Business Blogging: The Gift That Keeps On Giving
The holidays are upon us and people everywhere are in the spirit of giving. What a perfect time to discuss blogging—right? Well, in a strange way blogging can be a gift to your residents and your business if done properly.
It is true that everyone with Internet access and a keyboard can blog, but that doesn’t mean they should. Not everyone has the talent for creating compelling content and even fewer understand how to effectively blog.
Blogging is considered Content Marketing, the art of communicating with your customers without selling. According to a 2011 Cone Marketing Agency Consumer Survey, 42% of consumers admit to reading blog posts for product/service information before making a buying decision. These are the same people that buy a DVR to skip television advertising and shut off the traditional world of marketing.
But before you jump right into blogging, here are a few things to consider:
1. How Often Should You Post a Blog?
While most experts say the magic number for a blog is two posts a week, but once a week can work and here is why:
- Think of your blog as a weekly courtesy phone call to your residents. As you post weekly content that is helpful and useful they begin to expect it—they actually look forward to hearing from you.
- Imagine how hard it might be for the community down the street to lure away your resident that has received 52 friendly, helpful, fun, valuable, and insightful blog articles from you this year. It certainly would make them think twice about leaving after you have established your credibility and demonstrated quality and responsive service.
- Google loves blogs that have fresh content. Weekly posting will result in 52 pages of high-quality relevant content.
Think about your own personal experience. Do you visit blogs that offer great information every week or blogs that publish random information less frequently?
2. Does the Title of a Blog Post Matter?
Yes—a lot! Your title is the first, and perhaps only, impression you make on a reader. No matter how good your content is, if you can’t write a good title no one will read your content. Statistics show that on average, 8 out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest. An excellent blog post might never get read without an attention-grabbing title.
- Titles with eight words or less are the generally accepted standard and have been found to be the most effective. Shorter titles are also better suited for social sharing.
- According to HubSpot.com, wacky, off-the-wall titles pique readers’ curiosity leading to increased click-through rates.
- Blog titles that convey a “must-read” impression will likely increase click through rates. Potential readers usually want to increase their knowledge, skill, ability, or solve a problem. Your title is the perfect place to let them know that you will be offering them some new insight or takeaway.
3. Who Should Write Your Business Blog?
The good news is that you don’t have to be alone in this. Most readers don’t care about the author of a business blog. They care about what the author has written, and whether the blog is of any value to them. You can use a primary blogger, guest bloggers, and even ghost bloggers to take up the slack. The focus is on creating value in your business blog.
Depending on the nature of your blog, you may want to enlist some subject matter experts —your employees — to write for you. I bet you even have some midnight bloggers on your payroll. But “beware” these experts aren’t always skilled writers.
According to the B2C Content Marketing: 2013 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends–North America, it’s rare for a B2C (Business to Consumer) company to completely outsource content creation. Their results show that 52% of companies create content in-house, while 44% say they use both.
4. What Should You Write About?
Blogging has proven itself as a powerful medium to get a company’s message out and also a great way to drive traffic to a website. But if you want people to visit more than once, you’ll need good content.
- Avoid the temptation of bragging on your team, your apartment ratings, or about all of the great things you have done for your residents. Your readers don’t want to hear about you—they want to know they can count on you for compelling content within your area of expertise—topics that can help them.
- Quality content is king. It’s not about getting as many posts out there as you can—it’s about posting great stuff!
- Put yourself in your residents’ shoes—what content will they find useful? Here are a few examples of catchy blog titles:
- Banish Bare Walls with Removable Wallpaper
- How to Clean and Season Rusty Cast Iron Skillets
- Small Space Solutions: The Best Local Bargains
Blogging is Communicating, Not Broadcasting
Blogging is a communication tool, not a broadcast mechanism. Have fun with it, tell your stories, and engage your audience, just as you do with social media.
Will you “gift” a blog to your customers and your business next year?
Additional Resource: Top 10 Easy Steps to Starting a Business Blog