Harness the Power of Blogs

By Derek Schou

Blogging is one of the most effective ways for businesses, especially smaller ones, to communicate with existing and prospective customers.

Among other benefits, blogging allows a company to communicate its brand messaging and share valuable information to the digital public at large - while increasing visibility on the search engines and establishing authority within a niche.

Blogging, however, can quickly cost companies a lot of time and money, so in order to get the most of their efforts, businesses should turn to some proven tools that can improve processes and amplify reach.

Simplify Collaboration and Workflow Problems

The days in which blogs were just supplementary content on websites are long gone. Today, blogs are a valuable part of a website that educate and persuade visitors at every stage of the sales journey.

Unfortunately, many small businesses do not have the means to hire extra employees to develop and promote these digital assets. Instead, they have to rely on their existing team members, whose responsibilities are likely already pushing them to the limits, which can cause several workflow-related issues, including employees working on the same topics. Luckily, there are many content production and development tools available to remedy this problem.

DivvyHQ, for example, is a comprehensive content planning and production tool that aims to quell the problems that arise with collaborative blogs. With DivvyHQ, small businesses can organize their content production processes by storing yet-to-be written post ideas as well as creating different categories for every stage of the process.

Another similar content production tool is Kontera. This tool allows small businesses to discover valuable insights on what is trending, which allows them to produce more relevant posts as well as publish posts to multiple platforms. One of the more interesting features of Kontera is its content discovery functionality (see images), which allows publishers to understand what content is currently popular, as well as surface and rank relevant articles, social updates and images to create blog posts that will resonate with their audiences.

Other noteworthy content development tools include Kapost, Curata and InboundWriter. See how these tools compare at wsm.co/3compare.

Using Kontera, website owners can quickly analyze what kind of content audiences are reading and searching for to create blog posts that will be popular from the start. Spread Your Message to the World

While having quality content should be the number one focus of any blog, it is also important that small businesses plan how they are going to share their messages. PaperShare is a content distribution tool that enables its users to simultaneously publish their posts on many platforms including websites and social media. PaperShare also collects analytics on who is accessing content through social media login features and how they are interacting with that content. Businesses can even respond and engage with customers through the tool, helping to build stronger customer relationships.

Similar to PaperShare is Percolate. This tool provides a range of useful features to its users with some of the most actionable being its publishing features. Through Percolate, businesses can publish content in a variety of ways including through social media and email, as well as track how their posts are performing and engage those who are interacting with their posts.

Similar content distribution tools include Zemanta, Outbrain and SimpleReach. Check out Website Magazine's BIG LIST of content distribution tools at wsm.co/cdistribute.

Laborious But Rewarding

The truth is, running a successful blog is difficult - even for traditional information publishers. Through powerful distribution and workflow tools, however, small businesses can maximize the potential of their blogs and increase the likeliness they'll become staples in their customers' online routines.