Blog posts are some of the most important marketing content a company can produce. Done right, blogs can supercharge business growth, bringing in leads and nurturing customer retention. Yet many companies struggle to maximize their value. Why? A strong blogging strategy takes commitment, talent and time.
Posting high-value insights and information on a blog can create a stellar online presence. Blogs give businesses a place to develop, and expand on, their industry leadership by showcasing their expertise.
It’s getting more difficult to land on the first few pages of search results. Blogging is a strong form of SEO. They give you more opportunities to appear in search results. Blogs shape people’s thinking about a product. They are effective lead generators. They drive people to a website, pull them through the sales cycle then help them justify their purchase.
- Companies that blog 1-2 times/month have 67 percent more sales opportunities than companies that do not blog, Inside View
- 55% of B2B marketers consider articles as the most successful type of content for moving possible clients through the sales funnel, Statista
- 80% of companies that use blogs for their marketing strategy said they acquired customers from their blogging efforts, HubSpot
- Companies that publish 15 or more blog posts monthly generate 4.5 times more leads compared with those publishing four or fewer posts, HubSpot
Blogs also support a fully integrated marketing strategy. They can be repurposed for social media. Blogs also extend publicity’s reach and longevity. Even a story from a hometown newspaper can reach national audiences when it’s posted to a blog. Media stories can also stay on a blog indefinitely, providing a lasting halo effect of trusted third parties saying good things about your business.
Why aren’t more businesses keeping their blogs current?
Incredibly, some businesses still treat blogging as a once-and-done task. They may populate their blogs with a dozen or more posts, then the pages languish, gathering virtual dust.
There are several reasons why blogs are allowed to falter. Whereas social posts are relatively quick and inexpensive to produce, blogs are a greater investment.
It takes time to consistently develop and write high-value blog posts, which should now average about 1200 words. Visuals, including images, videos and/or infographics, must also be created or procured. HubSpot reports that blogs get twice as many shares when there’s an image featured every 75 to 100 words. Ongoing work must also be invested into identifying the most effective keywords and backlinks. Plus someone must ensure that the content is correctly optimized and that it displays as intended. It should be functional on all platforms including tablets and phones.
Because blogging requires ongoing commitment for long-term payoffs, it often sinks lower in priority especially when companies are faced with challenges that require immediate attention.
Blogging for dollars
People are most likely drawn to a blog in the first place because they are searching for information to solve a problem. They may not yet be at the purchase stage. Keep this in mind when creating and executing a blogging strategy. Here are more specific details that will help monetize your business blog:
1. Build a top-level plan
This establishes which products get the most attention in a blogging calendar, and how they will be discussed. We use the Strategically Aimed Marketing process to identify and prioritize variables. Questions to consider when building a plan include:
- How much attention will you allocate to each product?
- How much attention will you give to each market or submarket?
- How much attention will you give to each primary value point?
- How much attention will you give general company news and industry news?
- How much money and staff time are you willing to commit?
2. Make your blog content rewarding
Consumers don’t want to feel duped. Blog content that repeats information easily found elsewhere, or that promises one thing in a headline but delivers something different in the body, may harm your brand. This is especially important now that Google is updating its search engine algorithms to reward original, helpful content. Consider:
- Are you just restating the obvious or is this blog a learning experience that demonstrates your expertise?
- Do you provide practical advice to help visitors achieve their goals, in addition to showcasing your product’s benefits?
- Is your blog free of spelling, grammatical, factual and style errors?
- Are you keeping readers engaged with content that is easy to skim? Break it up with subheads, bullet points and images.
- Have you embedded links to other useful pages on your site where they can find more information?
3. Tone down the sales pitch
People want to learn. They want to feel educated before they make a purchase decision. Well-written content will lead people into the sales funnel without resorting to heavy-handed sales messages. When each post contains reliable and relatable information, you build trust and brand loyalty.
- Think WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) from the reader’s perspective.
- Share and comment on related industry news.
- Explain how your product solves a problem within a broader context.
- Anticipate and answer questions.
4. Consistently use a unique brand voice
Defining a persona for your blog humanizes your business and separates it from your competition. It gives your company a personality. Using one consistent voice in your blog as well as the rest of your digital content will help you to:
- Define your brand in people’s minds.
- Connect with your audience on a more personal, authentic level.
- Communicate your company’s culture and distinctive qualities.
If you’re not maintaining an active blog, your marketing strategy has a huge hole in it. The more frequently you post, the more opportunities there are for your valuable messaging to be seen and for your business to reap the benefits.