Company blogs can be powerful for brand building, inbound marketing and lead generation. Believe it or not, some websites bring close to 70 percent of their overall traffic from their blog posts.
Imagine what could happen if you added a blog to your online presence. If it took off, you would have a low-cost way to display value, and be introduced to potential clients. Not to mention that a blog can help increase your rankings in search engines.
As excited as you are by the prospect of growing your online audience, you may have reservations that are holding you back. You may think that you lack the time or creative energy to blog regularly. You may fear that there is too much competition in the market – there are millions of blogs already, so why will people come to you? You may already have a blog that you update from time to time. You’ve already written a couple of posts and nobody’s reading. Why bother?
To be successful, your content marketing strategy needs hard work, direction, and dedication. Here’s what brands need to know to get the best results from their company blog.
1. Blog as Often as You Can, Even When You Think That Nobody’s Reading
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With content marketing, especially blogging, growth takes time. At first, your pageview count will hover close to zero, but you shouldn’t let these numbers discourage you. You need to keep going, and you need to be consistent about when you write and post. Over time, more people will find, read and share your content. Along the way you’ll start to see more traffic from your posts being shared, and traffic from the search engines as your posts are indexed.
Do yourself a favor, and give yourself some time before looking through your analytics data. In fact, you might not want to look at the numbers at all. For the time being, focus on building quality content. At a minimum create one value based post per week. This is just enough to stay in front of your audience, and please the search engines desire to see fresh content.
2. Create a Clear Content Plan, Even if You Think That You Don’t Need One
Untargeted posts are a waste of time. As with every marketing strategy, you need to start with the goal and make a plan to get there. What do you hope to achieve with your blog? What does your audience value, and what topics will they want to read about? How do these topics relate to your products/services? What are you an expert in?
Based on the answers to these questions, develop an editorial calendar to map out the themes that you will be covering. Then, brainstorm topics based on these themes. Keep in mind that you can structure your calendar to your bandwidth. If you want to write every day, create a calendar that will help you stick to that goal. If you’d prefer to write once per week, that is ok too…as long as it is consistent.
3. Leverage Social Networks to Research and Answer Real Questions
Be relevant to a specific audience. Answer their questions, provide solutions, and work through their problems. Read questions that people are asking in forums, on LinkedIn and social question & answer sites like Quora. When answering questions, you may get the opportunity to reference one of your posts (only do so if it is valuable to the conversation).
Also keep in mind that every question or comment that is relevant to your industry has the potential to become an idea for a new post on your blog. If one person is asking, there are more than likely others who are interested in the answer.
When your blog answers specific questions, you’ll have a targeted audience for your blog. This type of activity can make you an instant expert.
4. Don’t Become Ego-Centric
So many brands launch blogs as platforms for showcasing company events and press releases. While these self-promoting posts are important, they don’t belong on the company blog. If you have this type of content (and you should), it belongs in a “news” area of your site, on in your blog.
Blogs are about reaching audiences by helping them answer questions and solve problems. Your blog needs to provide value. If you keep talking about yourself, people are going to stop listening.
5. Write Like a Human Being
Stop worrying about your writing. Nobody’s judging whether or not you have perfect grammar or if you’re using the most elegant conjunctions. Write like you’re having a conversation with somebody, and let your personality shine.
People care about the ideas behind your writing rather than the writing itself. Chances are that your writing is better than you think it is, so stop writing like a college essay. Get your ideas down, make a couple of revisions, and publish. Be yourself, not a robot.
6. Involve Your Whole Team
Your marketing team doesn’t need to be your only source for blog posts. Get your managers, engineers, directors, sales associates, and even your CEO involved. Blogs flourish when they incorporate perspectives from everyone. Share ideas, brainstorm together, and give everyone an opportunity to join the conversation.
It’s up to you to define how your blog adds value to your business. Create a vision for yourself, and run with it. Even though you’re starting at zero, you have no reason to doubt your potential to build and grow a robust content marketing channel. Be creative, and have fun along the way.
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