I find it fascinating that there are still businesses, large and small, that are not blogging. They tend to cling to the false notion that blogging is for geeks in their parent’s basements. This is truly unfortunate as new studies continue to show that blogs are the least expensive lead source. Inbound marketing, primarily fueled by blogs, produce leads that cost 61% less than outbound marketing. HubSpot reports that 57% of companies with a blog have acquired a customer from their blog and 92% of companies who blog multiple times per day have acquired a customer from their blog.
Hopefully, this is enough to convince you that blogging is not just for “failure-to-launch geeks.” Blogging provides a sturdy foundation to rest your holistic digital marketing campaign. You might be saying, “Ok, great. But where do I begin?”
Just follow these 6 steps and you will be a blogging machine in no time.
- Know Your Audience
- Who are your ideal customers and potential customers?
- What are their biggest concerns, needs, and interests?
Developing buyer personas is essential to the success of any blogging initiative.
Create a buyer persona for each typical customer you have. Include basic details like a name, job title, industry/ company information, and demographic information. For instance, if you are a camping gear store you might sell to both the casual college camper as well as the experienced Boy Scouts troop leader. Describe each of these customers as best you can. As a bonus step, put a face to a name by adding a picture to each profile.
Next, you should identify their needs.
- What can your product do to help increase their quality of life in some way?
- What trends are influencing their business or personal success?
- What questions are they asking?
- What challenges are they facing and how can you help?
Lastly, develop behavior-based profiles based on how your target audience interacts online.
- What type of content do they consume?
- What do they do online?
- Play games?
Answer these questions and any others you can think of. The better you know your audience, the better you will become at connecting with them.
- Smarten Up Your Goals
Why? Why? Why?
Answer this question multiple times before starting your blog.
- What is the reason behind your blog?
Be specific. Like all your content marketing campaigns, your blog must have a purpose.
- Are you attempting to become a thought leader?
- Are you trying to generate more engagement on your site?
- Are you building relationships by offering guest blogging opportunities?
Be S.M.A.R.T. about your goals:
S – specific,
M – measurable,
R – relevant,
T – time-based.
Consider some of these reasons for starting a blog:
- Offer commentary on popular industry news
- Answering FAQs from customers
- Develop a library of “how-to” articles for repurposing at a later date
- Increase reach through partnering with guest bloggers
- Documenting your company’s adventures
- Humanizing your brand
Whatever your reason, make sure it lays a strong foundation for your social business goals. Remember, a SMART goal is not “to sell more ____.” That may be the ultimate goal, but in order to get there, you need to take SMART steps! Think of these as micro-goals.
Increase the average amount of comments on our blog posts by 5%. This is turn should increase the number of time readers spend on your site, which increases brand awareness and trust, which increases the likelihood of them completing the customer buying journey in your favor!
- Find Your Voice
Finding your voice is one of the first steps to manifesting your corporate brand. Before social media tools were established, companies would typically create a mascot or hire a celebrity spokesperson to humanize their brand. Now businesses like yours can easily have the brand speak for itself through consistent acts of kindness on social networks.
Here are a few steps to help you find your voice:
- Write down your every thought – For the next month, get in the habit of writing down everything that comes to mind. To get started, read a news article until it speaks to you and sparks an idea. Then start writing. Once you have ample material to pull from, you can easily pull out distinguishable attributes that make you stand out.
- Write down your philosophy – What values propel your business? Why do you do what you do? Developing and articulating your philosophy will help you stay laser-focused on your established goals.
- Write down your expertise – Whether you know it or not, you are a genius in something. Even if that something is how to most productively procrastinate! Focus your voice on something you know a lot about. This will keep you authentic.
- Write down your defining moments – These moments were life-changing in some way. They will contribute to your philosophies and reasons behind your work. Work these experiences into your blog posts so your readers feel more connected to you. This fuels comfort and comfort cultivates trust and trust increases sales!
Notice the commonality between each of these suggestions?
That’s right – WRITE! Write down everything and magic will happen.
- Create An Editorial Calendar
There must be a method to your madness. Once you have created your buyer personas, defined your goals, and found your voice you are ready to develop a calendar to keep you and your team focused and accountable. Publishers have been using editorial calendars for years and since we are all publishers now it’s high time you start using one too. Brainstorm topics that interest your audience by referring to your buyer personas.
Be sure to include:
- Publishing dates
- Blog categories
- Blog titles
- Social media outposts
You can always create an Excel spreadsheet to accommodate your calendar needs but for those of you who are serious about content marketing, we recommend using a tool called Divvy. The web-based platform offers a free plan for solo-writers and freelance marketers with limited restrictions. Divvy is great for teams of professionals collaborating on multiple projects.
- Create A Road Map
Blogging is only valuable if people know that you and your content exist. Using the correct keywords (especially long-tail keywords) will increase your findability and a socially optimized blog will increase your content’s sharability.
Other ways to distribute content and maximize the reach of your blog posts are:
- Republish your blog posts in a regular newsletter
- Include links throughout your posts that cross-promote older posts
- Mention on all blog posts on your social networks, social bookmarking sites, and email signature.
- Evaluate, Adjust and Repeat
If you are conducting the same process over and over again and expecting a different result, some might say you are insane. We would just say you were marketing incorrectly. You have to measure your results and make adjustments where need be. Use tools like Google Analytics to see if you are meeting your predetermined goals. Regardless of your specific goals for a particular campaign, always keep track of these three metrics:
2) Engagement and
How much experience do you have with blogging?
What has worked the best for you?
Are you currently using tools that are proving to speed up content development efficiency?
If so, what are they?