Content marketing is the new frontier for brands that want to cut through the noise of the internet. A blog is the perfect platform from which to launch you content marketing strategy because:

  1. It’s effective: 80% of marketers who blog realize a positive return on investment according to HubSpot
  2. Content marketing leaders get 7.8 times more site traffic than other businesses according to Aberdeen.
  3. It belongs to you, giving you total control over what you post, who has access, and how it’s seen.

You want a strong foundation. So how do you build a blog that’s ready to support your content marketing efforts?

Choosing a Blog Location

My blog (actually my entire website) is hosted by WordPress.com. And I’m not the only one. Big-name companies like Mashable and the New York Times use WordPress too.

That’s because WordPress is versatile and user friendly. And you can’t beat the cost. I spend about $13 a year to have my blog hosted by WordPress and get an array of tools and analytics in the bargain. The higher cost versions would give me more flexibility, but this level is perfect for what I need right now.

Several big name blog platforms exist. Shop around and find one that works for you.

Creating a Shareable Blog

Make it easy for readers to share your blog content. Some people might copy and paste your URL and share it to social media. But people are more likely to click a button. So make those buttons available. Most blog hosting sites give you the option to include social media links. Use them.

Providing the buttons is only half the battle. You have to create content people want to share. That starts with a catchy but informative headline. Couple that with a high-quality photo, and you’re well on your way to creating a shareable blog post.

Crafting Blog Content

Why do clients buy your product or service? Because it’s useful or solves a problem for them. They read your content for the same reason.

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Content marketing works when clients and potential clients want to engage with it. They find value in it and want to share it with their friends and business contacts.

So don’t just sell. Educate, entertain, inform. Teach readers something. Help them think about a problem in a new way. Make them laugh.

As you give value, you build a relationship. Once that relationship is strong, clients will be happy to buy from you, because they’ll have learned to trust your judgement.

Never, ever post content that is nothing but a sales pitch. Never. Ever. At least, not until you’ve built a relationship with your readers.

Proofreading and Blog Quality Control

Bad content is worse than no content at all. This is important, so let me say it another way: poorly planned or poorly executed content can hurt your business.

No matter what type of business you’re running, spelling counts. So does grammar and punktuation punctuation. Resolution counts in photos. Sound quality counts in videos.

Here’s a rule to live by: if you wouldn’t sell it to your clients, don’t post it to your blog.

Enhancing Text with Media

A big block of text is intimidating. It looks like it will take a long time to read. It’s hard to skim. Take pity on your readers and give them a place to rest their eyes.

Break up your text with useful graphics, videos or photos. Create your own infographics using easel.ly and develop customized images using Canva (Nobody paid me to name those tools, they’re just the ones I happen to like). If possible, use your own photographs rather than stock photos. If you have to use stock photos, choose ones that don’t scream “I was too cheap to buy a nice photo so I got these from a free stock photo site.” (you know, like this one)

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Image courtesy of Graphics Mouse at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Include a Call to Action

At the bottom of every blog, create a call to action inviting readers to follow you on Facebook, check out a relevant product, or at very least subscribe to your blog.

This is just an introduction to the basics of blogging. Really, each section of this blog is worthy of its own post. And I haven’t even touched on publicizing your blog.

Click the button below to like my blog and get more on these and other small business marketing topics (see what I did there?).

 

 

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