Writing and publishing customer-centric content is the best way to build your brand profile online.
When companies hire us to help build their brand presence online, one of the first things we recommend is a blog. This can sometimes be a hard sell for businesses. They’re used to traditional advertising concepts, like placement ads or email campaigns. Blogging is a long-term, labor-intensive strategy that can feel like shouting into the void. Why devote their budget to a blog when they could be running ads on Google instead?
To put it simply: Because blogging works. It’s the fuel that feeds your SEO strategy and gives substance to your social media campaigns It gives depth to your website, and it establishes you as a brand leader in your industry. And while other marketing startegies can also be effective, blogging makes them better. It’s the best wingman your email campaign could ask for.
Furthermore, most ad campaigns only stick around as long as you keep feeding them money. But your blogs don’t disappear the moment you stop funding them. They’re branded content pieces that you own. You can do whatever you want with them for as long as you’re in business.
1. Research your audience (personas).
The biggest mistake businesses make across the board in their marketing is that they fail to write to their customer’s needs. They are too focused on themselves and their brand, which makes a lot of their blog content read more like PR announcements than compelling, interesting material.
When this is the case, it’s no wonder when businesses fail to see the interest and engagement they were hoping for. Instead, learn about your customers, who they are, and why they might be interested in your brand. Speak to those topics, and you’ll attract the attention you’re hoping for.
2. Create a keyword list of relevant terms for your clients.
While you’re in your in the practice of thinking like your customers, start thinking about what terms they might search for if they were trying to find a business like yours, but didn’t know about you yet. This is the first step of keyword research, where you begin with likely search terms, and then test them against actual data about what people are actually searching for.
For this step, we use Moz’s keyword explorer. We search for a keyword, and it shows us what kid of search volume (searches per month) that keyword usually receives, plus how hard it is to rank for that term, and a list of top blogs currently ranking for that term. Then we create blog content designed to rank for those terms.
Remember though, volume isn’t everything. The more specific a search term is, the lower the traffic volume is likely to be, but lower volume terms are also usually easier to rank for, and specific terms have a higher conversion rate… provided the term you’re ranking for is relevant to your brand, which brings us to point three!
3. Understand what content is and isn’t relevant to your brand.
Think about it this way: If you’re a company that specializes in automotive engineering, you may have a lot to say on quality control, product testing, and various ways that artificial intelligence is shaping your field. You may even have a great cultural reference you can fit in there to Star Trek or 2001 Space Odyssey.
But you wouldn’t want to write a blog post ranking your favorite science fiction shows. For one, you wouldn’t rank for it, and for another, even if you did, you’d draw in a lot of unqualified leads who were only there for a debate about whether Star Wars qualifies as science fiction and not for your automotive engineering expertise.
4. Learn about your competition and find blogs in your field.
You can probably get a good ways in the early stages of your planning by focusing on the factors we’ve just discussed: knowing your audience, researching keywords, and focusing on content relevant to your brand. But we all run out of inspiration some days, and when that happens, it’s good to have somewhere to turn.
We’ve found that building a list of other blogs in your industry—whether niche blogs, competitor blogs, or industry leaders—is a great way both to keep track of what other people in your general competitive landscape are doing, and to stay on top of the latest developments.
5. Plan a posting schedule, making sure to cover all your products, services, audiences (personas), and buying stages.
Once you’ve done the above, you should have a nice list of possible blog titles. For each title, to determine if it is relevant, you should be able to identify what persona it targets, what service or product it promotes, or what buying stage it supports.
Since that’s a lot of data to keep track of, we recommend creating a spreadsheet to organize it all. We refer to this as our editorial calendar, and it is our main reference point for all our content strategy planning. Then you should set aside a few hours for each blog post and get writing! The first posts may take more time, but once you get the hang of it, you should set aside about half a day per post (2–5 hours).
Your business needs to blog more.
Many brands, when we discuss how often they should be blogging, assume that they’re doing enough if they put out a blog every month or so. But if you’ve done all this research, you may have come to an important realization: there’s a lot out there to write about. If you’re only publishing one blog a month, that’s only twelve blogs a year.
If you consider that most businesses have several audiences to write to, a range of products and services, and multiple steps to cover along the buyer’s journey, they could take years just writing a single article to cover each of those factors.
Add to this the facts that most of these topics bear repeated coverage, that personas, products, and services often change over time, and that events within an industry or the culture at large often create some of the most compelling blog content, and a monthly blogging strategy simply isn’t adequate to keep pace.
Almost every businesses we work with could benefit from weekly blog posts. Some of them easily have enough material to cover more. And the good news is that our marketing team has the expertise and organizational skills to step in and write for you as much as you need.
So, if you’re ready to up your blog content and see returns in increased blog traffic, social engagement, and lead generation, contact us today. We can write a blog strategy for your businesses and you can see for yourself how much you have to say.