It’s been a while coming, but you’re finally ready to take the dive into content marketing. But where can you start?
You don’t need to submerge your whole body in the water just yet; instead, you can dip your toes in one of the most popular content marketing tactics – blogging.
It’s estimated that up to 96 per cent of visitors that come to your website aren’t ready to buy. That’s a hugely confronting stat!
It shouldn’t scare you, though. Instead, it should be a critical prompt that helps you to understand how content marketing – including blogging – is about so much more than just selling a product.
Why should you start writing blogs? Begin with your aim
Before you begin, your objectives should be clear.
Do you want to…
Optimised blog posts – published regularly – tell Google you’re current, you’re active, you’re knowledgeable, and that you can provide useful and relevant content to your audience.
And Google LOVES that.
As a result, they might push you further up the results for certain search terms that you choose for your blog post. That means more potential for people to find you, more clicks, and more website traffic.
…Grow your email list?
If you’re regularly producing quality content, you’ll attract readers who want to be updated each time you hit “publish”!
A blog is a great place on your website to ask readers to submit their email addresses to subscribe. If they like what they read, they want to know the solution to ensure they never miss a future post!
Obtaining an email address (plus a name) is often one of the earliest actions you can take to funnel users through the purchase cycle.
When you’re a smaller or newer brand, blogging is a great way to build credibility and position yourself as an expert: you might be new, but you know your stuff!
If you’re in a particularly small niche, you might realise that more qualified leads are researching these more specific search terms related to your product.
Tell them what you know, educate them, inform them, provide advice, and explain what you can do for them.
…Capture media attention?
Authoritative voices in their respective industry can attract media attention on a trending topic.
The media is doing their research, and if they come across useful, valuable, and timely content from your brand, they can reach out. Additionally, they could cite your post in one of theirs, resulting in a link to your content.
…Stand out from the competition?
No doubt you’ve had a sneak around the websites of your main competitors. Are they blogging? What kind of online content are they offering? How often are they doing it?
Check out companies who rank for a variety of keywords relevant for your business and see what kind of content marketing they’re doing (or if they’re doing it at all! Your findings might surprise you…)
…Rank higher in Google search results?
Keywords play an important role in discovering new blog topics to write about (but they shouldn’t be the most important factor!)
Focus on great, real, concise information, that primarily focuses on the reader. Keywords are important, but should come second to readability.
The best part is that if you’re writing for readability and usefulness, you’ll have no other choice than to naturally incorporate valuable keywords throughout your post.
Whatever your objective, keep this in mind: every blog post you craft, publish, and promote should be purposeful.
How often should I write a blog?
Ahh, this is where it gets a little challenging.
See, when many business start blogging, they get really into it for the first few weeks. They’re pumped to start planning and producing some great content, and the process starts off pretty seamlessly.
You blink and realise a whole month has passed, and you’ve written and published five blog posts – amazing!
But then… something gets in the way.
Maybe it’s a tight deadline, or a client crisis that steals everyone’s attention. Whatever the reason, motivation and action dwindle.
Before you know it, three months have passed and you haven’t added any new blog posts, and the date of the last publication moves further in the past. You’ve lost motivation.
The key? Consistency.
If you can’t handle blogging twice a week – then don’t! Spread out those eight blog post ideas over two months and scale it back to one great post a week rather than two mediocre posts that solely fulfil a quantitative requirement.
How do I write a blog? I’m no Shakespeare…
You don’t need to be! The best part about writing a blog post is that Google actually wants you to be conversational.
We know there are many people who love to write so will jump at the chance to start their business’s blog. But what about the ones who shudder at the mere thought of writing? Follow these tips:
Use everyday language
Think use instead of utilise, regularly instead of invariably, I went instead of I proceeded and so on…
This will help avoid that cold, stuffy, corporate speak. Boring!
Write as if you’re speaking to one person
This helps your content flow nicely, which means it’s easier to read. (And it helps you to stick to everyday language.)
Read it out loud (again and again!)
Add more paragraph breaks, insert full stops to shorten sentences, and get rid of (or replace) awkward words that complicate a sentence.
You might get sick of your own voice but every time you read a blog post out loud you will:
- Define your tone
- Pick up on boring phrases
- Distinguish the story you want to tell
- Identify sentences that you don’t really care about or believe in
I read this blog out about five times, each time removing unnecessary sentences. I reduced the piece from about 2200 words to around 1960.
Use headings, lists, and dot points to segment content. Nothing is more intimidating and off-putting than a solid block of text!
In fact, we tend to find that the paragraphs used in a regular word document (when we’re writing a post like this one) differ quite considerably once the content is published to our website.
A narrower space on a website (compared to a word doc) means we usually need to run through a published blog post to create even more paragraph breaks.
Add social share buttons
Because social share buttons require such little effort, they’re more appealing to web visitors. Readers can use pre-populated content (that you can create) or edit as they see fit, and it takes about 15 seconds to do so!
Keep them moving: refer them to more blog posts
At the bottom of a post, you can include a few more related blogs and suggest that a user continues reading.
This simple tactic could increase the ‘stickiness’ of your website and keep people hanging around for longer, viewing more pages, and learning more about you.
Don’t forget a call-to-action (CTA)
There are so many actions you can encourage: you can ask them to…
- Share the post (hence the social share buttons!)
- Leave a comment
- Read a related blog post
- Sign up to your newsletter
- Book a demo
- Contact the team
- Organise a consultation
Create CTAs that are relevant to the nature of your blog post topic, and, of course, to your business.
Published! Am I done?
Not quite… now you need to promote these great posts!
There are a number of ways you can promote your blog and drive visitors to your website, brand, content, and product.
Share blog posts on social media
Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ have relatively similar posting capabilities, so you can often undertake similar tactics when it comes to social media management.
Share a link to the blog post once you’ve hit ‘Publish’, then, perhaps a couple of weeks and months later, share it again. Repurpose the same content without repeating yourself be mixing up the formats in which you share.
Twitter’s environment is much more fast-paced, breaking, and reliant on trends. It’s likely you’re posting at a higher frequency on Twitter than you are on Facebook.
You can share a link to the blog post along with:
- A quote from the post
- A question about the topic
- An interesting statistic or fact
- A snippet that evokes intrigue
- An image
- A Tweet that simply promotes the blog post
That’s six ways that you can promote one single blog post on Twitter. Revisit these formats in a month or two, freshen up the copy, and share away again! Once you’ve built up some blog posts, you can create dozens of Tweets!
For Pinterest, create a vertical graphic with the title of the blog post, and craft a good description (including keywords!), add the image to a board, and don’t forget to add the link! You can make cool graphics in just a few minutes using Canva.
Share new posts in an email newsletter
You could, for example, send a round-up newsletter every fortnight or month that summarises new posts (as well as other company news, new products, and updates).
Consider content distribution
Are you looking for an extra tactic to drive traffic to your website’s content? Content distribution might be the right solution!
It’s a natural distribution method that captures users when they are already in content consumption mode, meaning they’re actively seeking material to consume.
Content distribution links blend in seamlessly on the websites of worldwide publishers under headings like “Stories you may like”, “Around the web”, etc. You can find out more about content distribution here.
Writing blog posts takes effort
There’s a lot of work involved in writing a blog post. It takes a solid investment of your time to consistently come up with blog posts (plus appropriate promotion).
But Google is happy to reward those websites who offer their readers valuable content and helpful information based around the entire purchase cycle, further than just the point of purchase.
Does it sound like blogging could help your business?
If you’re a little overwhelmed by writing blog posts every month, good news: we can do it for you.
We begin with keyword research, can provide you with a strategy and detailed briefs, so you can write the blogs yourself, or, we can do it all. First step? Reach out. Fill in the form below.
Some blogs you might also like to check out…
- Travel back to 1994, and see the evolution of blogging, from personal ‘web logs’ to business marketing
- Take a thorough look at the purchase cycle, and how there’s more to just selling
- Stuck in a rut? We’ve all been there. Find out how you can combat writer’s block