. You’ve been in business for three generations. You’re an expert in your field. Use your Blog to offer up quick tips and advice for the less handy among us. Be sure to pepper your posts with relevant keywords. Not only are you garnering interest among the uninitiated, but you’re also building trust, and familiarity with potential clients.
b.) Perhaps you run a rigging company and you were recently hired to work on a high profile construction project in your city involving a heavy duty industrial installation. Some of the objects handled during the installation are iconic and would be recognized by a broader audience within the city. Posting a blog about this project, with the right number of photos and keywords not only appeals to others in your trade, but also to the public. This kind of content is good for your business for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is raising the profile of your business.
c.) You run an appliance store, selling new and antique furniture. Refurbishment happens to be a large part of your business. Using your blog to present regular, notable furniture restorations can lead to more traffic to your site, a bit of prestige, and a higher profile for your business.
Michael J. Miller is a part of the Go Media team. To learn more about building the right digital marketing strategy for your business, contact Go Media, your Cleveland Digital Marketing Specialists.