Up first in our new series, Back to the Basics: Social Media 101, we’re discussing blogging for business and why a blog should be the core of your content and social media strategy. One of the top digital marketing tools that actually delivers results, blogging is also one of the most trusted sources for accurate online information. In addition, according to HubSpot, businesses with blogs generated 67 percent more leads in 2015. If that’s not reason enough alone to start blogging, we aren’t sure what is!
Blogging provides a multitude of advantages to businesses, including helping to establish brand identity and credibility, and giving businesses or individuals the platform on which to become an industry thought leader. In fact, by 2020, HubSpot predicts that customers will manage 85 percent of their relationships without talking to a human, meaning they’re more likely to do their research online long before they ever come to your store front or sales center or even pick up the phone to call. This means the blog is the perfect place for a future customer to begin learning about your brand and services, trust that you’re the expert in the field, and begin developing brand loyalty.
A blog is also another resource for businesses to connect personally with current, past or future clients. Consistently across the board for many mRELEVANCE clients, blog posts with the most traffic and social media engagement are those featuring staff or employee profiles. For example, client Associates in Building + Design, Ltd., a Northern Colorado-based design/build firm, recently posted a blog featuring an interview with its new lead interior designer. After just three weeks on the site, visitors to the page spent nearly eight minutes on the site, and visited an average of six pages! It was also the post with the most engagement on Facebook during the month, with a reach of 974 and 126 reactions, comments and shares and 238 post clicks – all incredibly high engagement rates compared to the client’s normal posts.
As the core component of your content strategy and a major factor in how your website ranks online, blogging and SEO go hand-in-hand. It’s necessary to regularly update your website with fresh, engaging and optimized content to rank well in Google’s search results, and the blog is the easiest and best place to do that. Determining your keywords, and the keywords that your target audience is searching for, is the first step in writing content that your customers actually want to read. An added bonus of writing content that is optimized well is that you’ll be discovered by new potential customers that are part of your target audience.
If you’re ready to begin blogging and have determined your keywords, what your audience wants to know and what areas you need to focus on to become an expert, it’s time to try your hand at writing content. Here are a few tried and true tips to writing successful blogs:
- Be sure to write an attention-grabbing heading and first few sentences. So much content is produced on a daily basis that it’s important to make yours stand out. The headline and beginning is also a great way to incorporate keywords and ensure the site is ranking well for the right search terms.
- Be sure to get to the point in a hurry. It’s a busy world we live in, so don’t include lots of extra “fluff” that your audience likely isn’t interested in. Just say what you need to say.
- On the contrary, don’t be afraid to be wordy if you’re providing valuable information. By now, we’re all sophisticated blog readers, and we want well-written, informative posts that are actually useful. Most people will tune in for an 800- to 1,500-word blog if it’s interesting and providing information they want to know.
- Break up long content and keep it interesting by incorporating lists, bullets, numbers, infographics and images.
- Don’t hide your personality online when you’re writing. Readers are trying to make a personal connection with a brand or company, and the blog is one of the best ways to allow that connection to happen.
- Make sure your content is new and written in an original way. No one wants to spend 15 minutes reading old information that’s being regurgitated from somewhere else.
- Have a call-to-action in your blog pointing your audience in the next direction. Is your blog about a new home? Then tell them how to find out more information about that home or how to get to it. Are you writing about an upcoming event? Then make sure you provide links for purchasing tickets or getting directions.
Finally, the last step in creating a successful blog is making sure that content can be shared easily. Your content can’t go viral if your readers can’t share it! Most blog platforms provide social media widgets or apps that make sharing a breeze. You can even incorporate special call-outs within your blog highlighting important quotes or points that will turn them directly into a tweet, just like we’ve done with the call-out above. Make sure to treat the blog like the content syndication machine it is, and share every post to your social media networks. Plugins can be added to WordPress sites to make some of the syndication automatic, but often the best results are achieved by posting to each individual site natively.
For more social media insight, stay tuned for our remaining Back to the Basics: Social Media 101 posts focusing on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Snapchat, LinkedIn, YouTube and online reviews and testimonials.
If you’re ready to elevate your blogging and content strategy beyond the basics to the next level, contact Marketing RELEVANCE by calling 770-383-3360 or filling out our online contact form. Subscribe to the mRELEVANCE blog/newsletter to always stay up-to-date on what’s going on with marketing, social media and more!