So your company wants to gain more customers. Not just more customers, but more qualified customers.
And you’ve decided to use blogging to accomplish this mission.
First: Congratulations! You are headed in the right direction!
Secondly: Now what?
Knowing where to start can be a challenging task. There is a lot of information (and mis-information) about what strategies, tactics, and approaches work for gaining more customers to your business by using blogging. Some of the advice is built on tried and true tactics that have stood the test of time. Other “insights” are regurgitated suggestions that haven’t worked in decades.
Knowing how to weed through all of the information can be a full time job, but don’t be discouraged. I will share with you some key considerations to launching a successful blogging strategy for your business.
Many brand leaders have wondered if blogging is a waste of time or a good use of company resources.
Blogging, in general, is a huge boost to a brand’s marketing efforts. In fact, featuring a blog as a part of your website leads to a 434% better chance of high search engine rankings. Why? Because search engines like Google love content. When your website features quality content, Google recognizes that and sends relevant human visitors to your site.
Hubspot reports that 47% of buyers consume 3-5 pieces of content before taking the first step to purchasing a product. This is an excellent opportunity for brands to help shape the buying process and position themselves as an expert in their respective field. If buyers are searching for answers, be the one providing the answers.
Speaking of credibility, 94% of people share blog content when they feel it could be helpful to others. This means that your expert advice is socially shared on your behalf by your readers – this dramatically increases your organic reach and sphere of influence.
These statistics make a good case for blogging for business – but there is a huge factor that these stats leave out: without a strategy, blogging for the sake of blogging is a massive waste of time.
B2B marketers who use blogs as part of their content marketing mix get 67% more leads than those that don’t. Hubspot
If you’re operating without a strategy, blaming poor results on your blog is like blaming the car for getting lost on a cross-country roadtrip without a map.
The strategy is the blogging map.
WHAT IS A BLOGGING STRATEGY
A blogging strategy is simply a slice of a larger, overall marketing strategy. As the name implies, it focuses specifically on how you will use blogs – or written content – to promote and market your business.
At a high-level, a successful blogging strategy outlines the details how your brand will write, promote, and use blog content to move you toward your overall goal.
It serves as a roadmap for your efforts and a way for your entire team to stay focused on the same goal.
What if you don’t work on a team? Solopreneurs, freelancers, and independent contractors can – and should – still take advantage of a written blogging strategy.
I think we have all had those days where we could not muster the energy to tackle the To Do list, having a well-documented, written strategy helps keep your goal in front of you – which is proven to help accomplish the steps necessary to achieve those goals.
A good blogging strategy addresses:
- The topics your blog posts will cover
- The frequency of which you will publish your blog posts
- The creation process of those posts: who is responsible for writing them, who edits or approves them, and who generates new ideas
- Whether you will utilize guest blogging (either publishing on other sites or allowing guest posts on your own site)
- How you will market the posts once published and over time
- How you will measure success (number of visitors? Number of leads converted? Number of links back to your content?)
ELEMENTS OF YOUR BLOGGING STRATEGY
Above, I outlined a few of the necessary elements of your blog strategy, but I’d like to dig into a few of them a little deeper. They will represent the backbone of your strategy.
WHAT TOPICS SHOULD MY BLOG COVER?
A huge concern with starting a blogging campaign is: What do we write about? Understandably, this can be a daunting question to answer. But if we take a moment to think about why you are writing in the first place, we can quickly come up with several topics that are appropriate to cover on your blog.
So why are you blogging?
Most likely, it is to gain new customers, improve your search engine rankings, build credibility in your industry, or get the word out about your product.
With this in mind, let’s think about who, specifically, you are writing for.
- New Customers
- Existing Customers
- Industry Leaders
- Media / Journalists
Let’s use the example of new customers.
Since we know that nearly half of consumers read 3-5 articles before taking the first step in the buying process, we know that blogging to attract new customers is a very viable approach. So what are new customers searching for?
This will vary a little bit depending on the makeup and demographics of your exact customer, but let’s use some examples. You can adjust these accordingly:
- What makes your product better than your competitor? (Example: “How to Choose: A side-by-side comparison of Brand A and Brand X”)
- What are the benefits of your product (not the features, focus on how your buyers benefit from using your product) (Example: “3 Timesaving Features of _”)
- What are things your customer should know before making a decision to buy? (Example: “5 Things to Consider Before Buying Your Next _”)
For this stage, get in the mind of your customer. It may be helpful to talk to your sales team to find out what questions and objections they hear on a regular basis. If you are a solopreneur, you have unique insight to the questions your prospective buyers are asking.
For example, “How to Budget Your Time and Finances for the Upcoming Website Design Overhaul” would be appropriate for a website designer to manage expectations from prospective clients. On the other hand, the client views this and realizes the web designer has a process and experience dealing with website redesigns. Additionally, this designer has taken the time to educate the client (before they were even a client) when they were still in the research phase of the buying process.
This leverages a human condition called reciprocity where we feel indebted to someone who has provided something of value. We feel whole when we are able to reciprocate the favor.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD I PUBLISH ON MY BLOG?
Another common question for budding-bloggers is how often do I need to post? The answer is: it varies.
There is no one-size-fits-all answer. However, a general rule of thumb is: Post as often as you can while maintaining consistency and quality.
If you start out of the gate at once per day, you may quickly burn out and find that such an aggressive posting schedule is not sustainable. But you may find that writing every week is a little slow and not generating much traffic to your site.
Find a balance.
Consistency and quality are two huge factors Google uses when considering search engine rankings. Publish as frequently as you can while maintaining your consistent schedule and quality work.
Another hint: if you are stuck for ideas or find writing difficult, tackle the obstacle head on and write every day. You don’t have publish what you write, but the act of writing every day actually makes it easier.
HOW TO CONVERT READERS OF MY BLOG TO SALES LEADS?
It is common, if not necessary, to demand that your blogging efforts result in a boost to your company’s bottom line. I am all for sustainable businesses and volunteering your time to writing is not a very sustainable model.
That said, we need to address how your blogging will result in capturing new leads for your sales funnel.
I encourage you to include a Call To Action at the end of every blog post. While it is acceptable to be slightly promotional in your blog content, I’ve found that non-promotional, yet helpful content gets the best results (in terms of social shares and search engine rankings).
However, ending your blog posts with a “What’s Next” or “Take the Next Step” paragraph encourages your reader to take action.
For a wedding planner, that final paragraph may be something like, “If you and your partner are planning a wedding, I would love to help! I offer a free, in-person consultation for newly engaged couples. Call me at X or email me at Y. Additionally, I’ve prepared a free checklist: “101 Things To Guarantee a Stress-free Wedding of Your Dreams.”
This hypothetical checklist serves as a lead generator where the reader exchanges their name, email, and date of wedding to the blogger in exchange for a .pdf tip sheet.
This method of offering value, value, value is a proven way of boosting sales leads through blogging efforts.
PROMOTING AFTER PUBLISHING
Although most people stop before getting to this point, your work is not done once you hit “Publish”.
Afterall, you may have committed a huge amount of time and resources to researching, writing, and reviewing your blog content – don’t let it go unnoticed!
Much of the content you publish on your blog will likely be evergreen content, that is content that does not go out of date immediately or in the short-term. An example of non evergreen content would be “How to Save Millions before January 15th 2019” versus a more evergreen title of “How to Become a Millionaire by Saving a Little Each Month”
Since your content is evergreen, you can share it repeatedly to get website visitors consistently over time.
Create a plan to share bits of your content across social media to draw readers back to your website. Missinglettr and others do this in a semi-automatic fashion. Missinglettr automatically generates a library of shareable content such as quotes, different text and title combinations, images, and calls-to-action to share on your social profiles.
This tactic works because your social media audience is always growing and we know that not all social media followers will see your content the first time you share it.
To combat this, share your content repeatedly, over the course of a year to increase the opportunities for your hard work to be seen.
Think of each share is another entry point to your brand.
I trust you’ve found this piece to be a helpful starting point to kickstart your blogging strategy. Remember to approach it with a plan of who you are writing for, how often you will be publishing your posts, and how you will promote your work over time. With these three components in place, you will see a marked improvement in your sales results.