Worldometers tells me that 2,229,710 blogs were written today. And, it’s only 10.35 AM in the morning, Eastern Standard Time!
One blog is published every second, 59.3 million every month. So how many blogs are published every year? Do the math!
The point I am trying to make is that there is a staggering amount of content available on the internet. Between 1994, when the first blog was created, until now, the online space has been flooded with content. With the popularity of blogs as an inbound marketing tool showing no signs of abetting, all businesses small, medium, and big continue to add online content. This has made the online space an overcrowded place where getting your content noticed appears to be a daunting task!
Most big corporations (and some medium-sized ones) have dedicated resources to research, design, and create content that their target audience will find relevant. But if you are a small business person, you may not be able to make that kind of investment.
Does that mean you don’t get to benefit from this powerful marketing tool?
In this blog, I will reveal to you five blogging best practices that will help you reap rich rewards in the way of more leads, more business and greater profit using content.
BEST PRACTICE #1: Quality Trumps Quantity - Always
This is not really a secret, is it? It’s more common sense. But common sense isn’t that common, and so what we see in the online world is a lot more mediocre and sub-par content than there should be.
Why anyone would publish content that does nothing for them and lies in an obscure corner of the internet, ignored and unnoticed is beyond me. But never mind them. What I want to make sure is that you DON’T make that mistake!
Don’t waste your time and energy creating content that is not great. Mediocre content will not do anything for your brand, or your business. Worse still, it might put your prospects off. Send them to your competitor. That would be terrible, isn’t it?
You don’t have to flood the online world with content. A few, great quality, well-researched blogs that will attract your target audience, impress them with information that answers their questions is what you need. If your content solves their problems and takes care of their requirements, you can be sure they will keep coming to you for more.
BEST PRACTICE #2: Blog Consistently - Rome Wasn't Built in a Day, Neither Were Successful Brands!
All big brands have one single thing in common. They have taken the time over the years to build trust, strengthen loyalty, and develop a steady customer base. In the current times, inbound marketing has given us one of the most powerful tools to achieve this kind of brand loyalty.
Blogging is not for someone seeking short-term ROIs. You have to be committed to blogging for a long time before you see the returns and gain your prospects’ authority and trust. The only thing worse than never blogging at all is being inconsistent.
I did say that less is more sometimes. But less does not mean it is ok to blog once a year! That’s too less and definitely not enough! You don't need to blog daily or weekly if you cannot manage that. But you have to find a frequency that works for you and follow it.
From the time when you start blogging, use your results to learn, iterate, and improve the quality of content and the themes that resonate with your target. Your results will help you understand what works for them and what does not.
BEST PRACTICE #3: Make your Blog a Conversation, Not a Monologue - Nobody Loves a Braggart!
In the days when traditional marketing ruled the roost, businesses engaged in monologues. All promotional efforts were about them, their services, or their products. You could do nothing about the annoying ads staring at your face or the even more annoying ads interrupting your favorite TV show. Inbound marketing has changed this. It is customer-specific. It has given marketers tools to engage with the audience. Inbound marketing is all about conversations.
If the search engines have landed a prospect on your blog page, they have possibly asked a specific question that may be there in your content. When you think like your users, it will be easy to provide information that answers their questions, clearly and easily. It is likely that they will come back to you again when they want more information on a similar topic.
Here are a few tips you can use to make your content relatable to your target audience:
- Speak your clients’ language. Don’t use a dull, corporate tone in your blogs. You’re speaking to real people – talk in a language they understand.
- Use headlines that entice, call-to-actions that seduce.
- Avoid grammatical errors, typos, and words that need a dictionary to understand.
- Long paragraphs and dense blocks of text are a put-off. These are absolute no-nos!
- Use images, videos, and other visual elements to make your blog interesting. When you deliver information in an easy to absorb format, your target audience will be more satisfied.
- If you use social media to promote your content, it is the best place to ask your audience questions about what they are looking for, from you. Listen if they offer suggestions on how you can improve their experience.
- Be prompt to respond to feedback, positive or negative.
- Also very important is to include a clear and simple Call-to-Action (CTA) in your content. That’s where your conversation should lead.
- Remember to use the right keywords. Long-tail keywords work best.
If you follow these basic steps, you will be able to establish a lasting relationship with your audience, converse with them frequently, and convert or retain them as your brand loyalists.
BEST PRACTICE #4: Get Blog Ideas from your Audience
You’re writing your blog for your readers. So while your objective may be to generate leads, increase web traffic, or to raise your profile as an authority, you have to first build a relationship with them first. You’ll be able to do that only if you have your finger on their pulse.
Creating great quality content, consistently, will not work if you don’t produce what your target audience needs or wants. If you are not sure what content you should be producing, you have the option of getting ideas from that very audience. Here’s how you can get started:
- Create blog posts that answer the most interesting questions from people you engage with on social media. Pick ideas for your blog posts from your social media platforms.
- Sneak a peek at your competitors' sites and social conversations.
- Browse through your inbound Q&A, customer service requests, and any other feedback channels and support channels you have.
- Have a coffee with your sales team. They are usually a treasure box of information since they are interacting with your prospects and clients all the time. Get ideas about the struggles or pain points that draw someone to your brand. Find out the nuances of how your brand solves their problem. Use this knowledge to create content that actually speaks to your target audience!
BEST PRACTICE #5: Spread the Word - Actively
Distributing your content to the right persona in the right place is often the main key to getting it noticed. It’s not enough to publish your content and wait for people to find it. You have to actively promote it using a mix of tools like email marketing, social media, RSS feeds, and others.
For example, you can easily create a monthly newsletter with your articles to send to your database.
You could ask other team members, like your sales team to share this content. If it’s valuable and of good quality, you are not likely to get any objections.
In social media you have one of the most effective tools to get more eyeballs for your content. Share your blog on social media and encourage others to do so. Promote your blog articles on the platforms that your personas hang out.
There are a plethora of content promotion and distribution tools that you can use to leverage your content socially. Personally, I am a big fan of Hootsuite. HubSpot is also extremely user-friendly. But there are several other options too. For example, Marketo, Buffer, AddThis, SlideShare, Storify, etc. Some of these platforms offer you free versions. Others let you try out their service for a trial period. Read this blog post to get a list of some 20 odd tools to help you with your content distribution.
Shop around and find an option to suit your needs. But make sure your content is being seen. You don’t want it to lie unnoticed and neglected in a corner of the online universe now, do you?
Blogging can do wonders for your business. I am a marketer, and I can vouch for this. I have seen first-hand how it can be a terrific brand building and lead generation tool for any business, irrespective of size or industry. So make sure you leverage its potential by using the tips I have provided you. I did some research to bring you a couple of good examples to demonstrate how some businesses have utilized blogging to grow. If you’re interested in knowing more, here are the links:
Need help planning an effective blog strategy for optimized lead generation? Get in touch with a WSI Digital Marketing Consultant in your area today.