Blogging is the foundation of content marketing. The best way to support your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy is to keep your website fresh with optimized content that is relevant to your target buyers.
But there’s a right way and a wrong way to blog. Simply posting content haphazardly, jumping from topic to topic and from day to day isn’t going to produce the best results.
To get the best results from the time and money you invest in blogging, follow these five market-proven tactics:
1. Create a Content Calendar (and Stick to It)
Broadcast TV may be on the decline but there are some valuable lessons successful bloggers can learn from it. We didn’t call it the six-o’clock news for nothing. We tuned in because we expected to receive value at a precise time any day.
Similarly, your readers should be able to expect to receive valuable information from your blog at regular intervals. If you can’t do every day, go for every Tuesday and Thursday or Wednesday and Sunday.
A content calendar helps ensure that your blog posts are published on a regular schedule and helps you avoid long gaps between posts or too many posts in a short period of time.
If you have more than one author publishing on your company’s blog, your calendar should identify who is responsible for each blog post to make sure no posting dates get skipped and to avoid multiple authors posting at the same time. At our agency the calendar also includes the target keyword and call-to-action for each blog post so we can better manage how content supports our SEO strategy and the buyer’s journey.
2. Include Blog Topics in Your Planning
In most cases, your blog topics should be planned well in advance of when you publish. Doing so allows your blogging to support your search engine optimization (SEO) strategy and build expertise on topics that engage your buyers.
Stream of consciousness blogging produces inconsistency and repetition that makes your efforts inefficient and may alienate readers. For the best results, focus on one broad theme across a series of blog posts (a campaign) and group your predetermined topics around that theme.
This will not only gives your readers a way to progressively learn more about the topic you’re writing about, but it also influences the way your analytics are reported, making it easier to assign a causal relationship between the results and your blogging activity.
3. Focus on Your Buyers
Recall the cardinal rule of inbound marketing; It’s not about you.
At our agency, we ask our clients what triggers their buyers to look for answers online. These triggers or pains are the topics that you want to be blogging about.
Avoid the temptation to jump right in and start talking about solutions. A reader, who has never met you, needs to feel comfortable that you understand his or her problems. Taking time to describe the problem in detail from the prospect’s perspective, before jumping to the solution will make your blogging much more likely to be shared and to generate clicks on your offer.
4. Make Quality Job 1
Many content marketers think of their blog as “just a blog.” They don’t take it seriously. As a result, they don’t take the time or put in the effort to generate quality posts. In fact, blogging is one of the most important things you do as an inbound marketer.
On the web, you are what you write. Your writing is how people find you and get to know you before they decide to trust you to solve their problems. Posting low-quality content with poorly worded articles and numerous copy errors actually diminishes any trust you’ve built with your prospects.
No matter how much of an expert you are in your industry, your expertise will not be apparent to prospects after they read an incoherent, typo-laced blog post.
Building trust is crucial to shepherding prospects along the buyer’s journey. Quality blog posts build trust. Achieve this by knowing your audience, researching your topic hiring good writers and copy editors.
5. Coordinate Your SEO Strategy Across Your Blog and Web Pages
Start thinking of your blog as the front door to your website. You want to use a focused, organized approach to keywords in your blogging. However, expecting that you’ll just sprinkle some keywords over your blog and achieve amazing results is unrealistic.
If your blog is the door, the room that it should open to is a keyword optimized webpage. One page for each keyword.
For instance, if your main source of revenue is creating custom inbound marketing strategies, you’re going to want to rank for the keywords “custom inbound marketing strategy” and “create inbound marketing strategy.”
Rather than just using those terms a few dozen times in your blog posts, build a custom inbound marketing strategy page with lots of educational information and detail on this service on your site. Then, when you use this term on your blog, make sure to link back to that page. (Ideally you’ll want to get other sites who discuss inbound marketing strategy to also link to this page. Google loves that kind of validation that you are the expert that you claim to be!)
Over time you can develop a series of blog posts that cover different aspects of the content on your highly educational web page and link each of them back to the page, thereby increasing the power of that web page. Of course you want to be sure you have a form on that web page so you can convert your traffic!
This type of coordinated SEO strategy where blogging and web pages work together helps boost the rankings of your target pages, avoids keyword cannibalization (when you have two pages ranking for the same term, hurting the overall rank of both) and helps guide your prospects through their buyer’s journey.
If you follow these five principles in your content marketing, you’ll see improved results, attracting more visitors who have a higher likelihood of converting to sales-ready prospects.