The Top 10 List of Business Blogging Tools

Between all those meetings, status updates, reports, and actual work, who’s got time to keep the business blog stocked with great content?

Well, you should.

Here’s the Top 10 List of Business Blogging Tools that’ll help you do that and much more.

1. Highlight your archived content

Previously published content that’s valuable, insightful, and chock full of great info for your audience is good to read any time. That’s why it’s often called evergreen content. It’s always good and never goes bad.

The issue with your archived content is that it’s constantly being pushed down the page by your new content. There’s nothing wrong with the content, it just happened to get published first.

To revive and re-use them, add a related posts plugin to your website (if you’re using WordPress.) A related posts plugin will display and link to additional posts related to the current content a visitor is reading. The two most popular are Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARPP) and Outbrain. YARPP displays only posts from your business blog, while Outbrain can display both your content and external site content that’s relevant.

Keep in mind that these types of plugins may slow down your site, so give them a try first and see how yours responds.

2. Edit images in Canva

Canva is a great online tool that lets you edit images quickly and easily. Upload your own images, then add text and other graphics easily. Download it as a jpeg and you’re all set in minutes.

Edit in Canva - Business Blogging Tool

3. Improve your writing

Whether writing for your business blog is your main job or just one of the many things you do at work, we could all use some help improve our writing. The newer writing tools out there not only help you with the basics like spelling and grammar, but will also check for more subtle things like your use of passive sentence construction and the number of adverbs you’ve used. Assess your writing quickly with Hemingway, which is free or Grammarly, which has both a free and paid version.

4. Discover new blog ideas

Give your audience what they want and they’ll keep coming back to your blog over and over. But where can you find out what they’re most interested in? Check out Google Trends to see what the hottest search topics are. Use BuzzSumo to find out what the most popular blog posts are for a particular topic. Just type in a topic and it’ll show you the top-performing posts, including how many social shares it got, as well as which social media influencers shared it (plus a lot more.)

5. Stop comment spammers

Blog comments are great for building relationships with your audience, answering questions, and just connecting with new people. They’re also an easy target for spammers who are just looking for a backlink to a questionable site. Install a comment anti-spam plugin or use an online commenting service like Disqus or LiveFyre to stop them in their tracks.

Stop comment spam with Disqus - Business Blogging Tool
Disqus helps you stop spam on your business blog

6. Optimize for SEO and Social Media with One Plugin

And that would be the WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast. It’s been downloaded over 14 million times and is free. Yes, free. Get immediate content analysis of your posts for your keyword and set up your Facebook and Twitter messages without having to leave your blog post draft. It lets you adjust the SEO data for both your site overall and your business blog posts in particular, and did I mention that it’s free?

7. Use quality images

You already know that you should have good, quality images in your business blog posts, so where can you find them? There’s the usual places like iStock and Big Stock Photos, as well as Flickr and CompFight. I recently discovered Pixabay and Pexels, which also have some great HD quality photos that are good for blogs.

As always when it comes to using images and photos, please be sure to check out the usage terms and abide by it.

8. Generate captivating headlines

There’s a good reason for all the posts, books, articles, talks, webinars, courses, and classes on how to write headlines; it can be really hard to do well. Good resources to look at include: Jon Morrow‘s Headline Hacks and Copyblogger’s How to Write Magnetic Headlines.

And if you’re looking for some headline fun, check out Portent’s Content Idea Generator. Here’s what it came up with for this post:

Portent's Content Idea Generator - Use it for business blogging

9. Pre-populate social media messages

Make it even easier for your readers to share your content by using plugins that will help them send out messages directly from your business blog post. Plugins like Click to Tweet from CoSchedule draw your readers to the content you want tweeted most with a visual cue like a button or special highlighting. Others like Click to Tweet let you set up the message to send out, including a shortened link to your post.

10. Upgrade your email newsletter provider

Many marketing automation tools have email newsletter capabilities built right in, so this may not apply to you. But if you don’t have a provider right now, then it’s time to get one. Your email list is the lifeblood of any business, large or small. Try MailChimp, Aweber, GetResponse, or MadMimi and see which one works best for you.

 

Create Recurring Value with Your Business Blog

In a benchmark study of HubSpot customers, they found that ones that blog 15+ times per month get 5 times the traffic than the ones that don’t blog at all.

Five. Times.

While part of that is because they’re putting out a lot of great, valuable content for their audience, the other reason is a little more subtle. The more blog posts you publish, the more you have in your archive. And your archive can produce just as much, if not more, traffic to your blog and site as your fresh content.Create recurring value with your business blog

Wait, what?

You read that right: your archived blog posts can give you just as much, OR MORE, web traffic than your new content. Especially when you’re publishing valuable posts every time.

You want to create recurring, lasting value with each and ever blog post, offering insight and information that your audience craves.

How to create recurring value from your old blog posts

Without any extra effort

Start with the search engines. They constantly send you traffic regardless of when you published the post. Each business blog post is a considered as a new page on your website, which gives it another chance to be indexed by the search engines.

Recurring value with SEO

If you’ve optimized each post for SEO, and included some nice images + ALT tags with keywords, you’ll enjoy the benefits of your blog post long after it was first published. That goes for both regular posts and evergreen ones too.

Add in social media sharing buttons to your business blog and your older content gets out there even more. Readers who like your content and appreciate its value are going to share it regardless of when you published it.

With minimal effort

Promote your older content any chance you get. Schedule a quick series of social media messages to blast out links to the old content on a regular basis (I do this every Friday on Twitter with my “From the Spc-Files” tweets.)

Ideally you should use different compelling headlines with each message, but you could even just use the same one. Much like the syndicated sitcom on TV, you’ll just be sending out the same message every time. It works for them, so it can work for you.

With a bit more effort

If you’re in the groove and really want to mine the value from your old business blog posts, then how about using it to build your email list? Simply take one of your post headlines and turn it into the opening line on your email sign-up form. Once the reader’s handed over their name and email address, redirect them to the blog post, where they’ll get the great content you promised if they signed up.

There’s still life in the old business blog

You don’t just publish blog posts and then forget about them. Use them to your advantage and wring every drop of value they have. Whether you just want to do the minimum for your old posts, or really go to town on them, they’ll deliver for you forever. Start them off right and they’ll be the gift that keeps on giving.

#MondayFun – Filmmaker Roberto Benigni

Painting of Johnny Stecchino by Borbay
Painting of Johnny Stecchino by Borbay

What It Is

This week marks the last film in the Roberto Benigni & Nicoletta Braschi retrospective at the Italian Contemporary Film Festival here in Toronto. I try to watch the occasional Italian film just to keep up with my Italian language skills, however I tend to watch the movies at home. Yet I may make an exception this time around. Tomorrow night they’re showing Johnny Stecchino, which is my favourite Roberto Benigni film.

Why I Like It

Johnny Stecchino was my introduction to the whirlwind that is Roberto Benigni. You probably remember him best for his crazy Oscar acceptance speech for Life is Beautiful (“La Vita è Bella”), or rather, for his journey to the stage for his Oscar. Here’s a reminder just in case you’ve forgotten:

One of the reasons that Roberto has such success with his movies worldwide is that he infuses them with a sincerity and heart that transcends the subject matter. Whether he’s talking about a serial killer in Florence (“Il Mostro“), a case of mistaken identity with a mobster (“Johnny Stecchino”) or Jewish internment (“La Vita è Bella“), there’s always heart.

But it’s in his pure comedies that Roberto really shines. Mixing great comedic timing with hilarious jokes and well-executed pratfalls, Roberto has something for everyone. If you don’t believe me, check out the trailer for “Johnny Stecchino”:

Just hilarious. So go enjoy some laughs today courtesy of Roberto. He’s hilarious in any language.

#SociallyJulia – What I’ve Been Tweeting Lately

Welcome to #SociallyJulia

aka What Julia’s Been Tweeting About Lately

I’m a big fan of social media in general, and Twitter in particular. I think it’s just a great platform to talk with others about whatever, whenever.

If you don’t follow me on Twitter @spacebarpress (and why don’t you? Come on, join in on the fun!), then here’s a list of what I’ve been tweeting about lately…

And that’s a wrap!

#MondayFun – XFiles Lego Sets

What Is It

Brent Waller is a Lego fan and artist who creates Lego sets for things he’s really passionate about (or Geeky for). Without further ado, here you are:

LEGO X-Files

Why I Like It

Yes, you guessed it: XFiles Lego sets! Who wouldn’t want to have a mini version of Mulder’s I Want to Believe poster?

I Want To Believe

Or Lego Mulder & Scully flashing their badges?
We don't need no stinking badges\

Go check out Brent’s work because it really is phenomenal.

Brent Waller’s Lego Xfiles link

The secret to high-quality business blog images (and it’s free!)

Finding royalty-free images for your business blog is always a challenge. If you’re able to get a subscription to a site like Big Stock Photo or iStockphoto, you’ve got accFree images for your business blogess to thousands of great images and vectors that you can use quite easily.

What if you don’t have a big image budget? Or no budget at all? Things get a little more complicated. However you’re not completely shut out from good quality images.

The newest free image tool for your business blog is here

And it’s not one you might’ve expected. It’s from Getty Images, the powerhouse photography company, and it’s available to use for everyone, but not everyone may know about it. Especially in the business blogging world.

It’s all about embedding the images

Getty Images launched their new embed tool about a year ago, however it hasn’t really taken off in the blogging world. I was recently reminded about it by Dave Stubbs, the Montreal Canadiens beat reporter who’s been embedding them in his tweets and articles for the Montreal Gazette.

Getty’s embed feature lets you use them on blogs, websites, and social media with the proper attribution. That’s the key here: the attribution. “Images are the communication medium of today and imagery has become the world’s most spoken language,” said Jonathan Klein, co-founder and CEO of Getty Images. The embedded images include photographer attribution and, when clicked, link back to www.gettyimages.com where the image can be licensed for commercial use.

How to embed a Getty image

The process is slightly different for websites, blogs, and social media.

Embed a Getty image on your website or blog

  1. Navigate to gettyimages.com and search for your image.
  2. Mouse over an image and click the </> icon.
  3. Copy and paste the code into your website or blog post.

Embed a Getty image on social media

  1. Navigate to gettyimages.com and search for your image.
  2. On the search results page, click an image.
  3. Mouse over the image and then click the appropriate social media network icon. A pop-up window for that network appears and you can share the image.

GettyImages

Save money and still give credit where it’s due

Getty Images embedding tool is a pretty handy tool, great for those of you with a limited images budget for your business blog, but also a good way to change things up if you do have a subscription somewhere. Have you been using it on your business blog? Link to some of your posts in the comments and I’ll check them out.

#MondayFun – French Open Tennis 2015

This Week’s Fun

It’s time for the 2015 of the French Open at Roland Garros, the second Grand Slam of the tennis calendar. And the only one on clay, aka the red terre-battue.

Why I Like It

  1. It’s a tennis grand slam, which is always fun. Plus, that means 2 whole weeks of tennis fun!
  2. It’s on clay, which means there’s the possibility of more upsets.
  3. It starts on a Sunday, so I get to watch one more day of tennis.
  4. It’s the smallest of the 4 Grand Slams in terms of footprint, which makes it interesting for fans as they don’t have to go far to see great matches.

Tennis is one of my passions, as I’ve been a lifelong fan and some time player. These days most of my tennis-related time is spent working as a tennis line umpire for Tennis Canada. Which is why I don’t write more about it as I used to on social media. Don’t want to cross any impartiality lines!

But I can still talk about my passion for the sport and encourage everyone to start watching and playing more tennis. So get out there and start swinging a racket! Or watch live tennis. There’s nothing like it.

Interview en coulisses pour des ramasseurs en quête de gloire… #InsideRG #RG15

A photo posted by Roland-Garros (@rolandgarros) on

Interview en coulisses pour des ramasseurs en quête de gloire… #InsideRG #RG15

A photo posted by Roland-Garros (@rolandgarros) on

Tennis Photogs

If you’d like to check out some great tennis sports photography, like the one I linked to above, check out these photogs:

Jimmy 48 PhotographyRob on Twitter

Ray Giubilo photography

Michael Cole photography

Michael Baz photography

Julian Finney photography – Julian on Twitter

More Images from Roland Garros here and here.

#MondayFun – DIY #StarWars Fun

This Week’s Fun

DIY Star Wars X-Wing made from office supplies.

Why I Like It

  1. It’s Star Wars.
  2. It’s fun.

And who hasn’t tried to build things with the office supplies while waiting for that conference call to start? I had almost all of these things readily available at my last full time job, and attended a ton of meetings and conference calls. My colleagues and I could’ve had mini spaceship battles as we waited. *sigh*

Why Aren’t You Using SlideShare?

Lately I’ve been doing a lot of research on different content types, and keep coming back to SlideShare. SlideShare is a great platform to share content, in particular business (or B2B) content, since that’s where a lot of business professionals hang out.

Just check out these stats on SlideShare:

  • 60 million unique visitors each month
  • 215 million page views
  • One of the 120 most-visited websites in the world

It’s one of the best places to generate website traffic for your business, and gets you credibility with search engines. Check out this edition of the Social Media Marketing podcast with Michael Stelzner, where he interviews Todd Wheatland, author of The Marketer’s Guide to SlideShare. Michael and Todd chat about how to use SlideShare to generate more exposure and leads for your business.

Ask These 10 Questions to Get More from Your Business Blog

Congrats! You’ve started (or re-started) your business blog. You’ve been writing with a clear purpose in mind, publishing content on a regular basis.

But nothing’s really happening. Upper management’s started asking about the “ROI on this blogging thing”, and you’re worried that they’re going to shut down the entire project.

Secretly you’re worried about the blog too, as it just doesn’t seem to be working out. You’ve gotten some new traffic to it, but not a lot. You’ve gotten a few leads, but not many, and they’re not converting well.

Worried about your business blog? spacebarpress.com/blog

If you’re having a hard time showing a measurable return from your business blogging efforts, it’s likely that your blogging strategy lacks direction. I’m here to help.

Here are 10 questions designed to help you assess your business blogging strategy and ensure you get the results you’re looking for.

Ask yourself these questions to improve your business blogging strategy

1 – Do I know my audience?

This is the main affliction of any business blog that’s not getting any traction. It’s easy to miss the mark on a blog audience, and a simple mistake to fix too.

Every post you create should target your buyer’s pain points and the obstacles they face. They have concerns and issues, and it’s your job to alleviate them.

You can only do this if you’ve got buyer personas all ready to go. (I’ve even given mine names, Mark and Jessica.) By clearly defining the audience you’re looking to reach, you’ll be able to create the right content for them. Use your buyer personas to guide your business blog’s topics and formats.

2 – How frequently am I posting?

How often you post has a big effect on your business blog’s traffic and lead generation abilities. For some it’s once a week, for others it’s once a day. HubSpot did a survey of their customers and found that ones that published 16+ blog posts per month got 3.5 times more traffic than those that published four or less per month. Three-and-a-half times MORE! Now who wouldn’t want that?

Keep it simple! spacebarpress.com

In case you were wondering about lead conversions, in that same HubSpot survey, they found that blogging 16+ times per month got 4.5 times more leads than those that published less than 4 per month. Again, four-and-a-half times MORE!

Take that information and build your editorial calendar accordingly (remember that quality still matters.)

3 – Is there enough variety on the blog?

Response to certain types of blog posts is always good, however it’s possible that in time, they may get tired of those posts and start to crave something else. When that happens, you can be sure they’ll turn somewhere else to get that information if you’re not providing it to them.

Experiment with different blog posts to keep your readers satisfied. It helps you cast a wider net for your audience, and attracts different types of readers and learners. Here’s a quick list of different business blog post types to get you started:

  • infographics
  • surveys
  • listicles
  • videos
  • interviews

4 –  What’s my keyword focus?

In order to find your blog, readers have to be able to find it. That means you’ve got to include keywords & phrases in your posts that they’re interested in and would search for.

Remember that search engines are looking for more natural language when it comes to providing search results. That means your business blog posts should be written in a conversational tone, and answer your audience questions.

5 – Is my information true & credible?

Publishing content online is easier than ever today. That’s why readers are often skeptical of what they read. Only 26% of respondents in an Insight Marketing survey found advertisers and marketers to be trustworthy. Ouch.

Readers today don’t hesitate from doing a little research of their own whenever they read content. Especially if it’s making grandiose claims. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t fact-check everything though.

Fact-check my business blog - spacebarpress.com/blog

When citing information, always use reliable resources to back up your content. Calling on unreliable resources can diminish the perceived value of your business in a heartbeat.

What’s a marketer to do if you can’t find any data or information to back up your content?

  • Look into your own information! We track everything these days, so why not mine your own sources and use that instead?
  • Reach out to thought leaders in your industry/market. This’ll boost your credibility as readers will associate your business with them, but you can also use the opportunity to get some quotes to strengthen your argument.

6 – Would I click on my blog post title?

Titles are the hooks that grab readers’ attention and pulls them in to your content. If they’re not working well for you, then you’re only getting 20% of the clicks that you could be getting.

Heidi Cohen came up with 5 guidelines for killer blog post titles that I think bears repeating:

  1. Provides a benefit for your readers.
  2. Has a sense of urgency.
  3. Delivers the goods.
  4. Is short & to the point.
  5. Contains your keywords.

Andrew Warner over on Boost Blog Traffic (Jon Morrow’s blog on blogging) says that the key is to be outrageous. An outrageous blog post title “whisks you from indifferent to incredulous in a split second.” While this may be true I’d caution using this tactic on a business blog. Your target audience and market will dictate whether it’s an option for you.

Your own business blog analytics will help steer you on this one. Check out which posts are getting the most clicks and reads. Do a little split testing on social media: try two different messages and see which one gets more clicks (I do this one all the time for the Blog @ Spacebarpress. Though I admit I haven’t yet combed through all my results.)

7 – Am I using the right CTA?

(Reminder: CTAs are calls-to-action)

Every blog post should educate your readers and encourage them to do something, like download a resource, contact you, sign-up for a webinar, etc. They should be moving to the next stage of your buyer’s pipeline.

CTAs do that for you, but only if it aligns with the content on the page it lives on. That is, the CTA has got to be specific and appropriate for the blog post it’s included on. Relevant CTAs will drive conversions, ones that are off-target will not.

When you first start your business blog, you may not have the right offer to include on every post. And that’s okay. It’ll become easier for you as your blog matures and you create more resources for your readers.

8 – Is my point of view unique?

Doug Kessler of Velocity Partners calls this “narrowcast time“.  Simply put, we marketers (and content marketers in particular) are pumping out so much content, that’s it getting increasingly difficult to get heard by our readers. It’s hard to be heard over all the content marketing noise out there.

Get your business blog heard above the content noise - spacebarpress.com/blog

What that means to you is writing from a unique perspective from everyone else. Sure, you can tackle the same topics others are writing about, but put your unique spin on it. Write about it from your unique perspective.

Here are a few tools you can use to find out what’s popular, and then give it your own spin: Buzzsumo, Topsy, Alltop, Google Trends, Social Crawlytics, Strip the Blog, and Content Strategy Generator by SEO Gadget.

9 – Did I answer my readers’ questions?

Before you publish your post, take a moment to determine whether you’ve answered every single question your readers might have on the topic. Every. Single. One. If you don’t, then they’ll jump off to another web page. You can hope that it’s another page on YOUR site, but chances are, it’s on a competitor’s site.

Don’t give them that chance. Some questions that’ll help you keep them on your business blog are:

  • Are there any lingering questions about the topic?
  • What helpful tools or tips am I leaving out of the post?
  • Would an example help clarify any of my points?
  • Has someone else read the post before I publish it? Like a colleague, friend, boss, or mentor?

10 – Where else can I distribute this information?

Publishing to your business blog is just one of your options. Implement a distribution strategy that gets your content in front of your ideal audience and watch your content traffic increase. You do this by publishing your content in places where they already hang out. Might be a guest post on an influencer blog, an article in a trade publication, messages on social media, or presentations on SlideShare.

The point is, if you publish where your audience hangs out, you’re increasing your odds of them coming back to your business blog and your website. Look at your marketing metrics to find out which channels to focus on. Then create content that takes advantage of those channels.

Success won’t happen overnight

Business blogging success takes time. It’s not something that will explode overnight. Answering these 10 questions will help you leverage the success you do have, and evolve it into something more. You’ll make smarter decisions about your business blog content going forward, and help it grow in the long term.

Business Blogging Success with spacebarpress.com