We get it. Blogging for your business is a straight-up chore. It always falls to the bottom of the list. And even if you don't mind writing, it's just not a high priority.
But it should be. Especially if you are a B2B company.
Maybe you're writing a blog somewhat regularly. Good for you! But do you have a strategy? Do you do more than just slap something up there to check it off your list? Let's walk through the steps to a great blog post. You'll see it's really so much more than coming up with 400 words on a topic.
1. Building a content strategy
A blog is a small piece of the puzzle, but frequently the easiest place to get started. You don't need a video camera or any technology besides what you have, you don't need an email list or other assets. But you do need to have a plan for what you want that content to do. What's the overall goal? Information? Education? Reputation building? Brand identification? Conversion? You can have multiple goals, but you need to have some kind of plan or direction for the content you're making.
2. Developing a funnel
This is where that plan starts to do some work. What's the action you want your readers to take? Is it to sign up for a lead magnet and give you their precious email address? Is it to schedule an appointment for a demo or consultation? Whatever it is, you need to have that built into the plan. That helps drive the types of blog posts and ensures you don't waste any eyeballs visiting your posts.
3. Topic and keyword research
Now you're ready to dig into to the actual content. What are people searching for? What do you need to address? Where is low-hanging fruit that you can compete in searches? There are a number of tools out there to help you with doing this research (we use Moz), and it's key to find the right space for you to start your efforts. Once you've built baseline content and audience, you can branch out. But start simple and very, very specific.
4. Editorial calendar
Great! You've got topics, you've got a plan. Now you can make a calendar for your blogging efforts. We recommend at minimum 2 posts each month. The key is consistency. You'll build an audience, reputation, and more if you just stick with it. We use CoSchedule for our clients and highly recommend it. But you can also start where we did—with a printed out calendar.
5. Write the post - includes optimizing title, keywords, graphics
Ready for the writing? Bet you thought you'd start here. Well, this is really the tip of the iceberg. There's so much work that goes into the blog post before you even crank up the word processor. But you're ready now. Write a great post. Lots of good information. Then make sure you optimize the title for maximum impact (again, CoSchedule can help with this) and also use keywords, metadata, and more to make sure the post is ready for search engines to find it. If you use WordPress, we highly recommend the Yoast SEO plug-in. It will help a lot.
And don't forget a graphic or two. We use a graphic with the title of the post for both Facebook and Twitter (different sizes) to include in the post (don't forget the title and alt text!). There are a lot of opportunities to optimize your work, don't skimp!
6. Promote the post
Almost done. Now you need to get eyeballs to your hard work. Sharing on social media is the most obvious—you can use those same graphics to promote on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and anywhere else you might want to build an audience and be seen. This is another handy place for CoSchedule. Use it to schedule out the posts and you're done!
You can also use an email list if you have one. Let people know you have a new post up in an email blast. You'll be surprised by the number of people who won't see anything about your blog post on social media. The algorithms are getting harder and harder, so telling them directly is your best option.
7. Analyze, rinse, and repeat
Seems like you're done, no? But you're not. Once you have some posts up, you have some great data to see what posts are performing, what people are reading, and most of all, what's taking them to that next step in your funnel.
Want to learn more? We put together a guide to helping you specifically with the 2nd step we listed above. Building that funnel is key and will help you get leads that come to you. Check it out!