Blogging: Be in it for the long run.
At some point or other, many bloggers find that their blog has gotten derailed. This can happen regardless of whether it’s a B2C, B2B, not-for-profit or solopreneur blog.
If it does happen, inertia can set in providing an array of reasons for not working on your blog. If this goes on for too long, it can be difficult to get it back on track.
Here are five steps you can take to get your blog back on track.
1. Determine your blog goals. Understand that a blog provides a great focal point for your social media, content marketing and search optimization. To maximize the impact of your blog, focus on the critical goal. Here are seven blog goal options.
- Enhance your brand. Through the combination of the design and content elements you extend your brand. Where appropriate provide entertainment and offer humor.
- Support purchase process. This includes providing product information, showing how-to, offering patterns/recipes and answering customer questions. Use your blog to generate revenues either directly or indirectly.
- Improve search optimization. By providing keyword rich content around your product offering, help your products to rank for important terms.
- Build a social media outpost. Use a blog as the focal point of your social media offering. Through the commenting functionality and guest blog posts, develop a community.
- Create an owned 24/7 media entity. This enables you to publish and distribute content you create and curate.
- Provide internal content and media. Incorporate your blog into your intranet to disseminate information across your organization. To this end, celebrate your employees.
- Supply executive platform. Support your senior executive team by giving them a platform for offering their personal perspective.
Actionable Marketing Tip: This step is critical to having an effective blog long term. These blog goals must track back to your business or personal goals. To this end, answer the question: “What do I want to achieve by writing this blog?” If you don’t have a viable answer, your blog will never be able to withstand the challenges over time because blogging well takes time and hard work. BTW: If your answer is make money, this isn’t the optimal way to accomplish this goal.
2. Select your blog focus. Beyond choosing blog goals that may provide a high level direction for your content, decide what topics your blog will cover. How does this decision influence the categories of content as well as the length of articles?
- Determine your blog niche. Decide how you’re going to cover your topic. How can you distinguish your content from the rest of the pack?
- Develop related columns. Brainstorm regular features. They can be written by specific people or on special topics.
- Examine your competitors to see where information is missing. The goal is to determine if there are gaps in the content that’s currently available. This will help you to build your audience.
Actionable Marketing Tip: Also, consider where your content creation strengths are and how you can enlist help from others in your firm or niche.
3. Choose your blog’s overall appearance including the type of content. Don’t just rush to use an off-the-shelf theme and color scheme. Ensure that your blog design is consistent with the rest of your branding. (Here are 21 blog design elements to consider.) Extend your determination of presentation to content formatting as well as content information.
- Decide on the length of blog articles. To be safe in terms of creating optimized content, aim for posts that are between 500 and 1,000 words. Long form content is back in style.
- Incorporate other forms of content. Include images, video, presentations and audio to mix up your offering.
- Set standards for the content’s look and feel. These should be aligned with your brand.
Actionable Marketing Tip: Make sure that your content is formatted for success. This means pulling readers into your post with great headlines and an attractive image.
4. Create a blogging (aka writing) schedule you can sustain for the long-term. While many bloggers start out full of zeal, you need to realize that the world hasn’t been waiting for your golden words to appear. Each blog post must be promoted effectively to maximize your reach. Therefore, it’s important to set a schedule for publishing that you can maintain. It’s easy to write a lot for a short period of time but it takes work to continue to publish, day after day, year after year. According to Hubspot research, publishing two to three times a week is what’s required to get most of the impact related to new leads.
Actionable Marketing Tip: Always publish on the same days at the same time to help attract a loyal readership. Where possible, offer other ways to obtain your content in order to get one-time visitors to become on-going readers.
5. Track the appropriate blog metrics back to your goals. To determine if your blog is achieving its goals, you need to select metrics that help assess your progress. While everyone loves comments, they often don’t translate to useful results. For example, what can you do with the comment, “Great post”?
- Customers. Track visitors, unique visitors, where they come from and what sections they go to.
- Content marketing. Pageviews per day & per month (& versus prior period) specific pages, downloads, click on links, RSS signups, email signups, where readers exit.
- Engagement. Time on site, comments, add to community areas.
- Branding. Increase brand recall, favorability & purchase intent.
- SEO. Improve keyword ranking, increase inbound links.
- Profit and loss. More sales or leads, reduce time to purchase, earned media and other forms of revenue. Expenses in terms of blog costs, reduce customer service and reduce return.
Actionable Marketing Tip: Determine which metrics you plan to use to ensure that you’ve got a way to capture the information. Of course, it’s helpful to use a call-to-action, tailored promotion code and targeted landing page to help lead readers to take appropriate action.
To keep your blog on track requires regularly showing up at the page and creating amazing content. Unfortunately, this isn’t always possible. When it isn’t, follow this actionable marketing advice to get yourself back on track for the long run.
What other suggestions do you have for keeping your blog on track?
Hi. I've just returned from San Diego where I presented a workshop session on Blogging at Social Media Marketing World 2016.
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Free Blogging Guide —
In today’s content-driven world, writing matters more… not less. Ann Handley offers 10 tips for crafting a better blog post.
Based on Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content by Ann Handley.
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