In Business Blogging Part 1, we discussed what you need to do to find and land those coveted business blogging clients. In this blog post we’ll talk about actually keeping those clients. Below are the steps you need to take to ensure that your clients stay happy and give you repeat assignments.
Ask a lot of questions
While it may be tempting to just dive straight into writing the moment you get hired, it’s important to first take the time to get to know your client and their customers. Aside from covering the basics (i.e. what the business is all about, fees, deadlines, keywords, etc.), ask more detailed and specific questions so you can really drill down on your client’s wants and needs.
Here are a few suggestions:
- Who is your target audience/customers? (Age, sex, demographic, psychographic, etc.)
- What are your blogging goals? (More traffic, more followers, leads, etc.)
- Who are your competitors?
- Could you please send me a list of blogs that you DO like? What specifically are the things that you like about them?
- Could you please send me a list of blogs that you DON’T like? What specifically are the things that you dislike about them?
- What is it about your existing blog that you like or don’t like?
- What kind of voice or tone would you like me to use?
The answers to these questions will help you get a clear grasp of what your blogging gig is all about and will enable you to craft better, more spot-on posts.
Don’t assume anything. Even if an answer seems obvious, ask anyway. Scared that you’d look like a fool if you ask too many questions? Don’t be. Businesses actually appreciate it when you take the time to grill them with inquiries. It demonstrates your openness to learning and shows that you care about their company.
Be an idea-generating machine
A huge part of a blog’s success lies in the ideas and topics that it covers, so make sure your ideas are good.
Remember when you asked the client all about their target audience and customers? Do as much research as you can about them. Who are they? What are their likes and dislikes? What are their problems or frustrations? Find the answers to these questions and address them in your posts.
Generating ideas is also a whole lot easier and more effective when you know what’s going on in the industry that you’re writing about so make it a point to keep up with the latest news, trends, or events. Follow the thought leaders in the field and see what they’re writing about.
Also subscribe to industry newsletters using SmartBrief or any other service so you can get a daily dose of news and insights straight to your inbox.
Write kick-ass content
This is pretty self-explanatory, but let me say this: The best blog posts are actionable, inspiring, educational, entertaining, or all of the above. Try to incorporate any of these qualities in every article that you write. The more the better.
Optimize your posts for maximum visibility and shareability
Your job as the company blogger doesn’t–and shouldn’t–end with you just writing a post and hitting the submit button. You also need to ensure that the content gets seen, commented on, and shared as much as possible.
Here are a few tactics to help you do just that:
1. Come up with compelling headlines – You can write the best article ever, but if it’s accompanied by a boring headline, it won’t get clicked let alone shared or commented on. Make your headlines as irresistible as you can. Also go back to the research you have about your target audience and incorporate their language or tone into your posts’ titles.
2. Get others to link back and share – How? By including them in your articles. Ask your client if you can conduct interviews with members outside the company. Reach out to industry experts whose opinions will add value to your posts and let them have their say.
Or you can try tapping into the customer base of your client. Who has your client helped? What other companies do they do business with? See if you can reach out to these businesses and individuals for a blog feature or case study.
When your post goes live, send the link to your interviewees and encourage them to share it. Chances are, they would be more than happy to do so because they’re part of the article.
3. Moderate and encourage comments and social shares – This is another extension of your duties as a blogger. Encourage people to weigh in and share your posts. You can do this by asking questions at the end of your articles to prompt people to leave their two cents. The same thing goes for social shares. Tell people to tweet and share your posts to maximize social mileage.
When the comments and shares start coming, dutifully monitor and respond to them. Thank those who took the time to tweet and blast it out on Facebook or Google+.
Also be sure to address reader comments with thoughtful responses. For more tips, you can check out this awesome post by Gary Korisko on how to answer comments like a pro.
Track and refine as you go
Once your posts are out there, monitor their performance. Ask your client if you can take a peek at their analytics, so you can keep an eye on metrics such as traffic, comments, and shares. (If you can’t access their analytics, you can still track social engagement via comments, tweets, shares, etc.)
Find out which posts did well and why. Which topics resonated most with the audience? Are list posts more popular than case studies? Which articles received the most comments and what do they have in common?
The answers to these questions will help you determine the most effective posts or approaches for the blog. Use those insights to craft better content and strategies so you can generate great results.
What do you think of these strategies? What are your own techniques that boost the performance of your blog posts? Share your thoughts in the comments below.