If you have been wondering how to start a business blog for your manufacturing company, you are not alone. Even B2B companies new to digital marketing are now becoming aware of the benefits of establishing an online voice. You can reach exponentially more business prospects by discussing topics that help them make informed decisions. What’s not to love?
Of course, as with all new ventures, there is a learning curve. Fortunately, it’s not too steep.
Read on to learn the fundamental first baby steps of conceptualizing and starting a blog. By the end, you'll not just take baby steps -- you'll hit the ground running.
Note: If you think you’re ready for the big-boy/girl version of these steps, check out this article instead (video included!).
How to Start a Business Blog: 6 Baby Steps
1. Pick a platform.
Every business blog needs a platform to work on -- a place where you can:
- Construct a website
- Add content
- Integrate social media
- Track performance
There are free platforms, like WordPress, and paid platforms, like HubSpot. As with so many things, you tend to get better features when you invest a little, and with these platforms, you can expect the same.
WordPress is a tried and true platform, but it can be confusing and difficult when you want to get a site up for your business and keep track of how it is doing. With HubSpot, you have to pay for access, but with that fee, you get a platform that is more streamlined and integrated into other aspects of digital marketing and sales.
2. Decide on your audience.
In marketing, it’s usually most effective to choose a specific audience to speak to. There’s a core group of “ideal customers” more likely to be looking for your products than others.
By targeting them you can generate more conversions than you would with a generalized approach.
Once you have an idea of who you are speaking to, you can create buyer personas that will help you target your blog most effectively. Personas help you spend more time focusing on the people most likely to help your business grow.
Please, do not skip this step and go straight to blogging. Doing so means you’re more likely to be speaking to the wrong people, reducing the ROI your content marketing.
3. Decide on your voice.
Everyone uses different “voices” when speaking to different audiences. If you’re telling your 7-year-old daughter about a scary car accident you witnessed, you’re probably using a different tone than you would with your best friend. Reading the room and settling on the appropriate tone is also important for blogging.
Knowing the kind of voice to use becomes easier when you have a good picture of your buyer personas. With personas clarified, you can decide exactly how you would like to speak to those buyers. If you are selling components for tech companies, you want to be more techy -- maybe even a little nerdy. If you are selling farm equipment, you will want to speak in a more homey, salt-of-the-earth kind of way.
4. Brainstorm topics to write about.
You may have a lot of ideas already, especially if you know if information about your company’s niche is lacking on the internet. Even if you’re always thinking of ideas, though, you still want a system that keeps feeding you new topics.
- Grill your sales team about what prospects and customers are asking them.
- Read newsletters and other industry publications.
- Check out competitors’ websites and blogs (just don’t plagiarize).
- Use keyword research to find out what’s trending.
- Take broad industry trends and news and show their impact on your customers.
What are the things you do that make you stand out from your competitors the most? Above all else, it may help to focus on topics that guide prospects toward your specific solutions.
5. Decide on a theme & layout.
Every website and blog needs a theme, but don’t overthink it. It’s better to pick something simple and get rolling ASAP than to spend a month deliberating on a design. The sooner you get blog posts up, the sooner they can rank in Google searches.
6. Get ready for primetime.
With everything ready to go, you just need to pick a domain name -- www.something.com -- and get rolling. Consider how you are going to promote your posts as well, such as using social media and email newsletters.
Blogging Gets Easier!
Even if it seems intimidating now, know that blogging is something any business can do.
Follow these steps and take your first stab at it. Perseverance and adherence to a consistent blog-posting schedule will ensure you create something that helps your business grow. Watching your new baby grow into a full-fledged lead generator can be a beautiful thing!