10 Tips for Starting a Business Blog That’s Built to Scale

No enterprise SEO strategy is complete without plans to build out an engaging and informative blog.

Aside from adding depth to websites, blogs help businesses reach potential customers through organic search, establish expertise, authority, and trust.

However, brands won’t reap the benefits of business blogging unless you invest the required time and resources to develop a blog strategy that’s sustainable and scalable.

To bring in a consistent stream of traffic and compete with others in your industry, your business needs to publish blog content regularly, address industry trends as they emerge, and follow the best practices for SEO that evolve along with Google’s algorithms and guidelines.

While you and your team may start small, long-term planning is the only way to set your new blog up for success.

When setting the foundation for your enterprise blog, always bear in mind longevity and scalability, which you can accomplish with the following tips.

1. Determine a Direction to Scale In

As with any marketing campaign or project, you need to determine clear objectives for your blog’s expansion before strategizing.

First and foremost, you have to define what scalability and scaling up means for your blog and brand.

Choosing a direction of growth for your blog should be a part of big-picture planning, not just a content marketing project.

The company’s sales objectives, geographic markets, languages, and plans for future marketing campaigns should all inform your blog’s blueprint.

Based on these factors and the resources you have available, you can focus your efforts on scaling your blog in one (or more) of these areas:

  • Post Volume: The number and quality of posts can eat up available team time considerably.
  • Depth into a Specific Niche or Subtopic: Start with one subject and then expand into others is a critical scale factor. Do you need expert reviewers and how many?
  • Count of Targeted Audiences: Identify a target demographic and create content that addresses their interests, then expand to the next.
  • Media Type: The type of media created can impact the amount of time or resources needed. Available resources will determine the content type (e.g. video, written, design, etc.).
  • Geographic Target: Starting with which city, state, country (or combinations thereof) you want to target can be a factor, but not for all.
  • Languages: This variable can require interpreting services, and expert interpreters can be costly.

2. Identify the Smallest Addressable Market (SAM)

Many businesses never gain momentum with blogging because they cast their net too wide in an attempt to reach more readers.

Too often, companies start by targeting keywords with the highest search volume only to realize that they’re too competitive for a new blog to rank on them.

Or, content developers try to cater their articles toward too broad of an audience resulting in generic, unimaginative posts.

To launch a scalable, sustainable, and successful blog, start by setting tangible goals and creating high-quality content that serves a small group of highly engaged readers.

Plan to scale up once you have a satisfied and loyal following.

This strategy derives from the smallest viable audience approach, a theory presented by Seth Godin in his book This Is Marketing.

In an interview with Forbes, Godin explained why this concept works:

“The problem with the largest possible audience is you can’t reach them, you can’t delight them, you can’t matter to them… If you can find an audience of people who, if they were to care about you, if they were to embrace you, if they were to dance with you, it would be sufficient to propel you to the next step, begin there. And if what you make and share with them is amazing, they will tell the others.”

SEO and content marketing tools like BuzzSumo can help you identify your ideal audience and generate content that interests them, meets their needs, and answers their questions.

BuzzSumo’s Content Discovery and Content Research tools can help you select keywords you can realistically rank for, monitor trends that your readers care about, and explore content gaps among your industry competitors.

3. Choose Your KPIs Carefully

Once you’ve chosen a path for growth and identified your blog’s target audience, determine how you’ll measure the success of your efforts.

As explored in the first tip on this list, scaling up may have a unique meaning to your blog, so standard key performance indicators may not provide any real performance insight.

Depending on the growth model you pursue and strategies you employ, informative KPIs could include:

  • Ranking for relevant keywords with high search volume and high competition.
  • Ranking for relevant keywords with lower search volume but less competition.
  • Publishing content on a consistent basis.
  • Maintaining a certain number of readers from the audience you chose to target.
  • Earning backlinks from other authoritative sites.
  • Engagement with your content in the comments or on social media.
  • Driving traffic to other pages on your site.
  • Converting readers to customers.

4. Build an Internal & External Team

Supporting a blog requires a wide range of skills, including writing, editing, SEO optimization, link building & distribution, photography, videography, web design, and graphic design, to name a few.

Depending on the size of your business, you may not have a team that can take on all aspects of launching, maintaining, and promoting a blog.

If you don’t have all of these resources internally, don’t stress.

Many thriving blogs run on contributions from both internal employees and contract or freelance workers.

While you’ll likely want to keep management and strategic roles in-house, you can build out a network of dependable freelancers who write content, create graphics, produce videos, or manage social media accounts.

As long as your team enforces deadlines, provides detailed direction, and maintains high editorial standards (more on that in the next tip), there’s no reason you can’t outsource these tasks.

Moreover, it will likely cost less than producing all content in-house.

Another form of outsourcing that can go a long way to building trust in your brand is working with subject matter experts, credentialed professionals, or high-profile individuals in your industry.

Google’s algorithms prioritize pages that demonstrate expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (also known as E-A-T), especially for posts that influence consumer and lifestyle decisions or “your money or your life” (YMYL) content.

If an independent, qualified expert creates content for your blog (or even just reviews it before publishing) you can include their bio on the page, lending legitimacy to the article.

5. Set the Tone With a Comprehensive Creative Brief

Create clear guidelines that help creators adhere to the company’s brand.

This is particularly important if you outsource different stages of the blog content production process.

Sharing an in-depth creative brief with anyone who contributes to your blog helps ensure consistency in all forms of content and in every post.

A comprehensive creative brief should include:

  • A general description of the business and the products or services it provides.
  • A complete description of the blog’s target audience and target personas.
  • An overview of the blog’s scope, strategy, objectives, and milestones.
  • A list of competitor blogs.
  • Detailed guidelines for written content, including tone, style, formatting, and keyword use, plus examples that demonstrate these expectations.
  • Detailed guidelines for all visual content, such as color palettes, design themes, image, and video formatting, etc.
  • Descriptions and expectations for each type of blog deliverables, such as infographics and long-form articles.

It’s important to note that many elements that you include in the initial creative brief may change over time.

To maintain scalability, you’ll want to update the creative brief in response to new product or service offerings, the expansion or evolution of your target audience, industry trends, Google algorithm updates, or any other major shift in the business or blog.

6. Leverage Management & Development Tools

Like any other marketing endeavor, maintaining a blog should be data-driven and systematic.

You’ll need to analyze search and performance data to determine what content to post and when, and project management tools to keep development and publishing on track.

A few recommended tools for launching and scaling a blog include:

Project Management & Collaboration

Your company likely already uses software for project management and collaboration within departments and across teams, and you can easily integrate blog production and maintenance into the mix.

If you don’t already use a project management platform, consider Monday.com, Asana, Trello, or Wrike.

Content Calander

When it comes to enterprise blogging, scalability means longevity. An advanced content calendar allows you to flesh out the details of individual blog posts and also gives you a 30,000-foot view of your blog strategy plans for growth.

Popular content calendar tools include Upland, HubSpot Editorial Calendar, CoSchedule, the WordPress Editorial Calendar plugin, and GatherContent.

Keyword Research & Topic Ideation

Thorough keyword research is central to any successful blog.

In order to rank on Google Search results pages or to reach your target audience, you need to meet people where they are by creating content that focuses on the terms they search and questions they ask.

In other words, keyword research and content ideation go hand-in-hand.

For keyword research (as well analytics and tracking), you can aggregate data from numerous tools, including:

  • Google Keyword Planner.
  • Google Trends.
  • Google Analytics.
  • Google Search Console.
  • Ahref Keyword Explorer.
  • Moz Keyword Explorer.
  • SEMRush Keyword Research.
  • Competitive Research tools.
  • KWFinder by Mangools.

On the content topic ideation side, these are all invaluable:

  • BuzzSumo’s Content Discovery and Content Research tools.
  • Ahrefs’ Content Explorer.
  • Answer the Public.
  • SEMRush’s Content Marketing Topic Research tool.
  • Keyword.io scraping feature.

7. Embrace Automation

The tools described above make communication, organization, and research, and analysis easier, but these tasks still require human decision-making and creativity.

Many other actions, such as publishing, only require setup – automated software can do the rest.

Automating these processes not only saves time and money but ensures consistency.

Uniformity in your blog posts and the related promotional materials will help build your brand by establishing recognition on trust among readers.

Improving the efficiency of blog maintenance and promotion gives you the availability to scale up quickly, even with limited resources.

To set your blog up for success, you can automate these tasks from the very beginning.

  • Social Media Management: Tools like Buffer, Hootsuite, and Click to Tweet can help you format and schedule promotional posts to numerous social media platforms.
  • Email Marketing: Email marketing tools like MailChimp, Drip, and Sendinblue let you create unique email audiences and automate the distribution of promotional emails like blog update alerts and newsletters.

8. Lighten the Load with Artificial Intelligence

Want to take blogging efficiency one step further?

Many content writers now use tools with artificial intelligence to improve the quality of their work while reducing production time and costs.

Your blog or content marketing team still needs staff writers or freelancers who bring creativity and unique perspectives, but artificial intelligence can polish the edges and fine-tune their work.

Content Gaps & Opportunities

While the keyword research and topic generation tools described above are useful, they still require manual input and analysis from a member of your team.

Even if you have software to collect and organize the data, you need a trained eye to interpret it and strategize content around it.

Now, artificial intelligence tools like Crayon and BrightEdge can do the strategizing for you and recommend specific content to produce based on gaps in the market. Plus, they can process mass amounts of data in real-time.

Spelling, Syntax, & Grammar

Writing is a creative process, but that doesn’t mean content can’t be analyzed and enhanced by artificial intelligence.

You can use tools like Grammarly, Hemmingway Editor, and Acrolinx to detect issues around spelling and grammar, tone, professionalism, and clarity, and to make recommendations for improvement.

Plugins like Yoast and SEOPresscan help you optimize titles, subheaders, text length, and keyword usage.

9. Produce Your Own Data

An informative blog is one that is useful for your audience or customer base as well as other businesses and experts in your community.

One of the most effective ways to become a resource or reference within your industry is to conduct original research that produces data, statistics, and industry-wide insights.

For example, your team can work with an independent research company to conduct a survey with a representative sample of your audience.

If the survey explores your industry’s essential questions and trending topics and you present the results in graphs, infographics, guides, and case studies, your blog posts will attract links, boosting site rank and traffic.

10. Build Relationships with Influencers Early

No matter how useful or well-produced your blog posts are, they won’t help your site if they aren’t searchable and sharable.

Influencers in your industry can help you with both by amplifying and attaching their names to your content.

You don’t need years of previous posts to convince an influencer to promote your blog – you can engage them from the very beginning.

With a solid pitch and outreach strategy, you can secure influencer support even in the early stages of your blog’s development.

To get started, try focusing your influencer outreach campaign on individuals with niche interests.

The principles of targeting your smallest addressable market apply to influencer and social media impact as well.

While it may be a bit too ambitious to pitch an influencer with hundreds of thousands of followers and broad appeal, you’ll likely have success reaching out to an influencer with very niche expertise and a small but loyal following.

Scalable Blogging Feeds Your Onsite SEO

Onsite SEO thrives off up-to-date, useful, and unique blog content.

It is through their blogs that many businesses bring in traffic, establish their brand, develop their thought leadership, and attract links.

Large-scale blogs not only bring people to your site but they keep them there, ultimately increasing the chances of a sales conversion.

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Image Credits

Featured image by author, February 2021