Blogs are a little like humans: they start small, but if properly cared for, they grow quickly. Then they reach digital “adulthood” and are strong and vigorous. But, alas, over time they tend to weaken a bit and are susceptible to all manner of illnesses. But, the good news is, unlike people, who must inevitably succumb, your blog doesn’t have to. By identifying and treating what ails this very important appendage of your inbound marketing strategy, you can keep it cruising along in the “prime of life.”
Consistent blogging has proven to help companies grow their audience and achieve better ranking on the SERPs (search engine results pages). If you want your content marketing efforts to be effective (and who doesn’t?), it just makes sense to blog on a regular basis. That said, you may at times be at a loss for what to write about next. Don’t let that stress you out! As one of the top boutique inbound marketing agencies in Missouri, Colorado, and Washington, we know that there are a number of data-driven ways to determine what interests your audience.
Hopefully you’re taking a comprehensive approach to content marketing and inbound marketing: creating and promoting great marketing content, connecting with your target audience through a variety of social media channels, continually fine-tuning your website copy and landing pages, and coordinating all your efforts through a marketing automation tool like HubSpot. If you are, your blog posts are just one element of your strategy. Consequently, you may simply be “cranking them out” to keep the content flowing. However, failing to give these important communiques the attention they deserve means you may be missing out on the tremendous awareness and engagement benefits they can produce.
HubSpot's annual research report of 4,500 marketers worldwide reveals a lot of good news for inbound marketing practitioners. Most notably, it once again shows that inbound marketing is growing in both prominence and effectiveness. Interestingly, those who self-identify as outbound marketers largely acknowledge many of the shortcomings that have led to the growth of inbound marketing. Only 17% of marketers say outbound practices (e.g. cold calling, TV/outdoor ads, trade shows, purchased lists) provide the highest quality leads for their sales team. But as outbound marketers begin to shift priorities to more inbound techniques, it is apparent that there is still a gap between outbound marketers' priorities and the priorities of accomplished inbound marketers.
For some marketers, deciding whether or not to start a blog is a difficult decision. Let's face it... it's a lot of work if you're going to do it right. You need to have something compelling to say that will capture and keep the interest of your audience. And you need to be consistent, continuing to create compelling content even when you don't feel like it and even when you aren't sure what to write about. Plus, you need to promote the blog in order to build an audience. For some marketers, it's simply a matter of not being sure that the return on investment is worth it for all the time and effort they will have to put into it. Right? So for all of the marketers that have been fending off the pressure to start blogging, I'll offer up five solid reasons you can use to defend your decision to never blog.
In order to be effective at content marketing, you must produce a continuous stream of high-quality materials. While implementing and maintaining a content marketing program is certainly worth the effort, there is no ignoring that it is a significant effort. Consequently, you may be tempted to look for ways to streamline the content creation process—or stated another way, to cut corners. But there are many reasons you need to resist that temptation.
Many companies see blogging as a one-and-done type of exercise. You come up with a topic. You explain that topic. You move on to the next. The resurgence of an entertainment format called the “serial” has smart marketers rethinking that approach.
OK, if you’re like most people, you scoff at the idea of New Year’s Resolutions. In late December, we make ‘em, by February, we break ‘em, and the concept of “resolving” to do something doesn’t cross our minds again until the end of the year. That’s the pattern for the vast majority of people who make resolutions, and a much larger percentage of the population doesn’t even bother to make them.
While “editor” may not be a part of your job title, everyone is asked to review another person’s work at some point. It might be your employee, your peer, or (eeck!) your boss, but somebody is going to request that you, “give this a quick read.”
I hate to break it to you, but that white paper you just completed after months of painstaking research, multiple drafts, and an approval process that took f-o-r-e-v-e-r isn’t all that important. The same is true of that new case study, your recent blog post, and the product overview video you just paid a pretty penny for. Not one of those items really has much value at all.
Infographics are a great way to communicate a significant amount of information in a highly-digestible format. They are also easy to create. However, it’s not as simple as slapping some pictures, stylized arrows, and catchy text on a page and calling it good. To produce effective infographics, you have to be aware of certain key considerations.
When you get to the office today, don’t forget to push the envelope toward a paradigm shift that will serve as a disruptive sea change that produces alignment with your exit strategy.
If you’re a businessperson, that’s got to make you chuckle a little bit. Or if you use those terms often, it may make you blush. (Stick with this post; there’s a hilarious video at the end.)
You work hard to get your content in front of the right audiences: your target personas, existing customers, industry influencers, etc. But there’s an important group you are probably forgetting about, and ironically, getting your content in front of them isn’t difficult at all. You just have to walk down the hall or lean over the cubicle wall and show it to them.
It’s not uncommon for the headline of a blog post to be almost an afterthought. You get an idea, outline the post, write the body of it and then quickly skim the draft for some key points to put into the headline. We’re all guilty of this at times. (Oh, if I could only have a second shot at some of my old headlines!) But as long as we’re all striving to improve, we’re doing the right thing.
I've done a lot of crazy things in my life. Most of them are not appropriate to blog about, but rather are things I should be repenting for! Some though, are the fodder of stories I've told countless times, tales that always seem to catch people's interest. For example, there's the time I drove a street sweeper across the country. Yep! A street sweeper.
Blogging can produce a whole host of benefits for a company. It’s a tremendous way to score points with Google, from the keywords in your posts to the simple fact that your website is frequently updated. A blog is also one of the best forums for sharing your cutting-edge ideas and establishing yourself as a thought leader. What’s more, if you allow your audience to comment on your posts, that’s a great opportunity to engage with them.