5 Steps To Make Your Blog The Jewel In Your Marketing Crown
While they had their moment in the marketing sun, do blogs still matter?
Blogs experienced that endorphin-producing first blush of love. Like a teenager, blogs first flirted with search, then with social media and most recently with content marketing.
Now blogs have settled into Internet middle age. Even the term middle age sounds blah lacking distinction. Therefore it’s no surprise middle age makes blogs like people feel – invisible.
To keep up with the latest trends, agile social media and content marketers use newer, sexier social media options. They create bite-size content to attract attention and engage followers.
While this yields short-term interaction, the results can be fleeting. Social media data backs this up.
In their haste to keep up, marketers underestimate the additional resources and on-going promotion needed to support these activities.
So, what’s changed?
Social media runs on swipes and likes. While blogs can help fuel newer social media streams, it’s akin to taking your parents along on a date.
As a result, business blogging is down. The Inc. 500, who’ve historically been on blogging’s leading edge, have reduced their use of this tactic.
When blogging was the new, new thing, nimble small businesses used blogs to cast a bigger marketing footprint. As blogs and content marketing have grown up, bloggers face increased competition for reader attention.
More importantly, blogs require employee time and resources. Publishing me-too blog content or ad hoc blog posts whenever you have time won’t cut it. This is a recipe for #BlogFailure. The biggest problem unsuccessful bloggers have is giving up too soon.
Quality blog posts require internal or external headcount and other budget.
Blogging takes time, the scarcest resource a small business has.
But letting your blog languish yields short-term savings that can result in long-term business losses. And small businesses aren’t alone when it comes to blogging.
81% of North American B2B businesses use blogging as a content marketing tactic yet only 59% of them find blogging effective! This 20+ percentage point difference is MUCH higher than it should be. A successful business blog should come close to 100% effectiveness.
So, do blogs still matter for your business strategy?
The short answer: Yes.
Your blog still matters since it:
- Provides customer-focused content. This is core information that prospects and customers seek during the research buying phase and beyond. Without it, they’ll never contact you.
- Supports search optimization. Posts should be written around keyword phrases in line with your search strategy.
- Fuels social media. Skip the once and done blog promotion. Batch schedule your blog content and support it with social media advertising where needed.
- Generates qualified leads and sales. Blog content encourages readers to act.
5 Steps to make your blog the jewel in your marketing crown
Your blog is the uncut the jewel in your marketing crown. Here are 5 steps to make your blog matter for your business.
1. Develop and document your blog strategy and editorial mission statement
Your blog isn’t a standalone, nice to have element. It should be part of your foundational and customer-focused content plan.
Align your blog strategy with your content, social media and search marketing strategies. Integrate them into your overall marketing and business plans to achieve key goals.
Create blog content with your other marketing to reduce redundant, one-off activity. Save marketing budget and reduce employee stress. As a result, you can efficiently atomize content for different uses and platforms.
2. Create a blog editorial calendar and integrate it your promotional calendar
Planning your blog content saves time. Eliminate Blank-Screen-Syndrome and mediocre me-too posts. Instead deliberately add blog post bricks to your content foundation to support specific customer needs.
Start with your annual marketing calendar. Add blog posts to support regular holidays, marketing promotions and big rock content.
Examine internal content efforts to produce blog posts.
- Customer correspondence. Check customer service, sales and other front line personnel. Ask them to blind copy answers to your bloggers.
- Special company events. What content can be re-imagined for blog posts?
- Internal milestones. Would your readers be interested in these events?
- Human resource and product initiatives. Can this information be converted into blog posts? This content is often underutilized by marketers.
Think beyond text. Blogs deliver other content formats such as audio (or podcasts) photos, video and presentations.
3. Optimize your blog content to improve measurable results
Your blog post isn’t done once it’s written. It requires optimization pre-publication.
Make your content reader-friendly. Talk to your readers. Use the word “You”. Format your post for reading ease including outlining and bolding. Don’t forget the visual eye candy.
Craft your post to enhance search results. Use plug-ins for search (Yoast) and speed. More broadly, focus each post on one keyword phrase (Use it in your headline and URL.) Again add and optimize non-text content.
Incorporate social sharing. Don’t make readers work to share your content. Use sharing icons, PinIt and Click-To-Tweet.
Make sure your blog post supports your business objectives. Include a call-to-action with trackable metrics where possible. Link to appropriate products. (Keep a list of links to change them seasonally.)
4. Plan and space out your blog promotion
Blog post promotion shouldn’t stop after one day, week or month. Since blog posts require work to create, give them the promotion they need to attract attention over time.
Set up your blog post social media shares when you finish your post. Don’t limit yourself to the post title. Include subheads, data points, links, quotes, charts and other formats. This extends your blog sharing without repeating yourself.
Use appropriate hashtags and Twitter handles. Do research to see what’s trending. This broadens your social media reach.
Batch post shares to save time. Schedule future shares. Don’t assume that you’ll remember to resend them later. Use a social media scheduling tool like Buffer, Co-Schedule, Agora Pulse or Edgar.
Curate related blog posts in each new article. Entice readers to stay on your blog longer by hand selecting related posts and making them stand out. Keep a list of related posts to cross-link in the future.
Include internal content distribution. While many marketers send blog post notices to their email list, they often overlook other audiences. Let employees know about each post. Integrate relevant posts into customer communications and email signatures
Notify influencers you mentioned. Don’t expect anything in return. Just send an email (since they may not see your social media share.) Your goal: To get on their radar without pissing them off.
5. Update and repromote existing content
These posts fill an existing content need. Updating them is a relatively low-cost effort compared to creating totally new content.
Audit your existing content for qualified blog post ideas.
- Can content or blog posts be repromoted or updated to reach new audiences?
- Do you have content holes that you can fill with blog posts?
Find the blog posts that generate the most traffic for your business.
- Enhance them with additional content formats such as a download or audio. Social Media Examiner does this by adding an audio version of the post.
- Make sure that they support email capture and/or your purchase process. OkDork’s Noah Kagan does this with downloads.
Update blog posts containing out-of-date information. This helps your search results. Also, ask readers to contribute suggestions to your core resources. Jonathon Colman does this on his mega content strategy list. It’s a great way to stay evergreen and engage your audience.
The bottom line: Blogs still matter for your business strategy.
While not as sexy as they once were, blogs have acquired the knowledge and ability to make amazing partners. Use your blog effectively and it will be the jewel in your marketing plan.
To this end, create and document your blog plan. Integrate it into your editorial calendar to minimize redundant content effort. Then maximize blog post effectiveness and support it with promotion.
Don’t be afraid to use older but wiser social media in the form of blogging.
Yes, blogs require effort and resources.
But, unlike other social media options, blogs yield measurable results.
How effective is your business blog for achieving business objectives? What do you do to set it apart to yield measurable results?
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