Blogging is one of the most reliable methods of making a name for yourself as a startup. It is a valuable tool that helps you connect with your target audience, amass followers through a lead capture strategy, and put the brand out there through content promotion; such as social media posts, newsletters, and guest blogging.
It’s not so much a question of ‘if’ your brand should be leveraging the power of content marketing, but more of a question of ‘how’. With so many different options to choose from, it’s not just about creating new content and placing it on your site — it’s also about making sure you are effectively promoting it in the process.
Keep in mind that it’s not really a question of whether you need a blog or not—it’s when you’re going to build a blog for your business’s website. Without a blog, you can’t really prove your expertise in your industry and win the trust of your target audience. According to statistics, 81% of online consumers trust blogs for advice. A blog may also drive purchase intent and helps you unlock a higher conversion rate for your website.
Aside from connecting with your target audience, a blog will also fuel your SEO efforts by giving web crawlers more content to index. The more blog posts you publish, the more exposure your site gets.
How Soon Should You Start a Blog?
Granted, you do need to prepare the foundations of a successful blog first before you begin to produce content. Fortunately, you don’t need to be a professional designer to set up a beautiful site. A CMS like WordPress can provide you with brilliant themes and useful plugins to put together a fully-functional site; all without writing a single line of code.
Once you have everything set up and customized, make sure to get on with blogging as soon as possible. This 2016, 76% of B2B marketers say they will increase their blog content production this year. However, successful blogging requires a ton of research and planning. On top of writing the actual blog posts, you will also spend a lot of time looking for topic ideas, getting-to-know your target audience, and devising a solid keyword strategy. Here are some of the best tips you need to remember when blogging:
Write for Your Audience
First and foremost, remember that you need to blog for people—not for machines. The reason behind this problem is because some marketers only choose to blog for SEO. However, remember that search engines now prioritize the reading experience of users when it comes to determining the SERP rankings of content. While they still take into account the overall quality of written content, they also consider other factors such as bounce rate, page loading speed, session duration, and other indicators of user engagement level.
A rule of thumb is to develop personas for your target audience. Identify the information they need, understand their problems, learn their content preferences, and provide the necessary courses of action to help them. A content research tool like BuzzSumo will help you learn more about the type of content that’s popular in a specific industry.
“Don’t focus on having a great blog. Focus on producing a blog that’s great for your readers,” says Brian Clark of Rainmaker Digital.
Invest in Custom Content
When learning the content preferences of your target audience, you are often required to explore other content formats such as infographics, eBooks, explainer videos, and slideshows. According to statistics, 90% of online consumers prefer custom content while 60% feel more “connected” with brands after discovering custom content from their website.
Keep in mind that your brand image is on the line with every custom content you publish. You need the help of professional producers and graphics designers to make killer content for your blog audience. While setting up a blog can be cheap, you might as well consider getting a business loan to fuel your custom content creation efforts.
Lastly, remember that you need to focus on the flow of your content and walk your readers through every step. Doing so will help build relationships with your readers and establish your brand as an authority. Also mention the key takeaways at the beginning or by the end of a blog post to improve retention.
“Content marketing and custom content are customer relationship processes that require unique and well-crafted content. Whichever approach you take, you need to invest either your time or money in content creation,” says Neil Patel of NeilPatel.com.
Be Consistent with an Editorial Statement
A lot of companies overlook the importance of having a clear editorial statement that keeps content development in sync with a brand voice. It helps make your content distinguishable amongst the internet’s vast sea of resources and keep your content team in the same page. This is something you should always keep in mind when creating content for your blog.
To identify your editorial statement, focus on supplementing the three key parts: the target audience, the deliverables, and the main goal. To help you understand this process, below is an example editorial statement for an SEO blog:
SEO blog provides online marketers (target audience) with up-to-date strategies (deliverable) to demystify the process of ranking for search engines (goal).
“Your editorial mission is something you—and everyone on your team—need to internalize. It is the measuring stick by which you evaluate everything you do,” says Michele Linn of Content Marketing Institute. Make sure to follow his advice!