A blog is like planting an acorn. One day it will bring in hundreds of new leads every day, but in the meantime you need to spend time and money on it.
Unlike social media channels, a blog takes time to generate results.
Only optimists plant acorns. A company blog is a huge commitment, so you have to take the long view.
Only 21% of top corporations had blogs in 2015, down from 34% in 2013. Most companies are investing in other social media channels that promise a more immediate reward and letting their blogs go.
How can you make sure your acorn of a company blog is going to grow into a reputation-boosting and lead-producing giant? Here are the top five growth factors.
1. Frequent Blog Posts
Your blog will grow or die. The only way to make it grow is to post useful information and to post it often.
Your blog posts might not have an immediate impact, but over time your content increases and your traffic will explode.
Q. How do you get 1,000 pages on your site?
A. One at a time, three a week, twelve a month
2. Write for Your Visitors
Search engine robots don’t have credit cards.
Only people can make your site successful. Everything you write or record must solve a problem your customers have. Your visitors are selfish. If there is no immediate benefit to them from staying on your blog, they will click the back button.
A business only grows by solving problems for its clients. Your blog users want you to solve their problems, and if you fail to do so, your blog will become virtual dust at the bottom of a computer cabinet somewhere in Arizona.
Yes, individual articles can, and should, introduce your employees; but even here the emphasis needs to be on how the employee has been trained to help customers to solve their issues.
Reputation is everything in business and your business blog is a marketing brochure for your business. Keep the focus on customers, their needs, and their problems. That way you will keep them on-site and your reputation will grow.
3. Optimize for Search Engines
Search engine optimization (SEO) is an entire field with every expensive expert contradicting every other expert. You can do a lot of on-site SEO yourself just by installing the Yoast SEO plugin. Even top bloggers use this WordPress plugin as an essential part of setting up a blog.
Yoast makes on-site SEO simple. The free WordPress plugin takes you through all the essentials, one step at a time, allowing you to improve your Google ranking and get more visitors.
One other SEO step is to interlink your content and link out to authority sources wherever appropriate. You can use a related posts plugin to interlink posts automatically which will make the interlinking process much easier. You should only accept guest posts if they contain internal links to older material.
4. Build an Email List
Research shows that it takes at least seven marketing contacts with someone before they reach for their wallet. Nobody is going to buy after just one contact, even if that contact is a world-stopping video or podcast. You need a way to reach into the hearts of your potential buyers time after time.
Email knocks social media out of the contest. Totally. Check this Kissmetrics post for the details of how and why.
You can only send marketing emails to leads if you have permission to do so. Getting that explicit authorization and managing your marketing campaigns is almost impossible to track unless you use an email marketing service.
5. Promote Your Posts
A blog post without promotion stands as much chance of being read as a message in a bottle lying on the bottom of the Marianas Trench in the western Pacific Ocean. Nobody will even know it is there unless you tell them.
Write a synopsis of each post and add it to your Facebook group with a link back to the full article and give your email subscribers a weekly update on what you have written.
You have spent hours putting each piece together so be sure to repurpose posts as infographics and as slide sets on Slideshare to extend your reach.
Answer questions on Quora that relate to your niche and include backlinks to your expert content.
Is the Effort Worthwhile?
Yes, yes, yes. The only reason to drop the idea of a company blog is if you plan to go out of business and no longer need to serve your customers.
A blog does take time and effort to make it successful, but it pays off with an improved search engine position, more traffic, and increased reputation with your customers. If you set up your blog and allow comments then it becomes a two-way channel of communication and gives clients a way to tell you what they need.