Blogging is one of the most effective and time-proven techniques of reaching out to a global audience with the power to increase your Return on Investment (ROI) by driving organic traffic and increasing sales over time. There are literally millions of new blogs going live every day, and because of this, it’s challenging to develop a blog that actually stands out.
Blogging has a massive impact on customer retention and sales, creating the necessity for businesses to use blogging as primary means for customer relations, public outreach, and new customer acquisition.
Components of the modern blog:
A successful blog depends on many things: planning, content creation, search engine optimization, scheduling, advertising, platform selection, catering to your target audience, and so on. The list is endless. If there are any components missing, your blog may fail to create the impact necessary to attract and retain your desired audience.
As easy as blogging may seem, it is anything but that. Having an outstanding blog requires a lot of planning, research, and a great execution strategy.
People keep coming back to things that impress them, reach out to them, or touch their inner-being. Blogs can promote value by educating viewers about something close to their heart, which retains their loyalty and encourages conversions over time. If you want people to visit your blog time and time again, you need to make sure it contains relevant and high-quality content.
Now that you know this, it’s important to know how exactly to create and maintain an effective blog. There are important elements, outlined below, that will guide your blogging efforts:
Why are you starting a blog, and how do you expect it will benefit your company? These are important things to consider when you’re taking on the endeavor of creating a blog. You’ll want to have a clear outline of how your efforts will impact your company, and how you can cater your blog to get you there:
What is the purpose of this blog?: How is this blog going to serve your company? What kind of interactions are you expecting, and what kind of impact do you believe a successful blog will have on your conversions? Be specific and steer your blog content to accommodate your overall purpose.
Set short-term and long-term goals: You need to be clear about the goals you wish to achieve through your blog. Make an outline of realistic company goals that are based on specific Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). One example of a short-term goal may be that you would like your blog to increase your organic traffic by 10% per quarter. A long-term goal could be that you would like organic traffic to increase 40% annually, creating a 15% growth in your overall conversion rate.
Blog management tasks: Create a schedule for your blog that details how many blog posts per week you will publish, and the average length of each blog. It’s also important to specify the employees who will be managing the blog, and how much time they should dedicate to it on a weekly basis. If you are planning to manage the blog yourself, you’ll be able to see if the time needed to maintain a successful blog is realistic.
Know your audience. It is equally important to know why your audience will be interested in your blogs. You need to plan and execute your blogs in a way that would help them achieve their goals too. This will make them interested in your blogs.
Know your readers:
After you plan your blog, you’ll need to create a formal case study detailing your target audience. Specify the demographics of the average user that are as detailed as possible, including the age range, income (or buying power), location, interests, occupations, and hobbies. Also, get to know some of them - reach out and perform a study in which you actively interview potential readers and ask them questions to include in your case study. This will help your team to create a blog that will attract and sustain your target audience, and more specifically, users who are able and interested in purchasing from you.
Conducting surveys will also provide you with the information you need to make your blog both informative and accommodating to your audience. The value your blog will have to your audience is that it offers information, solutions, and is a trusted source of information. Never forget that the purpose of viewing and interacting with a blog is to attain and share knowledge.
Know the competition:
The way to win a race is to analyze your competitors and present strength in areas where they present weakness. For example, top performing athletes keep a close eye on the training techniques, stamina, and workout routines of their adversaries. This allows them to optimize their performance and training regimen, based on their own strengths and weaknesses, as well as that of the competition.
Blogging can present strength in areas where your competition presents weakness… do most of your competitors even feature a blog? Make a list of your competitors, and highlight what they do well. Make a list of areas in which these companies excel, and areas where they aren’t so strong. Be specific and try to list 10 strengths and 10 weaknesses of each company. Now, on a scale of 1-10, compare your company to each strength and weakness of each of your competitors.
By creating this comparison, you will get ideas about how you can communicate with your target audience in the most effective and strategic manner possible. You will be able to outshine your competition by actively communicating your strengths, and also by highlighting why your company is strong in areas where your adversaries are weak. Make sure you do this in a tactful manner, without listing your competition’s weakness. You’ll want to make this intuitive to your users - keep in mind that you catch more flies with honey than you will with vinegar.
You’ll also want to analyze the blogs of your competitors and find out what has been the most effective and efficient for them. You can study which blog posts are attracting the most interaction, which ones are being shared, and research the type of traffic they are getting. Use softwares like Open Site explorer and SemRush competitor to assist you with this research.
To ensure your blog appears at the top of search results, make sure you use industry relevant and popular keywords within your blog. Search engines have gotten much smarter over time - which means using tricks, like a keyword tag, within your META data is actually counter-productive. The content within the pages of your website is what attracts search engines. Because search engines have become so intelligent, it’s important to make sure the content of your web pages and blog posts are relevant, informative, and of high quality. This is important, not only for placement, but it will ensure that you attract and maintain a high-quality audience that will actually impact your bottom line.
Here, research is key, and will help you identify the right keywords. You need to know what keywords your potential customers use in order to search for content relevant to your blog. Softwares like KWFinder.com are very helpful in this regard.
Spread the word:
In order to direct traffic, gain new readers, and attract leads and sales, it’s important to actively promote your blog. Without promotion, your target audience won’t know your blog exists, which will keep potential customers in the dark instead of inviting them to your website.
While paying for a campaign to promote your blog isn’t going to be very efficient, there are free ways you can spread the word. Advertising on social media networks is a great technique that reinforces engagement with your current network. You can promote relevant content on social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Make sure to track the engagement of your social media platforms to see which ones are the most efficient.
Another method of advertising is to get other websites to link to your blog. Inbound links are great for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) as well as directing traffic to your blog. Likewise, publishing the work of guest bloggers can boost your engagement, because bloggers who are promoting their work on your website will, in turn, advertise their work with their networks, which will benefit your natural traffic and encourage engagement.
Make sure you are tracking the progress of your blog with a reputable website analytics tool. Mouseflow offers a distinct advantage here - you can track user activity on your blog and compare which posts are the most effective so you can optimize your content over time. If you filter through your recordings for users who have visited your blog post pages, and download the corresponding CSV files, you can use this data to compare engagement and traffic over time.
A healthy blog will attract users that can benefit your conversion rate and positively impact your Return on Investment (ROI) over time. Make sure you are regularly posting content that is relevant and interesting to your target audience by researching what is important to them and monitoring the results using a reliable website analytics tool.
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Alma Causey is a blogger by choice. She loves to discover the world around her. She likes to share her discoveries, experiences and express herself through her blogs.
Find her on Twitter: @almacausey