Make Your Blog Contribute More to Your Business
Blogging remains a key element of your marketing mix.
As an integral part of your content, social media and search strategies, business blogging generates sales and reduces expenses.
- 81% of B2B marketers use blogs as a content tactic;
59% of B2B marketers find blogs to be effective.
- 77% of B2C marketers use blogs as a content tactic;
53% of B2C marketers find blogs to be effective.
As for smaller businesses, the biggest takeaway from Orbit Media’s Second Annual Blogging Survey is: “Blogging is remains important, especially for smaller business.”
Orbit Media’s blogging survey helps bloggers put their blogs in perspective. This can be difficult to do when many use the top blogs in their broad category as a point of reference.
BTW, here’s what 7 blogging superstars recommend.
3 Ways business blogging yields measurable results
Despite being around for years, business blogging still yields measurable results. To maximize results, you must use your business blog properly as part of your integrated marketing strategy associated with your business plans.
Blogs improve your content, social media and search marketing. This improves your overall marketing and business efficiency. As a result, blogs reduce redundant functions and expenses while supporting lead generation and sales.
Here are the 3 ways business blogging yields measurable results.
Blog content is intricately interwoven with your overall search marketing and optimization.
Actionable Business Blogging Tips:
- Associate your blog categories with your core keywords. Focus and organize your blog content for users and search engines. Spin Sucks’ Gini Dietrich uses mind maps to plot keyword terms.
- Focus each blog post on one of your long tail keyword terms. The objective is to provide quality content, not keyword stuffing.
- Include a long tail keyword phrase in your headline (where possible). Within your headline, place the keyword as close as possible to the beginning. But choose reader comprehension over keyword use!
- Use real words in your blog URL. Don’t use automatically generated URLs. Include your keywords to make the URL useful to humans and search engines.
- Link to your own pillar content and to third party sites. Don’t buy links. Where possible, use keyword link text. This means don’t link to the word “here.”
- Add text to non-text elements of blog posts. Search engines can’t see non-text content. Your blogs, however, can include photographs and images, video, audio, infographics, presentations and PDFs. Therefore, you must add search-friendly text to their captions and descriptions.
- Optimize the size of your images and other non–text content. If too large, they can slow down your blog, hurting your results.
- Ensure every blog post is search optimized. The easy way to do this is to use a plugin. I use the Yoast All-in-One plug-in. (BTW, here’s my webmaster’s 10 Essential WordPress Plug-ins.)
- Maximize your blog’s speed. It’s not just Top Gun’s Maverick that feels the need for speed. Speed has important implications for readers and search. (Get the technical details on blog speed here.)
- Install a site map. While it’s easy to overlook this step since it’s technology based, it’s tells the search engines what’s important on your blog.
- Update evergreen blog posts to keep them fresh. This shows your content is current for readers and search engines. Jonathon Colman’s Content Strategy Resource page is a great example since he asks for new resources.
- Write guest posts. While guest blog posts don’t necessarily drive search results directly, they take advantage of attracting attention on other blogs. Often, you can link to your blog in your bio.Here’s an example I wrote for Social Media Examiner. (Note: We do NOT accept guest posts!)
- Add metadata for increased internal findability. If your employees can’t find your blog content, they will create new content from scratch. (See Rebecca Lieb’s point 4 below.)
2. Blogs increase content distribution and support social media
As a key element of your overall marketing and content marketing plans, it’s critical to promote your blog posts.
Michael Hyatt, former CEO of Nelson Publishing, the largest independent US book publisher believes consistency is more important than frequency to build your blog. It builds your audience when readers know when to expect your content.
Actionable Business Blogging Tips:
- Include non-text visuals to attract reader attention. Your blog content needs to stand out in readers’ social streams. (Here’s a list of free photograph sites that you can use. Always check whether you have the right to use the content and what attribution is required.)
- Present your blog content in multiple formats in a single post. This allows readers to consume your content in the way they wish. RazorSocial‘s Ian Cleary often uses a combination of screenshots, presentations, videos and infographics.
- Mention or interview influencers in your blog posts. Don’t just include influencers in your social shares to get their attention. While it’s a good idea to drop them an email to let them know that you referenced them, don’t expect them to share your content.
- Notify both email and RSS subscribers that you’ve published a new post. Give readers a choice of how they want to get your content. Don’t forget to have a mobile version of your blog. People read content on their smartphone as a time filler.
- Promote your latest post on your website. Don’t assume that site visitors know about your blog. At a minimum, include it in your navigation.
- Mention your blog posts in your customer service emailings.
- Add a link to your current blog post to your email signature file. Make everyone in your organization use a standard email sig file. This reaches people who may have filters since it goes to their main inbox.
- Include your blog in your offline marketing. Where possible mention your blog in your advertising and other collateral.
- Batch schedule your blog content shares. This helps keep your post top of mind longer.
- Tailor your social media shares based on the social media platform. Skip the one size fits all approach. Use different quotes, hashtags and images.
- Include hashtags in your social shares. This expands your social media audience.
- Hand-select related posts at the end of each article. Take the time to ensure that the information is relevant to readers.
- Encourage employees to share your blog posts. This means that you need to notify them each time you post new content and have social media guidelines so that they know what they can and can’t do.
- Add consistent social media share buttons at the top and bottom of every post. Many readers need to be convinced before they share your content and won’t scroll back up to the top of your post.
- Embed relevant social shares. Make it easy for readers to share your posts with tools like TweetThis and Pin buttons. Bear in mind that most pins are done via Pinterest’s app.
- Link to your blog in your social media profiles. Maximize your blog reach.
- Focus your social media efforts. Don’t spread yourself thin trying every new platform. Find the platforms that work best for your business.
- Test lesser known social media platforms. For example, Pinterest is the second biggest driver of social media traffic for BuzzFeed.
- Support your shares with social media advertising where appropriate. Social media advertising continues to grow and platforms are creating new ways to increase the visibility of business content.
- Repromote older posts where appropriate. Include social shares in your editorial calendar.
- Curate older blog posts into new posts or other content. Think ebooks or other pillar content. Unless your content is linked to a specific current event or trend, consider ways to extend the useful life of your content.
3. Blogs support sales and lead generation
Blogs provide measurable results related to your business’s goals. The more specific and actionable your objectives, the easier it is to track your progress.
Joe Pulizzi, head of Inc-500-ranked Content Marketing Institute and author of Content Inc is laser-focused on subscriber counts. Content Marketing Institute has grown its email list exponentially over time.
According to Pulizzi, their internal data shows that their best audience engages with them across 3 touch points including email, podcasts, social media, print magazine and live events.
Don’t be discouraged by Content Marketing Institute’s numbers. Very few blogs, especially B2B blogs, reach this height.
By comparison, Orbit Media spotlights that they’ve got 10,500 subscribers.
More broadly, blogs contribute to achieving the breath of key content marketing metrics. Rebecca Lieb’s 6 content marketing metrics are useful regardless of your business type.
- Brand health. Uses content to make your brand stand out. This encourages more interest in and positive consumer behavior related to your brand.
- Brand Innovation. Helps achieve organizational objectives by asking for ideas, engagement and/or user generated content (UGC).
- Customer Experience. Increases popularity while mitigating existing and potential issues.
- Marketing Optimization. Streamlines your marketing efforts to improve results and reduce redundant employee and agency efforts.
- Operational Efficiency. Decreases expenses and risks through more efficient content creation, use and promotion. It also streamlines activity across your firm.
- Revenue generation. Includes sales, lead generation, reduced time to purchase and subscriptions.
Brand health, brand innovation, and customer experience tend to be more difficult to measure than marketing optimization, operational efficiency, and revenue generation.
Actionable Business Blogging Tips:
- Include product and employee photographs and videos, where appropriate, to generate more leads and sales from your blog.
- Link to the appropriate product pages, particularly for the basic 5 types of content: product information, customer questions, product how-to’s, styling and reviews.
- Update the links to old product pages to current products or category pages to avoid loosing prospects and increase search findability,
- Incorporate 1 or more relevant calls-to-action to ensure that your blog drives measurable results. Guide your readers to do something after reading each post.
- Keep testing key elements of your blog. Even the best bloggers don’t get it right every time. Your objective should be to continually make incremental improvements. Follow Upworthy’s lead.
- Document major events and other business issues that have an impact, either good or bad, on your results. Next year, there’s a good chance no one will remember a weather event or computer glitch.
The bottom line is that blogging is a core element of your marketing mix. Integrated into your content, social media and search strategies, business blogging yields measurable results beyond sales and lead generation. It helps optimize your resource use and build your brand and business.
To accomplish this, you need a blog strategy that’s incorporated into your overall marketing and business strategies.
What has been your biggest blogging obstacle to overcome and why?
BTW, if you’re attending MarketingProfs B2B Forum in Boston, please join Jeffrey L. Cohen of Oracle’s Salesforce and me (FYI—We’re not related except by name!) for Teach Me How! 10 Essential Strategies to Blast Off Your Blog on Thursday, October 22 at 2:30pm!!!
Further, my webmaster, Larry Aronson, and I are holding office hours on Wednesday, October 21st and Thursday, October 22nd from 3:30pm until 5:00pm. Come get your FREE blogging advice! Drop me an email to register for a specific time.
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Joe Pulizzi, and the team at The Tilt.
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