This post is #21 in a series of 21 aimed at providing marketing tips to SME’s across Devon and Cornwall.
I am a massive advocate of blogging and I’ve published more than 100 posts on my own blog site. I explain to my clients that blogging regularly helps attract visitors to their websites, helps search rankings and can establish the author as the Go To resource within their industry or sector. And the bottom line is that blogging can help increase leads for your business.
But blogging is not a short term fix, it takes time and it can sometimes be difficult to convince people that by putting the time in, they will reap the rewards. So for all of those who doubt the power of a blog post here are two statistics from a recent Hubspot survey of businesses of varying sizes for you to consider:
- Companies that published 16+ blog posts per month got almost 3.5X more web traffic than companies that published between 0 – 4 monthly posts.
- B2B companies that blogged 11+ times per month had almost 3X more web traffic than those blogging 0 – 1 times per month.
So there is a definite correlation between the number of blogs posted and the number of web visitors you receive. So it also stands to reason that if you’re not blogging then you’re missing out on that potential traffic.
Sounds great, how do I get started?
First of all check you can easily add a blog to your website. If you have a WordPress website, it’s easy, if not you’ll have to check with your webmaster who’ll create one or link from an external site like blogger. The next step is to put together your content plan and for that stage it pays to think like a publisher. Publishers look to wring out every last benefit from the content they create or manage, by planning in advance you can ensure that your blog post can be repurposed or reused in other ways.
The content plan
The last thing we want to do is just start publishing blog posts on an Ad Hoc basis with no thought behind what we want to achieve or how we’ll succeed, don’t forget, we need to take the long view.
Most of us have subscribed to a monthly magazine at some time or other. So we understand that:
- It’s published on a regular basis (e.g. monthly)
- It focuses on a market niche e.g. fitness, gardening, health and fitness
- Each copy normally evolves around a theme and future themes are known well in advance
- Headlines are written to catch our attention
- Images are important to help the copy stand out
- Paragraphs, lists and bullet points are used to break up copy and highlight important points
- The content is used to emphasise the views of the author or editor
These are all important factors that we need to consider within our own publishing plan and before we start to write anything.
So where do we go from here?
1) Identify topics for your posts
It can be difficult to get started but to kick things off I tell my clients to identify 5 topics that are important to their business and write them down on a piece of paper, this can be the products or services they offer. Under each of these topics add 5 questions they are frequently asked around those products or services.
5 topics x 5 questions equates to 25 potential blog post titles that you can then work on.
Alternatively you can use keyword research, identify concepts important to your business or brainstorm topics with your team to get you started.
2) Add the post titles to a spreadsheet
Also known as an editorial calendar, add who’s responsible for writing the post, when it’s due to be posted, which social networks it will be promoted on and any keywords to be used to help it get found through search.
Important note: Police this spreadsheet robustly. Make sure everyone involved has bought into the plan, knows their responsibilities and timeframes and delivers to the required deadlines.
3) Write the post
You already have the idea based on the headline but the headline may need to be tweaked to ensure it catches the eye of the reader/searcher. Headlines that work include How to…, Top 10 tips to…, The best way to…etc.
It’s very important that anything you write is relevant and specific to your audience, if not they’ll bale out quickly. Make sure your message is clear and concise, you offer a strong and believable argument and you provide your views and thoughts based on your expertise in your field.
Don’t be afraid to take a stance, if you’re offering the same old arguments and verbiage as everyone else, no one will listen and they won’t come back. Sometimes you may have to/want to court controversy with your arguments and that’s ok as long as it’s relevant (and you don’t mind arguing your case in the feedback).
4) Optimise the post
Not just for the search engines but for the reader. People read online content differently to how they read books, they scan things quickly so help them quickly find the key points. This includes:
- Using images to highlight the post and within the post to break up the body content
- Using a catchy headline
- Using white space
- Embolden key words or phrases
- Use of bullets and lists
- Use of anchor text (embedded links) to promote related posts or articles
- Including a strong Call To Action (CTA) in each post to highlight what you’d like the reader to do next
- Including a page title and meta description for each post. This is done through the website Content Management System (CMS) and help the post to get found and chosen in the search engine results.
5) Promote the post
If you write the post and just let it languish on your website, yes, some people will find it and read it but if you’ve spent time writing a kick ass post, you’ll want to make sure it get’s out there and read by as many prospects as possible. So promote it through social media, many social media platforms are evolving into content delivery systems. Add blog registration blocks to your webpages and persuade people to sign up and get your blogs delivered directly to their in box. Promote the blog to your email marketing audience and have it as part of your email signature.
Blogging sounds simple but can be a daunting task for many. It can be a rewarding adventure but takes time, dedication and CONSISTENCY. If you want to get involved but don’t have the time or resources, Rame Marketing offers a Ghost Blogging service where we will write your blog and publish it under your name and on your own property.
Find out more about how we can help by calling 01803 413 481 or email [email protected]