Bloggers can blog all day long if they want to and make thousands upon thousands of posts, but if the content isn’t right, it’s basically all for nothing. In order for your blog and your posts to get more and more views, you need to be sure that your content is aimed for the right audience (or audience you hope to have in the future), is engaging for the reader, and is promoted in an effective way in order to help awareness. This idea doesn’t solely apply to writing blogs, and can be applied to business efforts with a new product, even to the way you present yourself to others. Making sure you have not just good, but great content, can be broken down into 5 steps:
- Understand Your Audience: It’s extremely important that before you even begin writing your content, you have a clear understanding of who your audience currently is (if you even have one), and who you want your future audience to be. It’s also important to consider people who might find your content to be useful to them or insightful. To do this, you can create a “buyer persona.” Or in other words, an imaginary audience you wish to have, and determine the desired demographics/psychographics they will have. Another way to develop your buyer persona is through interviewing prospective viewers/buyers and/or the sales team, evaluating your web analytics reports (Google Analytics is a great tool to implement to your company or blog etc.), use keywords to research what your possibly viewer is searching for, and keep an eye on social media activities.
- Map the Content to the Sales Cycle: In the short version of the business sales cycle, there must be awareness, an evaluation, and finally a purchase. At the awareness stage, your main goal is to drive traffic towards your content and help create awareness of your product that wasn’t there before. Promotion of your brand is key in this stage. Next, is the evaluation. Customers are already aware that your brand exists. They may not be ready to purchase just yet, but they need to know that your brand is exactly what they are searching for. Lastly, is the purchase. With any business and content marketing strategies, the purchase and sale is ultimately the main goal. The customer has already become aware, gone through their evaluation process, and now the content needs to help them make the decision that your brand is better than your competitors.
- Create the Content: The most valued types of content consist of research reports & studies, technical & data sheets, analyst intelligence & insight, white papers, and articles on trade publishing sites (in that order). The length of your content is just as important. In this case, the longer the better – 2,000 or more words to be exact. Short posts don’t drive enough traffic and don’t add enough value to your company, or prove that your time is being well spent. There have even been studies done that show the more you write, the more your posts will be shared over other media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. This can even be connected to inbound marketing efforts, because the more your content is shared and promoted the less outbound marketing efforts need to take place.
- Promote your Content: Promotion is where the marketing comes into play with this method. It doesn’t matter how amazing, insightful, and down right spectacular your content is. If you’re not promoting it, no one is ever going to see it, and you just wasted a few hours of your valuable time! It’s important that you link your content to your social media sites (like I’ve done with my twitter account and this blog). Everyone and their mother is on social media these days, and this is probably the best place to promote your content. Beyond social media, you can promote your content through a Google AdWords campaign or through email marketing campaigns.
- Measure and Analyze: I’m personally guilty of not following through with this step. It’s so, so, so important to measure how well your content is doing and check out the progress you’ve made over time. I’m stuck in the habit of clicking publish, and never checking back to see my page views etc. Luckily, thanks to my new certification in Google Analytics, I know exactly how to track some of the most important measures. Components you might consider measuring are number of page views, what posts are being shared the most as well as which types of content are being shared, what keywords are triggering views, and how many leads your content generates. When you are able to understand these measures and analyze them, you’re able to create MUCH better content, because you know exactly what your viewer/customer is doing while on your blog.
On a business level, blogging is an extremely useful tactic to help customers learn and become aware of new products that might be launching, things your business is doing around the community, and overall learn more about what it is your company does and hopes to do in the future. Blogging is a key component to any business in todays society. Everyone is using the internet and many people have their own blogs for personal use. Companies must stick with the times and adapt to the media habits of their current and potential customers. The main focus of a blog for a business is to attract visits, create a lead, and hopefully convert them into an actual customer. The more posts and indexed pages your business has, the more likely it is that your blog will be found in an online search! With engaging content, this will hopefully open up opportunities for viewers to want to learn more, read other blog posts, and even decide to go to your company website or store and make a purchase.
HubSpot Academy emphasizes that one of the fundamentals of blogging is to generate inbound links. They describe it as votes. This metaphor works because if a company doesn’t create blog content, they can’t gain awareness. Just as if a president doesn’t run their campaign, no one knows what they stand for, therefore can’t receive any votes. That’s my interpretation of the metaphor anyways! Another important factor of blogging is that if you help a client, customer, or viewer solve the problem they were searching about in the first place, they are so much more likely to come back to you in the future! Closing a deal is a great accomplishment in the first place, but creating a lifetime customer? Priceless. The positive impacts of blogging for a business are endless. One of these impacts is that 82% of marketers that blogged for their companies daily reported positive ROI for their inbound marketing efforts.
Some other really important tips for content marketing and writing a blog are:
- Stay relevant!! You don’t want to be publishing information that’s out-of-date. This just makes yourself and your company seem inadequate and you’re guaranteed to lose the trust of potential customers.
- Another way to promote your blog is to add it to your business card, resume, and LinkedIn profile
- In order to be searchable, make sure you optimize your keywords throughout your blog
- Add relevant links, sources, and outside opinions to your blog to add credibility and support what you’re saying
- Inbound marketing efforts would be nothing without your great content marketing!
- HubSpot suggests the 80/20 Rule: create mainly awareness and consideration stage content
Here are some Cold, Hard Content Marketing Facts, outlining some statistics that show the development of content and inbound marketing, and where it’s headed in the years to come. To follow, here are 30 Genius Content Marketing Examples of 2014 (something to give you some inspiration for your own content marketing!)
If you’ve been keeping up with my blog, you’ll notice some of my previous posts were about inbound marketing, and the power that web analytics has for your company. Also, you’ll notice I mentioned both of these marketing components in this very blog post. They all go hand in hand with one another. Without the amazing content, you can’t have successful inbound marketing – and no way for analytics to tell you what should and shouldn’t change regarding your blog and other content.
Stay tuned for next weeks topic – Social Media – as it pertains greatly to the aforementioned marketing tactics as well! You can’t have just one piece to the puzzle… to be successful at digital marketing you need to have them all!