Lee Odden

5 Tips on Business Blogging With Minimal Resources

business blogging“Why should we have a blog?”  It’s a reasonable question.

Nevermind the fact that millions of businesses are blogging and multiples of those millions of customers are reading said blogs. In fact, 23% of the primary Fortune 500 corporations have an external corporate blog.

Blogs as a content management system make it very easy for content publishers within a company to surface informative, useful content directly to their “customers” and indirectly via search engines and social channels. Business bloggers report their activities have resulted in greater industry visibility, new customers & sales and thought leadership.

My take is that if a business has something interesting to say and stories to tell, then a blogging platform can be one of the most productive channels/methods for publishing and engaging. If not, then there are other, more important problems to solve.

For companies that are new to the idea of blogging as a brand, vs. individuals going out on their own and blogging about their professional passions, the notion of starting and maintaining corporate blog often invokes fears of being sucked into a black hole of “counterproductivity”. Writing, researching, IT support and hosting, plus marketing and measuring something that wasn’t forecast in the first place and without certain returns, can seem a lost cause.

For those optimists that are cognizant of the benefits of a blog communication channel but don’t have the forecast resources for it, here are a few tips on blogging  that will get you started in the right direction in a manageable way.

1. Become a blog reader. I can’t stress this enough. If you don’t understand blogs from an information consumption point of view, it’s debateable whether you’ll be able to produce a successful one of your own.  If you read certain magazines, newspapers or email newsletters from certain sources, try subscribing to their blogs instead – or as an alternative. That way you’re not spending additional time (outside of a few seconds subscribing) and you might even save some time.

2. Set goals for your business blog. If you don’t have a destination for your blogging effort then “time suck” will become your unwanted friend. Don’t waste time trying to serve everyone. Be purposeful in your blogging effort by identifying a few, reasonable business outcomes and timeframe.  KPIs (key performance indicators) are a good starting point for measurement that can lead to outcomes.

For example, a common business outcome for blogging might be “increase relevant traffic to the corporate website”.   A blog that publishes useful, customer centric content a few times per week gives reason to come back and to visit more detailed information on the corporate website.

Set a goal for a percentage increase in blog and keyword referred traffic to the corporate website.  Create a blog editorial plan that pays attention to linking to corporate pages from topical blog posts and use keywords in the posts and links that are relevant to the destination pages.  Over time, search engines will see those links and send more visitors to the corporate website by ranking the pages higher in search results. The links can also attract visitors directly.

The common mistake companies make is to set a goal like, “attract more blog referred traffic to the corporate website” and then start blogging personal or corporate centric information: announcements, product and press releases, PR speak and other chest beating.

Ignoring what would be of interest to customers is a FAIL when it comes to marketing, let alone blogging. How to find out what customers want on your business blog? Ask them. Ping customers in the corporate newsletter, ask them in person at events, talk to your sales and customer service departments for customer topics and trends. Look at successful competitor blogs and topically relevant industry blogs as well.  Then create an editorial plan that gives your corporate blogging effort a chance to be successful by planning blog topics that serve customer needs and indirectly, business needs. As a result, the blogging effort will be more focused, intentional and likely to result in the desired business outcomes.

3.  Create a schedule. A blog editorial plan serves multiple purposes, including putting into action the above suggestion. It also helps direct content creation for business blogs with multiple contributors. It keeps writers on track with content that will most likely meet customer and business needs.  A planned blogging editorial schedule also helps when writers run into dry periods.  Yet another benefit is that it creates a set of expected editorial for readers. It creates an element of predictability readers can count on to return to week after week.

For example, Mondays might focus on a message from the CEO or other business leader. By the way, if they won’t write it for you, call them and record a discussion on the topic. Then transcribe that recording into a blog post.  Wednesdays might be a tips post about your product or service and Fridays might be a news roundup for the week.  Tuesdays and Thursdays can be wildcards or days where you don’t post at all.

As time goes on, you can experiment with different schedules to see what works best.  Creating a schedule and executing on it does add time, but it does so in a way that makes your business blogging effort a lot more efficient and productive. Showing measurable outcomes from early wins can help you gain additional support and resources for the blogging effort.

Along those lines, why not do a little blogger outreach with some connected friends in the media? Getting mentions of your new business blog on other high profile websites or blogs can inspire internal support.

4. Be efficient with content. There are many ways to get more out of less with content creation and knowing what does well already in combination with an understanding of what your target audience is interested in is essential.

One implementation of this kind of efficiency is the Oreo cookie news post.  Set up Google or Twitter style alerts on topics you’re covering to identify potential sources. Setup the issue/topic (top of cookie), excerpt the topically relevant article/blog post (white stuff) and conclude with your own observations and a call to action for reader opinions (bottom of cooke). That’s a classic blog post and if the writer can be engaging with the setup and conclusion, it works very well for a corporate blog.

Another type of post that’s efficient is the blog review. Find ranked lists of blogs in your industry and pick a handful of blogs to review every month or whatever interval works for you. Create some basic criteria and score each blog. Include screenshots of each blog and describe what you like about them. Link to those blogs and offer a badge for them to use as “flair” if they want.  Compile all those blogs into a list.

Interviews and guest posts (from internal sources, marketing partners, customers) can be especially effective and efficient.  Writing interview questions takes time, but the responses are written for you and that can be the bulk of the post. Guest posts of course are entirely written by someone else, you simply need to source the writer and edit.

5. Make blogging a team effort. Our 7 year blog birthday for TopRank’s Online Marketing blog is coming up in a few days. After 7 years of blogging, I can tell you that very few individuals have what it takes to create unique, useful and compelling content for more than 6 months, let alone 7 years. That’s why a corporate blog really needs to be a team effort in the long run.   It might fall on the shoulders of one person to start, but a smaller amount of effort from multiple people is more interesting, expands audience reach and it’s far more sustainable.

If you’ve started a business blog and weren’t successful with it or you’re thinking of how to implement a business blog efficiently with your online marketing mix, I can’t recommend enough the expertise of the team at TopRank Marketing. Few agencies have been involved with setting up business blogs as long as they have (I mean “we” but the magic happens with the TopRank team).  Also, be sure to check out the blogging category here for numerous “how to” posts on many aspects of blogging for business.

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Lee Odden About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on B2B marketing topics including content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely running, traveling or cooking up something new.


  1. Becoming a blog reader is such a great tip. Seems obvious but SO many people don’t do it. I run a coaching program and I have been advocating this to my members. I have shown tangible proof that blog reading works in an overall online marketing strategy yet people still aren’t doing it to the degree they should be. I guess more articles like this one will continue to drive home the message.

    • Part of the issue is finding the right blogs to read. Then, how to read them – via RSS reader? via Email? via Web Browser? It depends on the person.

  2. Great article, a nice tips to all bloggers to consider.

  3. Avatar Black Seo Guy says

    I say read as many blogs as you can, because they all following some sort of format. Once you learn this format its best to following it so you can be the best position to make your readers entertained.

    “Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

  4. Lee, you knocked it out of the park on this post. It’s not very often that I run into someone who gets collaborative corporate blogging as clearly as you. I kept yelling “yes!” every time I read your next point. I feel compelled to cover this post on my own blog soon. Watch for it. Nicely done!!

  5. you are right in saying blog is really an easy way to share the information about anything and any company, most of us take updates from blogs and they are really very helpful in this regard, thats why I like blog posts

    Aylen @ printinghost

  6. Could a blog help someone who has a home improvement website?

  7. I LOVE this, Lee! I’ve been using the Editorial Calendar plugin on my blog (trying to be more consistent, as you know) – and it’s a real help. And thank you for the “Oreo cookie news post” – love that too. Actually, I love this entire post, as I’ve said three times already, so I better stop before I become boring. I do think collaboration is the key and some of the blogs that I really like, like Gini Dietrich’s “Spin Sucks,” do a great job with that.

  8. I think an editorial calendar is one of the most important things a blogger can do. It just makes things so much easier! You can lay out all of your thoughts and have it in an organized planner/calendar.

  9. Nice article. Really interesting point you have made – ” if a business has something interesting to say and stories to tell, then a blogging platform can be one of the most productive channels/methods for publishing and engaging.”

  10. An early 7th Happy Birthday wish for you Lee and the rest of the TopRank crew….visit here everyday to read and learn…and will continue as I always learn something every single visit, eh!



  11. Adding in a calendar sounds like a good idea to cover a different topic each day of the week. Marketing Monday!

  12. Hi Lee,

    Another tactic that works very well is to write posts that ‘big up’ your peers.

    It’s a smart way to get on other’s radars and make sure you stay connected.


  13. Avatar Sabine Taylor says

    Bravo, great tips. I am launching my blog in January and I am just starting to see that it takes a lot of planning. If anyone is going to blog it will only set them up for success if they read other blog sites……..you have to be a product of the product. @live_alpharetta

  14. Excellent article . Will really help with starting a Auction Company blog. Thanks for providing great content with some great guidelines.

  15. This is a great post! Thanks Lee! The advice is so simple, yet people need to be reminded often about the basics. I think reading other blogs is really important as well as creating a content schedule. I know that editorial calendars make all the difference for my clients. It is amazing to see a blog shape up once the editorial calendar is put in place and everyone starts to use it regularly.

    • Basics are the most often overlooked tactics in online marketing. They are the foundation and there are many social media/blogging houses that crumble because of a poor foundation. Glad you liked the post. 🙂

  16. Hello
    Happy 7th Birthday for toprankblog.com.

    Great article,lot of useful information’s. I just started our company blog. What I like on Blogger blog is the ability to incorporate several Social Marketing application or should call it widgets.
    After building our presents on several Networking sites. In less than 5 minutes I was able to activate
    the following widgets to our blog.
    Here are a short lists:
    1# Facebook Fan Page link
    2# Our Tweet feed live
    3# Our Flickr forum link with several live pictures
    #4 Blog This
    #5 Email This
    #6 Google Buzz
    #7 One TrueFan ( on the bottom of the page live statistics and more)
    In one single place for free and easy.
    Would be interesting to hear any experience or opinion about One Ttruefan, blog reader feed back.
    Nicely sit on the bottom of the blog.
    Our intention is to make aware as many related retailer aware about our wholesaling business.
    No not selling anything on the above mentioned sites,but rather giving free marketing advises.
    The purpose is truly help our customers to sell they products. My Idea was if we help them sell they
    product then they will order from us.
    There for I like your articles so I can master the effective way to blog with business in mind.
    Merry Christmas to you and all your readers.

  17. Avatar Chad Farmer says

    Lee this was a great read I really like the idea of setting up a blogs review, interviews and guest posts. One thing I love about blogs is you can learn something new everyday. Thanks Lee and Happy Brithday to toprankblog!
    Oh and the part about having a schedule is so true, I was going no-where until I finally created a work schedule and got organized.
    Also as a new blogger just getting started I am finding that the more you write for the reader the more people will respect you and come back again.
    Looking foreward to reading more on this site.
    Thanks Lee, and Merry Christmas.

  18. Hello Lee,

    Anyone who follows this outline. Will have a successful blogging venture. One of the main reasons I see individuals stop blogging is because not having a proper schedule.

    Have a great day,

  19. Avatar Robert Hudson says

    Apparently there are different types of business application blogs, or reasons for having one. Ecommerce businesses often use a blog as a sales advertising vehicle, promoting various products, sales and promotions. Others use it for PR about the company. Another use of a business blog is to post educational articles of interest that relate to the business. A growing trend is to use a blog for SEO purposes, and these SEO experts believe the actual content does not matter. It doesn’t even matter if anybody reads it, just as long as the search engines catch the keywords and backlinks.

    I agree that the success to any real blog, (not just one for SEO) is the frequencey of the posts and the quality of the content. You have to give a reason for people to subscribe to the blog or keep coming back. I have seen countless blogs clogging up the internet that have not had any new posts in months.

    I agree that a blog with significant traffic needs someone managing it, and a staff of writers. For small businesses the solution is to hire independent contrators that can be found on internet sites like Odesk and Elance. Some internet marketing firms provide blog and copy writing services, but often they contract the work out to these same independent contractors.

  20. Awesome post, it really helps to be focused on the content in blogs and creating a schedule to be consistent. Love it!!

  21. I have been blogging for more two and a half years now yet I only “personally” discovered the benefits of making a blogging schedule or plan recently. I wish I knew it before!! Thanks Lee for emphasizing it. Newbies will certainly benefit from these tips.

  22. your five tips are very exclusive. i like it very much. i think all of the people are apply this tips. wish you all the best.

  23. Avatar Angela Gibson says

    Great definition of what a blog is and what it should do.

  24. Very good write on “How To or Refresher” for all bloggers. The point I like most is “BE EFFICIENT” this is a good point for most people writing online content.

  25. Where can I get more information on this subject?

  26. Awesome, what i say for you. This is article is full of information with the new ideas about blogging.Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  27. These are best ways to make your blogging thinking into a business blogging thinking which is a cause of earning. I love to follow these tips.