Blogging for business during the COVID-19 crisis? It may sound counterintuitive, but it’s actually a smart idea.
We’ve been talking a lot about content marketing during the Coronavirus and how to market in the midst of a crisis lately. And while certain businesses in some areas of the U.S. are starting to open back up, the recovery will be gradual and unpredictable. Still, there are things you can do right now to support your business growth. Blogging for business is one of these things. Not only will it help your company weather the current storm, but it will also lay a stronger foundation for once this public health crisis is behind us.
Although life and business may be at a whole new level of hectic, our current reality presents business owners with the opportunity to line up their content marketing and get prepared to hit the ground running as we move into recovery mode. Now is an ideal time to keep in touch with your existing customer base – and gain a new audience in the process. You can start by investing in blogging for business.
Blogging for Business: Best Practices for Now & Later
Having a blog increases your chances of ranking higher in a search by 434%. Not to mention, websites with a blog get 55% more visitors than websites without one. But simply having a blog isn’t enough: you need content – and lots of it. Right now is the perfect time to create a solid blog content repository that will engage your current audience while bringing in new traffic at the same time. Get a jumpstart on your business blog with these five steps.
1. Keyword Research
The first five results (non-sponsored) listed on the first search engine results page make up 67.6% of the total number of clicks for a single keyword. You want to be one of those first five! Many businesses want to rank for general, high search volume keyword phrases consisting of two or three words. The problem is, short keyword phrases are extremely competitive and your chances of ranking with them are quite low. Instead, go after the low-hanging fruit of long-tail keyword phrases.
For example, if you’re a recruitment agency, don’t waste time trying to rank for the term “recruitment agency.” You’ll have better chances of ranking higher if you make your keyword more specific – “recruitment agency in Tucson AZ,” for example. This narrows it down to the geographical area you serve.
You could get even more specific by mentioning a group of clients you serve – “recruitment agency for graduates in Tucson, AZ.” Not only are you likely to rank higher for this long-tail keyword, but you’re also likely to attract more targeted, qualified traffic that will be a better fit for your offerings. And with the rise of voice search, searches are increasingly moving towards long-tail due to the use of natural language. Long-tail keywords really are a must.
Google Keyword Planner and other free SEO tools can help you find the perfect long-tail keywords so you can create the right content to satisfy your readers.
2. Planning Your Content
Once you’ve found your keywords and listed some blog article ideas, you need to map out a content calendar to determine what and when you’ll be publishing. There should be a strategy behind your content, which is often guided by four or five core categories or themes that help keep your articles cohesive and focused on topics of relevance to your audience. Say you’re a logistics company: one category might be fulfillment and another might be final-mile delivery. Schedule out your content around these themes, varying the categories to keep things interesting.
No matter what the statistics say, the key to blogging for business is to be consistent. Aim for at least one blog article per week – the more, the better (without compromising the quality of your content). Remember that good content is key to high Google rankings.
Regular content is important because search engines like frequently updated websites. Plus, publishing consistently tells your readers that you’re reliable and serious about providing useful content. It keeps readers coming back. And if your content is really good, they’ll even share it with others – furthering brand awareness.
3. Researching Your Content
It’s essential to publish accurate information when blogging for business. Blogs have been rated as the 5th most trusted source for accurate information. To boost your credibility, include links to credible sources that aren’t competitors, as well as statistics and other information to back up what you’re saying.
It’s also important to know what you’re up against. That means checking out what your competitors are doing. Let’s say you want to rank for “best eggless ice cream recipes.” Google it, see what other sites have written, and take notes:
- What kind of format is most common? Listicles? Guides? Long-form?
- When were the most popular articles published? Perhaps the topic hasn’t been touched on in a while.
- What’s the word count of the top articles?
- Who holds the top spot and what are your chances of taking over? How could you outperform their content?
All this will help you determine what you need to do to stand out.
4. Optimizing Your Content
Your job isn’t finished after you’ve written a well-researched article. How you optimize that content on your website is crucial to your search engine rankings. Here’s a quick checklist to consider:
- Title and Subheadings: Once you’ve found your keywords, they need to be used not only in your attention-grabbing title but in your subheading and the meat of your content. Make sure your keywords are placed naturally and don’t sound forced.
- User-Friendly URLs: Your URL should be easy to remember and give a basic idea of what the article is about, avoiding stop words (like the, a, or, and, but, of, an) and excluding publication dates. Also, remember to use dashes to separate words. Here’s a good example: https://contentworm.com/content-marketing-during-coronavirus-crisis/
- Using Media: Increase the average visit duration to your blog by adding relevant media such as images and videos to your article. Not only do visuals make your article more readable by breaking up the text, they also help your content rank higher on search engines and increase reader engagement. Make sure to include alt text and follow best practices for image file naming.
- Internal Links: If you have a strong content strategy in place, your previous blog articles will likely be relevant to newer blogs. By linking from one article to another on your site, you increase the time visitors spend on your website and their familiarity with your brand. Most importantly, though, Google loves a well-structured website. Internal links help Google better understand your website structure – which also helps with rankings.
- Customize the SERP Snippet: You know the text that appears for each result on the search engine results page? This is called a “Google snippet” or SERP snippet. You can customize the snippet by entering the required information on the backend of your website (this can be done easily on WordPress using the Yoast SEO plugin). It consists of a title tag, meta description, and url. Make sure to also designate your focus keyword and check the keyword density (the number of times the keyword is used throughout the article). There’s a whole art to snippet optimization, but we like this simple tool to help you get started.
5. Promoting Your Content
This is perhaps the most critical – and most often overlooked – step in business blogging. No one will read your blog articles if they don’t know about them! Social is a good place to start (in fact, 23% of posts on social media include a link to a blog article), but it shouldn’t be where your efforts end.
Put a simple promotional plan in place for sharing a new article with your audience each time you publish one. This can be as simple as: posting on all social channels (with captions customized to each platform); including a link to the article in your bi-weekly or monthly e-newsletter; and publishing an abbreviated version of the article on LinkedIn or Medium (with a link to “Read More” that directs readers to the full blog article on your website).
Take things a step further by sharing your article in any relevant social media groups you belong to and tagging colleagues or referral partners in your social posts who might find the content useful. You could even offer to develop a modified version as a guest blog article for any colleagues who are interested in featuring your insights on their own blog. It never hurts to offer – people are always looking for free, high-quality content to share with their audience.
Continue Building Your Blog Content
As with many other things in marketing, blogging for business is all about momentum. Once you get a rhythm and strategy in place, it will become increasingly easier to produce new, regularly blog content and promote it effectively to keep building brand awareness. While we continue to navigate the ups and downs of this pandemic and look towards a time of recovery, it doesn’t hurt to remain productive and prepare for future business growth at the same time.
As the tide does begin to turn – and it will eventually – your company will be in a better position to serve your customers and respond to the changing market. If you need help jumpstarting your business blog or getting a content strategy in place, please get in touch – we’d be happy to chat!