Blog On: 7 Tips to Start a Blog That Will Build Your Business

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Long & Foster, Director, PR & Communications, Jackie Allder
Jackie Allder, Director, PR & Comms, The Long & Foster Companies

Are you thinking about starting a blog at your company? You recognize the value it could provide your organization, but how do you make sure the time you invest in it is worthwhile? How do you know if you’re writing the right types of blog posts for your brand and its publics? Here are tips to build a blog that builds your brand.

Always remember your goals. First things first, what are your blog and business trying to accomplish? Are you striving to become a thought leader in your industry? Do you want to position your brand as a great customer service organization? Maybe you simply want to emphasize your corporate philanthropy? No matter what your goals, they need to be present in all your blog posts. A blog simply is one of the channels you use to achieve those higher-level goals. Writing posts that connect back to business goals will help. And knowing the brand’s goals will make it easier for you to find the best content about which to write.

Create An Editorial Calendar

On the topic of content, make sure you stick to a schedule. The easiest way is by creating an editorial calendar. Whether in real estate or travel, software or retail, every industry likely has seasonal trends. Write them down and sort them by month. That gives you your first batch of evergreen-type posts. And don’t forget holidays. For an insurance company, July 4 presents an opportunity to talk about fireworks and homeowner’s insurance. For retailers, Black Friday and Cyber Monday let you share tips to prevent identity theft.

You can then supplement those articles by writing about more newsworthy topics. In the airline industry, for example, a government decision on baggage fees could spark a blog post. Be careful to avoid hijacking the news, though, and share only relevant and useful information about your brand.

So how do you get that type of information? By acting like a journalist.Your employees, contractors and even clients are the experts you want to interview for the corporate blog. They know your industry and your company. They just might not know how to say it. You do. You’re the writer, the communicator, the person who knows the company’s mission and vision and can write it down for the world. When you consider employees sources, you’ll also find that they have ideas for the blog. If you work for a hospitality company, your front-line employees likely have stories of what’s important to your customers. Find out from them what your clients are asking for and then give it to them in the blog.

Ask For Help

Depending on your team and resources, consistently writing content could be one of the hardest parts of running a blog. So remember, ghostwriters are your friends. Let’s face it: You might not have time to write a blog post each week, and your executives certainly don’t have the time to do so. They’re busy working deals, putting out fires and building your business. But they have tremendous knowledge and insight—all of which you can glean from them and share with a talented freelance writer. That outsourced communicator can shape the information into a valuable blog post. Plenty of freelance writers are available through online vendors. You can also reach out to local agencies for occasional support.

And if you get stuck, you can always repackage and reuse. Recycling isn’t just for glass bottles and newspapers. Almost all your marketing content—whether it’s an internal newsletter, an executive announcement or a newspaper advertisement—can be repackaged into a blog-worthy post. For example, a letter from your president with his predictions for the year ahead could easily turn into a blog post for the world to see. Likewise, internal research can be shaped into strategic positions, all outlined in your corporate blog.

A Feel-Good Vehicle

And don’t forget to congratulate yourselves from time to time. Your blog should focus on more than just you and your company. But that’s not to say you shouldn’t use it as an outlet to pat yourselves on the back. Let’s say a few members of your team received an industry award. You might publish a press release, formally recognizing their achievements. You should also promote the news on the company blog. It’s a perfect example of making your business personal all while building your corporate status as a leader.

These types of posts also are great for helping you find new readers. Here’s why: Employees who were recognized in the blog will share the news with their friends. Who might share it with theirs. And on and on. People like congratulating friends on their achievements. And people like reading about accomplishments—all of which they’ll do on your blog.

Speaking of sharing your posts, make sure you share everything on social media.Your blog is your company’s sounding board, your own news site, and you can (and should) promote that news on social media. Anytime you’re writing a blog post, consider how it could be tweeted or shared on Facebook. Think about what images or related graphics would work best on Instagram and Pinterest. You can even write social media posts for your company immediately after posting the blog. An article like the one you’re reading, with tips to build a blog, can easily become several tweets. Likewise, a post about market trends could become a shareable infographic on Pinterest or Facebook.

It might seem like a lot of work to start and maintain a blog, but by following these tips, you’ll find it’s that much easier. You’ll also get a chance to better know your colleagues, better represent your company and better support your clients—a win-win-win for all involved.

Four Ideas for Blog Content

How-to & tips articles: Q&As: Interviews: Photo Galleries:How-to & tips articles:

    Explain how to do something that’s related to your business. If you operate or work for a restaurant, consider sharing a popular recipe. Not a fan of sharing secrets? Maybe you’ll offer advice about how to set a table for a perfect dinner party.

Q&As:

    Invite your readers to ask questions about your business. You can then package those questions into a Q&A article that answers what they want to know. If you’re open to the challenge, you could even consider a live Twitter Q&A session. You’ll respond in real-time, all while documenting your answers for a subsequent blog post.

Interviews:

    Does your company have a well-known founder or executive? Interview him or her for the blog. Get their insights on why they started the company and where they see it going. Don’t forget to include something personal from them—whether it’s their favorite book or most memorable vacation. It’s a way to humanize the brand and make readers feel more connected to your company.

Photo Galleries:

    Work at a retail store? Take pictures of your best-selling items and share noteworthy tidbits about each. Make sure your photographs feature interesting angles or perspectives—enticing people to want to share them on social media.

NOTE: This content appeared originally in PR News Pro, February, 27, 2017. For subscription information, please visit: http://www.prnewsonline.com/about/info

CONTACT: Jackie.Allder@LongandFoster.com @jackieallder