Blogging started as a cool way to put your diary online for all the world to see. These days it is used far more by companies and brands to engage with their followers. Let's spend a few minutes giving you the tools you need to succeed at creating a blog for your business.
There are several components to business blogs:
- The content and components of a blog post
- The automatic push of new content to subscribers
- Engagement with your following
We're going to take a little time with each one of these so that you know where to go from here. We'll also get into the details of content strategies, email performance, automatic email setups, and subscriber engagement for Free and Pro members.
- 1 Blogging Content
- 2 Components of a Blog Post, The "Blog Box"
- 3 Blog Images, Graphics, and Videos
- 4 Blog Subscriber Push
- 5 How To Grow A Following
- 6 How To Create A Blog Strategy
- 7 How We Automatically Send Blogs To Subscribers
- 8 How We Measure If Subscribers Like Our Blog Emails
- 9 How We Create And Track The Creation Of Blog Content [Pro]
- 10 How We Measure If Subscribers Like Our Blog Posts [Pro]
Business blogging is generally considered to be articles on a website that somehow relate to what the business or organization does. In the case of the C.A.S.T. for Kids Foundation, their blog is focused on telling the stories of the kids, soldiers, and volunteers whose lives are touched by their awesome events. In the case of the Balloon Professionals Magazine blog, the focus is on speaking to real situations balloon design businesses face. The focus of your blog will vary based on the audience and the message you want them to have.
We go on to talk about content strategies and topics later in this post so I want to give just one word of caution here. A business blog is about telling stories, not hard selling something. That said, there should always be a call to action. So, a product review doesn't fit. But a story about someone who used a product and whose life was transformed... perfect.
Now, if you followed the links to the example blogs you noticed that the Balloon Professionals Magazine blog is actually a "VLOG". What is that you ask? Well in a VLog the central piece of content is a video, rather than a written article. We still share it in the same format on the website but you can see that the focus is definitely different.
Here on the AssetLab Academy blog, we focus on creating content that helps you do better at online marketing. For now, it is article focused. In the future, it will likely change to a video format or podcast with a supporting article. The point being here, a blog doesn't need to be focused on words on a page as the primary piece of content. You can choose the best way to reach your audience with the message and then put it in a "blog box" to share it.
One more thing to say about blogs up front... they should always have a call to action. Here are some examples:
- Ask the reader to subscribe to the blog
- Ask the reader to share the blog
- Ask the reader to consider purchasing a product
- Ask the reader to consider donating to your organization
- Ask the reader to share on social media
Components of a Blog Post, The "Blog Box"
The "Blog Box" as it was referred to earlier is a set of content that people expect to see when they visit a blog or read a blog post. These are the things readers generally expect:
- Written content... the article
- One or more images or graphics
- The ability to subscribe to receive notifications of new posts
In addition to these you may set a precedent by using other types of content too, like:
- Videos (maybe even a VLog in a "Blog Box")
You ultimately get to choose what goes into a standard blog post for your business.
Blog Images, Graphics, and Videos
At a minimum, all blog posts should include the article and an image. You may choose to do more and provide a graphic for each post (these do well on Pinterest). You may incorporate videos from other people on related topics. You may create a video specific to each post. You may create a podcast. There are so many things you can do.
In this section, I want to focus on the images and graphics.
The biggest hurdles to using great images and graphics are:
- "I don't have any professional grade images that match this topic"
- "I don's have an easy way to create graphics"
The images are really easy to solve these days. One day I was reading a blog post from my lawyer and the image was next-level. It was so good I actually noticed how good it was. Then, at the bottom of the post was an image credit with a link to where they found the image... and it was a website where I could find free-to-use images too! Here are the two I use the most. Be sure to read the information about licensing and image credit so you don't break the copyright laws.
Graphics are also really easy these days. At AssetLab Marketing we use a tool called Canva.
Blog Subscriber Push
One of the most important aspects of hosting a blog is notifying people of new blog posts. This is how your readership grows (because people share) and you build a community (because people read). No matter what else you do with your blog making sure people who want to get your latest stories get an email or text or Facebook Messenger ping about the latest post is critical.
Your business may have other newsletters and email lists. The blog should have its own email list. You can send other information to this group as well... but these people want something special from you! The Blog Content!
We go into how we handle this at AssetLab Academy later in this article.
How To Grow A Following
Blog followers (which we also call subscribers) are people who want to receive a specific type of content on a regular basis. For example, at AssetLab we are really into online marketing so we subscribe to various blogs that share expert content, tips, tricks, and what is changing in the field. We prefer that these blogs come out with new information on a periodic basis because that gives us a predictable cadence to learning and experimenting. Now, we don't subscribe to blogs about American Football because that isn't what we're interested in. So, as long as the blogs we follow stay on topic and keep providing excellent content we will allow them to continue emailing us their latest posts.
We find the blogs we follow through google searches for the expert content. We also find them through social media. We also hear about them from others in the online marketing field.
So, the basic steps to growing a following are:
- Create content of value
- Published on a predictable schedule
- On a website that ranks well in Google search
- With a mechanism to notify people who want to subscribe
If the blog is hard to find then people won't come.
If the blog isn't great content then people won't subscribe.
If there isn't a way for people to subscribe then its following will always be small.
If the schedule of posts is irregular, more people will unsubscribe.
So, take the time to create great content on a predictable schedule on a website that Google loves with a mechanism that allows people to subscribe and your following will grow over time.
How To Create A Blog Strategy
Now that you have an understanding for the basics of a Blog, how they work, what to create, and how to build a following we're going to spend some time getting specific on how to create a Content Strategy. Content Strategies identify the audiences, messages, and call to actions that you want to reach. With this sort of strategy, you can start creating a pipeline of blog articles for eventual publishing to the subscribers.
Additional Content For AssetLab Academy Members
Dig into the strategy of the audience, messaging, and the call to action right now! Join for Free!
How We Automatically Send Blogs To Subscribers
There is a very straightforward cookbook for setting up an automatic email push to subscribers on a daily or weekly schedule when new content is published that we use at AssetLab Academy and AssetLab Marketing. In this section, we give you the exact steps to set it up and various considerations for the technology you're already using.
Additional Content For AssetLab Academy Members
Setup your blog to collect subscribers and automatically send new content to them, for FREE!
How We Measure If Subscribers Like Our Blog Emails
In this section, we cover the metrics you can use to understand if your subscribers like what you creating in your blog. Here we're focused specifically on the emails that get sent to them when there is new content. Later we also cover how to analyze how people interact with blog pages on the website.
This deep dive into subscriber satisfaction is for PRO Members
How We Create And Track The Creation Of Blog Content [Pro]
In this section, we give you the exact (free) tool that we use to create a content calendar and move every post and piece of content through authoring, editing, and publishing. You can do this as an individual or as a team and everything works great.
Learn What We Use, How We Use It, And Steal Our Template...
How We Measure If Subscribers Like Our Blog Posts [Pro]
We covered the three critical measurements to watch and learn from for emails blasted out to blog subscribers. Now we cover how to understand if people visiting a blog page actually consider the post valuable.
PRO Members Only...
We go on to cover:
- The tool we use to literally see how people interact with a blog post
- How to see what people do on the page
- How to see what people read on the page
- How to learn from this to make better blog posts