7 Blog Insights – Inspired By Dan Zarrella of Hubspot [Research]

Take Your Blog to the Next Level – 7 Must-Have Blog Tactics

If you’re like a lot of bloggers, you’ve spent hours worrying about every aspect of your blog and its ability to build an audience.

To improve your blog, pay attention to what works and what doesn’t. Start by looking at the macro-trends and applying them to your blog and what your potential audience is seeking.

Here are seven blogging insights inspired by research done by social media scientist Dan Zarrella of Hubspot. He presented this information at The Science of Inbound Marketing webinar on July 12, 2012.

  1. Offer your insights to maximize blog views. Help others by showing them what to do or how to interpret difficult concepts. Don’t talk about yourself! (No one cares except possibly your mother!) Skip the jargon and boring language. Like other forms of social media, write so you sound like a living human being. Actionable Marketing Tactic: Write for someone in particular. This is why bloggers are advised to create marketing personas. Understand that it can be difficult to overcome the writing habits you learned in elementary school. If this is the case, try recording your posts and transcribing them.
  2. Schedule new blog posts to appear early in the morning and during the business week (Monday through Friday). Research shows these are when most people read blogs. Blog readership differs from content consumption on other social media networks and email. Also, don’t underestimate the value of offering your readers multiple ways to receive your content including email and RSS (aka feeds). Actionable Marketing Tactic: Separate blog content creation from publication (unless you’re writing about a time sensitive topic). Also, always have a post or two on an evergreen topic in case of emergency when you can’t write.
  3. Publish at least thirty posts per month to perform best. Before you scream at your computer, take a deep breath. This is what Zarrella’s research showed. It doesn’t mean stop blogging because there’s no way you can churn out that many quality posts. Instead figure out how frequently you can blog a week. Actionable Marketing Tactic: Be consistent in your publishing schedule. To this end, create an editorial calendar. What’s most important, especially for new bloggers looking to build an audience, is consistency. Choose to blog on the same day(s) each week. Older research by Zarrella showed that two to three posts per week got most of the benefit. Further, tenacity over time also is a factor in creating a loyal following as cited by Rand Fishkin of Seomoz and Jay Baer of Convince and Convert. Dan Zarrella Hubspot presentation - Number of blog posts per month
  4. Create great blog content to support search optimization. Focus on creating the best content you can. Given the choice between five bland posts and one stellar post, go for the stars. No one wants to read boring dribble. Actionable Marketing Tactic: Increase the search optimization value of your blog posts, focus each post on one or two keywords. Additionally, link to other parts of your website and to outside sources. Where appropriate, link as close as you can to your sales pages.
  5. Use short blog titles for link bait.  This tidbit is based on data from Seomoz. The goal is to create strong headlines that draw potential readers in and attract other bloggers who want to link to you. Actionable Marketing Tactic: Headlines are a critical component of your posts, therefore spend enough time on them to ensure that they attract the right type of traffic. (Want more help? Here’s tips for writing killer headlines.)
  6. Stop worrying about blog comments! Based on Dan Zarrella’s research, comments provide no real benefit in terms of measurable marketing goals. While they show interest in your content and make bloggers feel like someone’s paying attention, blog comments have no relationship with inbound links. Actionable Marketing Tactic: Determine the blog metrics that will help you track your progress to the objectives you want to achieve. (Hint: Skip the comments! How does “Great post” help your blog?) 
  7. Support purchase behavior with blogs. Based on Zarrella’s research, blogs influence 70% of shoppers. Actionable Marketing Tactic: Increase your blog’s effectiveness at closing sales by providing useful product information such as how-tos, instructions and other product support.

To maximize your blog’s effectiveness, start by creating amazing content and publish it consistently in the early morning during the business week. While publishing new content everyday is important, it’s more critical to be consistent in your posting so readers know when to show up. Measure what’s important to achieve your business goals. Once you’re on track with these recommendations, continually test the various elements, one at a time to see what works best for your blog.

What’s you top blogging recommendation that you use based on research?

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Here are some related blogging articles:

Photo credit: http://danzarrella.com/bio



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