Pouring yourself a cup of tea (or bourbon) and quietly writing your thoughts in a journal is a great way to clear your mind. I write a few longhand pages most mornings for this very purpose, sans bourbon of course.
But if that’s how you approach your business blog, you’re probably not having the kind of success you’d like.
Blogging is part of a larger marketing strategy, which means we have to be strategic about how we approach it. You can have fun with it! But it needs to have a clear purpose if it’s going to help you achieve your goals.
Whether your blog is for an event venue, a lifestyle brand, a hotel, or anything in between, you need to know where you want to end up before you start coming up with topic ideas and tap-tap-tapping away at the keyboard.
What is the point?
No, I haven’t descended into nihilism and malaise, listening to The Smiths in the dark and asking what the point of it all is.
There is a point to blogging. You just have to identify yours, because not all blogs have the same goals.
Yes, generating traffic to your website is generally on the list. But then what? Traffic for the sake of traffic doesn’t lead to sales, subscribers, or bookings.
The goal of a lifestyle blog is often to get readers to buy products through affiliate links so they can make an income.
The purpose of an ecommerce company’s blog may be to funnel readers into their email list, so they can send them regular marketing messages and make sales from the inbox.
For a hotel, the goal could be to attract those looking for things to do in their city. Someone looking for entertainment in Chicago is likely planning a trip to Chicago. They’ll need somewhere to stay, after all.
Not every individual blog post will have the same purpose, by the way. Some posts could be aimed at getting email subscribers. Another could have a sales function. That’s okay. But you need to know what your primary blog goals are, so can write blog posts in service of those goals.
Blogging is a marketing tool. If it’s not reaching the right audience and sharing the right message, you may as well be shredding your marketing budget into very tiny shreds and using for papier-mâché.
Who are you talking to?
When you know the goals of your blog, the next totes important thing to know is who your audience is. Many brands actually have multiple audiences. It can help to identify these groups so you can write blog posts that speak directly to them.
Let’s say you make some sort of pantry organization products. Pretty cannisters and jars to keep everything pretty and uniform. Maybe your audience segments are:
- Busy parents who need to see what they have at-a-glance
- Minimalists who want to reduce clutter
- Office managers who need to keep the company’s break area tidy and organized
Those are three very different market segments. By identifying them, you can make sure you create content that covers all three and increases your chances of both attracting and selling to them. And you can avoid writing content that wouldn’t appeal to any of the three.
Knowing your market is how you get the messaging right.
Tips for blogging with purpose
We’re not talking layout or design here. While those blogging tips are useful, we’re focusing on making your content purposeful and strategic. Here’s how.
Know what people are searching for
This one is foundational. You have to know what people are searching for if you’re going to connect with them. You won’t be getting blog traffic if you’re writing on topics no one cares about. That’s the truth of it.
This is where keyword research and search intent come in. To get organic traffic to your site, you need it to answer people’s questions or be relevant and interesting to them. You’re not trying to attract ALL people, but YOUR people.
Search intent is the purpose behind the search. Is the reader looking for information? Do they want to make a purchase? Successful bloggers know that they have to take this into account. Check out this blog post for more information on search intent.
And fill out this quickie form below to learn more about keyword research and some of the free resources that I use all the time.
You gotta make time, my friend
I’ve worked with some clients who think “when they get around to it” is sufficient for blogging. They may want to do more, but they don’t make it a priority.
I totally get it.
But that sort of loosey-goosey, do it when I have time approach ain’t doing you any favors.
I didn’t start blogging consistently until I started devoting an entire day each week to marketing.
I honestly don’t think there’s an absolute rule for blogging frequency. You definitely don’t need to be blogging daily—although you can if you have time for it. But I do think it should be consistent.
I blog twice a month. I started out weekly, but as a business-of-one who does everything myself, I found myself overwhelmed and would go weeks without completing a post. So two posts per month is my compromise for now, with the intention of adding more when I can.
In my experience, the clients who have the most success with their company blogs are those that blog 4+ times per month. The most important thing is to do it consistently. Your readers want to see regular content, and search engines like to see frequent updates to your website. Shows that you’re keeping things spicy.
I know this is hard. That’s why some companies chose to hire a blog writer to get this off their plates and make sure they’re still posting regular content.
Create content buckets
This isn’t a groundbreaking blogging tip, but it is an important one. And it will actually help you to come up with blog post ideas.
Content buckets are simply categories for your blog topics. They help you to stay focused and on-message. I’d suggest choosing four to seven content buckets.
As you come up with new blog post ideas, make sure they fit in your content buckets before you spend any more time with them. If the topic doesn’t fit in one of your buckets, it may not be a good fit for your brand or audience. Or if you realize that this is a topic that your audience is definitely interested in, maybe you need to add a new bucket.
Let’s pretend that the content buckets for a hotel blog are:
- Family-friendly things to do in Chicago (to attract families planning a vacation)
- Restaurants and nightlife in Chicago (to attract foodies planning a trip to Chicago)
- Recaps of weddings held in your hotel (to attract both the destination and local wedding crowd)
And then you have a brilliant idea. You should write a blog post about the upcoming local film festival. But it doesn’t fit into your content buckets. Do you scrap it? I’d argue that no, you could add a content bucket for local events that will attract out-of-towners. But if the event is not within easy reach of your hotel—say a music festival that’s an hour outside the city—then it may not belong.
Share your posts
Traffic builds traffic. Share your blog posts with your existing email list and social media followers. As they visit your site, it will help you climb the rankings and get more organic traffic as well.
Review the results
A week or so after your post goes live, head into your Google Analytics and Google Search Console and check out the results. In Search Console, click on “Search Results” under Performance in the sidebar, and see if your post is ranking for the target keyword.
The big 8 questions
When it’s all said and done, we can condense this whole post into the following basic questions:
- What is the goal of your blog?
- What is the goal of this post?
- Who are you trying to attract?
- Are people interested in (aka searching for) information on this topic?
- Are you blogging consistently?
- Does this post fit into your content buckets?
- Are you promoting each post?
- Did the post perform well?
When you’re taking the answers to all of these questions into account, then you’re being strategic, instead of trying to “Dear Diary” your way into sales.