It's no secret that content marketing does a tremendous job of bringing organic traffic to the website; hence, why so many businesses have blog posts on their website. However, the reality is, most of those blog posts are underperforming - not attracting enough leads to the business.
So why are they underperforming, and more importantly, what can you do to get your blog posts from zero to a hero of your lead generation strategy?
The steps and tips you will read in this blog post are the results of countless content marketing strategies we've developed for our clients. In addition, we have written over 200 blog posts ourselves, so everything you will read is backed by experience and data.
Let's start with a few fundamental topics that you have to address to give your blog post the best chance of success.
If we learned anything over the years, it is this point. Blog posts and content marketing are impossible to execute well without support from management. So why is their buy-in so important? Because content creation is time-consuming and often best written by experts.
For example, assigning content writing to your most junior person on the team (because they have time) typically results in generic blog posts without any depth.
Internet is full of generic blog posts that no one is reading.
Instead, the experts in your business (and industry) have to write blog posts because they understand your customers and consequently understand the type of content they will find helpful.
Without buy-in from management (e.g., Owner, President, CEO, VP, etc.), your subject matter experts will never have the time to write blog posts. They will always find something else to do, something more "important."
This is why the importance of content marketing (and blog posts) has to be communicated from the top. Otherwise, writing blog posts will always end up at the bottom of the pile.
The Internet is full of generic blog posts that no one is reading; therefore, stick to topics relevant to your business, and more importantly, to your customers. For example, if you are an independent accountant focusing on small businesses, write blog posts relevant to small business owners and their finances. Don't fall into the trap of writing blog posts that are outside of your niche (accounting service for small businesses), writing a blog post on the recent tax code changes that only impact large corporations (not small businesses) would be a mistake, even if you know the topic well and you feel strongly about it.
This is the kind of trap you can avoid by developing Personas because it will force you to think, "Who is this blog post for?" rather than "What can I write about today?"
3. You Have To Put In The Work
The old saying, "Successful businesses do what unsuccessful businesses don't want to do," also applies to writing blog posts. Companies that benefit the most from content marketing (and blog posts) do what most other businesses are not willing to do - put in the work, day in and day out, consistently over a number of years.
4. Quantity Matters
A website with only 20 blog posts cannot be turned into a lead generation machine. From our experience, approximately 10% of the blog posts do all the heavy lifting (attracting visitors and leads), while the rest (90%) produces minimum impact. With that in mind, you have to generate a lot of content (posts) to boost your traffic and leads significantly.
Your goal should be 100 blog posts, and don't stop until you get there. It may take you a year, two years, or five years. Don't focus on the timeline; focus on constant output every month. For example, you may only have the time or resources to publish 2 blog posts per month - that's fine. It may take you 4 years to reach 100 blog posts, but you will get there.
5. Do The Research (And Find Gaps)
You don't need to do complex research; just "Google" a few topics and terms that apply to your business and see which blog posts and websites come up (top 10 results). This will give you a good idea of topics that are covered well and topics lacking coverage.
Also, you will most likely spot trends. For example, longer posts (1,000 plus words) typically rank higher in search engines. With that in mind, which blog posts/topics have over 1,000 words? Which topics only have 300-500 words? Which topics have 500-1,000 words? If you notice a topic with limited coverage (and words), you probably found a gap.
Finding content gaps is time-consuming, but it will accelerate your lead generation and return on investment.
6. Relevant, Helpful, Insightful, Entertaining
We can dissect a great blog post into many pieces (what makes it great), but at the end of the day, all great blog posts are relevant, helpful, insightful, and entertaining (easy to read).
Most small businesses understand that a blog post has to be "helpful" and "insightful" but struggle with "relevant" and "entertaining."
- Relevant - the topic is relevant at the time or to a particular customer in their decision-making process.
- Entertaining - a blog post can be entertaining if it has a lot of interesting examples or facts. If you are writing a long blog post, think of different ways to make it more enjoyable to read. Images, charts, videos, infographics, examples, and facts usually do the trick.
7. Have An Opinion
Leave your political and religious views at home. However, if you have strong opinions about your industry, competitors, or processes (how things are done), write about it. Yes, you will polarize some readers, but having a strong opinion will help your content marketing efforts, especially if you are very knowledgeable in your field.
8. Unique Insight
Offering unique insight is one of the best ways to distinguish your website and blog posts from your competitors; therefore, try to have a unique perspective in your blog posts. Of course, not every topic can have a different or unique point of view, but many topics have been beaten to death and need a fresh perspective.
Think about it. Most new ideas are not really new. They are just original ideas with a fresh perspective or interpretation. Just read a few business books, and you will see many old concepts disguised as new. The point is, offering unique insight does not require reinventing the wheel, just a different perspective.
9. Schedule Time and Eliminate Distractions
Block off some time every day, week, or month to write. If it's not in your schedule, it will probably not happen. We all get busy with everyday tasks, so it's easy to push back tasks that don't have a deadline, like writing; so create a deadline for your blog posts (when you will publish it), and allocate adequate time in your calendar.
When it comes to eliminating distractions, our typical advice to clients is to write blog posts first thing in the morning or late at night. Also, if possible, turn off notifications. Even minor distractions, like replying to a quick message, will take your mind off the topic and prolong the time it takes to write a blog post.
One of the best ways to learn is to write. For example, let's fast forward to your 100th blog post. By writing a hundred posts, you accumulated tremendous knowledge that will greatly benefit your business:
- You will understand your customers better.
- You will learn how to sell your product/service better.
- You will know your industry better.
These benefits are hard to calculate or attribute to "blog posts." Still, they are often cited by our clients after spending considerable time writing blog posts.
Without question, writing blog posts is time-consuming, but anything worth doing usually is. The bottom line is, if you are looking for organic growth in website traffic and leads, blog posts and content marketing is a great way to grow.
Countless businesses were built on top of blog posts, so don't underestimate this excellent marketing channel to promote your business.
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