The blog is one of the most important and underutilized tools available on a website. Whether you are a small business, or a large corporation, making time to invest in both quality and quantity is an important marketing function.
However, most brands admit to adding content on a regular basis strictly for SEO value. It can be hard to understand the ROI of a good business blog, when it cannot be directly measured against increased profitability or sales. But it is important to understand that in addition to helping your website traffic rank, blogging is a critical communication tool that can help you find new customers, and strengthen your relationship with existing clients by sharing your culture, your expertise, and the merits of your brand.
1. Understand Your Audience and Tailor Content
Every brand and business has a target market, and the focus is on reaching that segment of customer through content marketing, including blogging, social media and community management. But are you narrowing your focus to exclude customers from other verticals? Are you forgetting about other smaller niche groups and population segments that may be interested in your product or service?
It is not hard to overlook different types of customers, when you are marketing to the largest number of your buyers. However, consider that your target market (if it is large and broad in scope) has a higher probability of being approached by your competitors. What marketing experts have realized since 2014 is that better results can sometimes be achieved, when brands make room to target to smaller, niche groups.
When one brand realized that readers were looking for more information about the real estate market, their traffic increased exponentially. Arivify provides an online tool that allows homeowners to research residential property values across the country. On their business blog, you’ll find helpful tips and articles for all stages of home selling and home buying; diversified to offer something to every reader looking for real estate valuation. The content strategy worked.
Design your blog posts to appeal to other age and population segments. Adjust 60% of your blog content to suit the needs of your primary target market, but choose 2-3 other groups who represent a smaller number of people, but have unique needs. Your blog content can have a bias to your largest target market as an audience, but don’t forget to bet on the long shots, because they can pay off in higher engagement and increased traffic.
2. Embed Videos and Interactive Multimedia
Creating linkable content for your blog is essential. What does that mean for the average small business website? Naturally, you want to avoid talking about the industry in a way that diverts your traffic to another online resource (or worse yet, a competitor), but you can provide useful information that is related to your product. The kind that people want to share, mention in their own blog and link to.
The first advantage of creating linkable content is, of course, the opportunity to grow natural inbound links to your site. Authentic link building (not ‘pay for links’) is an organic way to improve the SEO value of your website and blog authority.
Content that is highly linkable from a consumer perspective, includes:
- Contests and promotional offers
Remember to include and embed videos in blog posts periodically, as a change of pace for loyal readers. Videos do not have to be scripted and produced; many brands share staff volunteering events, charitable occasions, employee recognition, new product announcements and more. A natural video that gives a customer insight into your culture, is appreciated by those who want to learn more about your business.
3. Use Polls and Questionnaires to Encourage Engagement
Everyone love to be asked for their opinion, and to ‘weigh in’ on important subjects. Creating a poll or questionnaire periodically on your blog, creates the opportunity for customers and fans of your brand to “chat back’ directly with you. Remember to respond back to comments (it’s blog etiquette 101) and moderate inappropriate comments daily, should they occur on the post.
4. Rethink Your Article Headlines
Some studies have estimated that consumers are exposed to more than 3000 advertisements every day. The mental exhaustion from seeing flashing online advertisements to e-mail coupon offers can be overwhelming, and how consumers cope is to develop a numbness to advertising; today, marketers must work hard to garner the attention of their customers online, and the best way to do that is to create eye-catching headlines.
5. Publish New Posts Regularly
Has your blog become a veritable ghost town? If it’s been months since you added new content to your blog, Google analytics will point out that readers have moved on to other websites, that publish engaging content on a regular basis.
Acquiring loyal blog readers is difficult, and can take a long time to establish a community that converts to advertising and promotion for your brand. Losing your readers is easy however; it only requires inconsistent posting (with large gaps in between new published blogs) and poor content quality. Time is valuable for the consumer; if they are not being informed or entertained by visiting your blog, they will simply move on to better content elsewhere.
6. Evaluate Your Plug-In’s and Widgets
Is your brand active on Instagram? If sharing moments in your business is a priority for your team, embed an Instagram gallery into your blog. Social media channels with a CTA to “follow” should also be present on the blog. Give readers the tools they need to follow you everywhere.
7. Get Creative with Your Post Topics
Do you write about the same thing, in a different way, ad infinitum? Break out of the rut and win new readers while increasing blog traffic. Content schedules take a great deal of time to organize (and we know it’s not fun) but it is the best way to avoid repetition in your blog content, and an effective way to plan content that coincides with holidays and other events where readers will be listening.
Auditing your blog and evaluating your content strategy is an exercise worth engaging in. Google analytics can provide valuable insights into the types of articles that generate the most engagement, and which ones have been the most effective at funneling traffic from social media and other sources, to your website. Create a content schedule and plan your monthly blog posts to introduce your brand to new customers, and build loyalty by sharing helpful, informative and fun posts.