Your blog is one of the most valuable components of your online business. End of discussion.
Not only does it offer your readers value and information, it also helps to establish your brand as an authority and as a thought leader in your field.
Studies have also found that websites with blogs have:
- 67 percent more leads
- 55 percent more visitors
- 97 percent more inbound links
Your blog also allows you to create a personal relationship with your readers and allows them to know what you and your business stands for. This is important as it gives your customers something to align with when they think of your brand.
Over the years, content marketing has become so valuable that 82 percent of marketers curate content and over 70 percent of them have drastically increased their volume of content creation in the last 12 months due to the positive results. Another 71 percent of businesses have also increased their content curation budget in the last year.
With so much content out there your company not only has to write good content, it has to write amazing content in order to have a chance at generating sales and creating any sort of revenue for your business.
The simple fact remains however, that 41 percent of businesses struggle to create content. They struggle to know what to write about and they struggle to find a way to present their information in an interesting way. They also struggle to write posts that generate enough interest in order to make sale.
In fact the top 5 biggest challenges facing businesses when it comes to content creation include:
1. Lack of an effective strategy
2. Lack of content creation ideas
3. Inadequate Budget
4. Lack of tactical integration
5. Inability to improve ROI
These areas that were identified by the Ascend2 and Research Partners Group in 2014, show that the main set backs businesses face when it comes to managing a company blog really start with strategy.
In fact, over 46 percent of business owners said that a lack of strategy with their blog was the main challenge or hurdle they were facing. This makes sense as without a proper strategy is is near impossible to create a ROI from your blog let alone a profit.
The good news is, we have all the answers you need to turn your company’s blog into a money making machine in just a few simple steps.
Step #1: The Content
It goes without saying but good content is critical when it comes to creating a successful blog. To cover the basics, your blog must-
- Provide Value by offering ideas, resources and addressing consumer needs
- Contain newsworthy information that will grab audiences attention
- Have a personal tone that allows readers to connect with your brand or mission
- Be optimised for search engines and sharing on social media
- Include a mobile and tablet friendly version
- Offer in depth information and content that readers can’t find elsewhere
- Be regularly updated in order to keep readers engaged and checking in
These 7 factors are probably fairly obvious but what about the more advanced stuff? How can you take your company blog from drab to fab without a huge time and monetary investment?
Step #2: Develop a Content Marketing Strategy
Research by the Content Marketing Institute found that only 35 percent of companies have a documented marketing strategy. This means that most businesses are blindly posting blog content without having much of a plan or analysis on what is actually working.
The good news is that developing a content strategy doesn’t have to be complicated, in fact in just 4 easy steps your business can create a plan.
1. Identify your Purpose
If you are reading this article, chances are the purpose of your blog is to generate sales and revenue for your company. But perhaps summarising your purpose in one simple sentence will help you to really create a starting point. You may also want to narrow down to specifics how your blog is going to create you more sales.
For example, your purpose maybe to build your email list because you know that by doing so you will be able to generate more sales.
2. Know your Audience
When you understand your audience you are in a much more powerful position to make sales. It also helps you to know what to write about and what topics may be of interest to your audience.
When you have worked out who your audience is you can start thinking about the areas that they may need help in or ways to engage them.
For example, if you are in the weight loss space and you know your audience are women and men aged 45-55 who are looking to lose an average of 10 pounds, it can instantly help you to write more targeted posts.
You can also research relevant keywords that may be of interest to your demographic such as “help me lose weight” or “how to lose those last 10 pounds” and tailor your articles to include these.
Think of it this way, when you understand your audiences greatest needs or “pain points” you can create content that appears more valuable and more beneficial, which in turn will help you to build stronger relationships and a stronger following.
3. Build a content calendar
Once you have identified your audiences needs you can then start constructing a content calendar with outlines and suggestions for blog topics.
This will help your blog to not only stay relevant but will also reduce the time and hassle on thinking what to write about.
Having a calendar can also help you to plan content for different days of the year such as holidays, weekends etc.
For instance using the weight loss blog example, you might have articles such as “How to Stay Trim Over Christmas” released in December or “How to Stay on Your Diet When Eating Out” posted on a Friday.
These help your blog posts to be much more targeted and beneficial to your audience.
4. Keep a Record
Once you have a calendar in place it is easier to keep a record of your content and how it is doing. The statistics you measure will depend on your business and your purpose however, it is important to have an understanding of-
- The number of clicks the blog post has received
- The average length of time readers spend on the post
- The bounce and exit rate
This will help you to develop an understanding over what posts are doing well and what posts are doing not so well. Once you have established the types of posts that your readers really respond to it can help you to create a more relevant and valuable blog.
Remember, it may be detrimental to cater your blog to a wide audience. Sometimes, focusing on just one specific demographic or niche market may yield better results, however this would be something your company would have to test.
Step #3: The Headline
The headline of your blog is so important that it gets its own step, why?
Research has found that 8 in 10 readers will read your headline but only 2 in 10 of them will actually click on your content.
This means that for your blog to be read, your headline has to instantly capture their attention and motivate them to keep reading.
There are a few ways to create a catchy headline, including –
- Using data driven headlines such as- “The Ultimate Strategy that Helped 80% of Women Lose 10 Pounds” or “How to Get 5,000 subscribers to your Email List”
- Create list style posts such as “10 Easy and Simple Ways to Make Money” or “5 Secrets Your Doctor Won’t Tell You”
- Use call to actions such as “See Why This Dog Rides the Bus Alone Each Day” or “Claim Your Free Copy of How to Get Rich Quick”
- Evoke emotions or fears such as “This Old Couple Will Break Your Heart” or “Why You Are Missing Out on Life”
- Use surprising or strong statements such as- “How I Dominated Google without SEO” or “Why I Hate Wheelchairs”
If you are lacking inspiration for your headlines, pick up any magazine or newspaper and look at the headings that grab your attention and then work out a way to recreate it to fit your blog.
In time, you will start to find a headline structure that works for your blog and readers. For example, you may find that they respond really well to data-driven headlines or list style posts etc.
You can also experiment with testing different headlines for the same article and see how they compare.
Step #4: Optimising your Blog
Now that you have great content and a catchy headline, it is time to think about optimising your blog for it to be easily shared and enjoyed by your readers.
You could have the greatest content, but if your blog design is poor or your content is not geared to be shared, you may find it difficult to get it out there.
How to optimise your blog:
It goes without saying that your blog should be clearly laid out and easy to read. Here are a few elements you may want to consider playing with:
- The size and style of your font
- The location of the sidebar
- Getting rid of the sidebar altogether
- The location and sizing of the images
- The colour scheme
- The page elements (test removing and moving distractions or CTA’s)
When it comes to blogging a picture really does paint a thousand words. It also helps to catch your readers attention and can quickly convey information about the tone and style of your blog.
When it comes to using images on your blog, here are a few things you may want to consider:
- Including diagrams, tables, charts etc. in order to present information
- Experimenting with infographics, memes and .gif’s
- Having images throughout the post
- Using different visual mediums such as photos, graphics and drawings
3. Social Sharing:
In order for your blog to be viewed by a large audience it has to be shared across a variety of social media platforms. In order to make this as easy as possible, your blog must include a social share bar.
A floating social share bar on the side of the page seems to convert the best for most blogs, but you may also consider one at the top or bottom of the post.
Having links on your blog to your email list or social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram can also be a great way to get readers following your feed.
5. Mobile Friendly
In order for your blog to be profitable it has to be optimised for use on mobile and tablet devices. Why?
Research is finding that every year more and more users are turning to their mobile devices in order to read content and search the web. Google also uses mobile friendly pages as part of their search ranking results.
Most website designs are responsive which means they can easily be used on both desktops and mobile devices, however if you don’t have a responsive design you may want to consider getting a separate mobile site coded.
Keeping the fact that your potential customers may be reading your blog on their mobile device in mind, you may want to consider using:
- Short paragraphs
- Bulleted and numbered lists
- Subheadings and Subcategories
- Large call to action buttons
- Responsive graphics and ads
Step #5: Promoting Your Blog
We have now covered all the steps you need to creating an amazing blog such as having excellent content, a catchy heading and a beautiful layout, now you need to work on getting your blog out there for the world to see.
There are two main ways you can go about doing this:
1. Organic Traffic
2. Paid Traffic
Organic or search traffic can be hard to come by, especially if you are just starting out and trying to make a name for yourself, however it often brings the most targeted traffic source to your blog, which has a better chance of converting into a sale.
There are many ways to go about obtaining Organic Traffic such as guest blogging, reaching out to influencers, social media and blog commenting. But, the most popular and one of the most important techniques is Search Engine Optimisation or SEO.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
SEO is a great way to get your blog to the top of search ranking results, but it does take time, research and a lot of effort. In fact, the rules around good SEO are continually changing, so it may be worthwhile reading up about SEO best practices.
If you are just starting out, a good move would be to download WordPress Yoast SEO or another SEO plugin for your blog. This will help you to easily manage your the basics of SEO from your blog itself.
These basics include:
- Selecting and using targeted keywords in every post
- Writing a solid meta title/description that contains the keyword
- Ensuring that the URL contains the keyword and is not broken
- Including an alt text description for your images
- Ensuring that your article heading contains the keyword
- Ensuring that your page title is around 70 characters
- Keeping your keyword density low
Any good plug-in will help you to configure the above directly on your blog but it may be worthwhile to pay attention to other factors as well such as your site load time, your social media presence, the length of your posts and the average amount of time spent on your site, as all of these can also affect your SEO ranking.
SEO can get complicated so this is definitely one of the instances where you may want to consider reaching out to a search engine optimisation company.
Although it is good to observe basic SEO practices, the golden rule if you are managing your SEO yourself really seems to be offering valuable and informative content first.
Google has constantly updated their algorithm to blacklist people who simply keyword stuff or manipulate their content to improve SEO and favour sites that focus on offering valuable and insightful information that visitors like to read.
Paid traffic is definitely the place to start if your blog is new or you are struggling to get visitors to your site. Paid traffic is also a good way to measure what your demographic is truly interested in reading and where you may need to make some changes to the layout or details of your blog.
There are many ways to get paid traffic to your blog, but the three most effective and the most common include:
Buying traffic on social media is a fantastic place to start. Firstly, it is relatively cheap and easy to use and it can be specifically tailored to your demographic. It can also help you to build up a social following which in the long run can help you to have a bigger outreach.
Each social platform will have a different way of buying traffic but we recommend starting with the platform where your demographic frequents most often.
To get started, here is some information about running ads on:
Pay per click or PPC campaigns are a great way to get your blog pumped with a flow of traffic.
There are many PPC platforms out there that can run ads for you but Google’s Adwords is by far one of the easiest and most effective to use.
Adwords can be used to get your ad to the top of search ranking results and seen on similar websites in your category. Google also offers plenty of tutorials and online support to help you get started.
Running a PPC campaign can take practice so many first-timers prefer to seek help from a marketing company but whichever direction you go, a successful PPC campaign all starts with having a solid blog with good content and good SEO practices.
Another way to direct traffic to your site is to run content ads using a platform like Taboola. This allows a preview of your content to be seen on popular blogs and websites and can sometimes be more beneficial when promoting your content than Adwords. This is because your content will often appear on other content heavy sites where people are interested in reading or learning more about a chosen topic.
Running your company blog is a business in itself, but overtime you will begin to see just how rewarding it can be.
There are many blogs out there and many ways of promoting your content and getting your content seen, however if you take away anything from this guide, know that the most important thing about your blog is ensuring that it provides information and value to your demographic.
When you take the time to ensure that your blog is filled with relevant information that your demographic really wants to read and learn about and it is done in a caring way that shows your expertise and authority, you will naturally find that people start gravitating towards your work.
In time and as you build up a strong following, you can start suggesting your company’s products and services within your blog. Of course, you want to do this subtly and slowly to begin with, but as you start to develop more of a following you can become clearer to your readers about what you offer.
Having a blog is also a fantastic way to collect an email lists and build a social following for you to market to and increase your outreach with.
Here are some more important tid-bits to remember:
- Research what content your audience wants to read about and then use that as a starting point as to what content you should curate
- Create a clean layout for your blog design that is easy to read, mobile friendly and includes pictures, diagrams and graphs
- Practice good SEO by ensuring that use keywords, that your site load time is fast and that readers are spending a good amount of time on your site
- Share your content on social media platforms either organically or by paid means
- Run PPC campaigns on Google Adwords or Content ad platforms
- Use links in your blog to redirect consumers to your products and services
Your blog is a powerful tool for your business. Whether you have a blog or are just getting started, think about some ways that you can tweak it in order to drive sales and boost profits.