For a comprehensive digital marketing strategy, content marketing is a must. Content is key to enhanced search engine rankings, it can boost engagement rates better than any other channel and support the development of truly valuable customer relationships.
45% of marketers say that blogging is now the most important part of their content strategy. Incorporating a blog into your company website can provide the perfect platform through which you can create and distribute content that will help you achieve your goals.
1. Stop posting every day
When you consider blogging as part of your content marketing strategy, you’ll know that search engines including Google prioritize fresh content when indexing websites. Because of this, the temptation may exist to publish new blog articles on a daily basis in order to improve your ranking. If you’re a large organization with an expansive digital marketing department, this may be an achievable aspiration. More often than not, however, resources are too limited to sustain the production of such a high-volume of content at a sufficiently high quality. This will negatively affect engagement levels and potentially do you a disservice on SERPs.
It’s important to remember that search engines value relevant, informative, fresh content. If you aren’t producing articles (albeit on a daily basis) that genuinely benefit your target audience, it’s a wasted effort. In order to guarantee maximum engagement and SEO benefits, create a content calendar that’s centred upon quality, rather than quantity. It’s better and less onerous to produce one high-quality, long-form article a fortnight that has been well-researched and tailored to your audience, rather than share daily posts that have been hurriedly cobbled together.
2. Stop using the wrong guest bloggers
Guest blogging can offer multiple advantages. It relieves you of the pressure that is often felt when trying to create compelling content on a regular basis. If you collaborate with an industry influencer it can provide your brand with a significant boost and expose you to previously untapped audiences (i.e. your guest blogger’s followers). It can also provide your blog with a welcome variety in terms of style, topic and tone.
So why then, did Matt Cutts proclaim in 2014, “stick a fork in it: guest blogging is done”? According to Google’s former head of Webspam, guest blogging has gotten too spammy! What was once an authentic practice to build brand reputation and quality backlinks for SEO, has become impersonal, automated, and very rarely provides any real value to the reader.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that you should eliminate guest blogging from your content marketing strategy altogether, but what it does mean is that you need to take the time to very carefully assess guest blogging candidates. Ask for previous examples or their work, try to find a shared connection on LinkedIn, and above all, make sure that their proposed article titles are relevant to your blog and its audience.
3. Stop being self-promotional
On occasion, organizations have been guilty of using their blog as an extension of their advertising, using articles to advertise products and services in the same way they would leverage their brochures. As tempting as it is to treat your blog as a direct lead generation tool, this is often far too overt an approach.
As search engines and social media continue to empower consumers, they have become increasingly resistant to push marketing and hard sells. Instead, they favour information and interactions that will help them to make their final purchase decision.
It’s no coincidence that 92% of consumers trust peer recommendations over advertising. This means that, rather than using blog articles to push your product offering and reiterate your Unique Selling Points, you need to be cannier in how you attempt conversions. The primary goal of your blogging strategy should be to inform and educate in a way that will humanize your brand. While you can include subtle Calls-To-Action within your text, make sure that they seem organic, and fit in seamlessly with the rest of the article.
4. Stop writing in the wrong style
Who is driving your business’s blogging strategy? If you have employed a dedicated content marketing professional, you will most likely feel confident in their ability to create suitable content that will reflect your brand’s identity and market positioning. However, some organizations, dependent on their size and budget, can have a small digital marketing team, and many will have just one digital marketer. The smaller your digital marketing team, the more likely it is that content creation may not be one of their core strengths.
This is a common reason for company blogs that aren’t written appropriately. When a marketer isn’t comfortable with their ability to create content, their style may be too stiff and professional. Alternatively, the blog may be written in a tone that is too personal, and preoccupied with the writer’s interests and opinions.
The easiest way to overcome these obstacles is to write your articles in a relaxed, conversational tone as if you’re talking to your audience. Try to instil articles with your own personality, but always ensure that the focus is on your readers, rather than yourself.
5. Stop avoiding specific topics
If your company blog is in its fledgeling stages you may feel compelled to focus on broad, introductory topics. It’s important that you don’t lose sight of the key functions of your blog – to inform and educate with relevant content tailored to the interests of your target audience. The broader your topics, the more difficult it will be to cover it in sufficient depth and detail, which will impact the quality of your blogging.
If you drill down and populate your content calendar with specific titles, and specific topics (including keywords to which you can attach your articles to, which is a helpful exercise, especially from an SEO perspective), you will be able to attract and engage more targeted audience segments, which will in turn be easier to convert. By pinning down precise topics, you’ll be able to provide more value to your audience, and your articles will be much easier to write and structure.
6. Stop avoiding facts
Statistics speak! And not just in a field as data-driven as digital marketing. Just as peer recommendations are more persuasive than advertising, statistics and facts will help to substantiate your content and make it more convincing. Once you have your target audience convinced, you’ll find it easier to convert. In fact, 69% of businesses attribute their lead generation success to blogging.
Grounding your articles in data and research will provide a more impartial perspective and offer more relevance that may compel a consumer to purchase. Without this kind of substantiation, you are expecting your target customers to trust in your brand with little cause, particularly if they have limited knowledge of it. Accompanying your argument with third party research is the best possible way to foster that all-important sense of trust.
7. Stop ignoring analytics
Often overlooked, analytics can be the difference between a thriving or a floundering company blog! You need to be able to assess the performance of your blogging, so you can identify both strengths and weaknesses and refine your approach accordingly.
Measurement is endlessly important. Nevertheless, only 8% of marketers consider themselves successful at tracking the ROI of their content marketing.
From using social listening tools to figure out top trending topics, to leveraging Google Analytics to discover the most engaging articles on your website, gathering insights is an essential part of optimizing your blogging. This data will inform not only what you write, but the platforms through which you distribute it, as well as who you target. If you incorporate analytics into your planning, you’ll be able to set yourself up for success!