Business Blogging – Advice, Checklists & More

Basic Business Blog Advice and Tips

There’s no “one right way” to use a blog to promote your business. Godaddy.com uses their CEO’s blog to create provocative (and sometimes mature) content designed to attract attention from their target consumer audience. Coca-Cola employs a completely different strategy – they use their “conversations” blog to promote Coke’s strong brand and colorful history, appealing to fans of the brand and emphasizing Coke’s stance as a cultural icon.

However, there are some general rules of thumb:

1. Assign or hire someone to be responsible for creating blog content. It’s important that you make one person responsible for blogging, and it’s also important to recognize good blogging can take anywhere from one to four hours per post. While you might be tempted to take this task on yourself, you should consider hiring a professional blog writer if you’re already busy enough. Professional blog writing is inexpensive and it helps to ensure success.

2. Blogs aren’t advertising. While there’s an admittedly fine line between blogging and advertising, blog posts should always be about sharing information. If that information happens to be that your business just announced a sale, then so be it. Most of the time, however, finding a good informative topic to blog about is easier than it seems. You can write about your company history, your employees, new products or services, industry news, specific and particular uses for your product or service, etc. Whatever you decide to blog about, remember that authenticity is crucial.

Blog abour your customers.

3. Blog about your customers. This is one of the best reasons to have a business blog. Your customers will appreciate the recognition, and if they have a business of their own, they’ll probably reciprocate. At a minimum, any customer you blog about will be sure to tell all their friends, relatives, and co-workers about your blog (get their permission first, of course).

4. Blog on a regular, predictable basis. Your blog will inevitably attract followers, so make sure that you honor these followers by blogging on a regular basis. Nothing frustrates a loyal reader more than inconsistent blogging. Keep in mind that blogging on a regular basis doesn’t mean blogging often – blogging once a month is just fine so long as you hold that schedule consistently.

5. Keep your blog posts short. Most of the people reading blogs are skimming, so brevity is important. 400 words or less is a great rule of thumb. Also, make it easy for skimmers by using bullet points and bold type in your blog posts.

6. Encourage interaction. End your blog posts with a request for comments. Ask readers to share their own stories, weigh-in with their own opinions, or make suggestions. For example, let’s say that you’re considering changing you company’s logo. Why not give your blog readers a chance to weigh-in? Getting readers involved will encourage them to follow your blog and improve their opinion of your business.

7. The title is the most important part of every blog post. Good post titles are often the difference between a blog post succeeding or failing. Write titles that are interesting and provocative. Here are a couple of links that are worth a read:

» For more blogging advice and best practices, check out the Writing Freebies section on No2Pen.com, which has a number of excellent blogging tools and resources available for free.

Business Blogging Checklist

Here’s a checklist of essential features and functions that every business blog should have:

  • A business blog must be self-hosted. Steer clear of Blogger.com, Blogspot, Wordpress.com, etc.
  • A comment moderation system and a comment spam filter.
  • A “contact us” page – A business blog can be an excellent source of sales leads, and a contact page serves as a conduit for those leads.
  • An “about” page that describes the blog author(s), blog purpose, and blog goals.
  • W3C compliant design – As more and more devices can be used to view the Internet, it’s important to follow W3C design guidelines to maximize the number of devices that can be used to view your blog.
  • Email and RSS subscription options – RSS feed readers are popular among people who read a lot of blogs, so offering an RSS subscription option is wise. Email subscription should be offered as well.
  • A comment subscription option – Blogs are all about creating a conversation, so a blog must give visitors the opportunity to subscribe to the conversation via email and RSS.
  • Automated backups – We’ve never lost one blog here at Spork Marketing…but we’ve come close. Take our word for it – backup early and backup often.
  • Ensure compatibility with embedded videos – Embedding a popular video from YouTube, MetaCafe, and/or one of 100 other video sites is an easy way to generate a blog post and start a conversation. Just make sure those video embeds function on tablets and smartphones in addition to desktops and laptops.
  • A good SEO plugin – Whatever blogging platform you use, make sure it has the best SEO plugin available.
  • A bookmarking and sharing system – Make sure your readers can tweet, like, share, or bookmark your posts quickly and easily.
  • Analytics – Every website should have analytics.
  • Ongoing blog maintenance and management, including blog software updates – Blog software must be updated frequently to guarantee security and proper function, and outsourcing these maintenance functions is a best practice.
  • Fast load times…site speed is more important than ever.

Finally, our recommended blog platform is the self-hosted version of WordPress, a simple and secure database-driven blog content management system.

Guest Blogging - What is it and Why is it Important?

Blogs, as we all know, are websites that often serve as popular and trusted sources of news, information, and advice. Having your parts business mentioned on a blog relevant to your business – especially a popular blog – can result in a flurry of interest in your business. So being able to “guest blog” on one of these is a benefit that can’t be overlooked.

When we talk about “guest blogging” we are not referring to the type of activity that has been penalized by Google. We’re talking about guest blogging done right; and when that happens, it generates free publicity and SEO benefits for you. You are also able to develop relationships with other bloggers and the automotive community over time.

However, guest blogging can be very difficult because most bloggers are:

  • Picky about what kind of guest posts they’ll accept
  • Picky about what guest posts can link to
  • Picky about post format and content
  • Sensitive to the method they’re approached and pitched
  • As a result, pitching guest posts is time consuming and fraught with rejection…which is why it can be difficult

Still, guest blogging is important. Think of guest blogging as a combination of a press release, a search engine marketing tool, and an indirect sales pitch.

Other Guest blogging benefits:

  • Guest blog posts contain links, and links help your website get top rankings on Google and Bing
  • Guest posting on a blog gives you an opportunity to present yourself as an expert, and your company as a resource
  • Guest blog posts are often a great indirect sales tool
  • Guest blog posts give you a chance to form a relationship with a blogger in your industry, and that can be HUGE if leveraged correctly

To sum up: Guest blogging can be challenging, but consider it as a marketing tool you can use and even hiring someone to help you.

Want a Business Blog?

If you’re interested in creating a blog for your automotive part business, get in touch to discuss your blogging goals.

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