Your blog can be one hell of a business promotion tool for your tech startup, or it can be a colossal waste of time. So if you’re going to use one, make sure you understand the right route to a well-crafted business blog, genuinely effective blog promotion, and how to use it to get the exact results you desire.
These 14 steps will set you on the right path to tech success, and they’re adapted from the stories of blogs that have made it. Read until the last point, as the best ones are near the finish – especially number 11!
- Just begin… start messy, it works
The beautiful thing about a blog is how adaptable and changeable it is as you go along. So you can start messy, it’s fine. The biggest thing that destroys blogging success is fear of publishing, and wanting to start perfect. Well there is no such thing as perfect, and the best way to get good at blogging is to learn from experience. So add that blog page to your site, think of a topic, write the post and publish it. Right now.
Then you can begin to develop the idea…
- Learn from blogs you love
Collect five blogs you just love, and five blog posts you love too. And ask: ‘Why do I love them?’
Perhaps it’s the tone of voice, the post content, the visual aspects of the blog. Perhaps it’s the story, or the resources they give you, the length of the posts, or how well recommended and well shared it is.
When you start thinking like this and analysing what works for you, you’ll begin to develop great ideas for your own blog.
- Choose topics your prospects care about
Write down the biggest questions and problems your clients have. Sit down and write out as many as possible, especially any questions you have heard about regularly.
If you can, ask your prospects or existing clients what their biggest problems are today. Carry a notebook around with you, or use Evernote on your smartphone. Begin to jot down post ideas wherever you go.
- Practice turning topics into strong headers
Take those topics and turn them into powerful, gripping headlines following simple rules of copywriting.
Firstly, study posts that draw you in, noticing patterns. Copy them.
Secondly, study guides on how to do it. Like this one from ProBlogger.
Thirdly, use templates – they work! You can quite happily use these 100 blog post templates for all your posts for the next 6 months.
- Don’t hold back
A huge mistake many tech business bloggers do is holding back on their best advice, tips, info and tools. Don’t hold back – give the very best content you possibly can. This is what will make readers love you and share what you put out there.
- Tell your story
Prepare the story of your tech startup and product(s). Your blog is the voice of your company, something to connect with the prospect and build a relationship, to make you human. And also to help journalists understand what you’re about.
As you speak through your blog, you will be telling your story, and drawing them in. So make it a good one!
- Prepare the visual appeal
If you already have a site, which you should, then the blog can just blend with that existing image. Content beats image in blogging, but just make sure you’re not turning people off.
- Prepare your voice
You want to be conversational, and real. Leave the corporate speak and big words at the door. And especially keep the salesman in you quiet, except on a very subtle level. There’s a time and a place for the hard sell.
The key to a successful business blog is building trust. Your tone of voice has to be trustworthy and relatable. Notice how our posts are written in the same language we speak in, using the same words, simple and direct.
- Encourage conversation, don’t just preach
You’re teaching and solving problems, but always think how you can turn the posts into a two-way conversation. At least ask for comments and thoughts at the end of each post.
- Regularity, regularity, regularity
Be like clockwork. One post a week or two posts a week. Don’t be sporadic, or people will forget about you or get confused. Or a tech journalist will take a look at your blog just on a day when you haven’t posted for two weeks, and they’ll think you’re not serious.
- Use influencers – they will help you
Out of every ten successful business blogs, nine used influencers and their fellow bloggers to boost them up there. Don’t be the one out of ten who slogs it out the hard way for seven years. There are bloggers out there in your niche with thousands of followers, all potential readers and customers for you.
Help them, work with them, and they will link to you and send you some of those thousands.
Firstly, you can guest post. This works incredibly well – don’t be afraid to ask the big names in your industry if you can contribute to their blogs. Here’s a great guide to guest posting.
Secondly, mention other people’s great posts all the time, like I’m doing in this post. Then after you publish your post, just send a quick message to that blogger saying you mentioned them. They will appreciate it and quite often tell their followers about the post, linking back to you.
Thirdly, create lists of resources, blogs and posts on topics, and even contact big lists of influencers and ask them for a short opinion on a huge issue for your readers. Here is a great guide post on how to get influencers working for you like that. And here is an excellent example post.
Always remember, they are people just like you. Help them and they will help you too!
- Systematically market your posts
Have a system to market your posts. Without this, it’s almost not worth doing. Whenever you post, tweet about it a few times over the next few days, post about it on Facebook, linking back to it, and on LinkedIn, Google+. Everywhere.
It’s a funnel. The goal is to bring people to your blog post, and then for them to build a relationship with you and eventually buy from you. Never forget the purpose of each post.
- Be patient and persistent
This process takes time, and a good business blog is a commitment for years! If you don’t want to build an incredibly valuable resource centre for your customers to benefit from in years to come, don’t bother!
Results may come fast, or they may come slow. But be persistent, and they will come.
- Study guides, become a pro
Never stop reading other blogs, and reading about how to blog. Make it a genuine interest, and you will keep up to date with all the most powerful techniques and tricks of the trade. And you’ll never be short of ideas either. Here is a good guide on how to get started.
But like I said in point 1, don’t become a learning addict who never takes action. If you’re gonna blog, start messy, and start now!
Got any questions about how to build your business blog?
Ask away, always happy to help!