Setting a Marketing Strategy for Blog Success
Congratulations! You’ve decided to start a blog for your company. Blogs have become a powerful tool in a company’s SEO arsenal, and to create and maintain one is a strategic marketing move for any business. Blogs are all about getting the message out. But what message? Deciding on what your company should blog about, as simple as it may seem, has a tendency to be tricky at times. If you find yourself experiencing “blogger’s” block here are some steps you can take to help you get started in the right direction.
From the Beginning: Setting Your Goals
As a tool to help support your business, your blog should support your business goals. Why are you writing this blog anyway? Is it to express your thoughts and ideas, talk and interact with your customers or act as a vehicle to promote your product or services? The goal of your blog will help drive the topics you decide to write about, so make sure that the mission is clear and defined.
The Focus: Know Your Audience
Like every other source of marketing, for it to be effective, you need to know who your listeners are. You hear it time and time again, but knowing who your target audience is will help you create an effective blog and help you choose what to write and how to write it. It will also allow you to keep your readers consistently interested in what you have to say and ensure that your blog stays focused on creating content that valuable to potential customers.
What to Write About: Topic Generation
Now that you’ve established who your blog is targeting and what you want to get out of it, it’s time to focus on actual topics. What should your company blog about? Answer: anything it wants, as long as it continues to support its business goals. In other words, your company blog should talk about what it knows. Blog about topics relevant to your product or service; blog about what is going on in your industry right now. To help generate specific ideas look for interviews given by leaders, tips, opinion pieces, research, news, and posts from other bloggers. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. But be careful; your blog is not meant to be a sales pitch. Do not blog about how great your company is or about the products /services you sell; that’s what your company website is for. Blogs are for other people. They’re all about creating conversation and the topics you should be posting should be about subjects larger than your company that you feel your clientele will appreciate or find interesting and helpful.
You are the owner of Company A. Company A is participating in a huge convention concerning products that you sell. A potential blog topic would be to post something about the convention. You could mention that Company A will be present there but make the central focus of the post about the convention itself: dates, times, location, what is the convention all about, who will be there, the history of the convention, etc.
Content is King: Construction of a Quality Post
Now that you’ve chosen a topic to write about, it’s time to construct your post. What a lot of people seem to misunderstand about blogging is that it’s more of an art than anything else. Anyone can sit down at their computer and push out a blog post, but the creation of a successful blog takes time and technique. A quality blog post is a culmination of many different aspects, not just an interesting topic (although that is a great place to start).
- The Title: This is probably the most crucial part of your post. These few words are what are going to make your readers want to actually read the post.
- Attention Getter: Your high school English teacher was right all along. The opening line to your blog post matters and if it doesn’t get your reader’s attention the chances of the rest of your blog being read is slim.
- Getting to the Point: To be blunt, your blog post needs a point. What am I trying to communicate? What impact do I want to have on my reader? How will this benefit my reader? Everything you’ve done so far will mean nothing if the post itself has no point. So make sure that bulk of your post is comprised of material that will matter to people, otherwise it won’t matter at all.
- Adding Depth: Creating depth within your post is what will make it go from good to great. The more depth you put into your post the deeper your audience will read increasing the impact and effectiveness of your blog. Some examples of added depth include: examples, analogies, stories, metaphors, your own personal opinion and opinions of the other side, suggested readings, quotes, interviews, adding reader comments to the post, assigned homework, illustrations, charts, etc.
- Call to Arms!: Like I stated earlier, blogs are about creating conversation. But what if there is none? The vast majority of blog readers are passive so it’s up to you to break the silence. Don’t be afraid to ask for comments; if you want people to comment, invite them to. This can work with other actions as well; if you want someone to subscribe, ask them; if you want people to buy something, give them a way to do it; if you want readers to come back tomorrow, give them a reason to.
- Quality Control: Don’t underestimate a professional looking blog post. Make sure everything is spelled correctly and that your grammar is correct. Also go back and make sure that all added links work and that any illustrations you included actually show up.
- Timing is Everything: When it comes to posting frequency, the timing can play a key role in your blogs success. If you’ve just published a really important topic that you want people to take notice of, you want to allow time for that post to breathe. Don’t post anything else for a couple of days to allow it to sink in with your readers. Another issue to look out for is publishing too many similar topics too quickly. They need to be spread out as to not muddy up your blog.
- Promotion: Publishing your post and just letting it sit there isn’t going to attract any readers. You need to get the word out. Promote your blog and readers will come.
- The Conversation: This is where the real action happens. Just because you hit the “Publish” button doesn’t mean your blog post’s journey is over. The conversation after the blog is the real fruit of your labor. Conversations add
depth to your blog and most importantly build community and loyalty amongst your readers.
Success Derives from Technique: Scannability and Length
Ok, so you’ve established your goals, locked on to a target audience, figured out what to topic to blog about, and how to construct it. Now it’s time to learn how to deliver it. Can anyone say that when they visit a web page that they read the whole thing word for word? I didn’t think so. That’s why you need to make sure that your blog is an appropriate length and most importantly: scannable.
Only 16% of people read web sites word for word. Source
The average person only comprehends 60% of what they read. Source
The optimum length of a blog post is a very debatable subject. Reader attention spans suggest a shorter blog post, but if you’re accommodating for more of an SEO friendly length, don’t make it too short or too long; at least 250 words and no more than 1000 words is a happy medium.
Scannability can be created through a variety of means.
- Formatting ( Bold, CAPITALS, Italics, Underlining, teletext)
- Headings and Sub Headings
- Borders / Blockquotes
- Getting to the point
- Don’t burry your points
- Finding creative ways to reinforce your main points
- Don’t introduce too many New Ideas
If you keep these things in mind you should be able to produce intelligent, compelling, and focused content. A successful blog takes time and effort to make as well as maintain, but in the end it will be well worth the investment.