Anyone who’s seriously involved in content marketing will be publishing a blog as part of their strategy. But publishing doesn’t automatically mean it’s a great blog, or even a good one.

These four statistics show what a really great blog can do for your business–and why you’ll want to blog better.

1) Companies that blog have 97% more inbound links.HubSpot

Your blog is the magnet that draws people and traffic to your website. Consistent blogging keeps a flow of valuable, relevant, and useful information that people and other sites can link to. This strengthens SEO for your site as well as increased lead generation.

2) On average, companies that blog receive 434% more indexed pages.HubSpot

Blogging keeps your website “fresh content rich” which will enable search engines to continually find and index your content and improve search ranking. Having a higher organic rank means that more customers will be able to find you and your goods/services.

3) 81% of U.S. online customers trust information and advice from blogs.BlogHer

Your blog is the hub of your content marketing strategy; it’s the heart of your website. While your website may contain tons of static information (products, prices, services, etc.) your blog is you; your personality. It’s where customers and potential customers “meet you” and find answers and solutions to problems as you post relevant, intelligent content, building consumer trust.

4) 61% of U.S. online consumers have made a purchase based on recommendations from a blog.BlogHer

Bingo! Your blog has done its ultimate job—generated a sale.

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What makes a really great blog?

A blog can be about anything, from the ridiculous to the sublime. However, your business blog should not be random thoughts, but a planned strategy for sharing compelling content around your industry, product or service, with deliberate intent. You want to provide consistent, fresh content that will build community and ultimately influence customer action.

Regardless of the tone—just for fun, serious, instructive, storytelling, or testimonial—you want to be sure there’s a valuable “take away” for your readers. This could be an emotional connection (laugh or cry), an entertaining image, video or quote, a question answered, or a problem solved. Really great blogs will have the following elements in common:

Valuable, relevant content

“A successful content marketing strategy requires placing a priority on remarkable content over everything else.” – Robert Rose

  • Write content with your target audience in mind, meeting needs and answering questions
  • People will read your blog and return for more when it’s dynamic and makes their lives more enjoyable
  • Get feedback to ensure that you and your readers are on the same wavelength and you’re sharing content that is what they want to read/see/hear
  • Use a combination of original and curated content

Media Mixes

“If [you are] sharing a variety of media types like text, polls, articles, photos, videos—[you understand] what people want to see.” – Tom Treanor

  • Keep blog posts interesting with highly sharable content
  • Use various forms of media–videos, images, infographics, SlideShares–for best reader experience
  • Video is the fastest growing form of online marketing with internet users watching 3 BILLION hours of online video every day
  • Articles with images get 94% more views

Authority building

“It‘s a no-brainer that you want to blog, it’s just central to your content strategy. If you want to be a thought leader as a brand, certainly a blog accomplishes that.” – Lee Traupel

  • Represent yourself as an expert; create content others will curate
  • Reference other authorities by providing links to sites that will be of interest
  • Don’t just talk about you; talk about industry trends, businesses or news events that tie in to what you do
  • Explore related issues that impact your audience; share your thoughts and insights
  • Content should be accurate to build credibility, not misleading or unreliable

Invites engagement

“You don’t reach a point where you can’t respond to people. I expect that every piece of content I put out, somebody can respond to, leave a comment or have a discussion.” – Warren Whitlock

  • Make every blog an opportunity to actively engage with your readers
  • Incorporate calls to action: comments, downloading information, subscribing to an email newsletter, taking an opinion poll, liking/sharing/following, etc.
  • Whenever there is engagement, respond quickly to keep the conversation going
  • Acknowledge all comments and feedback with at least a “thank you”

Search Engine Optimized

“The blog’s focus is to assist business in ‘getting found online’ in a digital world and making your company visible and successful on a crowded web.” – Jeff Bullas

  • Use keywords in your heading and throughout the content to boost SEO
  • Videos, images and graphics should all have titles or descriptions to support SEO
  • High quality content, correct grammar and spelling contribute to search engine recognition
  • Links to influencers and relevant websites generate backlinks and strengthen SEO

Consistency

“Even if [companies] don’t have the biggest budgets, even if they don’t have the most marketing people, just the consistency provides a comfort level with the potential audience, which in turn drives customers to them.” – Rich Tehrani

  • Consistent publishing on a regular basis is vital to grow an audience
  • Once you start a blog, don’t stop; readers take it as a promise
  • Whether daily or weekly, posting original content improves search rank
  • Increases brand awareness and keeps you top-of-mind with your customers

Sharable

“What is it within your brand, sector, service or cause that is going to make that content conductive?” – Russell Sparkman

  • Recommendations and word-of-mouth are extremely powerful ways to advertise; 70% of consumers trust friend recommendations
  • Provide links so users can easily share your content with their friends
  • Drive inbound links with sharable content
  • Incorporate positive user generated content and testimonials into your content
  • Content that generates an emotional reaction gets shared more often

Wide Promotion

“Connect your blog with your social channels and make sure when you blog, that it immediately populates on your Twitter feed and your Facebook page and any other social media networks, [it’s an] increased way to connect with other people and influences.” – Jon Wuebben

  • Sharing a new post on social media should be your first avenue of promotion
  • Include a link to your blog in all your email communications
  • Repurpose content (such as text to video or infographic) and distribute in a new form
  • A marketing automation software can distribute content to all your social channels from one place

Publishing a great blog accomplishes the core purpose of a content marketing strategy: Informing, engaging and driving behavior of a targeted audience in order to acquire customers.

Whether with a “blog” team or one dedicated blogger, your company will see a healthier bottom line from expanded brand awareness, increased website traffic, and improved customer engagement by having a dynamic, engaging blog.

Tackle your content production as you would any big project—one piece at a time.
Step 4 - Produce - Content Marketing Lifecycle

  • Knowing the types of content you will NOT produce is just as important as knowing what you will produce.
  • If your target audience isn’t active on a particular social media or content destination, do you really need to be producing content for that platform?
  • All content you create & publish should have information about how to reach you.

 

Join the Conversation:

  • What steps have you taken to ensure that your blog is maintained and updated regularly?
  • What types of content generate the most engagement and interaction with your blog or website?
  • What marketing automation software do you use for your content marketing efforts?

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