If you want your business to be found in today’s online world, you need to be blogging. It’s as simple as that. A high ranking in organic search engine results is vital to your content, and your business, being found, and to potential customers finding out that the product or service you provide is the solution to their challenges or needs. In essence, blogging is one of the key components of an effective inbound marketing campaign.
The stats say it all: Websites with a blog have 434% more indexed pages than those that don’t, according to this infographic, meaning search engines can evaluate them as having the useful, relevant information their users are looking for. Just as eye opening is what our good friends at HubSpot reveal: B2B marketers that blog get 67% more leads than those that don’t. they also state that marketers who prioritise blogging are 13 times more likely to see positive ROI for their efforts.
And while more and more B2B blogs are being written, with 76% of digital marketers having aimed to increase their output this year, according to the Content Marketing Institute, the fact remains that not all of them are doing it properly, or effectively.
So, what can you do to make sure your blog becomes a golden goose, rather than a turkey? In the spirit of Christmas, we want to give our tips on some of the best practices that will help you create compelling content that will attract visitors and convert them into leads, and hopefully, customers.
Let’s look at some of the things you should be doing to make sure your blog content is effective.
Know your audience
Before you start writing, you should be aware of your buyer personas. Who are you trying to attract and interest with your content? Who will it benefit? How can they derive value from spending their time reading what you have to say? We stick to the ethos that we write not for search engines, but for our personas. That means creating readable, informative and useful content. If you stay true to this, the search engine rankings will follow anyway.
It’s also important to not just know your personas, but where they are in the buyer journey. Those in the ‘just interested’ stage won’t want a hard sell blow by blow description of your products: they just want to find out how to identify the challenges they have, and whether there is a solution.
Those further along the buyer journey may be ready to make a purchase, which is when more detail can be targeted at them. Use your analytics to discover what content they looked at on your site, and what they previously downloaded, to find out what content will be useful to them.
Make it easy on the eye
A potential lead may be interested in what you have to say, but that interest will quickly wane if what you present before their eyes is a muddled pile of long-winded paragraphs with no visual relief.
Stick to one topic, include an eye-catching and compelling title, use the keywords they are likely to have used in search, break it up with white space and images, bullet points, lists and sub-headings, and include a meta description (your SEO will thank you), alt tags and anchor texts.
Publish blogs frequently, at a consistent rate. Your target market may come to expect two blogs per week if that is what you first planned, so don’t disappoint them and lead them into looking elsewhere for their content.
Use a Call to Action
It’s all well and good getting your content out there, but if your potential leads want to find out more, or dive deeper into the buyer journey, you need to provide them with the means to do so. Converting visitors into leads is what inbound marketing is all about, and the CTA helps this process do just that.
Make sure the CTA is relevant to the blog post – no point in providing an offer to download a pricing brochure for visitors who just want to read about their challenges for now, and no point in providing a download of an overview of an industry if the visitor is clearly working within that industry and is looking for more concrete information about what exactly your business can do for them.
If you are using a Content Management System, or better yet, HubSpot’s COS, you can create smart CTAs that recognise what a visitor has previously downloaded and filters the offers accordingly.
Make sure the CTA (and you should only include one per blog) is clearly visible, but not too distracting from the content.
Promote your blog through social media
If your content is great, it is likely visitors will share it, so make that easy for them by including share buttons on each blog, and don’t be afraid of a little self-promotion. Social media posts extend the reach of your content exponentially, so send that content out through all of your social media channels, and tag influencers you feel will boost its reach and visibility.
I’ve seen many blogs full of great content, but riddled with errors, ranging from the grammatical to spelling and punctuation, and even just plain factually incorrect. I’m all for giving people a second chance, but when I see a second mistake, I stop reading. If the writer didn’t spend the time making sure it was ready to publish, I don’t want to spend my time reading it.
Add some source to your content mix
Plagiarism is a big no-no, so don’t try to pass off someone else’s content as your own. If you use information someone else has published, link to it. This doesn’t just avoid the cries of ‘Stop! Thief!’ It also helps with your SEO, because it shows a level of authority in that you have clearly read other content on the subject at hand and are writing from an informed perspective.
For the love of Christmas, remember to optimise your content for search, usability, integration and internal analytics. I mentioned earlier including alt-text, metadata, etc, but also make sure to use internal and external links, and make it mobile-friendly, to account for the increasing number of people who use their smartphone as their device of choice when going online.
Act on the response
If visitors post comments or share your content, engage with them to encourage further interaction that can help them convert into leads. Also use your analytics to discover which content was best received, so that you can find what you need to improve, and what type of content works best.
Blogging is not easy, but if you follow these guidelines, yule make sure your content can sleigh the opposition and give you lots of Christmas cheer!
Need help creating great content that will generate leads? Download our Lead Generation Survival Kit: