Content marketing is an essential component of any successful digital marketing campaign. You need frequent, high-quality content—in many different forms— to keep up with your needs and the needs of your readers. You’ve no doubt dabbled in some of the various formats of content marketing, whether it’s producing a video or podcast or publishing an eBook, white papers, infographics, newsletters, case studies, or photos. But have you tried a blog? It can really tie your efforts together. What makes blog content different? Unlike some of the other content marketing formats, a blog is an ongoing process. You’re never really done with your blog, which may seem daunting, but it affords some excellent opportunities to forge fruitful relationships with potential customers. If they’re done right, blogs can see huge returns:
- HubSpot found that companies that blog are 13 times more likely to generate a positive marketing ROI.
- Seventy percent of consumers learn about a company through its blog compared to ads.
- Sixty-one percent of U.S. consumers have made a purchase based on a blog post.
With the potential for such lucrative results, the hard work of your blogging can be worth it in the long run.
Consistency Is Key
Unlike a white paper or a podcast, which can stand alone, a blog needs constant attention. It is not a one-and-done deal but is always evolving. If you want to see positive results and build your audience, plan on posting often and consistently. People will stop showing up at your blog if there’s rarely any new content. There are no hard-and-fast rules about how often you should post, but it’s generally accepted that the more you post and the longer your posts, the better, as long as they’re informative and interesting to read. Some businesses blog every day, while others stick to a once-a-week schedule. The more blog posts you have, the more traffic your site will attract. Hubspot found that companies that increase blogging from three to five times a month to six to eight times a month almost double their leads. With more posts in your archives, you’ll see more benefits. Companies with over 200 blog articles generate over 5 times as many leads as those with fewer than 10 posts.
Strong Writing Is a Must
Good writing, of course, applies to any content you attach your brand name to, but since the primary focus of a blog is your words, your writing style is of the utmost importance. You’ll want to include at least one image with your blog post, but the emphasis should be on your words. A pretty picture won’t distract from poor writing. Blog posts are usually written in a casual, conversational tone, which may be different from some of your other marketing materials, like a more formal white paper or brochure. This doesn’t give you free reign to ditch your grammar book, but you can take some liberties with your language. Feel free to throw in some slang or use more informal writing conventions. Pretend you’re having a conversation with a friend. The most important thing to remember about your blog is that you want to offer something of value. Unlike in a brochure or even your web copy, where you may be touting the merits of a particular product you’re selling, a blog post is not the place to try and sell your products. Your blog is where you can educate and entertain your audience. By offering up your expertise, people will return again and again to your blog because they view you as a valuable resource.
Blogs Are Interactive
Unlike a static webpage or white paper, blogs encourage the audience to get involved. They’re set up to have a social aspect, which can help you to build relationships with your potential customers. Many blogs encourage readers to leave comments on their posts, which gets more people to chime in and sparks discussions. Blogs are easy to share through social media. Encourage your readers to share your blog posts on their social media channels by adding social share icons to your posts. If someone shares your post, all of their followers and fans will get a direct link to your blog post, which will bring in more traffic. Most blogs also make use of links. These can be both outbound (pointing to another website) and inbound (linking to your site). By linking to other blogs, sharing their content through social media, and even leaving comments on relevant blogs in your industry, you can build up your web presence. People always appreciate shares and comments on their own content and are likely to reciprocate. Plus, by leaving meaningful comments on popular blogs in your industry, other readers of that blog may begin to look to you as an expert; they may even click back to your website. You can set up a Gravatar, so your picture shows up when you comment on any blog, and people may start to recognize you and look forward to your comments.
Blogs Give You a Lot of Real Estate
Some content—white papers and eBooks—can get pretty lengthy. A blog post isn’t overwhelming, but it still gives you enough room to explore your topic. Posts are usually longer than emails or articles in newsletters, and they’re certainly longer than your social media content. This allows you to go into detail about your subject matter. Blog posts can be any length, but to get the most bang for your buck, longer is better, as long as the quality is still there.
Blogs Are Affordable, with Potentially Big Returns
While the thought of churning out an innovative blog post day after day can seem daunting, consistently keeping a blog is one of the more affordable content marketing strategies you can pursue. The startup costs for a blog are minimal. There are even numerous free blogging platforms that you can use. You don’t need any fancy equipment like you may need to produce a polished video or podcast or have a design team to help you come up with a brilliant infographic.
How to Tie Blog Content in with Your Other Content
A blog should be an important component of your overall marketing strategy, but it shouldn’t be your only content. Nowadays, much of your content is interrelated with some overlap. For instance, you may produce an eBook that is based on several blog posts, or you may design an infographic using the research you did for your blog post. You could even elaborate further on your blog post topic with a podcast or webinar. Different types of content may have a different style or packaging. Some content will be more formal, while other content will be more conversational. Just remember to be true to your brand image across all of your content!