Ready, steady, blog!

We frequently advise our clients to either have a blog for their business or, if they already one, start taking their blogging more seriously by making it a regular part of their marketing plan. The reasons?
•    Companies that blog have, on average, 55% more visits to their website*
•    B2C companies that blog get 88% more leads each month than those that don’t*
•    B2B companies that blog get 67% more leads per month than those that don’t*
•    Frequency counts – blogging 16-20 times per month will generate twice the website traffic than companies that post fewer than 4 blogs a month*
•    71% people say blogs affect their purchasing decision*

So blogging is an essential tool in the sales and marketing toolbox, especially good for boosting our search engine traffic health through creating indexed pages so beloved of search engines.
The beauty of a blog is that it, over time, potential customers build their trust in you as an expert in your field and look up to you to provide insights into your industry. Blogging turns you into that desirable creature, the thought leader.

What can I blog about?
Having set up your new blog page, the next challenge for most people is what to write about.
Anyone in your organisation who is customer facing (e.g. customer services, sales team) will often be asked some of the same questions. Making a note of what they get asked is a great place to start – answer those queries on your blog. Don’t forget to share any good examples of how you help your customers.

Look out for other industry experts who may be able to become a ‘guest’ blogger for you. They’ll benefit from reaching a different audience and you gain by adding more great, industry specific content to your site.

Follow industry leaders and share their thoughts and research data where appropriate. Don’t forget your manners – best practice says you should always credit your source / author of information you use.
Read other blogs to get an idea of what works and what doesn’t, or read our ‘Top tips to improve writing for business’ blog.

How often should I publish?
The more the merrier, is the answer to that. The best regarded and influential bloggers post at least once a day. For many SME’s a daily blog is totally unrealistic, but try to have a regular plan and stick to it. Once a week is great, once or twice a month is better than no blogging at all. It’s always a good idea to stick to the same frequency so that regular readers know what to expect from you. Try having a blogging calendar and keep a list of ideas or data sources in one central place for later reference.

How do I get noticed?
To rank well in search engines, you’ll need relevant content, an eye-catching title and to optimise your posts. Top tips:
•    Make sure you have social media sharing buttons readily to hand on your blog posts
•    Include an image because a picture paints a thousand words!
•    Headings should be well thought out – be clear and be succinct.
•    Use clear formatting to give structure and aid reader comprehension
•    For lead generation, add calls to action where appropriate
•    Illustrate your blog ideas by using stories and analogies
•    Humour is your friend, even a business blog can be entertaining in style
•    Share your blogs on the main social platforms – Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, plus any others that are particularly relevant for your business.

How can measure ROI?
Track some key measurements but keep them quick and easy to do. Our suggestions would be
•    Google analytics – how many visitors go to each individual blog post?
•    Set up a RSS feed and count the number of new subscribers
•    Track the number of leads and their conversion rate into sales.
•    Check which articles get the most social media shares
If you’d like to talk to us about how blogging could benefit your business, please contact us or give us a call on 01905 885 285,
Happy blogging!
Chris and Gill Hutchinson are SAGE Business blogging experts.
* Hubspot, Lead Generation from 4,000 businesses, 2016.