There's more than one way to consider what makes for the "best business blogs." If you are looking for a list of the best blogs for business topics or business people, the jury is still out on that. A quick short-list would probably include Seth Godin's blog, Chris Brogan, and Mashable! among others. For a truly comprehensive list of corporate business blogs you can check out these lists at BlogRank.
However, what makes the best business blogs the "best" is not simply their unique visitor numbers or rankings in various lists. It's the content. The blog post. And how it works for their audience.
Five Qualities the Best Business Blogs Have In Common
If you have a blog on your company's website then good for you! You are already doing more to market your business and drive traffic to your site than 40% of your competitors. And if you're posting fresh content regularly and consistently, then congratulations! You are on your way to being a truly effective content marketer for your brand.
The next step is to incorporate these five "best practices" that most every successful business blog and corporate blog embrace.
1. Create content that is engaging, interesting, and valuable
Remember the Cardinal Rule #1 of content creation: Never Be Boring! Blog posts that are nothing more than thinly veiled self-promotion pieces will not get read. And if that is all you publish you can bet that visits will decline and you will find yourself engaged in nothing more than an exercise in futility.
Is that an exaggeration? Perhaps, but keep in mind that Google's algorithms are giving more credence to social proof, quality of content, and semantics - not simply key words. In other words, a good blog post is readable; it speaks to topics that truly interest your audience; it answers questions they have, or offers solutions to problems they need solved.
2. Publish content that’s relevant to your audience
This is related to the first point: you might create powerful and valuable content for your blog posts, but if it is not relevant to your target market audience, it will not get read. If your headlines and meta descriptions do not capture and engage their interest from the start, you've lost them before you had them.
A helpful approach for determining relevant topics for your blog audience is to make a list of the 10 or 20 most common questions they ask of your business. Better yet, make a list of a hundred "frequently asked questions" from your customer, clients, and prospects. Why? Because that's what is relevant to them. If you succeeded in crafting a list of 100 questions you would have enough blog topics to publish a new blog post once a week every week for almost two years!
3. Have one main focus
One of the temptations for many bloggers is to write about everything under the sun that either interests them, or that they feel will be a catchy topic. The problem with this approach is that it's akin to an auto parts store offering mobile devices, Formula One computer simulator software, and paint ball equipment. These are all really cool products, but that's not what auto parts store customers come looking for at the auto parts store!
Your audience will come to your blog because your focus, your theme, is what they are interested in. And they will return again and again if you continue to feed that interest within the scope of your focus. This does not mean that an occasional "off-topic" post is not in order. But the main focus is to "stay on story".
4. Incorporate images and video
Many business bloggers shrink from this because of the perception that images and video production is expensive, time consuming, and generally prohibitive. This can certainly be true. And big businesses with big budgets can, and do, generate dazzling and captivating visual media to incorporate into their blogs. But the truth is that you can, too.
Quality images can be had for little or nothing from various sites on the Internet, or even created in-house with the right personnel and some basic equipment. This does not require an Ansel Adams! And video is so powerful and so engaging that it is becoming the medium of choice for most online publishers. But you can produce a perfectly good video with nothing more than a typical smart phone. As long as you have good lighting and good sound, the results do not have to be studio quality to have a huge impact.
5. Include useful links
Links are one of the key elements of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and this includes internal links - links to your own site's pages or virtual publications such as PDFs - and external links to other people's articles, reports, or websites. Part of the beauty of a good blog post is the ability to draw your readers further into your own website and provide them with a wealth of information. In addition, you can help position your business as a thought leader and smart curator of quality information for your audience.
To Be One of the Best Business Blogs You Must Write One!
It is one thing to know that a business blog is a valuable tool, not only for your SEO efforts, but for enhancing your impact on your audience. But it is another thing to actually produce one. And to produce one that is published consistently, frequently and with great, quality posts. The time, effort, and ability to develop and write blog posts consistently over a long period of time is a challenge for many business owners.
But, of course, you don't have to write it yourself. You can delegate this task to someone in your company, or even outsource the whole thing to a freelance content writer or a good marketing agency. However, this, too, can be a challenge. The temptation for many businesses is to look for low-cost, generic content that they can simply "plug and play" into their business blog. If you are considering this approach for your own blog, it would be better to not have a blog at all than to diminish your brand with low quality and ill-conceived content.
A better approach for creating and publishing and effective business blog is to get outside help. Digital marketing agencies, such as BroadVision Marketing, can offer expertise and tools that the typical business owner or marketing manager may not have.
It often helps to have an professional marketer's perspective to assess your content marketing strategy. Acquiring the insights and assessment of a third-party professional can be an investment that will bring a quantifiable return.
BroadVision Marketing offers all this and more. Get your Free Complimentary Inbound Marketing Session to help you make an informed decision or call BroadVision Marketing at 707-799-1238. In the meantime, click on the button below and download your own copy of our free Business Blogging Guide!
Jaco Grobbelaar is the owner and CMO of BroadVision Marketing. BroadVision Marketing works with business owners to put in place inbound and outbound marketing strategies that consistently secure new clients. The BroadVision Marketing Training Center is located in Petaluma, CA and primarily serves companies in the San Francisco Bay area.