Many business owners and brand managers looking for results assume that blogging is the ticket to success. Expert opinions and how-to articles consistently mention blogging as one of the top methods of spreading brand awareness and driving website traffic, but it’s not an instant fix.
Check out some of the options below to improve your blog strategy to attract more views and conversions.
Realize That Blogging Is Not a Cure-All
Blogging won’t solve all your brand’s problems. It’s not guaranteed to increase your traffic and to be the miracle your site has been searching for, but it’s a start: 84 percent of marketers believe blogs are at least somewhat effective.
Other tactics to consider – along with your blogging efforts – include creating a social media strategy, incorporating email marketing into your outreach efforts, setting a cohesive SEO strategy for your entire site and considering advertising tactics to increase your reach.
Once you’ve developed an overall strategy, blogging can become a focus. If you’re not seeing the results you’ve been looking for, consider the following actions.
Focus on Getting to Know Your Audience
How well do you really know your audience? Sure, you should be familiar with their basic demographics – who is attracted to your brand, products and/or services and where they’re located – but is that where your knowledge stops? If so, it’s time to dig deeper.
Think about your friendships and business relationships. Chances are they’ve been developed based on shared experiences and knowledge. They’re more than working in a similar field or sharing a single interest. Your relationship with your target audience should be no different. Questions to ask include:
- What’s the goal of your website?
- Who will visit your website and what information will they look for to help you accomplish your goal?
- What do your target audience members really care about?
- What base knowledge do those visitors have before visiting and what do they need to learn?
- What questions will target market members have during first and subsequent visits?
It might seem like extra work, but custom content that targets a specific market is 62 percent less expensive than standard marketing tactics and three times more effective at generating leads. Disney Baby took the time to learn that its target market was more than just moms. They were new mothers filled with questions looking to connect with other mothers. They wanted warm, actionable content that gives real advice and comes from real people. Because of this, the blog regularly features content from various real moms who share personal information and stories throughout the content. It’s targeted content at its best.
Set a Clear Goal and Consistent Call to Action
Blogging isn’t just throwing information into cyberspace and assuming it will attract traffic, attention and action. To make your blog a success, setting a clear, measurable goal – number of visitors, decreased bounce rate, increased time-on-site, number of pages viewed per visit, number of return visitors or a combination of multiple analytics – is important.
Just as important is creating a clear call to action; even if your content is the most interesting content in the world, if visitors don’t know what you want them to do at the end of it, its purpose will be lost. Many brands are still behind on this trend; 70 percent of small businesses fail to include calls to action even though they’ve been shown to increase conversions and interactions by as much as 90%. You can rise above this statistic, like Canva, an online design school did by deciding the goal was to increase subscribers and including a simple subscribe button to make that possible.
Modify Your Keyword Strategy
Setting up a keyword strategy has never been easier. To make it happen, enter your Web address into Google’s Keyword Planner along with keywords you think are relevant. From there, look at the list that’s populated. Narrow your keywords down to those with low to medium competition and high search rates. Pull five to 10 keywords and use them consistently throughout your blog to help with search traffic.
Using keywords is important – brands like Search Engine Journal have seen traffic increases of more than 78 percent by organically enhancing their keyword strategies. With a targeted keyword strategy, the site’s blog focuses on exactly what its target is looking for and contributors use targeted keywords to increase traffic from search engines.
Put Time Into Creating Titles That Work
Because of the competition for readers’ attention – more than 2 million blog posts are published daily – crafting a headline that attracts them is important; one study found that 80 percent of readers never make it past the headline of a specific post.
This means the headline may be just as important as the content of your blog post. The best headlines:
- Are 65 characters or less
- Are six to eight words in length
- Contain action words and clear information about what the reader will gain from continuing to read the article
- Use numbers
To make it even simpler, the following formula can be used: Number or trigger word + adjective + keyword + promise. While you’ll want to vary this for each post, the guidelines above may be helpful. One small business that uses this formula regularly is Phase 2 Solutions, a digital marketing firm. The headline below is an example of the formula above in action.
Ensure Your Content Is Credible
If your content comes from your brand, it’s an extension of direct information that you’re giving to your customers. This means that it must be credible. It only takes one mistake to lead customers in the wrong direction and to turn them off of your brand altogether.
Use research to back up the information you share and link out to your resources. Include expert opinions when possible, as they enhance credibility by 64 percent. Brands like Hootsuite use research, credible sources and case studies to increase credibility and reader interest.
Blogging is a commitment. It’s not a one-time addition to a website that can be forgotten and picked up at a more convenient time. Instead, it’s something that you must be willing to put time, effort and thought into from day one. This means consistency is key.
Setting a schedule ensures that your content is produced and shared regularly and that your visitors have a reason to return. In fact, a study by Roper found that 61 percent of consumers have more confidence in brands that produce content regularly than in those that do not.
One brand knocking consistent content out of the park is HubSpot. The brand offers three blogs, aimed at marketers, agencies and sales professionals that are each updated on a more-than-daily basis. Brands that understand that their visitors want a reason to return regularly understand the importance of consistency and work to provide it through their blogging efforts.
Mix It Up
Consistency – as mentioned in the last example – doesn’t mean that each post needs to sound the same. In fact, what appeals to one member of your target market may not appeal to another, even though they share the same base interest.
Writing content that appeals to different tastes helps in increasing brand familiarity by 88 percent and purchase intent by 38 percent. So while your target market and their interests should be clear from day one, how you appeal to differences within that market is also critical. Ways to achieve a blend of content include using different formats – how-to’s, expert interviews, list posts, actionable tips and so on – and adding various categories to your posts – brand announcements, events, industry news, product information and more.
Mr. Maid, a professional cleaning service, shares tips on everything from cleaning to organization and home repair. Their customers are interested in having a well-maintained home, but each has different interests and needs. By having a mix of content, Mr. Maid also provides incredible value to readers. It’s my go-to place for cleaning tips, even though I don’t use their services. If I ever did want a house-cleaning service, I’d know exactly where to look, though.
Blogging isn’t an instant fix. Starting a blog doesn’t mean that your numbers will increase exponentially from day one. However, by incorporating the methods mentioned above and putting real effort into your blog, you will see measurable results. What are you waiting for? Get started on improving your blogging strategy today.
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Sarah Landrum is a freelance writer and career blogger sharing advice on finding happiness and success in life and at work. You can find her dishing out advice with a side of wit on Twitter and her career advice blog, Punched Clocks.