business blogging guidlines

Business Blog Guidelines: How do you know your post is good?

by Haris Krijestorac on October 20, 2011

Companies that want to get started with business blogging often face similar challenges. They often have people with subject matter expertise that are qualified to write about the necessary topics. However, business blogging is about more than just writing good content. While this is a prerequisite, authoritative content alone will not serve the real marketing purposes of business blogging.

To help guide those trying to get better at business blogging, I’ve put together a few questions bloggers and marketers can ask themselves when evaluating a blog post or idea.

If you are a business blogger, I suggest you print out or save this list for reference when writing your posts. If you are in marketing or managing a team of business bloggers, maybe you can also share this list with them. Lastly, if you think there are any points missing from my list I would appreciate it if you shared in the comments!

Do I know who my target audience and business prospects are?

Before writing something, you need to know who you are writing for. Your target audience will at the very least include your prospects. To determine who your audience is, ask these questions:
What kind of a company do they work for?
What is their role and position?
Who influences their decisions?
In general, what motivates them?
How do they consume content? How are they most likely consuming the content you are feeding them?
How do they dress?
What kind of car do they drive?
What demographic do they typically fall under?
What is their family structure? Are they married? How many kids do they have?
What computer do they use?

The more clear of a picture you can paint in your head of who is reading, the better you can tailor your writing to them.

Is this content relevant or interesting to our target audience?

Now that you know your target audience well, tailor your content to them. One common mistake is trying too much to appeal to competing blogs or news sources. The primary audience of your business blog should indeed be your prospects. If you can reach them directly, why not just do it? In the pre-Internet days of marketing you needed middlemen, so I can see why this is a habit.

Would the target audience be compelled to share this content?

Your content will become more popular by several orders of magnitude if it is share-worthy. Make sure your audience can share the content in the way they want to share, be it via Twitter, Facebook, email, or even print. If your audience doesn’t share articles directly, would they at least be compelled to share the ideas presented in the article, credited or otherwise?

Is your content presented in a way that pulls readers down the buying funnel?

So you’ve captured the attention of someone who is hopefully a member of your target audience. But what do you actually want them to do next? B2B companies might want to convert this attention into a prospect or lead for their database. B2C companies might want a direct purchase. You might want the person to become a fan on Facebook or follow you on Twitter. You might want them to sign up for your newsletter. Having no purpose is not an excuse.¬†Whatever you decide your purpose is, offer the reader an opportunity to answer to that purpose. Do so in a way that is also visually enticing.

Does the information implant a concrete takeaway in the reader’s mind?

A good business blog post does more than just present information. It gives the reader something they can change or do right now. It may not be something they can take immediate action on. However, it should at least convince them to take on a new mindset or approach that they can apply whenever it becomes handy. They will thank you in their heads, and you’ll gain thought leadership.

Is my overall blogging strategy based on keyword and topic research?

Often, companies blog just about trends, upcoming events, or whatever pops into their head at that time. This might give them some brief traction, but blog posts should also be long-term assets. Think about what will draw in organic traffic over time, not just now. Blog about topics that are important to your audience now, and will remain important for the forseeable future. Blog about topics that will help you gain a following and organic traffic over the long haul. Use keyword research as inspiration for content ideas.

What other questions might you ask? Again, I hope you share in the comments :).

photo credit: stickystarfish

{ 2 comments }

37 Tweetable Business & Marketing Lessons from 37 Signals

by Haris Krijestorac on July 11, 2011

Business Lessons from 37 Signals

37 Signals works a little differently from most other companies. They focus a lot on on productivity and getting things done. They also make software that helps other small businesses work like them. While I’ve used their apps, I’ve only recently started getting into them as a company. I discovered there are many things they do as a business that I believe strengthen their marketing pitch and processes.

Anyone working in a team (so pretty much anyone) can learn a thing or two from the interview below with Jason Fried of 37 Signals. Below the interview, I’ve summarized the main takeaways in my own words. There are 37 of them, and you can tweet each of them with just one click. I hope you at least pick your favorite business or marketing lesson, and spread the knowledge :).

Collaboration should be eternal and passive [tweet]

Interruption is the biggest threat to productivity [tweet]

The only significant cost in starting many businesses is people [tweet]

People collaborating on a project should spend as little time together as possible [tweet]

Text is the best form of communication, since it forces people to be concise [tweet]

Having meetings on an as-needed basis. Traditional meetings are interruptions. [tweet]

Evangelize the benefits you provide, and the right people will find out about your product too [tweet]

Being your own best customer makes for a stronger marketing pitch [tweet]

If you’re doing something just cuz everyone else is, question whether it really matters [tweet]

Learn & fail in obscurity before going mainstream [tweet]

If you need to instill cultural change, do it little by little [tweet]

It’s easier to sell to customers that resemble you [tweet]

Bring culture into your product and marketing [tweet]

Putting a human face on your company is better than outsourcing your PR and advertising [tweet]

Take a business lesson from Notorious BIG: mo money = mo problems [tweet]

Having less money helps you focus on solving the problems that matter [tweet]

Ingrain a mission into your marketing [tweet]

Have an ‘enemy’ that your customers can relate to [tweet]

Don’t chase the ‘next big thing’ – the real ‘big things’ don’t change often [tweet]

Making a good product is about saying ‘no’ [tweet]

It’s better to fail fast than be constantly slowed down by the fear of failure [tweet]

Delight your most valuable customers before trying to please everyone [tweet]

Listen to all feedback, but ignore most of it [tweet]

Your competitors’ customers are not yours. Focus on adding value to your customers. [tweet]

There is room for lots of businesses on the Internet, including both you and your competitors [tweet]

Make sure possibilities are not limitations [tweet]

Don’t confuse enthusiasm with priority [tweet]

Modesty isn’t lack of caring. It’s a sign that you mean business. [tweet]

Have ideas all the time, but throw most of them away [tweet]

Prove your greatness to your customers, not TechCrunch [tweet]

People want stuff that just works. That’s not gonna change. [tweet]

At least be something for somebody, because you can’t be everything for everybody [tweet]

Titles can be unnecessary baggage. Let the person closest to the work make the decision. [tweet]

There is more opportunity in solving simple problems than solving hard ones [tweet]

Try to turn hard problems into simple ones [tweet]

It’s OK to borrow from others, but put it together under a cohesive vision [tweet]

Don’t just copy other businesses – what works for them won’t necessarily work for you [tweet]

{ 2 comments }

Google+: The Facebook (or Bing?) Competitor

July 1, 2011
Thumbnail image for Google+: The Facebook (or Bing?) Competitor

I’ve been using Google+ since the day it was released, and a bunch of people have asked me for my impressions. There have been plenty of responses on the Internet, so the initial wave of reactions is pretty much over. After seeing these reactions, I thought I’d share what I think are some of the […]

Read the full article →

Why Content Marketing is the Heart of the Marketing Ecosystem

June 20, 2011
Content Marketing

Content marketing is the starting point People who want to do online marketing often don’t know knowing where to start. There are so many things to do! There’s social media, SEO, lead generation, branding, web analytics, and much more. Some people try one aspect of online marketing, like social media. They see limited results, so […]

Read the full article →

The Search for a New Search

May 19, 2011
Thumbnail image for The Search for a New Search

The search business model is in question Lately alternative search engines are trying to present themselves as the ‘anti-Google’. The New York times recently published an article about Blekko that presented the search startup as just that. Blekko’s main goal is to provide quality results to its users, with a special emphasis on fighting the […]

Read the full article →

The Real Problem with Social Media ROI

April 24, 2011

There has been a lot of talk lately about measuring the ROI of online marketing channels, particularly social media. From what I have observed, most marketers fall into the following camps: those that think social media doesn’t require ROI justification, and those that make an attempt to quantify it in some way. Gary Vaynerchuk is […]

Read the full article →

Twitter Study: More Followers Does Not Mean More Influence

March 15, 2011

Celebrities, Entrepreneurs, and News sources all use social media differently. But among all the ‘genres’ of twitter users, which tend to have the most followers, and which have the most influence? I found the group of twitter users with the most followers from several types of accounts. I used Twitter Grader to evaluate the relative […]

Read the full article →

The Ultimate Place to Market: Google, Yahoo, or Times Square NYC

March 11, 2011

Google. Yahoo. Two Internet giants. Any company with an online presence fights to get promoted through these sites. How these sites came to be in this position is the subject of a plethora or literature. But given the competition to be on these sites, another interesting question arises: Do Google and Yahoo need to promote […]

Read the full article →

Information Systems: How We Define It, and Why Study It

March 8, 2011

The blank stare I receive after telling any friend or relative what I’m studying has become a cliche among me and my fellow Information Systems students. When I first started in the field as an undergraduate 4 years ago, many of us didn’t even use the term ‘Information Systems’, calling ourselves Computer Science majors or […]

Read the full article →

Online Interaction: Are you Chris Brogan or Seth Godin?

March 6, 2011

Chris Brogan and Seth Godin are two of the biggest figures in social media today. Yet both admit that they have different methods of interacting with people online. Interaction Is Either Public or Private Brogan is all about public interaction. A quick look at his twitter stream, and it’s obvious. Through his blog posts and […]

Read the full article →