Tag Archives: Business Blogging Advice

6 Lessons for Any First-Time Business Blogger

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Are you just starting out on your journey into business blogging? If so, congratulations! You’re taking your first step into the broader, brighter world of content marketing—and in due time, you’ll start to see some positive effects.

Just consider some of the statistics: Four out of five U.S. online consumers trust the information they see on business blogs; companies that blog have 97 percent more inbound links than those who do not; the overwhelming majority of companies that blog regularly have acquired customers directly because of their blog. And that’s to say nothing of the less quantifiable, but still significant, advantages of brand recognition and thought leadership.

But all of that is based on the premise that you’re not only blogging, but blogging well. The latter is by no means a given! So what do you, as a business blogging novice, need to know in order to get it right?

We’ll list six things we think everyone should know when launching a new company blog.

No. 1. Your blog setup matters.

It’s not enough to write compelling, enriching content. The actual, technical setup of your blog matters. A WordPres.org blog will offer more options than a WordPress.com one; above all, however, you want to make sure your blog is hosted on a reliable server and that it’s easy to find from your company home page.

No. 2. You should schedule some time for blogging.

Blogging only works when it’s consistent—and you’re simply not going to be consistent if you have an “I’ll blog whenever I have a free moment” mentality. You need to actually schedule some blocks of time on your calendar to devote to blog content creation.

No. 3. You never blog in a vacuum.

Hopefully you have e-mail marketing and social media marketing instruments in place—but if not, that needs to be a top priority: You simply won’t get the kind of blog readership you’re hoping for unless you share posts to your social media followers and your e-mail newsletter subscribers. Content distribution is really just as important as content creation.

No. 4. You’ll have a hard time measuring your blog’s success without Google Analytics.

Make sure you install Analytics and review them regularly; for help interpreting your data, you can always contact Grammar Chic.

No. 5. There’s no formula for blogging success…

… but if there was one, it would probably be something like this: Quality + Consistency = Success. Write compelling and actionable posts that provide real value to the reader, and update the blog on a regular basis. That matters much more than just throwing up new, possibly shoddy content every day.

No. 6. You don’t need to freak out about SEO…

… but you should make sure you write meta descriptions for each post, and use some general topics and ideas as keywords, guiding you in your writing of lean, focused posts.

Note that if you have any trouble setting up an effective, value-adding blog, or posting new content with consistency, you can always contact the Grammar Chic team. We’re around when you need us: 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

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A 7-Point Checklist for Your New Business Blog

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Another holiday season brings with it the promise of a new year; new opportunities; new marketing endeavors; and, for many small business owners, a new blog.

We all know by now that companies need blogs to thrive in today’s marketing environment; that the production of original content is crucial for obtaining online visibility, and that a blog is really the best avenue for doing so.

Still, not all companies have gotten on the blogging bandwagon; some are looking to finally start blogging in earnest, while others may need a fresh start after previous, failed attempts at effective blogging.

For any small business looking to launch a new blog in the near future, it’s obviously important to be strategic, disciplined, and thorough in your approach. What exactly do you need to ensure that your new business blog is a success? If you’ve got all seven items on our new blog checklist, then you’ve got a good foundation and every chance in the world of making your blog a winner.

Our new blog checklist includes:

  1. A clearly-defined set of goals. As we’ve discussed before, there are many potential goals for you to set with your content marketing, all of them legitimate. What matters is that you think them through and decide on clear, measurable objectives—whether it’s increased website traffic, brand visibility, conversions, or simply consumer trust.
  2. The definition of roles. Who’s going to be updating your blog? Who’s writing, who’s posting, and who’s responding to comments? Maybe it’s the business owner, maybe it’s an intern, maybe it’s someone else—but having a defined chain of command is important.
  3. A blog host and domain. There are pros and cons associated with having your blog hosted on your website versus having it as its own separate site; the former will offer some SEO clout for your website, and generally make navigation easier, while the latter provides you with an entirely separate online asset that can be useful for online reputation management and general visibility.
  4. In keeping with the previous point, though, your blog must be accessible. People should know how to get to it without any trouble; make a link to your blog clearly visible from your company website—preferably above the fold—and, if possible, from every other page of your site, as well.
  5. An attractive layout. Your blog also needs a good, clean, uncluttered look—consistent with the look and feel of your website, and easy to navigate and to search.
  6. Before you launch or publicize your blog, make sure to have at least three or four posts written and posted, so you’ve got a good foundation for the start of the blog.
  7. An editorial calendar. Finally, make sure you’ve planned when and how often your blog will be updated, and that you’ve got an editorial calendar set up, denoting your next couple week’s worth of posts (if not more).

For assistance checking off any of these boxes, of course, the Grammar Chic team is available. Contact us today at www.grammarchic.net, or at 803-831-7444.

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7 Telltale Signs of Awful Blog Content

 

lede-awfulHave you ever been on Google, seen a link that looked interesting, clicked it—and then immediately hit the “back” button, repulsed by what you saw on the page? It happens sometimes, and the culprit is usually bad content, plain and simple. As a consumer, you tend to know bad content when you see it—but do you ever stop to evaluate your own content, checking it for the telltale signs of awfulness?

When it comes to your own blog content—blog content you’ve slaved over, devoted your precious time to—noting awfulness can be a bit trickier. We’re here to help. Painful though this may be, we’re going to offer up seven of the surest signs that your content is whack, and encourage you to evaluate what you’ve created on your company blog, being honest with yourself about whether it might be, well, bad, and in need of repair.

Sign #1: Your content is badly formatted.

When you open a blog entry on your company blog, do you see bullet points, subheadings, images, and white space? Do you, at the very least, see brief paragraphs with wiggle room left between them? Or do you just see one huge mountain of text, daunting and all but impossible to read without developing a migraine or having your eyes glaze over? Remember that good content isn’t just about the words, but how they’re presented. Formatting matters! Readability matters!

Sign #2: Your content is jammed with keywords.

Nobody ever said that some strategic keywords were bad or inappropriate—but if the blog entries for your Charlotte dental practice all contain the phrases “Charlotte dentist” and “best Charlotte dental practice” ten times apiece—well, it’s pretty obvious what you’re trying to do, and, again, readability is significantly compromised. Nobody wants to read your keyword litanies. Nobody.

Sign #3: Your content is jammed with links.

Including some relevant links to related articles or online resources: Recommended! Jamming your 500-word post with 30 different lines, of varying levels of relevance? Not so much! If you click on a post and just see a wall of blue, hyperlinked text, it’s a major red flag.

Sign #4: You’re being too promotional.

Content marketing is all about educating and informing—selling without being too hammy, salesy, and promotional. If you’ve already talked about how great your brand is three or four times within the first two paragraphs of your post, well, your priorities may be askew.

Sign #5: You’re not being promotional enough.

With that said, you do need to make it easy for interested parties to get ahold of you to ask questions or ask for your help. A post without a good call-to-action at the end isn’t going to prove very effective!

Sign #6: Your content is full of spelling and grammar mistakes.

Need we go on?

Sign #7: The post just scrolls on forever.

There’s much to be said in favor of long-form blog content, to a reasonable extent—but nobody has time to read a 3,000 word opus about your company, its products and services, or even the industry at large. Restraint is a key skill for bloggers, and an overly long post is, as often as not, a bad one, or at least an ineffective one.

So tell us: How do your blogs measure up? If you need assistance with them, please contact the Grammar Chic, Inc. team today at 803-831-7444, or http://www.grammarchic.net.

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Google Authorship: What Bloggers And Business Owners Should Know

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Blogging is now a widely accepted form of communication and information sharing. Bloggers are well respected, and the most prestigious ones appear on national television shows, are book authors, and land endorsement deals. But when blogging first became popular, there was no real way for someone to protect the content they created. Other sites could come and “scrape” the posts, or use them as their own in order to gain readers. Now, through Google Authorship, Google’s latest innovation, it is easier for a blogger to protect the content that’s rightfully theirs.

What is Google Authorship?

Google Authorship is one of the most important features found on Google Plus. It allows a content creator to build up both rank and trust (known as Author Rank) based on the type of content that they create for different websites. Over time, Google can determine a writer’s expertise in these subjects, and can rank the authors and their work accordingly. This makes it easier to separate true professionals from “I live in my mom’s basement and want to get Internet famous” writers.

Those who hope to stand out among the ranks should create content that is regularly updated, original, and worth sharing. The more legitimate content that a person publishes online, the more likely they are to be deemed an authority in their particular area of interest. In addition to this perk, Google also makes it possible for bloggers to protect their unique work. In order to enjoy these benefits, the writer just needs to create a Google Plus profile so that they can have their articles properly attributed to their name. It doesn’t matter whether you work with a static HTML website or a site that’s powered by WordPress, you can easily claim your own online efforts.

How does this help a business owner?

Regardless of whether you consider yourself a full-time blogger or you do it to promote your business, when you are able to get credit for articles that you produce on the Web, it helps to establish your presence online. When Google deems you an authority in an area, whether it’s physical therapy, engineering, marketing, or anything else, it can help to draw more customers to your business. This is because you’ll appear more trustworthy, and also because it will become easier to find you instead of one of your competitors.

Getting started

It’s easy to get going with Google Authorship. First, you must set up a Google Plus profile. For those who were hesitant to do so in the past, this new component is an important reason why Google Plus is necessary. Though Author Rank is a relatively new feature, Google explains that it is already working on ways to expand the functionality of the tool in an effort to cut down on spam and increase the relevancy of the feature.

For those who are hoping to establish themselves or their business as an expert in a particular field, learning about Google Authorship and Author Rank is necessary. Though the feature will probably continue to evolve and shift, it can prove useful to business leaders and bloggers alike.

The team at Grammar Chic specializes in a variety of professional writing and editing services. For more information about how we can help you, visit www.grammarchic.net or call 803-831-7444. We also invite you to follow us on Twitter @GrammarChicInc for the latest in writing and editing tips and to give a “like” to our Facebook page. Text GRAMMARCHIC to 22828 for a special offer.

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