It seems like everyone and their sharply dressed dog is blogging these days. Should you get in on the action? Blogging can be an effective way to distinguish your site from competitors, engage your customers and establish your brand as an industry thought leader.
Marketers who prioritize blogging are 13 times more likely to have a positive ROI than those who do not, according to inbound marketing company HubSpot.
The catch: you have to devote time and resources to doing it right. Here’s how to launch and maintain a blog that will turn readers into customers.
Make your blog content stand out from competitors’ by offering readers information they’re not getting anywhere else. Whether you’re writing about industry trends, posting interviews with top influencers, or offering recipes or DIY project how-tos, ensure the content is useful to your target audience and makes sense for your brand.
Think beyond product promotion
Of course the main goal in producing your blog is to convert readers into customers, but resist the urge to make every post a direct sales pitch. Constantly plugging your products can be off-putting to readers who are inundated with a constant flow of digital information every minute of the day. Instead, offer insights, tools and stories that are on-brand and meant to entertain, engage and inspire the reader. Quality posts will push customers through your sales channels more effectively than overt promotions.
Brainstorm with your team
The best ideas for blog posts can come from anywhere—or anyone. Call a team brainstorm and encourage everyone to think creatively and share insights. Even the zaniest concepts should be considered—the sky’s the limit at this stage. Track all ideas in a running list to revise as you develop your content.
Draft an editorial calendar
Use a calendar to map out what you want to post each week of the year. Balance your schedule to ensure you’re producing a good variety of content, and set yourself deadlines. You should also lay out work-back schedules for any graphics, photography or video production you may need, and plan blog promotion. You can use tools like Editorial Calendar from WordPress or Google Docs to create calendars that multiple team members can access and edit.
Bank content before launch
Produce a cache of at least a month’s worth of posts before your blog goes live. You’ll need time to get into the rhythm of a regular posting schedule and this pre-produced content will take the pressure off.
Consistency is key with blogging, because a neglected blog can seem stale and unprofessional. Maintaining a reliable posting schedule will give your readers a reason to return to your website on a regular basis, and can also help boost your SEO. If you need to take a break in your posting schedule, you should update your readers and let them know when you’ll be back with fresh content.
Build link love
You put a lot of hard work into your site and you want to keep users in your environment as long as possible. But it’s also important to provide your audience with relevant links to external content. Not only does linking out enhance your readers’ experience on your site, but it helps boost your SEO too. It also encourages other sites to link back to your site as a trusted resource for their readers. Reach out to partner sites and related bloggers, and ask them to link to your blog in exchange for a link to theirs.
All the work you put into your blog will be for naught if no one knows it’s there. Promote your content by working blog posts into your social media and e-newsletter schedules. Invite key influencers like top bloggers and social stars to guest post on your blog, or sponsor content on their blogs as a way to tap into their readership and drive traffic back to your site. A strategic social ad buy is another way to target potential customers with interests related to the content you’re producing.
Jennifer Goldberg is co-founder of Tavanberg, a Toronto-based content agency focused on helping brands connect with customers through standout storytelling.
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Do you have a company blog? What’s your content strategy? Let us know by commenting below.