The Secret to Creating a Successful Business Blog in 2021

Just about every modern business you can think of uses a blog to get in front of more potential customers. Blogs can help drive traffic to your website, turn strangers into leads, establish you as an industry authority, and drive results with drastically better ROI than many other marketing efforts over time.

Having the blog is one step in the right direction. The secret to creating a successful business blog and reap the benefits that come with it, is about understanding its role in your business. Understanding that role can help you create a blog that resonates with your audience and helps you stand out as a leader in your business space. Misunderstanding that role can lead you to a blog overflowing with posts that your customers would have a nightmare navigating.

Do you know what role a blog plays in your business?

What’s the role of a business blog?

The role of your blog is to capture the attention of your intended audience. Used properly, your blog is a great place to help key players in the companies that you want to work with become familiar with your brand and see it as an authoritative voice and source of knowledge in your industry.

Properly executed, your blog can be one of the easiest ways for you to build trust, which is important because trust can help reduce friction further into your sales cycle, lowering your customer acquisition cost over time.

Blogging gives you a space on your website that encourages people to connect with you, both on your website and via social media.

The key to creating a successful blog is to make it as engaging as possible. This isn’t a matter of just clicks, which are just a form of interaction. This is a matter of resonance, providing value, and signaling to your audience that your brand is way ahead of the curve, with solutions to the problems they’re looking to address. Without making your blog engaging, you just end up with posts all over your website that no one wants to read.

This is where many companies make the biggest mistake in business blogging. They fill their blog with the product, the product, and more of the product. Before they know it, they have 100, 200, 300 blog posts, all about the product—and no one is engaging.

The harsh reality is likely this: no one cares about your company or your blog . . . yet.

Why we don’t just talk about the product.

Though it might be to the pleasure of many CEOs to talk about the product by any and all means, your blog is a bad place to do that. Here’s why.

All too often, companies get too focused on what a blog enables that they forget to question how it enables these things.

To get those benefits, people need to engage with your blog. To get that engagement, you need blog content that resonates with your audience. You can help them think differently about the way they work or solve a specific problem that you know plagues most of your customers.

This is what helps an internal influencer or decision-maker at a company you want as a customer connect with your brand and identify you as a knowledgeable resource on the topic you’re covering. That’s how authority-building works.

Understanding that, it’s critical to honestly ask yourself this: Which blog do you think your potential customers are more likely to visit, revisit, bookmark, and share insights from with colleagues?

  1. A blog where every post is about a product and its features?
  2. A blog that consistently guides them through overcoming business challenges and keeps you up to date with relevant industry trends?

For far too many, the seemingly obvious answer is #1, but that’s likely because they’re too focused on the product when they should be focusing on how people interact.

Trying to leverage your blog by putting your product everywhere possible is a quick way to fail. Why?

Because people visit blogs for three reasons:

  1. People read blogs to learn something new (34% of those surveyed).
  2. People read blogs to be entertained (20% of those surveyed).
  3. People read blogs to learn about trends related to their industry (12% of those surveyed).

Did you happen to see how many people read blogs to learn about brands or products? That’s right, only 4% of those surveyed read blogs to learn about brands or products.

So, how do you create a blog that gets attention, generates leads, and increases sales if you can’t (read: shouldn’t) just talk more about your product?

We start by asking the right questions.

How do you create a great blog that pulls in the type of people you want visiting? We start by asking the right questions:

  • What can we help them understand?
  • What business problems can we help them solve?
  • What are the types of things they do on a regular basis that we can help them do better?
  • What aspects of doing business are challenging for them?
  • What’s the smartest way for them to overcome these challenges?

There are many more questions to ask as you get more granular, but the ones we’ve asked so far are enough to help you build a phenomenal blog that makes key stakeholders identify your brand as an authority in your business space.

The importance of recognition and authority building.

One of the smartest ways to leverage your blog space is to position your company as a recognized authority on industry-related topics. This helps various parties within the industry identify your brand as the one addressing the things they’re all thinking about but no one else is saying. This mistake is made by putting the product as the main focal point instead of customers and their needs. That is one of the biggest mistakes you can make in any form of content marketing, which is why 88% of the top content marketing performers put audience needs above their sales messaging.

Pitchy, product-focused blog posts don’t inspire or encourage readers. They don’t help people envision their problems and the path to a solution. They definitely don’t move people to the action of wanting to tell someone else. These are all things that you want your blog content to do.

Now that we’ve covered what you shouldn’t do, let’s look at what a properly executed blog looks and feels like.

Take a look at Hootsuite’s blog. Hootsuite makes a widely recognized social media marketing tool. Taking a close look at their blog, you’ll notice their blog is not a collection of posts like:

  • X Reasons You Should Use Social Media Marketing Software
  • How a Social Media Marketing Tool Helps You Do XYZ

They aren’t creating self-serving content, determined to convince people that they need to buy and why. Instead, they’re writing valuable content that their target customers are searching for, which makes for great articles like:

Hootsuite is targeting marketers of all kinds. But they’re focusing their blog content on educating their potential customers.

To stand out in the crowd, Hootsuite goes above and beyond to help solve the problems that they know their customers are dealing with, even if they don’t directly relate to the product.

By taking this approach to blogging, they’re etching the Hootsuite name in the minds of relevant humans looking for answers to their questions to help them overcome a challenge.

This type of blog content is valuable, insightful, and shareable, which are the lenses you should be assessing all your content through.

Of course, not all blog posts are a smash hit, but every post and the level of engagement can tell a story about what your customers want or need.

Blog posts are not for 1:1 lead generation. They’re even better!

At this point, you’re probably like, “Hey, that sounds good. But what about my leads?! I need them now!”

To understand the relationship between blog posts and leads, you must understand that it’s not as simple as blog posts → leads.

This is where we go into the bittersweet. If you’re looking at blogging as a transactional cost center, you’re going to have a hard time making it work for you.

If, however, you understand it as a long-term brand investment that should shape the way that people see your brand as it relates to their experiences, you will have an easier time accepting the role it plays and you will have a clearer vision for how to leverage it properly, instead of filling it with lots of busy posts about your product.

We already mentioned that people read blogs for three main reasons:

  1. People read blogs to learn something new (34% of those surveyed).
  2. People read blogs to be entertained (20% of those surveyed).
  3. People read blogs to learn about trends related to their industry (12% of those surveyed).

For these reasons, we need to focus on the reader when it comes to what we produce. Why? Because if the reader isn’t truly engaged—if they aren’t finding helpful tidbits or if they aren’t revisiting your blog and sharing posts for others who may want to learn—your blog posts don’t signal to Google that they’re quality worth ranking for.

On the contrary, when your content is being engaged with—readers are finding helpful insights and they’re sharing for others to see—it indicates to Google that this should likely be accessible in searches trying to solve XYZ issues.

When done consistently, it tells Google to also make your entire domain more visible, which is the abstract measured as domain authority.

When that happens, pages all across your domain get a boost in visibility on search engine results pages, which is great for your service pages, where potential customers have a higher rate of conversion.

That’s the long game of business blogging. There are two things happening when you successfully execute a business blog.

On the human side: You create helpful content → readers find you more helpful and perform actions (sharing, linking to, etc.) that signal to search engines your relevance and importance on X topic → you become an authority to the people you want to do business with → their recognition of your brand creates an easier point of entry because you’ve already built a relationship → they already trust you, so there is less friction in your sales process because they’re already convinced that you know your stuff → and just like that, they’ve gone from being a stranger to your site to an avid reader, later to (hopefully) become a lead.

On the digital side: You create helpful content → your audience shares that content → your blog content and larger offers become more visible to search engines → search engines acknowledge engagement from your content → this leads to search engines making pages around those topics from your domain more prevalent → a multitude of pages now being more visible than ever before.

This is why you should look at your blog as an investment instead of a cost. You invest in the people you want as your customers now and they’ll return that sentiment by investing in you later.

Unlike ads, where everything comes to a halt the second that you stop throwing money at it, a well-executed blog can give you a boost in visibility across your entire domain, arguably unmatched by any other methods, with benefits that last for years.

Lead magnets signal a conversation you should chime in on.

Lead magnets are one of the most valuable assets that you can have on your website and your company’s blog.

They are resources that prospects can get for free in exchange for their email address.

Lead magnets are best when they deliver high-value content for prospects to digest at their own pace. They also help signal potential in needing your business services to be successful. This is why we create content based on the audience’s interests. If we don’t, we give them no reason to engage and work their way to the next step.

When executed properly, your audience can get a useful guide (or whatever you’re offering as your lead magnet) in a few clicks. This helps them now identify you as a source for seriously helpful insights. If you don’t disappoint, they will likely be coming back for more and they’ll likely share your work with others.

Now, you’ve got a new lead to nurture, and because of the lead magnet, you also know:

  • Who they are and where they work
  • What interests they have (based on the magnet that drew them in)
  • What challenge(s) they need solutions to (also based on which lead magnet brought them in)

Reaping the rewards of a successful business blog.

When you do all these things, you get a blog filled with deep industry insights that help:

  • Potential customers solve their business problems
  • Make your business stand out as an industry authority
  • Make your brand more recognizable to the people you want to attract
  • Build trust in your brand and your insights and
  • Turn those readers into leads so you can help them take their business to the next level.

To top things off, as engagement with your content rises, so does the visibility of your other content and important conversion pages.

By using modern SEO tactics that keep your content evolving with the many changes to Google’s algorithms — the very changes that made old-school SEO tactics obsolete — we help clients navigate the fine line between content that resonates with humans and content that’s optimized for search engines.

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