How to Leverage News for Conversions: Practical Tips

Businessman with iPad (source: Naples Reporting)If you have a business blog, and you’re not writing news stories, may I ask why? Blogging for business is all well and good. But, did you know that you could start tapping into a much larger market by blogging news stories?

When you blog news stories that are relevant to your industry and audience, you’re not just sharing interesting little updates. News blogging achieves the following four things:

  • You tap into a new market: Google News users.
  • You expand your blog’s keyword list.
  • You further assert your authority in your industry.
  • You share your passion.

Let’s dig a little deeper into these four things.

Changes With Google News

You don’t have to do business online for long to know that keeping up with Google’s updates is a crucial business tactic. Google is too big to ignore. On September 19, Google News Product Manager, Rudy Galfi, announced the use of a news_keyword metatag. If you’re scratching your head, let me explain…

Google recognizes that a lot of news bloggers want to write creative and interesting headlines. However, because the headlines with relevant keywords are the ones that attract attention on the search engine, many bloggers have been forced to write boring and straightforward (i.e. keyword stuffed) headlines.

Now, with the news_keyword metatag option, news bloggers can write whatever headlines their hearts desire without the negative consequence of low traffic. The news metatag lets the author label the news article with the relevant keywords.

As with most Google adjustments, this isn’t going to radically change anything. PageRank still uses more than 200 factors in its algorithm as it determines the rank and value of your site. BUT, this is a great time to jump in and start blogging with the Google news_keyword tag. Before you get going, check out this article from Search Engine Watch so you don’t accidentally abuse this feature. Also, you can get more keyword tag help from Google.

Blogging for Business & Keyword Optimization

As you’re kicking up your news blogging for business initiative, I’d like to encourage you to seriously think about keyword optimization. Andrew recently completed a four-part series on keyword research, development, optimization, and monitoring. Consider this mini-series required reading as you embark on news blogging.

Also, note what keywords and tags are being used by other news blogs that cover your industry and write to your readership. While this keyword research strategy is no guarantee of success, it is an effective and simple way to judge your own blog.

Asserting Authority, Sharing Passion

So, with a little technical talk out of the way, let’s take a look at how news blogging is a smart business tactic (plus, a few faux pas you should avoid). When you write about the things you’re passionate about, your reputation can’t help but go anywhere but up in the eyes of your audience. If you’re scanning headlines at five o’clock in the morning to publish your own news story at seven o’clock in the morning, your blog readers are going to take notice!

Also, you assert your authority in the industry when you bring your readers fresh news with an insider’s view. One word of caution: don’t insult your readers. Writing trite news pieces that sum up the morning’s headlines are worthless. We’ve already seen the major headlines from the major sources. Don’t blog about a news piece if you aren’t bringing something fresh to the table.

We’ve found on the CEM blog that posts that summarize major stories get little to no traffic. However, when we write a post that shares a specific story from the world of social media or offers a small business spin on a new piece of software, traffic and engagement rates are much higher!

The bottom line: you’re passionate. Assume your readers are, too. Give your audience something of value with every single post, and they’ll give you something of value: their time.

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Ben Richardson is a writer based in Nashville, TN. While he loves writing on a variety of subjects, he's our go-to on all things related to branding and the creative aspects of content marketing. Follow him on Twitter!

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