Blogs are now staples of most online marketing strategies. Most sites these days have some form of a blog that allows for periodic contribution of content as news, opinions, education or updates. Let’s assume for a second that you regularly publish to your blog like any bona fide business owner focused on online marketing would do. How is that working out for you? You might begin to wonder why no one is reading your posts and starting to get discouraged about investing more time in the art of blogging. Even worse, consider the shape of those not contributing fresh, new content to their website on a regular basis. I’m talking about those sites that have not changed in the past 4 years. They reside in the deep depths of the SERPs only to be found by the Jacques Cousteau of searchers.
So is blogging even worth the trouble? Absolutely! You’re just doing it wrong.
Like most things in life, all it takes is a little fine tuning from what you are already doing to make all the difference in the world. Here are some suggestions to consider when evaluating your current blog marketing strategy.
Lack of a Formal Content Strategy
This speaks more to the overall blog in general than individual blog posts. So many blogs lack plan and direction. Define the purpose of your blog. This is primarily so visitors can immediately know what the blog covers within seconds of the first visit. The purpose is also helpful for the creator of blog content to keep the post topics related to the general premise of the blog. Establish a content calendar. The act of blogging is time-consuming. Trying to add this labor intensive task into your calendar is going to require planning and discipline. Set specific recurring deadlines on a calendar for topic research and selection, content research and creation, and content distribution. Figure out who is going to create the content. Let’s face it, you likely will not be creating 100% of the content. To think this is the case is unrealistic unless you are a thumb-twiddler… most of us are not. Review your staff and see who is capable and willing to help create content. You might be surprised by who is secretly an excellent writer. In the event that you cannot find someone within your company to create the content at the caliber you desire, seek the services of a freelance writer.
Not Focused on Keywords
SEO is probably one of the highest priorities for most website owners but few really understand how to increase website exposure on the search engines. Blogs are an excellent source for generating organic traffic to your website. Focusing your blog posts on keywords relevant and used by your buyer personas will definitely help here. Use Google Keyword Planner to find keywords to target with monthly search volume. The GKP also provides competitive data giving you some insight to the level of competition you are headed up against for page one exposure. Be on the lookout for hidden gems that have high traffic and low competition. Surprisingly, they still exist and are low hanging fruit you should definitely take advantage of.
Mediocre (at best) Substance
Over 4 Million blog posts are published for our viewing pleasure each and every day. That is a crazy amount of content. How can you be sure that your content get noticed in this sea of content? Make it exceptional. Make it undeniably better than anything you can find on the topic. Rest assured, the majority of blogs published are bad. Hitting all the points outlined in this blog post will give you a ‘good’ post at best. Taking your post from good to great and from great to exceptional takes time and effort. This is where quality will crush quantity every time. Put in the time for quality.
Do research and take stock of what content currently ranks best for the keyword you are targeting. Focus on the following:
- Determine the blogs that you are reviewing are popular. This can be done by taking note of how many times these blogs have been shared on social media.
- Conduct your own general assessment of the top ranking posts. What do they cover well? What are they lacking? Are they thorough in context and engaging to read?
- Go through the comments section and see if there are any comments or questions identifying missing components or areas that might be fuzzy to the readers.
Too many blogs read like a stereo manual. Block after block of boring paragraphs filled with great ideas that will never get read. We are an instant gratification society so unless you can quickly point out some key elements from your content that will force someone to dive in deeper, they are gone. Even the most boring topic can seem intriguing with some simple text formatting. Use headlines and sub-headlines throughout the post to drive home important points and give the reader an idea of what that particular section of your post is about and why they should care. Use bold, italics and bulleted lists to make your article easier to scan. Images are important. If you do not have your own photography to use, there are plenty of stock photo sites (some free, many paid) that you can find images and illustrations to use. Make sure you choose images that are fitting to the section of the post they are placed.
No Conversion Opportunities
You likely wrote your blog post with the intent of it being a magnet to your site to attract visitors for a greater cause. Perhaps you want them to join your email list or download an ebook. Maybe you just want them to keep reading more of your posts. Whatever your goal is, be sure to make it clear and place it in or after the copy of your post so the visitor is sure to “run into it”. Use graphical banners to promote a download or email subscription. The banner should have a clear Call To Action (CTA) and link to a landing page with supporting copy and the means for fulfilling the CTA. Link certain keywords within your copy to web pages or blog posts related to that particular keyword. This allows the site visitor to dive deeper into your content and also helps your search engine indexing efforts. Note some posts that are similar to the topic you are covering throughout or at the end of your copy. If the site visitor made it all the way through your post, it is likely they will find interest in other posts you’ve written related to what they just read.
Don’t Be Stingy, Share Your Content
Even the biggest and most noteworthy bloggers in your industry perform outreach to make sure their new content is in front of as many eyeballs as possible. Do not make the mistake of posting and hoping. Especially early in the development of your blog.
Social media plays a rockstar roll here. Setup profiles on social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn) and begin growing your audience. Be careful not to spread yourself too thin here. Concentrate on growing a strong audience / following with one or two platforms to start. Once you have a comfort level here, expand to other platforms. Email is paramount. Put effort into growing an email audience that wants to hear from you. There is nothing better and more valuable to a content creator than a database of engaged site visitors that have provided their email address so they can be notified when you have something to say. An excellent one — two combination here is the List Builder App from SumoMe and a MailChimp account. Both are very easy to setup and will provide means for capturing the site visitor’s information (List Builder) and communicating with them (MailChimp).
Leverage Other People’s Audiences
Guest posting is creating and publishing blogs on websites other than yours. This used to be a very popular tactic to gain cherished backlinks from other websites. While a solid backlink is still gold, guest posting on a blog is an excellent way to get your brand in front of fresh eyeballs. Try to find blogs in related industries that are authoritative and you can identify receive traffic. Alltop.com is a great resource to reference when looking for blogs in particular industries. Research the level of engagement in social sharing and comments on these blogs. Another barometer to help validate traffic is determining how many other websites link to this blog’s content. Use a service like Open Site Explorer, Ahrefs, or First Site Guide to research this data.
Monitor Your Success
Know what works and what doesn’t. Do more of the former and less of the latter. Simple, right? Be sure you have some form of analytics attached to your website and blog so you can see the number of visits, number of visitors, how long they spend on your posts, how many pages they visit on your website, where visitors come from… so you can find out where your efforts are paying off and concentrate on those activities going forward.
These ideas are simply ideas until they are put to work. Take a look at implementing the following steps to kickstart your blog marketing strategy.
- Put together a Formal Content Strategy that you can follow to keep yourself on track and measure your success.
- Conduct keyword research and generate a list of keywords that your buyer personas care about.
- Write great content. I mean really put in the time to research your topic and craft content that people will actually read. Otherwise, what’s the point?
- Format your text so it is inviting, easy to scan and uses well-chosen images.
- Add conversion opportunities to your post so you can get the site visitor to perform the ultimate action you want them to do.
- Take time to do outreach so you can get your content in front of as many eyeballs as possible.
- Try to leverage other’s audiences when possible. Always be on the lookout for potential alliances with other bloggers. Help one another.
- Measure your activity and do more of what works.
Comment below with feedback or ideas of your own. We’d love to hear from you!