We recently shared some social marketing methods for growing your business, and want to expand on one particular tool: blogging.
Blogging can be a useful way to brand yourself as an expert in your industry and become the go-to source of information for customers, both current and potential. There are steps that you can take to make blog set-up and posting go smoothly and we are here to be your guides through the process.
Choose Your Blog Platform
When you decide to start a blog, it is important to choose a platform that will work for you. Some of this decision will be based on whether you want your blog to be a cohesive part of your website or a separate entity.
A few of the most popular blogging platforms include:
There are two different types of WordPress blogs; WordPress.org and WordPress.com. The one you choose will be based on whether you want it to be linked to the WordPress servers (WordPress.com) or to your website with a personal URL (WordPress.org). You can actually host your entire website on WordPress.org, so the blog will be automatically built in to it. Doing this adds a bit more complexity to the set-up process, but will give you more customization options in the future.
To recap, one version of WordPress makes your blog URL yourcompany.wordpress.com (WordPress.com) and one makes it yourcompany.com (WordPress.org).
Hosted by Google, Blogger is another option for those looking for a blogging platform. With blogger, you can host it via blogspot.com or on your own server to get a custom URL. Signing up for a blog on Blogger is free and a great option for blogs that will be managed by multiple users.
Tumblr is a microblogging platform and is great for those who want to share multimedia content as the platform allows for easy upload. Owned by Yahoo!, it is also great for discovering new content through tags you can add to each post.
It is good to look into and play around with each platform to decide what works best for you. Should you have an IT or marketing manager, they should definitely be a part of the decision to make sure the set-up goes smoothly.
Brand Your Blog
Once you choose your platform, it is important during the set-up process to make sure that the branding of your blog matches your website and other social platforms. Not only does this keep your online presence consistent, but it makes your blog look professional and easily recognizable to those aware of your brand. You can use our blog as an example; we have made sure to include our logo at the top and use the same design scheme on our blog that we do on our website to make sure everything is a cohesive unit.
Other successful branded blog examples include Whole Story, the blog brought to you by Whole Foods Market, Netflix US & Canada Blog, and the Skillcrush blog.
Create an Editorial Calendar
Here at LanternCRM, we use an editorial calendar to plan out all of our blog posts. Not only does it hold us accountable, but also it helps us make sure we have well-rounded posts and content going out to you, the readers.
An editorial calendar not only helps you plan when to schedule posts, but it can also help you keep topics sorted so you make sure you aren’t just posting too much of one thing. Creating categories for your post also makes it easy for people to navigate through your posts when they want to read a certain type of content. Our categories include LanternCRM’s Journey, From the Intern, Austin Startup Origins, Small Business Revolution and David vs. Goliath. These categories allow us to not only share about our company and the Austin startup scene, but also let us cover topics relevant to our customers, most of which are small businesses, and to hear from other members of our team.
Get the Team Involved
Getting the team involved in your blog is a great way to show your customers who you are. As just mentioned above, we have a From the Intern category on the blog so our intern can share her experience at LanternCRM and get more first-hand marketing experience. We also make sure to interview our employees for posts and have them contribute as they can, as well. Not only does it help keep content fresh, it also helps make your message more credible, as it is coming from multiple members of the team.
As I mentioned in my post about working while on vacation, shuffling up roles in the team leads to fresh thought and can help push the team further. The same goes with blog content. Additionally, as different team members have different roles, one may know of a customer issue that they have seen arise that the others haven’t heard about. By mentioning it and deciding to write a blog post on it from his (or her) personal experience, there is a greater knowledge-base covered and offered to readers.
Be Present and Interact
Blogging isn’t simply about constantly pushing content out and then forgetting you have a blog. It is important to keep an eye on the blog (even when posts aren’t scheduled on the editorial calendar) to manage any comments that come through by readers. Being present on your blog and engaging with your audience and customers is an important part of the experience.
Additionally, it is important to be a relevant and engaged member of the blogging community. Again, this means not only pushing out content, but making sure to read and follow other blogs and comment or share relevant insights on the posts of others. This can not only lead people back to your blog, but will also help you gain credibility in the community and foster some wonderful relationships.
We Want To Know: Are you currently using these blogging methods? If you have a company blog, what is your favorite platform? What are some other ideas to make sure you stay engaged with the blogging community?