Blogging for Business: 6 Tips to Get Started
Some ideas for inspiration.
Getting into business blogging can be tough. What topic do you choose? How do you pick a category and a focus keyword? And what’s the deal with readability? Well, as someone who’s fairly new to business blogging, I can tell you that I’ve had plenty of thoughts just like these. But getting into your writing groove doesn’t have to be a challenge! No matter your writing style and content, getting advice from other writers can really help you figure out your own process. So if you’re not sure how to start, check out my list of tips for getting into blogging for business.
How to Find Reliable Sources
When you’re looking for a topic or researching that topic, it can be hard to tell what sources are trustworthy. We’ve all heard that simply searching the internet won’t provide reliable sources, but that’s not necessarily true. Google offers a scholar search engine that can help you find scholarly sources. You can also try searching databases like Oxford Academic or JSTOR for journals. Or you can give bookstores and libraries a try for databases or in print resources. But to be honest, normal search engines can pull up reliable resources too!
There are lots of online articles from trusted news sources, and a lot of the time these articles will link to any study or data that gave them their information. You can use the links to read the studies for yourself, making sure you really understand its information. Even if there isn’t a study or any data, chances are that what you’re writing about has been written about before, so there’s information out there somewhere. It can take time to find a source that you feel is trustworthy, but knowing that search engines and other databases are working hard to put out the most informed resources helps!
How to Research a Topic
Okay, so you’ve chosen a topic to write about. Well congratulations, you’ve done the hard part! Now that you have a topic, how do you start researching for it? There are a lot of ways that you can research a topic, but my first move is simple: Google it.
Google can sometimes get a bad rep as taking the easy way out, but remember that their goal is to present you with the best information possible. Google also has tools that can help make your search even better! With tools, you can filter the time range of articles you want to see. This will help you make sure that you’re getting new and updated information. You can also use settings to do an advanced search to give you more specific search terms. Settings allows you to choose what domain you want to search in too. For example, if you’re only interested in results from government sources, you can choose to search results on .gov websites only.
Now, if you’re looking for some more informative and scholarly information, you can also try doing some research at your local library! Libraries are great places for both online and in print resources. They often have their own search engines with academic and peer-reviewed sources. But they have recent pop culture sources too! Some will even help you loan books from other libraries if they don’t have a copy in their own selection.
Whatever you’re writing about, there are various ways to research your topic. It may depend on what type of blog post, voice, or information you’re looking for, but search engines, databases, and in print resources are available (usually for free!) for your use.
How to Tackle Writer’s Block
Now you’ve found reliable sources and done your research, but how do you start writing? The most important thing for me is to just get some words down. You may delete them and rewrite them a hundred times, but putting your thoughts down will help get the wheels turning. Now that doesn’t mean you have to jump right into writing your actual blog post. You can start with a rough outline, some bullet points with ideas, or just goals for the general feeling of the post. It often helps me to make a few bullet points with key ideas, and then go in and flesh them out with more detail. This helps not only get words into your post, but to give you a way to organize your post so that it flows well.
Change your scenery
If you’ve been writing in the same place for a long time, get a change of scenery! Even if it’s moving from one room in your house to another, moving your workplace can help clear your brain and get rid of the feeling of being static. So take your work to your favorite coffee place or outdoor space! Wherever you can work, try it! Changing the environment around you can help your ideas flow and your energy up.
Don’t forget to give yourself a break! I know that meeting deadlines or making sure your post is perfect is important, but so is break time. Staring at a computer screen or page of a notebook for too long will just build up walls. Getting up to stretch, walk around, or have a snack can help you reset and refocus your attention. You may even have a spark of genius while you’re taking a break!
You have something to say!
The most important thing to keep in mind while writing is that your ideas are unique and people want to read them. It can be a lot easier to motivate yourself to write when you believe in yourself too!
How to Optimize your Content
After picking a topic, researching the topic, and getting some ideas and content down, you can focus on making sure your content is readable and optimized for search engines. There are a few ways that you can make sure your posts are passing these tests. At Road Warrior Creative, for example, we have a Yoast SEO plugin that takes in the content of our posts as we write them, and gives tips on how we can make them even better. But even if you don’t have a plugin, your posts can still have great readability and optimization.
For highly readable posts…
- Make sure to use active voice rather than passive voice
- Passive voice means that what should be your subject is positioned as your object. You can read more about passive voice here.
- Use transition words
- Transition words help the flow of sentences and paragraphs. These include words like: in addition, therefore, in conclusion, etc.
- Try to keep your sentences short
- Sentences that are more than 20 words tend to run too long. This can mean that the reader has to go back and reread parts of the sentence. Shorter sentences help the flow of the post overall
- Keep your paragraphs short
- Like with long sentences, long paragraphs can lose the point that you started with in the beginning. Paragraphs of 300 words or less can help to break up your thoughts and make your post easier to read
For good SEO…
First of all, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. This is what helps decide where your page or post shows up in search results, like the Google results page. For example, you can check out the search results page for blogging. If you want your website to receive more traffic, it’s important to rank within the first page, and even better within the first two results. About half of searchers click on the first two results, and 90% don’t go beyond the first page of search results. To ensure that you’re using good practices for SEO, some key elements are:
- Create a specific keyword
- If you want to rank high, try to think of a focus keyword that isn’t necessarily widely used. For example, if you write an article about whole foods, using the focus keyword “whole foods” won’t get you a high rank. The major company, Whole Foods will take up at least the first two results, maybe even the whole first page.
- Don’t use a keyword more than once
- In addition to having a specific keyword, you want to make sure you use each one only once. If you use the same keyword more than once, then you’ll be competing with your own posts for rankings in the search results page
- Use multiple links in your post
- If you link to other pages (external links) or your own pages (internal links), this can help with a higher rank. The more traffic that your website receives means the more important that Google will see it, and therefore rank it higher on the search results page.
- Add meta data
- Meta data is the small summary of your post that appears in black on the Google search results page. You want to make sure your meta data uses your keyword, and gives information that will make users want to click on your post.
- Think about your language
- If you want your page or post to show up in search results, you need to use the correct language. This means that your keyword, title of your post, and your meta data need to be written in language that answers the questions being searched for. So take time to think about what search results page you would want to be found on
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Myths About Blogging for Business
I'll admit, I didn't know much about blogging for business (or even that businesses wrote blogs!) before I started writing them myself. But I think there are some things that may seem like rules for successful posts that aren't true. Of course it's different for everyone, especially depending on your experience and the type of content you're writing. However, some myths that I think people believe about blogging for business are:
It can't be personal
False! I definitely thought that writing a blog for a business's website meant that it had to be strictly business and informative. But the truth is, each different business has its own voice and its own style. Depending on the site, they may want their blog posts to be very personal and open for their users. And others may even want you to write from your own voice, too.
It's easy to get the hang of
This is also untrue. It seems like many people think that writing comes easily. But for those of us who actually write the posts and articles, we know that's not how it works. Especially if you're just starting out, or writing in multiple styles and voices! Getting the hang of blogging for business can take some time. Don't worry! The more you write, the more comfortable you'll be with jumping into new posts.
It doesn't take much work
Definitely false! People who look at your posts will only see your best version, so they might think you can just spit out perfection on your first try. So of course it seems like writing blogging for business doesn't take much work- those readers don't see your 20+ revisions and hours of research/editing! And yes, some blog posts will take more time than others, but that doesn't mean that you don't put in work for all of them!
Most Importantly, Don't Forget Your Voice!
Your voice is the most important tool that you have when it comes to writing content. It's why you were chosen to write the post in the first place! So while you may have to change your style depending on the business or the topic of the post, keep in mind that your voice still matters. Now that doesn't necessarily mean you can insert your own humor or opinions when blogging for businesses, but you're far likely to enjoy writing if you don't feel like you have to sacrifice your ideas or processes. Having your own unique voice will help a lot of other parts of the blogging for business process as well. It can help you tackle your writer's block, have good readability, and seem authentic to readers.
Get Help Blogging for Business
Have more questions? Start a conversation with us to learn more about blogging for business and optimizing your posts.