Blogging Best Practices

When it comes to blogging for your business, you want to be strategic about what you say in your posts and how you say it. Here are six ways to blog for business that can help make your company blog an effective marketing and communications tool.

1. Speak To a Specific Audience

With any marketing initiative, knowing your audience is key to crafting your message. Know who you are trying to reach with your blog, and keep your audience in mind as you plan and write your content. Would your target market appreciate a more formal and authoritative approach or a more conversational tone? Would “how-to” posts or more narrative storytelling appeal to them?

2. Provide Useful Information

Useful to you may not be considered useful to anyone else. When you are crafting blog content, ask yourself before hitting the Publish button: “Does this information provide value to my readers?” One person may value entertainment while another values statistics. Value is subjective, but knowing your audience (#1 above) will get you closer to understanding what they want to hear from you. When all else fails, ask your blog readers and your company's customers what they'd find useful in a blog.

3. Vary Your Posts

There are many types of blog posts, and there is no reason to stick with just one. Some of the most common blog post types include narrative posts that read more like articles and list posts that consist of a numbered or bulleted list. Use referencing posts when you read an interesting or relevant article and want to share it with your audience, link to it from your blog, and add some of your own commentary. Don’t forget visuals including photographs, illustrations and video.

4. Invite Dialogue

There is no single correct way to blog, however, a good rule to keep in mind is that if you want people to comment on your blog post, invite them to participate in the conversation. Include questions in your blog post to encourage response. Sometimes, all it takes is a little nudge from you, the blogger, to get a blog's audience talking.

5. Post Follow-Ups and Reference Archived Posts

When appropriate, reference previous posts you have written to draw your readers back into deeper parts of your blog where your content is archived. If a particular post topic proves popular by the number of comments it received in the past, consider a thoughtful followup to that post with a link to the original post to keep the momentum going.

6. Bring On Other Voices

As a business owner, finding the time and energy as well as topics to blog can be a challenge. Don't blog in a vacuum, and don't blog alone, especially if the burden of producing so much content is more than you can manage. Invite other bloggers, writers and experts to be guest bloggers on your company blog. Provide specific guidelines for guest bloggers and retain final editing and approval rights over the content that is published on your blog. Adding other voices to your blog can bring fresh perspectives, draw in new readers, and lessen the blogging burden on you.

Having a blog can be good for your company brand-building, for enhacing your professional reputation, and for driving traffic to key online destinations such as your main website or online store. Whatever you decide to publish on your blog, stay consistent with your company's style, tone, and overall business goals. Plan out your content in advance based around key company and industry news, events and promotions.