How To Get Your Blog Off Of Life Support
Although you may think blogging is yesterday’s social media news, almost 7 out of 10 marketers plan to increase their blogging spend in 2014, according to Social Media Examiner’s 2014 Social Media Marketing Industry Report.
Has your business blog been put on the back burner, leaving it to limp along on life support while you deal with trendier priorities?
4 Critical blog metrics to determine if your blog is on life support
Check these 4 critical blog metrics to determine if your blog is on life support; in order of importance:
To be effective, your blog needs a constant flow of people. Measure how many people visit your site. To this end, your blog needs multiple entrances and ways that attract visitors such as being optimized for search. Also check whether people return to your site and what drives them to your site (social media and search).
Once people find your blog, do they take the time to read your content? Check the amount of time they spend on your blog, how many pages they view, and where they go on your blog.
You blog isn’t just about me, me, me. It matters how other people react to it. To this end, it’s important to provide social proof in the form of social shares and comments. This provides credibility for your readers.
What do visitors do once they visit your blog that’s associated with your business objectives? Share your content, sign up for email or feeds, and/or purchase. How is your blog doing based on these metrics? Don’t despair; you can resuscitate your blog with the right type of effort and resources to support it.
Now and then examples
Here are 2 examples of blogging darlings that went from “What to do on your business blog” to “What not to do on your business blog.” Look at them closely and you’ll see that within their DNA is the ability to shine so that they’re easy to make into stars again.
The Mid Atlantic Concrete Equipment Company had a great blog with a video, aptly named “ConcreteAnswers.tv”, but no one has created either blog posts or videos in about 2 years.
5 Easy blogging fixes to bring your blog back to life
1. Create compelling content for your blog.
Your blog shouldn’t be a dumping ground for your reformatted press releases and rehashed product news. Really?!? You think that anyone wants to read these pieces of corporate dribble? Remember blog beauty is in the eyes of the reader, not your boss!
Actionable Blogging Fix: Provide the 5 basic content formats that your key audience actively seeks: product information, customer FAQs, how-to’s, styling and ratings and reviews.
Most important of all is to answer your prospect and customers’ questions including price. Marcus Sheridan’s answer to the pricing question drove $2 million in sales.
2. Package your blog content for consumption.
Don’t assume that great content just happens. You need to make your blog posts easy-to-consume and share.
Orbit Media’s Andy Crestodina recommends writing blog posts that are at least 1,500 words with paragraphs of 3 to 4 lines. This makes the information easier to scan and attract links.
Crestodina suggests, “Your metadata [should] be a single sentence in plain English, summarizing the content of the page. Use the target keyphrase once and don’t make it too long, [ideally 155 characters].” (Note: Yoast’s SEO plug-in helps with this.) Also add images and videos to attract interest since people are visual beings. Research by Moz shows that adding images and videos improves linking, especially when coupled with lists. The Sartorialist consists only of photographs. Actionable Blogging Fix: Take the time to improve the formatting of your blog posts. Make them easy to read and share.
3. Publish blog posts on a consistent basis.
While blog experts who recommend only blogging when you have something meaningful to write make an important point, you need to provide useful information on a regular basis to build an audience.
Hubspot research revealed that you must publish about 2 to3 times per week to get most of the customer acquisition impact. There’s an inflection point when you’ve published 52 blog posts since you’ve started to build depth of content. Actionable Blogging Fix: Set up an editorial calendar. Have a plan to ensure that you post useful content to attract an audience and keep it going. To this end, create regular columns and assign people to write the posts. It must be part of their jobs.
4. Distribute your blog content widely.
Understand that your work just begins when you publish new content on your blog. Without distribution, almost no one will know it exists. Social Triggers’s Derek Halpern calls this the 80-20 rule of content marketing and attributes his success to focusing on post distribution. (BTW-Here’s my view of content marketing’s 80-20 rule.)
In Halpern’s words, “from March 2011 to April 2012, I averaged 2.54 blog posts per month…and I got almost 27,000 subscribers. All because I focused on creating great content… and then focused on getting that content into the hands of more people.”
Read that again.
Halpern published less than once per week. He LASER-FOCUSED on blog post DISTRIBUTION to the RIGHT people.
Halpern’s point: What’s the use of great content if no one reads it?
Actionable Blogging Fix: Follow Halpern’s advice and get the word out about every post!!!
Have a content distribution checklist of owned, social media and third party media to ensure that you increase each article’s reach. Where necessary augment your distribution with advertising.
5. Build a community around your blog.
The objective is to influence the influencers and opinion leaders in your niche.
The 12Most blog provides a great example of how to accomplish this. Peg Fitzpatrick and Paul Biedermann created an active community of contributors and promoters around this blog. They made creation and promotion easy and fun.
- Every post title starts with the words “12 Most” and each post has 12 related points.
- Bloggers and members of the community are asked to promote their own posts and those on the site.
Result: Blog with continuous flow of content and vibrant community to support it. Actionable Blogging Fix: Understand your target audience and become a part of their communities across different platforms (including real life).
As part of this process, determine who the influencers are and what’s in for them in associating with you and your blog. Bear in mind that they get LOTS of requests like yours on a regular basis.
One way to break through the influencer clutter is to play to their vanity by featuring them in your content with links back to their content. This can then help your content distribution if they share it.
If your blog has these symptoms of being on life support, you need to act fast to get your blog alive and kicking.
The good news: You can save your blog! BUT you must act now!!!
This doesn’t mean a one-time flurry of activity. You must continuously dedicate time and resources to make your blog achieve your business goals.
What else can you recommend doing to breathe life back into your blog and why?
Hi. I've just returned from San Diego where I presented a workshop session on Blogging at Social Media Marketing World 2016.
If you couldn't attend this exciting conference, consider buying a Virtual Pass. You’ll get all of the sessions and can watch them on your schedule!
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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