Blogging: 5 Reasons Why & 5 Tips for Success
May 04, 2018
Blogging. There seems to be less focus on blogs, more on email. But I still see that having your blog as the center of your content marketing strategy is a valuable tool So, today, let's look at blogging - 5 reasons why and 5 tips for success.
Four Popular Reasons to Start a Blog - Plus One More
Four of the more popular reasons for blogging seems to be:
- Giving back
Self-improvement tends to come from writers that are looking for a way to practice their craft and develop their skills. There's a lot of "...I learn so much when I write about new topics..." in there too. Relationships speak to the whole "blogging community" out there. The people that have been blogging for years as well as the newbies - they have a shared interest and from that shared interest can come friendships. Giving back, to a blogger, is the same reason I started and continue to teach college courses in marketing. You develop a skill. You become good at it. You want others to become better at it. And then we come to money. Making it. Having more of it to roll around in. There are some in the world today that make crazy cash with their blogs - selling ad space, recommending other businesses, and more. But for today, let's focus on the 5th reason - because having a blog at the center of your content marketing efforts can be a great way to attract attention and interest to your business.
The main benefit is that a well-run blog on your site will generate awareness and interest, not to mention site traffic, high-quality leads, new customers.
How to write a blog post: Know your audience
Interesting how everything in marketing starts off with know your audience, isn't it? And content marketing personas are a huge help in this area. For instance, if you work at an accounting firm and are targeting CEO/CFO/Owners of young businesses - under 5-years old businesses with less than $10 million in annual sales and less than 100 employees involved in the software sector and located in the mid-Atlantic states - you might focus on topics ranging from:
- How to lead versus manage
- Hiring the right leadership team
- Building an advisory board
- Implications of new tax laws on small businesses
- Personal tax Q&A
- Financial Planning for your Future
Some of the topics are in your wheelhouse - and some aren't. But they are of interest to the target audience, so you want to address them to add value, build trust and show you understand the audience.
Start with a topic, develop possible titles
For me, in case it isn't all that obvious, developing titles is a challenge. Fortunately, blogs have provided writers the opportunity to write about this very subject so a little Google search can pay off huge dividends. Here are a few tips and resources you can check out.
- Start off with an accurate, honest working title.
- Have some fun with alliteration. Wondering why a headline like "Pat's Picks for March Madness" is being suggested? Alliteration focuses the readers' attention on a particular section of text - it grabs their attention!
- Use strong phrases. A title like "5 Things to Hate about Blog Titles" will grab more attention than "Stronger blog titles" thanks to 'hate'
- Clearly state the value to the reader. We have seen, and so have others, higher click-through rates with titles that state [ebook] or [white paper] in the title.
- Focus on "Who" - research has shown this can generate a 20 higher click-through rate.
You should also check out this headline analyzer.
Research. Organize. Write. Edit and Proofread.
Once you have identified the topic, have a grip on the title, it's time to research the topic, organize the information and then write. Then, once finished writing, have someone else edit and proofread the work. Speaking as both a marketer and a professor, research and organization are key to presenting an informative, entertaining end product. Remember that your reader is busy so you have only a moment or two to capture their attention and pull them into the post. Then it usually comes down to your ability to clearly present valuable insights - which explains section headers and flow. As for length - that's a matter that is constantly debated. Some swear by the 500 to 750-word range, others think over 1,000 words is fine. For your audience, test. You might find they prefer one length for everything...or that there are some topics that they prefer shorter or longer.
Optimization for Search?
Like the topic of length, the topic of optimizing blog posts has been around a long time. Ranging from "...you should write for optimization, not readability." That was soon modified to "...write for readability, not optimization..." Today, focus on the keywords you know your audience is searching for and keep your blog title in the 70 character or under range so it won't get cut off in search engine results. Beyond that, write to inform and engage the reader.
Having a blog as the center of your content marketing strategy is, in my opinion, critical. You want your audience to visit your site so they can see what else you offer and how that can help them. Writing about [ex] the impact of new tax laws on corporations for a reader that only works with your firm for estate planning can open up new business opportunities. And with the blog, that would start with a post that is distributed via social media and your e-newsletter. Add the SEO benefits to the mix and you have the potential of improving organic search results. All together, that's non-stop promotion that increases your opportunities to attract and convert high-quality leads and new clients.
Pat McGraw helps organizations of all types (public and private, for-profit and non-profit) across a broad array of industries (education, technology, retail/e-commerce, services) develop more effective and efficient ways to attract and retain profitable customers. As head of DWS' Higher Education Services, Pat is responsible for helping colleges and universities achieve their adult enrollment goals with innovative program/service, pricing, and promotional strategies.Pat is a writer, public speaker, and college instructor focused on marketing strategy and tactics.