Blogging tools are so convenient and cost effective that everyone wants to start a blog of their own. If you want better search rankings for your business, it’s practically mandatory. Unfortunately, just because they’re convenient doesn’t mean they’re easy to maintain. It’s easy to hammer words into your blog but it’s another thing entirely to turn those into a habit of posting interesting articles, regularly.
Here are nine easy tips that will help you stay on top of your company blog:
1. Batch Update
Nothing looks worse for your company’s site than a dead blog. Unless you have a dedicated copywriter, you may have trouble regularly updating. The solution: batch updates. Write several articles in advance. One good rule is to get them all done at the beginning of the next unit or two of time up from your target posting frequency. That means that if you want to update daily, have seven articles ready by the end of the previous business week. If you update monthly, get all your articles done by the beginning of the quarter.
2. Chop It Up
If your article gets too long, consider how it would work as a series. Not only does this help you update on time, but it also generates ongoing reader interest. For example, this three part series on PPC advertising began as one article, but as it grew, I split it up. I got three weeks of content out of one idea.
3. Go Beyond the Site
One of the most common traps in business blogging is to regurgitate the company’s site content. This is especially common when a company has diverse interests; “It’s Tuesday, so it’s time to remind everyone that we do widget-wrangling.” You need to demonstrate that your company is aware and adaptable. Do it by researching news articles, other blogs and Wikipedia for relevant information. Tie it all to the theme of the post and don’t forget to give credit (and outgoing links) where it’s due.
4. Grammar and Spelling Count
Do we even need to say this? Looking at some of the blogs floating around out there, I’m afraid the answer is “yes.” Always edit for grammar. Even if it doesn’t set off alarms in the word processor it’s still a good idea to tweak it for style. It’s not always just about good and bad grammar, but good and better grammar. But grammar is partly subjective, so don’t be afraid to say something cool even when it might break a rule – like I just did in this sentence when I started it with a conjunction.
5. Incorporate – Don’t Stuff
Search engines love smart keywords, but hate keyword stuffing. Unless you’re assigning tags, only use keywords as part of the article’s organic (human-written, human-read) content. Use them logically; If “red race cars” is a good keyword phrase for you, write an article about them. Don’t toss it into a post that’s really aimed at a different keyword unless you’re absolutely sure you can put both in a good bit of writing.
6. Learn Competition Keywords
Your company blog doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It’s a competition tool. Use it to stake a claim on the competition’s keywords. You don’t need to drill as deeply into them as your own target keywords, but make sure you build your niche and split competitive searches with your blog.
7. Kill Corpspeak
“Leveraging solutions for intelligent management in today’s information rich environment,” means nothing. I almost fell asleep writing it – so how do you think the readers will feel? Seriously though, corporate language is designed to convey thoroughness and gravity, because it’s used in critical, front-line negotiations and decision-making. Blogs are shorter, less formal – they’re “water cooler talk,” not “board meetings.” Readers want to feel comfortable and drawn in.
8. Shrink but don’t Delete
You probably already know that in blogging, brevity is the soul of wit, but it’s hard to keep an interesting piece down to your target of 250 to 500 words. Get savage with your writing; eliminate every redundant phrase and shrink those chubby sentences – but don’t permanently delete anything. You can always use the leftovers for another article, including a series (see “Chop It Up,” above).
9. Guest Stars
Invite guests to your blog – and get invited to other people’s blogs. The mandatory, organic links you’ll get out of it are valuable. Guest blogging also demonstrates a high trust relationship: an important consideration in a blogosphere choked with spam, scraping and other reader-hostile setups.
Use these tips, and you’ll have a sophisticated, up to date blog that not only increases your search rank, but is actually readable.
Malcolm Sheppard is a copywriter and researcher for GILL Media, an internet solutions firm with offices in Peterborough, Canada and Tampa, FL. See gill-media.com for more tips and insight into web marketing. If you write great content, you too can guest blog on QOT.