7-blogging-tips-for-better-7If you own a business, generating leads has to be a top priority. If you’re not already using the internet to help generate leads, then you’re wasting your website as an asset. You can start driving people to your website and generating leads today with a blog. These seven steps will help you get on track towards having a website that generates leads like a machine.

Step 1: Get a blog.

You can’t start the process of turning a blog into a lead generating powerhouse without a blog. So if you don’t have one, now’s the time to get one. And I’m not talking about that Tumblr account your niece made for you. I’m talking about a bonafide blog that you’re hosting yourself. WordPress-hosted blogs are pretty popular. HubSpot’s COS also comes with a blog platform built in.

Hosting your own blog legitimizes your blog operation. It also helps the audience clearly recognize that they’re on your company’s website.

Step 2: Nail down a topic for your blog.

Before you publish your first post, you need to define a topic for your blog.

The most successful blogs all stick to a very clear topic. Sticking to a niche helps you build an audience that knows what kind of content you publish, and begins to expect that type of content from you.

In the case of a blog for a business, that topic should be the industry your business falls under. Write what you know. You want to show your audience that you’re a thought leader in the industry – a source for news and knowledge on everything related to your industry.

Step 3: Develop an editorial calendar.

Publishing content on a frequent, consistent basis is the only way this plan is going to work. Search engines give more value to sites that publish new content frequently. The more content you publish regularly, the more people will see your website in search results.

This step is arguably the most important step in the process, because developing an editorial calendar is going to give you the structure you need to blog frequently and consistently.

Determine the number of posts you’d like to publish per week. Always strive to meet or exceed that goal. The more articles you publish, the more leads you can get. Companies with over two hundred blog articles generate over five times the leads of those companies with ten or fewer blog articles.

Be sure to leave room in your editorial calendar for newsjacking events, too. More on that latter.

Step 4: Create premium content.

Here’s where we get into the meat and potatoes of lead generation with a blog. It’s not enough to simply bring visitors to your site with a blog post. You have to give them a reason to become a lead. This means creating premium or advanced content. This is content that really helps explain the solution to a specific problem in detail, or offers more thorough, informed information. In short, this content is valuable. So valuable that you can ask people to part ways with a little bit of information about themselves in order to read it.

This content can come in the form of .pdf ebooks, videos, graphics – anything that helps you provide value to your audience.

Again, you need to stick with what you know here. Provide help or information to your audience in a way that sheds new light on a topic in your industry. The classic example is the dentist who created an ebook about how good oral health leads to a better sex life. The unique spin on the boring topic of dental health turned out to be a smashing success and went on to generate one million dollars in annual revenue for the dentist.

Step 5: Optimize for conversion.

Once you have your offer in place, you need to give your audience an opportunity to hold up its end of the bargain.

Create calls to action to put on your blog posts. Clicks on these calls to action should take your audience to a landing page where they can fill out a form to get your content. The combination of graphics and copy on these calls to action should be designed to instill in your audience an uncontrollable urge to click. It’s time to muster everything you can remember from those rhetorical theory classes you had to take in college, because your writing has a job to do.

Now are you starting to see the formula here? Get people to your site with your blogging, and get them to become leads by offering them some content they can’t refuse.

Step 6: Curate content.

This step is a little bonus step to help you flesh out your editorial calendar. The content you publish doesn’t all have to come directly out of your head. If you take some time to dive into other publications in your industry, you’ll find loads of content. As you read content and learn new things the editor in all of us will come out, and you’ll say, “Other people need to know about this.”

That act of gathering and analyzing content is called content curation. Newsjacking, which I mentioned earlier, is an example of content curation. When something big happens in your industry – for example, congress passes a new law that affects how you do business – you can publish a blog post that offers some of your insight on the new law and links back to the original source.

Moz has a great guide on how to do this effectively. Learn content curation, use it, and create a mighty blog.

Step 7: Write!

Now it’s time to get started. You’re all set up to generate leads with your blog, and you’ve got a plan for curating and publishing new content. Now it’s time to start writing and publishing and watching the leads pour in.

Happy blogging!