A great blog strategy helps you to increase your reach, bring qualified traffic to your website and nurture prospects. It is also a natural way of building links as people will share the valuable content that you provide which will help with SEO and your organic search rankings.
Blogging is a huge part of content marketing, something that is usually an integral part of an effective digital marketing campaign. The difficulty with blogging though is that unless it is done well, it yields absolutely no results and so companies quickly become disillusioned believing it is not right for them and dismiss it from their marketing strategy. To be successful with it, you need to put together a great blog strategy, devote an appropriate amount of time to it and to stick with it. It is a longer term strategy and results won’t be immediate.
I have put together a series of posts to help you put together a great blog strategy, starting with the foundations – what a blog is, addressing common barriers, why certain blogs are unsuccessful and how to decide on the topic for your blog. Later posts will look at content calendars, writing styles and how to promote posts in order to increase reach and in turn readership.
So What is a Blog and How Does it Fit in with Business?
Wikipedia defines it as
“a discussion or informational site published on the World Wide Web consisting of discrete entries(“posts”) typically displayed in reverse chronological order”.
Blogs can be incorporated into sites or can be separate sites. In the most part, we are going to be concentrating on blogs on a company website. They should be focused towards your target demographic and contain information that is of value to your audience – if it is valuable information, your target audience will read the content.
A good blog is an effective way of keeping prospects in the buying cycle and increasing repeat business. It also allows you to nurture prospects that are not quite ready to buy by giving them useful information that will help them but also help you to build confidence in your brand. By providing prospects with helpful information, you are able to move them along the buying cycle by answering some of their worries that prevented them from buying. It also provides a gentle reminder about you so that they remember your company when they come to buy later down the line.
Your blog can be configured so that it is linked to an automated newsletter system, notifying subscribers when new information is published helping you to insure good readership. Following on from my post on buyer personas, you can also configure your newsletter to go out to certain contact lists, sending out different content to different persona’s – you may write a post targeted specifically to retailers and only want that newsletter to go out to retailers as it is not relevant to consumers.
Common Blogging Barriers
Many people dismiss blogging as they believe it isn’t right for their business – the biggest barrier being that they believe that people wouldn’t be interested in reading posts on their industry. For some businesses blogging isn’t right and there are better ways of expanding reach, generating qualified traffic and nurturing prospects but for many, it is a question of thinking outside of the box. Focus on your audience and think of a topic that is valuable to your target demographic but one that you can write lots of posts on. With a little bit of creative thinking and focusing on your audience, you can put together an effective blog strategy.
Many would think that you couldn’t create an effective blog for a cleaning company. I have deliberately chosen an industry that isn’t the most interesting however by turning it around and focusing on the audience, you could come up with cleaning tips. There are several ‘how to’ videos circulating on Facebook on lifes hacks, one of which gives useful cleaning tips using common kitchen items to clean your house – using coca cola to clean your toilet for example or how to get red wine out of the carpet etc. These videos that are often shared creating a lot of brand awareness and links that will help your organic search rankings and almost certainly lead to increased sales.
An accountant is another example. Not a subject that a lot of people would choose to read a blog on but done well, there is lots of fantastic information that accountants can give – tips on saving money on tax, ‘how to’ videos on using popular accountancy programs and sometimes just reminders about tax deadlines. If the content is valuable to your audience, they will probably read it as it is in their interest to do so.
As the two examples above demonstrate, by thinking outside of the box and focusing on your audience, you can quickly come up with a great topic and the foundations of an effective sales tool.
Avoiding Common Mistakes is a Must
Typical areas where people fall down with their blog are:
- A poor blog strategy – Before you start blogging, make sure you have a clear plan about what you want to achieve and how you are going to achieve it
- A poor writing/video style – The tendency when you first start blogging is to write a post as it were a chapter in a book. Often posts are far too long and deviate away from your business objectives. Keep posts short and focused on your business objectives. Your post shouldn’t be a sales speech but it should be linked to a product or service that you offer.
- Giving up too early – A blog takes time to establish and you won’t see results overnight but if you have a good strategy and stick with it, it will work. You will improve your writing style with time and learn which topics are most effective – ‘how to’ videos, product comparisons etc.
- Not putting the time in to write great posts – people often start with the target of writing a post a week but find other things take priority and end up blogging once a month, once every few months and then not at all. Readers soon move elsewhere and your previous efforts are then wasted
Choosing the Right Blog Topic is Fundamental to a Great Blog Strategy
When choosing a topic, it must adhere to 3 basic principles:
- Valuable to your target audience – Your posts have to be of value to your audience otherwise they simply won’t be read. Think about posts that you can write on your industry that would be useful to your target demographic and ones that they would read – an event venue may gear their blog towards event organisers giving advise on improving signup rates, helping delegates get the most out of an exhibition etc. e-Commerce sites may focus on product comparisons helping customers buy the right product, ways products can help them (life hacks type thing) etc.
- One that you are an expert in – If you are giving advise, you need to have more knowledge than the reader otherwise they will not value your opinion and won’t read future posts. This doesn’t mean that you need to be a professor in the subject, but you do need to be aiming it at people with less knowledge than you. Make sure where appropriate that you do your research and make sure your posts are really good; the better your posts, the more successful your blog will be
- Limitless post ideas – a blog is ongoing. If you can’t think of 30 posts off the top of your head, your topic needs adjustment as you will simply give up after a short period without success. This is where so many blogs go wrong so it is important that you don’t fall down the same trap.
If you stick to these basic principles, you will have the foundations of a great blog strategy. Next in the ‘creating a great blog’ series is writing a great blog post. Make sure you sign up to our newsletter so that you don’t miss it. SIGN UP TO OUR NEWSLETTER