By Diane Prince, Global Head of Sales, and Jaimie Seaton, Associate Editor
Blogging has come a long way since the early days of the Internet, when bloggers were considered to be amateur diarists who happened to post their musings online. A good blog can launch a career or become a publishing phenomenon, as when Basecamp founders David Heinemeier Hansson and Jason Fried turned content from their popular blog into the New York Times bestseller, Rework.
While not all blogs will become best-selling books, a good blog can enhance a corporate or personal brand, draw potential customers and clients to your site, strengthen relationships with current customers, increase search engine traffic and establish the creator as an established authority—or thought leader—on a subject.
But you should not view your blog as an add-on or an afterthought to your marketing plan; a strong blog content strategy is indispensable and should be a key component of your overall business strategy. According to Hubspot, 53% of marketers say blog content creation is their top inbound marketing priority. Put simply, inbound marketing uses content to draw customers in and forge relationships with them. Even if your website does not have a stand-alone blog (and why doesn’t it?) consistent and well-orchestrated LinkedIn posts can serve the same function.
Post with authority and post often
The two keys here are quality and frequency. We are all inundated with reading material; in addition to the onslaught of news from national outlets and niche publications, there are over 30 million bloggers in the U.S. That’s a lot of content to sift through, and readers–especially business leaders–don’t have time to waste on glorified advertisements.
Readers will not return to your blog again and again unless they are being informed in a meaningful way. The marketing rule of thumb is that self-promotion should be included in about 20% of your content, with the remaining 80% given to information readers can use. For example, if your company builds apps for other companies, write about how to build brand identity through an app, or how apps streamline the customer experience. Likewise, if you are a CMO or marketing expert, your personal blog or LinkedIn should contain posts that share your knowledge and tips for a winning marketing campaign. The trick is to share valuable, actionable information that illustrates your (or your company’s) expertise and induces the reader to engage.
Once you’ve got a good content strategy, implement it often. It’s not enough to have a killer post every once in a while. You want to establish your blog or LinkedIn as a reliable source of information that is delivered on a regular basis. The goal is to make checking in with your blog part of your reader’s weekly or even daily routine. Think you can’t afford that kind of investment? Consider this: According to Hubspot, companies that published 16 or more blog posts per month got almost 3.5 times more traffic than companies that published fewer than 4. They also got about 4.5 times more leads.
Don’t be a one-hit wonder
Remember when everyone on the planet was doing the Macarena? Now, do you know the name of the band that sang it, and can you name any of their other songs? Exactly. You don’t want your blog to be a flash in the pan; you want it to be the Beatles of blogs. To achieve this, you need to write compounding blog posts, which are posts that gain traction with time. A good compounding blog post will generate increasing traffic, even surpassing the initial traffic when it was first published. (By contrast, a decaying blog post will see decreasing traffic over time.)
There’s nothing wrong with writing timely posts. After all, business moves at the speed of light and you need to be current. However, you want to intersperse the latest news or piece of innovative tech with posts on evergreen topics. What are the questions your customers ask repeatedly? What bit of business advice holds true no matter the latest fad? Writing posts that address these questions—as a How-To or 5 Things Every Startup Does Wrong—will keep readers coming back again and again. According to Hubspot, compounding blog posts make up 10% of all blog posts and generate 38% of overall traffic. And, over its lifetime, one compounding blog post creates as much traffic as 6 decaying posts.
To be effective, a compounding blog post needs to do more than address evergreen topics or give pithy advice; it needs to be rooted in deep, solid research. For instance, if you are writing about the adoption of online grocery shopping, you might want to include an August 2018 study from Gallup, which found that 84% of U.S. adults report they never order groceries online. Next, you need to take that research and provide original insights based on expertise and analysis. Your blog post could address how grocery chains can incentivize their customers to shop online, or offer insights into innovative marketing strategies to get shoppers out of the stores and onto their screens. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the research and insight needs to be delivered in a well-written, easy to understand post. Statistics and ideas are nothing without great writing.
Following this formula may not land you a book deal, but a good blog content strategy will engage your customers, enhance your brand, and deliver a positive ROI. Still not convinced? Thank you for reading our blog post.
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