The Worldometers site indicates that 3,904,589 blogs were written today, and it’s just after 4 PM in the afternoon pacific time.
One blog is published every second and over 59.3 million every month. So how many blogs are published every year? Do the math!
The point here is there is a staggering amount of content available on the internet. Between 1994, when the first blog was created, until now, the Internet has been flooded with content. With the popularity of blogs as an inbound marketing tool showing no signs of abetting, all businesses small, medium, and large continue to add online content. This has made the online space a very overcrowded place where getting your content noticed looks like a daunting task!
Most big companies (and some mid-sized ones) have dedicated resources to research, design, and create content that their target audience will find relevant. But if you are a small business, you may not be able to make that kind of investment.
Does this mean you can’t get to benefit from this powerful marketing tool?
The answer is absolutely not!
In this blog, we will discuss five blogging best practices that will help you reap rich rewards in the way of more online visibility, leads, business and greater profit using content.
BEST PRACTICE #1: QUALITY TRUMPS QUANTITY – ALWAYS
This is not really a secret, or is it? Common sense (which isn’t always that common), tells us that that there is a lot of content online that is a lot more mediocre and sub-par than there should be.
Why anyone would publish content that does nothing but lie in an obscure corner of the internet, ignored and unnoticed is beyond me. In spite of this I want to make sure you DON’T make that mistake!
Don’t waste your time and energy creating content that is not good. Mediocre content will not do anything for your brand, or your business. Worse still, it might put your prospects off. Possibly this would send them to your competitor which would not be a good outcome.
First off you don’t have to flood the online world with content. A few, high quality, well-researched blogs that will attract your target audience and impress them with information that answers their questions is what you need. If your content answers their questions, solves their problems and takes care of their requirements, you can be sure they will keep coming to you for more.
BEST PRACTICE #2: BLOG CONSISTENTLY – ROME WASN’T BUILT IN A DAY, NEITHER WERE SUCCESSFUL BRANDS!
All big brands have one single thing in common. They have taken the time over the years to build trust, strengthen loyalty, and develop a steady customer base. In the current times, inbound marketing has given us one of the most powerful tools to achieve this kind of brand loyalty.
Blogging is not for someone seeking a short-term return on their investment. You have to be committed to blogging for a long time before you see the returns and gain your prospects’ authority and trust. The only thing worse than not blogging at all is being inconsistent.
While less is often more sometimes, being less does not mean it is ok to blog just a couple of times a year! That is way too little and definitely not enough! You also don’t need to blog daily or weekly if you cannot manage that. But you have to find a frequency that works for you and follow it.
From when you start blogging, use your results to learn, iterate, and improve the quality of content and the themes that resonate with your target. Your results will help you understand what works for them and what does not.
BEST PRACTICE #3: MAKE YOUR BLOG A CONVERSATION, NOT A MONOLOGUE – NOBODY LOVES A BRAGGART!
In the days when traditional marketing was the norm, businesses engaged in monologues. All promotional efforts were about them, their services, or their products. You could do nothing about the annoying ads staring at your face or the even more annoying ads interrupting your favorite TV show. Inbound marketing has changed this. It is customer-specific. It has given marketers tools to engage with the audience. Inbound marketing is all about conversations.
If the search engines have landed a prospect on your blog page, they possibly asked a specific question that may answered in your content. When you think like your users, it will be easy to provide information that answers their questions, clearly and easily. It is also likely that they will come back to you again when they want more information on a similar topic.
Here are some tips you can use to make your content relevant to your target audience:
- Speak your clients’ language. Don’t use a dull, corporate tone in your blogs. You’re speaking to real people – talk in a language they understand.
- Use headlines that entice, call-to-action statements that motivate people to act.
- Avoid grammatical errors, typos, and words that need a dictionary to understand.
- Long paragraphs and dense blocks of text are a put-off. This is an absolute no-no!
- Use images, videos, and other visual elements to make your blog interesting. When you deliver information in an easy to absorb format, your target audience will be more satisfied.
- If you use social media to promote your content, it is the best to ask your audience questions about what are they looking for, from you. Listen if they offer suggestions on how you can improve their experience.
- Be prompt to respond to feedback, positive or negative.
- It’s also very important is to include a clear and simple Call-to-Action (CTA) in your content. That’s where your conversation should lead.
- Remember to use the right keyword terms. Long-tail keywords work best, think about answering common questions.
If you follow these suggested tips, you will be able to connect with your audience, converse with them frequently, and convert or retain them as loyal brand followers.
BEST PRACTICE #4: GET BLOG IDEAS FROM YOUR AUDIENCE
Remember you’re writing your blog for the benefit of your readers. So while your objective may be to generate leads, increase web traffic, or to raise your profile as an authority, you have to first build a relationship with them first. You’ll be able to do that only if you provide information that they find valuable.
Creating great quality content on a consistent basis, will not work if you don’t produce what your target audience needs or wants. If you are not sure what content you should be producing, you have the option of getting ideas from your audience directly. Here’s how you can get started:
- Create blog posts that answer the most interesting questions from people you engage with either directly or on social media. Find ideas from what people ask on your social media platforms.
- Check out your competitors’ sites and their social media conversations.
- Browse through your inbound Q&A, customer service requests, and any other feedback channels and support channels you have.
- Meet with your sales team for lunch or for a cup of coffee. They are usually a treasure box of information since they are interacting with your prospects and clients all the time. Get ideas about the challenges or pain points that draw people to your brand. Find out how your brand solves their problem. Use this information to create content that actually speaks to your target audience!
BEST PRACTICE #5: SPREAD THE WORD – ACTIVELY
Distributing your content to the right person in the right place is the key to getting it noticed. It’s not enough to publish your content and wait for people to find it. You have to actively promote it using a mix of tools like email marketing, social media, and others.
For example, you can create a monthly newsletter with your articles to send to your clients and prospects.
You could ask other team members, like your sales team to also share this content. If you have good quality content, you are not likely to get any objections.
In social media you have one of the most effective tools to get more eyeballs for your content. Share your blog on social media and encourage others to do so. Promote your blog articles on the platforms that your target audience hang outs.
There are a plethora of content promotion and distribution tools that you can use to leverage your content socially.
There are several options to consider including, Buffer, AddThis, SlideShare, Storify, etc. Some of these platforms offer you free versions. Others let you try out their service for a trial period. Read this blog post to get a list of some 21 tools to help you with your content distribution.
Look around and find an good option to suit your needs. But make sure your content is being seen. You don’t want it to lie unnoticed and neglected in a corner of the online universe, do you?
Blogging can do wonders for your business, and as a marketer I can vouch for this. I’ve seen first-hand how it can be a terrific brand building and lead generation tool for any business, irrespective of size or industry. So make sure you leverage its potential by using the tips provided. I did some research to bring you a couple of good examples to demonstrate how some businesses have utilized blogging to grow. If you’re interested in learning more, here are some references to check out.
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