Blogs are pretty ubiquitous at this point, but that hasn’t always been the case in the digital era. Even as recent as a decade ago, fewer people than today could answer the question, “What is a blog?” Everybody and their mother keeps a blog nowadays, and while some function as more personal diaries or record-keeping spaces, there was a sharp turn along the way toward blogging as a marketing strategy. Nowadays, it’s highly common for businesses to make use of blogging to help raise brand awareness and build a substantial role of expertise and leadership for consumers.
Blog marketing has the power to create additional connections, generate additional revenue, improve your ranking in search engines, and encourage traffic that returns. It also provides an outlet to go more in depth about your product or services, providing insights that websites and social media don’t have the capacity for. Plus, you can share your blog content across all of your other marketing platforms and refer back to older blog posts to create inbound links that direct traffic to your site.
And let’s not overlook the 434% increase in indexed pages for Google rankings that websites with a blog enjoy.
Your SEO will thank you later.
The following guide is a collection of blogging best practices and strategies that can help accelerate your business’s growth and solidify your audience reach to generate more sales or sign-ups
1 Keep your blog updated regularly
An idle blog washes away with the tides of content continually streaming onto the internet. Especially important in the beginning is waiting until you have a substantial number of blog posts available—say, somewhere around 10—before going live with your posts, because you don’t want to have people show up with one or two blogs sitting around waiting to be read. People should immediately see content and feel engaged and interested enough to stick around and read it.
Keeping an ongoing list of content for future blog posts, and writing them ahead of time, is an excellent practice, so all you have to do is schedule them once you finish. It’s advisable to space your post scheduling out, so the content is spread across several days, which enables other marketing features like newsletters and social media posts to share new posts daily.
2 Set a blogging budget made of both time and money
Blogging could be free if you really wanted it to be. You could single-handedly and heroically manage your entire business AND spend the statistical average of over three hours crafting just one blog (a number that is increasing every year). That means you’d easily tack on at least nine hours of work on to your daily schedule a few days per week, if you’d like to keep up with the frequency you should be blogging.
Sounds like a great way to save money, right?
Modern companies should always bank on having a portion of the budget devoted to robust blogging, plus a significant amount of time for the blogging to happen. The potential ROI should be enough to sway you: last year, 61 percent of consumers said they made a purchase after reading a blog post. Another 90 percent of those customers said the content of blogs they read are useful. Oh, and small business blogs net 126% more leads. Any more questions?
3 Get to know your audience and learn where they get their marketing
Did you know that in 2017, 91 percent of people said they got their marketing content through email? LinkedIn came in second, and print sources, YouTube, and Twitter followed closely behind.
Know your demographics, know your audience, and understand what they value because it’s the best way you’re going to reach them. Have your studies and observations shown you that you’ve got a lot of dedicated email subscribers, but a lower Twitter engagement rate? Don’t give up on Twitter, of course, because there’s plenty you can do to boost your Twitter game, but take heed of the habits and abide.
Understand who will give you conversions, and how to target those types. If you’re writing a blog post focused on awareness, there’s a specific buyer persona that will be the most invested and more likely to turn around and make a purchase. This knowledge helps you funnel your energies to create a more significant impact on your ROI and generate more leads and traffic.
4 Brainstorm content by defining goals
I don’t mean to sound obvious, but you should definitely know what you want your blog to achieve before you start putting it out there for the world to see. You might have an overall topic in mind, but have you given it much thought exactly how you’ll present it, why, and to whom? Determine what you’d like to ultimately achieve from your blog, whether its additional sales leads, frequent or viral link sharing of your posts, or establishing brand loyalty. Then set out with eyes only for your faithful customer base.
Ask yourself why these specific people would want to read your blog, why it’s of value to them, what they want to read more of, who else they might be reading, and how likely they are to become full-on customers or loyalists rather than brand aware onlookers.
Write for them, and only them. Conjure an image of this hypothetical loyal customer, and speak to them through your blog like you’re writing them a love letter about, oh, say, how to blog.
5 Make lists!
The most fun part of blogging might be the list making. I don’t know if it’s just me, but there’s something irresistible about seeing a freshly researched and curated list full of potential ideas that strikes a deep chord with me. Fellow list makers of the world, this is your time to shine.
Write down every topic that comes to mind, even if the connection is vague. Categorize based on relevance, how far into the future the topic will be written, or based on categories. Keep this list close, like you would an only child.
While you’re at it making lists, why don’t you scheme some possible formats you could incorporate into your blog? Blogging doesn’t have to be limited to a bunch of words about a specific topic. You might find some illustrations, surveys, do a podcast, keep a vlog (video log), write an ebook, prepare charts and infographics, conduct Q&A sessions with industry leaders, or make another list. There are tons of ways to shake up your blogging routine, but as always, you’ll need to be sure you’re still focusing on your target audience and what will appeal to them the most.
6 Measure your results
Learn to use Google Analytics to track your traffic. Bounce rates and page views matter, as does the average time spent on a page. Knowing these stats can help you modify your blogging approach as needed, and understand what works and what to leave behind.
Determine what your engagement goals are, and take a look at how they’re aligning. What about your strategy is lacking? What’s working? These are questions that should regularly be asked, and over time, you’ll learn that what worked one year stopped working as well the next.
Analytics also shows you how many people came back for seconds, how many users and sessions your blog enjoyed, and how many pages they read each session. The results can be fascinating and enlightening.
If you haven’t yet concluded that blogging is the right track for you, you’re probably not a business owner. Keep your competitive edge, drive traffic to your site, and increase sales by keeping a great blog full of all the knowledge, wisdom, and insight your business is made of.