Blogging has come a long way since its early beginnings. Now, it’s a powerful marketing tool used by major corporations, small to medium businesses, and individual entrepreneurs.
The origins of the name “blog” come from a combination of the words Web and Log. Early on it was seen as an online diary. Now, even though the name blog remains, it’s really more of an online publication.
Today’s blogs are the modern equivalent of a magazine or a newsletter. They serve as a way to attract new leads and nurture existing ones.
What it’s good for:
At the top of the funnel, blogs can be good for generating traffic. A high-quality blog article that adds value can be shared amongst friends and rank highly in search engines.
At the middle of the funnel, blogs can serve as a way to nurture your existing prospects and keep you top of mind to your customers when the window of buying opens.
Putting helpful information out to readers can establish your business as the thought leader in your industry developing authority.
One of the downsides of blogging is that it consumes a lot of time and takes some talent to pull off well. A good blog article can take many hours to create and there seems to be a never ending appetite for new articles.
There’s more and more competition in the blogosphere every day and only the best content gets shared. Even good blogs take a while to gain traction, so it can be discouraging to wait so long for the returns.
Who it’s for
Blogging is for two types of businesses. The first is a business that’s in the early stages of their marketing plan with inbound as their primary lead generation source and a limited budget.
This is the Genius Type and the American Dream in our seven core marketing strategies of effective entrepreneurs. (Find out which strategy applies to you here)
The second category is a business with a more mature stage of their marketing plan that wishes to use blogging to supplement their other marketing efforts.
Checklist for doing it well:
Here’s a few tips for pulling off a blog:
A consistent frequency is one of the most important facets of blogging. Whether you blog once a day, once a week, or once a month the most important thing is to remain consistent and on schedule.
Readers are creatures of habit and will come to anticipate your content if you are consistent.
As for the length of your blog posts, you want them to be at least 300 words to appeal to search engines.
Depending on your target market, 1000 words may be preferable. Even though attention spans are getting shorter and shorter with competing interests and mobile devices, I’ve always liked longer blog articles.
It’s important that your blog articles provide value to your readers even if they are not a customer. Think of the problems that your potential customers are trying to solve and write articles to point them in the right direction or to give them a small victory.
I can’t emphasize enough how important quality is. Terrible content is all over the internet and quality content will rise to the top. Take time thinking through your blog articles and making them something that you would want to read.
Stretch out the effort it took you to write the blog article by repurposing it into other channels. For example send an email to your list, divide it into several posts for social media, use it as a podcast topic, turn it into a downloadable white paper, etc.
Call to action
Make sure that every blog post has a call to action into your marketing funnel. It’s not enough just to write useful content, you have to direct your readers where you want them to go.
Subscribe to your blog, download a white paper, take a quiz, or consume your introductory content are a few ideas.
Coming up with fresh content ideas over time can be a challenge. Here are a few suggestions:
- Reviews– Reviewing something in your industry such as a book, a product of show, a meal, etc., can be a great way to generate content. It establishes you as an authority and people will look to you for guidance if they like your opinion.
- Interviews– Interviewing other people in your industry is a great way to generate content. It adds energy and a different perspective into your blog that you would not have been able to come up with on your own. It also provides some social proof that other people in your industry respect what you have to say.
- Case Studies– Case studies are a great way to not only provide useful content to people, but establish you as an authority. Everyone loves to see real life applications and imagine how they would do in a similar situation.
- How To– “How To” articles are always in high demand. Think of ways you could help potential customers solve a problem on their own, and some of them would rather just hire you to do it for them.
- Content Curation– If you’re running low on ideas for blog articles, one easy way to create content is to just link to other people’s articles. Spend some time compiling a list of five, or 10, or more useful articles and publish a list.
Starting a blog is easier than ever with software that doesn’t require coding such as Word Press, Tumblr, and others. Once you set up a blog, set aside a time every week, or multiple times a week, to create some content.
One tip to save time is to dictate your blog articles into your smart phone and hire someone to clean them up.
Work ahead several weeks so that if you have a slow week you won’t miss your consistent frequency.
Reach out to other bloggers in your industry to share links and content. Once you’ve established a relationship, writing articles for their blog is a great way to expand your audience.
Blogging isn’t for everyone, but for those that do it well it can be a powerful source of traffic and lead nurturing that is hard to duplicate.