The question in the search landscape is no longer "should I blog", but "how can I blog more effectively"?

According to Search Engine Watch, blogging isn’t going away anytime soon. Winning in today’s ever-evolving SEO landscape requires a strategy for producing consistent, fresh content on your domain. 

Blogs make for perfect platforms to accomplish this goal – updating a site with fresh, relevant, and SEO-friendly content.

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In essence, a blog is a strong way of telling Google, “Hey, we are here. We are experts in this industry and a lot of people listen to us.”

Most of us get that. Few of us practice it. If you’re really going to leverage a blog to its' full and actual potential, you’ve got to get serious about the execution.

Here are 7 steps you can’t live without as you create a blog that builds your business (and brand):

1. Make blogging a priority, not an after-thought.

HOW: Assign someone on your team to create one blog post per week, encouraging them to spend at least two hours on each post. Don’t make it mandatory overtime; inspire them to passionately represent your business by taking something else of their daily to-do list. Create a calendar that tracks posting dates, and create a shared document to drop article ideas and assignments.

2. Stop focusing on yourself.

HOW: Create content that legitimately helps your typical customer. An easy way to do this is to talk with your sales team and generate a list of pain points in the buying process. Create a series of blog posts that helps educate your customers and clients to understand things they are confused by. Encourage them to comment on the post with their questions, and be available to respond when they do.

3. Stop obsessing over keywords.

HOW: Write naturally about your industry and share your expertise. Don’t allow keywords to determine your subject matter; but allow experience and interests to drive your conversation. This allows you to hit targeted keywords, while incorporating phrases that people are more likely to search.

4. Become an expert sharer in your community.

HOW: Small businesses have an excellent advantage in providing content that is both local and personal. For example, if you sell a service, talk about the different ways that service is affected or utilized in your city. Share “insider” information that tips the scales in your customer’s favor, serving to educate them in your industry, trade, or product. You’re audience will appreciate you more for pointing their attention respectively, which means they’ll keep listening when you share.

5. Promoting is as important as producing. Take it seriously.

HOW: We recommend investing in a social media management tool to make your social footprint strategic, such as Hootsuite. Hootsuite allows users to manage all of their social networks in a single dashboard and, most importantly, schedule out multiple posts for the future. When publishing a blog, take 10 minutes to create 4 scheduled facebook posts and 4 scheduled tweets that will promote your post throughout the week.

6. Optimize smartly for SEO.

HOW: Think strategically about the titles of your posts, staying away from generic descriptions by using terminology that people actually use when they search for your product or service. Hunt for opportunities to link your content internally – focusing on finding natural connections that provide your audience with valuable information. Utilize “H1” tags to enhance the credibility of your post title, and to encourage readers to stay tuned in to the content.

7. Don’t be a rockstar. Being diligent is way better.

HOW: Stop obsessing over perfection and attracting large crowds. Rather, focus on being personal and helpful. Create a schedule, and consistently adhere to a structured posting timeline. Doing so will ensure that you build an audience over time, while continually building a strong database of relevant and valuable content for both SEO purposes and human interaction.

Final Thoughts

In today’s digital environment, nearly every website features a blog. The number one thing that most blogs have in common is this: they are terrible. They are often filled with fluff content that’s designed to trick search robots into improving the rank of their websites, or they are offensively self-promotional and boring.

With Google’s consistently evolving algorithm updates, quality content is an increasingly vital ingredient in a robust and powerful SEO strategy. Stuff your blog not with keywords, but with relevant and helpful content. In so doing, you will reap inspired allegiance from both search engines and consumers alike. Now is the time to start obsessing about the content that lives on your blog.

Have you tried blogging for your business? What would you add to the list above? What’s holding you back, if you’ve yet to create a blog for your business?