Your blog should be right at the heart of your content marketing efforts, as It’s one of your
best opportunities to make consistent progress towards key goals.
Making blogging a key content marketing activity
If you’ve spent too long overlooking your blog and failing to take advantage of all the potential it offers, now is the time to make some changes that will generate positive outcomes for your marketing and your business as a whole.
This includes improving your search engine rankings; delivering a positive, valuable user experience; consistently generating leads; building brand awareness on social media.
Why you should create a blog and join the blogging community
The reasons why you should not only create a blog, but keep it updated with a steady stream of high-quality, well-researched and relevant content, are manifold. They relate to everything from the relationships you have with customers to the status and reputation you’re able to build within your industry.
To demonstrate your knowledge and expertise
Trust is an extremely important factor in purchasing decisions for many customers. This is particularly true in the B2B segment, where sales cycles tend to be longer, more complex and with a higher number of people involved, all of whom have to be convinced of the value their business will receive before going ahead with a purchase.
To build and maintain trust with your target audience, you need to show that you have a deep understanding of your industry, your customers and the goals they want to achieve. Producing regular blog posts is one of the best ways to demonstrate that knowledge.
Whatever sector you operate in – whether you sell outdoor gear for sports enthusiasts or software for small businesses – you need a platform to showcase your expertise and your ability to deliver what buyers are looking for.
To educate and inform your audience
A common reason for a prospect to find themselves on your blog is because they have a question they need to answer or a particular topic they want to explore in more depth. If you can provide the solutions or information they need in the form of a great blog post, you’ve made a big step towards establishing a positive relationship with them.
This is one of the most effective ways to deliver value for your audience and build engagement early on in the user journey. Your customers should see your brand as an authoritative source that they can turn to when they’re looking for fresh and reliable insights into their area of interest or business.
To attract more organic traffic to your website
If search engine optimisation (SEO) is one of your top goals, the production of carefully tailored blog posts needs to be right at the heart of your content marketing strategy. Blog posts provide the opportunity to incorporate relevant keywords and phrases into your marketing content. If they’re used in the right way, these keywords will help to improve your search engine rankings and attract more relevant, high-quality traffic to your website.
Every blog post you create is a new webpage that can be indexed and discovered by search engines, increasing the likelihood that you will show up in results pages. Regularly updating your blog also shows Google et al that your website is active and up to date, which provides a further boost to your SEO and adds to your authority and credibility.
To generate leads
For your business to succeed and grow, you need to consistently generate new leads that you can convert into customers. Well-written, engaging blog posts that your visitors enjoy reading will provide lots of chances for you to do that.
At the end of a blog entry that takes a high-level look at a complex subject, for example, you could direct readers to a guide or whitepaper going into the topic in more depth, which they can access in exchange for their contact details.
High-quality content creation is also one of the most effective ways to encourage people to sign up to your email list. Once you have a prospect’s email address, you can focus on nurturing your relationship with them through regular newsletter communications and the provision of valuable content.
To create content for social media and email newsletters
A strong blog is a key component of your website, but for your content marketing strategy to deliver the best results, you need to take a holistic approach that connects your site to other key channels such as email and social media.
With proper planning, management and curation, your blog will become a crucial source of content to be reused and repurposed in other areas of your marketing.
A well-researched post could contain a selection of statistics and insights you can share in a tweet or a LinkedIn update, for example, which then drives traffic back to your blog.
The ability to access a steady stream of new content on your website also makes it easier to keep your email list engaged with regular newsletters.
To support your link-building strategy
In addition to the factors already mentioned, another key element in your SEO performance and the authority of your website is link building.
Populating your blog with a diverse and frequently updated library of great content increases the chances of other websites linking to your posts. This gives a strong signal to search engines that your site is seen as a credible and reliable source of information, for which you’ll be rewarded with higher rankings in results pages.
It’s also beneficial to include a range of links to other websites and online resources in your own content. This helps to enrich the user experience and shows visitors to your blog that you’re committed to providing value and helping them find the information they’re looking for.
To share news and updates
A key step in building a brand that your customers can engage and establish a meaningful relationship with is creating a sense of individuality. Research has shown that nearly six out of ten consumers (57 per cent) purchase from brands with strong personalities.
If you’re able to develop a distinctive character and identity for your business, customers are more likely to remember you and recommend you to others, especially if they have enjoyed a positive experience with you in the past.
One of the various tactics you can use to convey your personality is to include company-related news and updates on your blog. This is a good way to demonstrate what makes your business unique and to provide insights into the human side of your organisation, which is crucial if you’re looking to carve out a profitable niche for yourself in a competitive industry.
Features of an effective blog
The value of using a blogging platform to keep your site updated with a steady supply of strong content is undeniable. But what exactly should you be focusing on to ensure your blog is of the required standard to engage every potential customer and drive your website up the search engine rankings?
Firstly, it’s vital to ensure the subjects you cover on your blog are genuinely relevant and interesting to your target audience. This will require you to do some research and to create buyer personas that include information such as:
- Demographic details for particular segments of your audience
- Insights into their interests and motivations
- Challenges, obstacles and pain points
- Business size and identities of decision makers (for B2B content marketing)
Working towards this level of understanding of your customers is important if you want to supply blog content that captures their attention, answers their questions and gives them something valuable to take away with them.
Producing relevant and memorable blog posts will also help you gain recommendations, shares and impressions on social media, which will have a big impact on your brand visibility and recognition.
The headline is the first aspect of any blog post that viewers will see and pay attention to, so for your content to have the impact you’re looking for, it’s essential to get this particular ingredient right.
There are many approaches and tactics you can use to produce strong headlines that grab and keep people’s interest.
Here are some key points to bear in mind:
- Numbers and lists are often highly popular and good for SEO
- Every headline should give the reader a clear idea of what the blog post is about and what they can expect to gain by reading it
- Visitors appreciate opportunities to learn new things and plug gaps in their knowledge, so incorporate this into your headlines
- Strong adjectives and verbs will increase the impact of your blog content on the average reader
From an SEO perspective, it’s also important to ensure your headlines include keywords, but only if they feel natural and have a direct connection to what’s covered in the blog post itself. Artificial inclusion of phrases that are at best tenuously related to the subject matter is likely to result in you being penalised in Google search results.
Lots of visual content
There’s no substitute for written content when you want to explore an idea or help your audience learn more about a complex topic. However, it’s also important to remember that large blocks of uninterrupted text can be off-putting to the average reader.
People are naturally drawn to content that has strong visual components, from colourful social media posts and infographics to animation and videos.
That’s why it’s important to ensure your blog posts feature lots of elements that will catch the eye and draw people in, while also helping to illustrate the subject you’re examining. This could be anything from high-quality images that break up the text to specially produced custom graphics.
Solid linking structure
Links have a key role to play in your blog content. As already mentioned, attracting backlinks from other websites increases your authority, but there is also a lot to be gained from a strong internal linking strategy.
As you gradually develop your library of blog posts, you can provide a more rewarding and joined-up experience for the user by linking related entries together to take them on a deeper journey through a particular subject.
Linking associated pieces of content together is an idea that lies at the heart of the topic cluster concept. Topic clusters are groups of content that share a common theme. At the centre of the cluster is a pillar page that links to a selection of blog posts and other assets covering a related subject, which also link back to the central pillar.
As well as helping you keep your library of content structured and organised, this method can have a positive impact on your SEO.
Regardless of how much work and preparation you put into the posts featured on your blogging platform, you’re unlikely to gain much value from them if you don’t direct readers to the next step you want them to take.
This is why clear and effective calls to action (CTAs) are so important. At the end of every blog post, be sure to include a CTA that not only leads to greater value for the user, but helps you move them further along their journey towards conversion.
Good practices to remember when crafting your CTAs include:
- Use verbs and active language that direct people to take the desired action
- Create a sense of urgency
- Make it clear users can take the action with little risk or disadvantage to themselves
- Consider design options that make your CTA stand out, such as using bright, contrasting colours and having an area of white space around the button
How to find a niche for your blog
The digital world is nothing if not competitive, particularly when you’re fighting for the time and attention of users who could be doing countless things other than looking at the content on your website.
If you want to cut through all the online noise and draw in more traffic, one of the best ways to do it is by building a unique blog that helps you establish a profitable niche for your business.
So what can you do to achieve that goal?
To do a good job of defining your own blog niche, first you need to feel confident that you can speak with insight and authority about a particular topic.
This is likely to be the area in which you do business, and will therefore be related to the most common goals, priorities and concerns of your target audience. You already have a lot of experience and knowledge of this subject, so it makes sense to leverage that on your blog.
Being able to produce in-depth, well-informed blog content that demonstrates your expertise is a big advantage as you seek to build trust with readers and show that you can meet their needs and expectations.
There’s a good chance you have a lot of existing knowledge you can utilise to produce compelling blog posts, but you might also want to expand your horizons and write about a broader range of topics that are of interest to your customers.
In this situation, it’s important to give yourself time for in-depth research and planning before producing the content. This will help you expand your current understanding of a particular subject, which could prove crucial as you seek to explore niche areas that your leads and prospects want to learn more about.
Failing to do enough research before writing your blog posts increases the risk of you coming across as uninformed and unprofessional, which will damage your chances of converting leads into customers.
Your audience is one of the most valuable sources of information you have when you want to find out more about how your blog is performing.
When it comes to defining your blog niche, be sure to collect and analyse as much customer feedback as you can, to get a better idea of how your content is being received and what you can do to make it better.
If people aren’t engaging with your blog posts or asking questions that suggest their interests lie elsewhere, make sure you listen to what they’re saying and adjust your content marketing strategy accordingly. Take advantage of social media and social listening to monitor conversations and identify gaps in the content that’s already out there.
Carving out your own blog niche is all about offering something different to what’s already out there, which means it’s important to study existing content and trends in your sector.
Make a list of competitors and businesses related to your own and take a look at their blog content to see what they’re writing about, the tone they’re using and the position they’re taking on particular topics.
You can then think about how to differentiate your own output and tailor your blog niche to provide something uniquely valuable for your audience.
Reasons to work with a content marketing team to improve your blog
If you feel that you could and should be making better use of your blogging platform, working with a specialist content marketing agency is one of the most effective ways to go about it. There are many positive results you can achieve by outsourcing your blog production to an experienced team.
Setting your strategy
Content marketing experts will be able to provide valuable support in the creation of your content strategy. A carefully planned and clearly defined strategy is essential, to ensure every blog post you create has value and is connected to your broader mission as a business.
It can be difficult to know where to start when setting your strategy, so it’s useful to have a dedicated marketing team to help you navigate the process and brainstorm ideas.
Once you have a strong plan in place, you can set about populating, optimising and managing your blog with confidence that you’re working towards clear goals.
There’s a good chance that everyone in your company is already extremely busy, especially if you’re a small business where employees are having to take on multiple responsibilities at once.
If this is the case, you might struggle to find the time to plan and produce high-quality blog content. As mentioned above, failing to dedicate sufficient time and effort to each stage of the production process – from planning and research to writing and monitoring feedback – can lead to sub-standard results. This will affect your customer relationships and conversion rates.
When you have a reliable content marketing partner that you trust to take on blog production, you can concentrate on other aspects of your business with confidence that your marketing is well looked after.
SEO and technical capabilities
Improving your search engine rankings and bringing in more organic traffic is likely to be a key goal of your blog. Given the highly competitive and fast-moving nature of SEO, and digital marketing as a whole, this can be a difficult objective to achieve, especially if you don’t have the time to study the latest updates to Google’s algorithms and ranking factors.
Content marketing teams specialise in these areas and can help you ensure your blog posts have all the elements required to rank well in search engine results.
That means you don’t have to worry about time-consuming but important tasks such as:
- Ensuring your keywords feature in the right places, such as H1 tags and URLs
- Filling your blog posts with a range of links to relevant pages and resources
- Tailoring meta descriptions to summarise the content in a clear and search engine-friendly way
Certain abilities are essential for the production of high-quality blog content, from basic knowledge of grammar and syntax to the ability to write in a concise and engaging fashion. If these skills don’t already exist within your business, you’ll need a plan to acquire them.
Working with an agency is a good way to access specialist capabilities without the financial and administrative commitment of hiring a permanent employee.
When you’re evaluating different providers and thinking about what sort of partner you want to work with, look at their previous output to get an idea of their strengths and what they can contribute to your content marketing.
Support with ideation
You might have a number of exciting goals you want to achieve through your marketing, but when the time comes to start planning and producing regular content for your blogging platform, you draw a blank.
This is where an experienced content marketer will really come into their own. They will be able to consider the goals you’re hoping to achieve, study Google trends and come up with ideas that drive your search results and increase your website traffic.
A capable blogger will also help you take what might seem like a niche idea and turn it into a compelling theme.
Planning and producing content is only part of the journey if you want to build a truly successful blog.
Another crucial process is using Google Analytics and similar tools to study your results and draw informed conclusions about what’s working, which types of content are attracting the most reader interest and where you need to take a different approach.
This is another task that demands a lot of time and attention, which you might not be able to provide. By handing over your analytics and performance measurement to a trusted content marketing manager, you can feel confident that these jobs are being completed to a high standard and your blog output is constantly improving.