Blogging is a critical way to attract customers to your website. It's one of the most useful tools businesses have to engage with customers.
Why is blogging such an effective marketing tool?
People with problems to solve usually turn to Google. The search engine answers their questions by looking for new and relevant content on the subject. Which is why blogs are so powerful: because the fresh content they contain will come way higher up the rankings than a website that’s been sitting idle for ages.
So, if you can write a blog that solves a problem, you’re off to a pretty good start. As people read it, they start forming an opinion about your brand. And if they share your blog, it could be read by hundreds, if not thousands of people. It could go viral.
How can you use blogging more effectively, so that writing your blogs is time well spent, attracts the right kind of readers and helps grow your business? Here are 11 steps that should help.
1. Choose your blogging platform
Even before you start writing your blogs, think about where you’re going to post them. There are loads of blogging platforms you can choose from. Check out this comparison site 8 Best & Paid Blogging Platforms Reviewed if you need a steer.
If you’ve already got a website, it makes sense to add your blog to it. Why send traffic to another platform and not your own website?
2. Develop your Customer Persona
It’s really important to know who you're writing for. Mostly you’ll be aiming at people you want to attract to your website and ultimately develop into new customers. Or your blog may be written for existing customers or leads you’re nurturing. Either way, make sure you know before you write. This will give your material real value. All the content you slave over needs to be useful, compelling and unique.
Knowing who you’re writing for is crucial to hitting the mark.
3. Brainstorm blog themes and create blog bundles
You need to plan before you write. Generate a list of general themes, then drill down into specific subjects you want to blog about around each theme. What are your audience’s problems? Do you have a solution to those problems? If so, tell them. This grouping of content will give you a focused cluster of blogs you can link to each other. Google gives credit to bundles of related content.
4. Decide the format of your blog
Most things have been done before. And blogging’s no different. While you want your content to be unique, the way you present it doesn’t have to be. It’s often easier to follow a tried and tested formula.
Popular blog formats are the Tutorial, List and Steps blogs (there are many others). They work because they’re easy to read, to-the-point and problem-solving. See if you can fit your content into a tried-and-tested format. There are loads of templates available on the Internet.
Start with the template, then tinker and make it your own.
5. Craft a title for your blog
Creating an enticing title pulls in the punters. If you promise them something they need, they’re more likely to read on. Your title is your hook. It should make your audience want to read on. It’s also important for SEO, and should relate closely to what the people you want to attract are actually searching for.
6. Write your blog article
Now you’re ready to sit down and write. Don’t be afraid. A lot of people think they can’t write. Well, you can. You're the expert in your field, so you’ve got a whole load of material to share. If you’re scared of putting finger to keyboard, try using the microphone button. Talk your ideas into your phone or computer and edit them later.
Your template will help you structure your ideas. Give your reader an easy-to-read, easy-to-follow experience. Use language they can easily understand. Chances are they’re on the move, from place to place or site to site, or both; time is precious, attention-span short, distractions plenty. Reading a blog isn’t like reading a novel, so make it snappy, get to the point, make every word count.
7. Add a Call To Action
You don’t want your reader’s journey to end here. If this blog’s good, if it solves or helps to solve their problem, hopefully, they’ll want to find out more on this or a related subject. Make it easy for them by inviting them to click through to more content. This could be another blog in the same blog bundle.
Or you could offer them ‘gated’ content, which they can only access by giving you their contact details. They’ll only subscribe if they trust you not to spam them for the rest of their lives. So my view is that not every blog should leap on readers with an offer of gated content. Build the trust first.
The advantage of a CTA to gated content is that, even with just an email address, you now have more than just a casual reader to interact with. You can discover more about their needs and target relevant content at them. It’s a key step on the journey to conversion.
But do remember the exciting thing about content marketing is that it feeds off the resistance of the modern consumer to being sold to. The minute you start with the bad old habits of hard sell, you lose the subtlety. Content marketing is an organic process. It’s the customer’s journey to you, not the other way round. Think before you hassle.
8. Do keyword research
You need to focus primarily on writing what your audience needs to read, and not become obsessive about the technology behind how the reader will discover your blog. Website Traffic should not be the goal of your blog. But doing some keyword research using resources like Moz Keyword Explorer or Google AdWords Keyword Planner Tool increases your blog’s chances of visibility on the search engines.
9. Choose your image(s)
Your blog will be much more attractive if you’ve included images. They break up the text and make it easier to for the reader to scan through the content. There’s also a chance for you to be creative and reinforce the messages on your blog. A picture paints a thousand words, after all.
Do make sure you’re using license-free images and give image credits.
10. SEO your blog
Your blogging platform should have a tool to help Google (and other search engines) list your blog in the relevant search results. Find out more here: How To SEO Your Blog (So People Can Find It)
11. Publish and distribute your blog.
As soon as you upload your blog, it’s out there, and it’s got your name on it. So make sure it’s factually accurate, up-to-date and ready to go. It’s a good idea to get someone else to read it before it goes live, especially to check for spelling mistakes and other grammatical errors. Your blog is the expression of your professional voice and image. Don't put people off by being sloppy.
Spend some time investigating how your blog’s faring out there. It may seem a bit of a headache to crunch through data when you could be producing more creative content, but this matters. Your blog has to earn its keep through attracting visitors who will convert into business.
Use an analytics tool like Google Analytics or Clicky to measure how your blog’s performing: how many new and repeat visitors your blog’s attracting, whether your CTA buttons are working, which of your blogs are working and which aren’t. Then you can update your blog strategy accordingly.
Got any suggestions on how you make blogging work for your business? Please do message me.
(And this is our 11th tip: add an invitation to comment at the end of your blog. A lively comments section shows your blog’s attracting traffic and the content’s hot enough to spark debate. It’s good for the reputation and profile of your blog.)
Good luck. Create great content, share it, entertain, educate, convert and delight your customers.
If you have any questions or need help writing your blog, or any other copywriting and content marketing, please do contact me .