I have talked to many business owners and marketers who think blogging is a chore and should be side-tabled for more important work. This is the completely wrong mindset to have in this modern age of content driven marketing. I couldn't think of anything better than spending 1-2 hours writing and promoting a blog that will:
- Investment in my business: Each blog post you write is one more piece of searchable content that people searching for information can find. Once published, it will be available now and in the future for years to come.
- Drive traffic to my website: Great blog content can be promoted in your monthly newsletters, on social media, broadcast to RSS or Link sharing sites or by word of mouth. All of these will be driving people interested in that topic matter directly to your website.
- Increase leads: With a carefully chosen blogging content strategy, all the traffic being driven to your site to read your blogs are qualified prospects. Because of this, you will have both a much higher conversion rate and also more conversion due to more traffic on call to actions for other content offers or consultations.
- Educate prospects: An educated prospect is a good prospect and is much more likely to not only see the value in the services you are providing, but also convert into a customer. Blogging is great for educating your customers on your company's products, services or industry.
- Help build my credibility on a subject: Developing high quality educational content to help educate prospects will in-turn establish yourself as an creditable authority in that topic matter.
For those of you who do not currently have a blog, I hope you're excited to get started with your blog and start driving new traffic and leads to your site. But having a successful blog is much more complicated that simply writing about extension updates and your company picnic. In the next section we will examine some key steps to take to develop a great blog.
What Are the Key Steps to Take to Have a Successful Blog?
(for those of you who already are blogging, this is the part of the article you need to perk up and read)
As stated above, simply having a blog on your website is just not enough to make it successful, and in some cases, it can actually do more harm than good depending on the content and frequency of posts. Below is a list of some key steps to act on while blogging to help ensure a successful outcome:
- Know your target customer/s: The first step to an effective blog is to take a step back and learn more about your target customers. Even if you already "know" them, take some time to do an audit and refine your knowledge. Look at your current customers and make a list of the top "A & B" level customers that you love working with. Then take this list and bucket them based on common characteristics. Once you have your bucketed lists, create a rich profile of their behavior, background, goals and challenges. Then attach a name and picture to this profile in order to create a persona. Personas are great for segmenting your content and targeting it towards the particular persona. You can learn more about personas here.
- Create relevant blog topics: Once you have identified your target client and grouped those clients into personas, you have to dig deeper to find out what are relevant topics that those prospects would be interested in or are already searching for.Talk to the rest of your team and come up with a list of common questions sales leads or prospects have, points of pain and objections. It should be easy to create a list of 50 items which gives you 50 blog post topics.
- Develop a blogging calendar: It's really common to draw a blank when you sit down to write your blog. Start a Google calendar for your blog and schedule out content for a 1-2 month period. Make sure to schedule the blog content to post during the busy days for blog reading within your niche (typically Tues, Wed, Thurs). Also keep in mind articles based on holidays or special events. Keep the calendar up to date and it will greatly help your efficiency.
- Take your time and produce good quality content: Remember, your blog is a representation of your business and your expertise. If your blog content is short and/or lacks any real value to the reader, there is a good chance it will fail. Take your time to really write engaging and educational blogs that readers will love to read and share with their friends. At a minimum, each blog post should be 350 words, although I would push for a 500 word minimum.
- Consistency and quantity: It's also very important when writing a blog to have consistent content. Posting three blogs in a week and then posting nothing for three weeks will leave readers annoyed. Even if you only have the capacity for one blog per week, make it a point to post that blog on the same day at the same time each week. Additionally, the more you can post the better. Now, there needs to be a good balance between quantity and quality. You are better off posting two great blog posts each week than seven short and quick posts with little reader value. For busy marketers or business owners, I would recommend two blogs per week posted on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Review your schedule and decide on a number for quality blogs that is reasonable for you to write on a consistent basis.
- Pair blogs with similar content offers: Readers have come to your blog post because the topic matter of that blog has interested them. They are excited to read the blog and want to learn more on this topic. What would be a better place to place strategic call to actions for other content offers you have on the same topic. There is a very high conversion rate on content offers that are paired with similar topic blog content which means more leads coming into your Inbound Marketing funnel.
- Promote blog content effectively: There are many different channels to promote your blog content and you will have to experiment and try them all. Promote your content to your social media networks with a heavy push in the networks which show the best traffic. With statistic tools and social media management tools such as Hootsuite you can find the best times to post and schedule multiple messages. You can learn more on this on my other blog post: "Maximizing Blog Exposure with Social Media Scheduling" Additionally there are many other social link sharing sites such as stumbleupon, digg, reddit, delicious, etc. that you should submit your blog content to. You should also stay active in community forums and post relevant content when appropriate so to not spam.
- Repurpose blog content: There are many ways you can repurpose blog content to help gain extra value from writing them. I've seen companies create an ebook which features the top XX blogs of the month or quarter. You could turn a blog into a monthly newsletter or lead nurturing campaign. The possibilities are endless as long as you're creative and cautious of any duplicate content issues.
- Refer prospects and clients to blog content: There will be many times when talking to potential clients or current clients that they will ask you a question. If this is a topic you have already written about, give them the short and sweet answer and then point them to your blog for additional information. Also, incorporating your blog content into your sales process is a great way to help educate the lead on particular topic matters that are relevant to that lead and help answer objections even before they ask.
These are just a few of the key steps to take when developing a successful blog. Please keep in mind this is not an overnight success. Many of the big blogs you see today have been working hard and "investing" with posts for years and years, however, with hard work, great content and great promotion you can easily develop your blog into a huge asset for your business.
Also, please keep in mind that blogging is just one piece of the Inbound Marketing process and there are many other steps what work in sync with blogging to help grow your overall business. You can learn more about the Inbound Marketing process on my other Joomla! Community Magazine article: "The Ultimate Inbound Marketing Guide For Joomla"
If you have comments or questions, please post them in the comments. I'd love to help get your blog rocking!