Blogging is a great way to attract new leads and convert them into customers. In order to create a successful blogging strategy, you need to have a blog content strategy plan in place that outlines the goals of your blogging efforts, the audience you are trying to reach, and the type of content you will produce. In this step-by-step guide, we will walk you through the process of creating a successful blog strategy for your business!
Blogging as Key Content Marketing Strategy
In order to create a successful blog strategy, you first need to understand the importance of blogging as a content marketing tool. Blogging can help you attract new leads and convert them into customers, making it an essential part of your Inbound Marketing efforts.
The Value of a Good Blog Content Strategy
By producing high-quality content that is relevant to your target audience, you can engage with your prospects and convert them into customers.
Creating a Blogging Plan
The first step in creating a successful blog strategy is to create a blogging plan. This plan should outline the goals of your blogging efforts, the audience you are trying to reach, and the type of content you will produce. It's important to be clear about what you want to achieve with your blogging efforts so that you can create content that is aligned with your goals. Once you have a plan in place, you can start creating high-quality content that will engage and convert your target audience.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when creating your blogging plan:
- What are the goals of your blogging strategy
- How often will you blog
- What topics will you blog about
- Who is your target audience
- How will you promote your blog posts
- Answering these questions will help you create a successful blogging strategy that meets the needs of both your business and your target audience.
Creating Engaging Content
- Once you have a plan in place, it's time to start creating engaging blog content that resonates with your target audience. In order to do this, you need to understand what your audience is looking for and produce content that meets their needs. Remember, blogging is not about selling; it's about providing valuable information that helps your readers solve a problem or learn something new.
- If you're not sure what type of content your audience is looking for, try conducting some market research to find out. Survey your target audience, read industry blogs and forums, and analyze the competition to get a better understanding of what content is resonating with your target market.
- Reader comments can be an especially powerfully source of content ideas. You should also consult with your sales team to see what kinds of questions they are getting from their customers that they don't know the answers to or which they think would be good to cover in a blog.
- Once you have a good idea of what type of content your audience wants, it's time to start creating some high-quality, engaging blog posts!
What Constitutes Engaging Blog Content?
Not all content is created equal. In order to engage your readers and encourage them to convert, you need to create content that is interesting, informative, and well-written. Here are a few tips to help you produce engaging blog content:
- Write catchy headlines that grab attention
- Use short paragraphs and easy-to-understand language
- Write in an active voice
- Use strong verbs to keep readers engaged
- Include images, infographics, and videos
- Be timely with your content - write about trends and current events
- Share your expert insights and original perspectives
By following these tips, you can produce engaging blog content that will resonate with your target audience.
How Often Should You Blog?
One of the most common blogging questions is "how often should I blog?" The answer to this question depends on a variety of factors, including your audience, your goals, and your resources. As a general rule, however, it's best to blog at least once a week in order to keep readers engaged and ensure that they continue coming back for more.
Walk Before You Run
If you're just starting out, it may be wise to begin with a lower frequency and work your way up as you become more comfortable blogging. You don't want to overwhelm yourself or your readers by publishing too much content at once.
Use Questions You Find in Google Search Console To Find Blog Ideas
When you first start blogging, it can be difficult to come up with ideas for new blog posts. If you haven't already, you will want to install both Google Analytics and Google Search Console. Google Search Console has the ability for you to search on the actual query's people are submitting to Google Search when Google decides to surface on of your pages.
You then should focus on the following types of questions:
Which, if you have any journalism training at all, you should recognize as the key types of questions that news articles attempt to answer.
Blog Posts Should Be Useful and Answer User's Questions
Blog posts come in many forms, but if you want your blogging efforts to result in leads and sales, you should ensure your blogs are useful to your reader. When someone reads one of your blogs, they should come away knowing something they didn't know before. You may hear this as educational or transformational focused writing. It's usually a bit of both.
Blogs Should Align With Your Marketing Funnel Stages
Within the context of Inbound Marketing, which relies on content, which is typically designed as a series of content offers that 'pull' someone through your funnel, there is an 'iron' triangle you should keep in mind:
- Blog+CTA->Landing Page+Offer->Thank You page.
- The blog contains a CTA (Call-to-Action) which points to a Landing Page, which contains a form on it, which is used to collect an email and deliver the promised content, which is delivered on the Thank You Page
Aligning Your Marketing Funnel with Your Content Blogging Efforts
Now that you know about the 'Iron Triangle' of content marketing, it is time that you understand the three different stages of a typical marketing funnel:
What Do These Acronyms Stand For?
- TOFU - Top of Funnel
- MOFU - Middle of Funnel
- BOFU - Bottom of Funnel
How Do These Funnel Stages Align With Your Question Types?
Roughly speaking TOFU content is going to be focused on 'What' and 'Who' type questions. MOFU content is going to be focused on 'When' and "Why' questions. BOFU is going to be focused on 'how' and 'Why Us' type questions.
All of These Funnel Stages Overlap and Intermix
Here's the challenge - your customers can and do enter your funnel at any stage and transit it both up and down. They do this so much that today, their journey looks more like a flywheel than a funnel, but it is very difficult to measure a flywheel with very advanced analytics tools, such as you might find with funnelytics.
Align Your Blog with One Piece of Content
You can write blogs with many goals in mind. For instance, many blogs are written strictly to generate traffic, with little regard to getting a ready to convert. These are typically sites that driving affiliate advertising or have other types of revenue streams as a goal. But if you want to generate a lead, you should write a blog that has one goal in mind, and one goal only - get them to click the CTA. Even better, get them to fill out your lead generation form right within the blog itself, thus entering your funnel then and there.
Concentrate on 'How To' and 'List of' Type Blogs
There are many types of blogs, from heavily visual oriented to highly detailed ones. When it comes to business blogging, with an eye toward lead generation, if you stick to two types of blogs:
- How to
- List of
You will generally achieve the desired results of getting your reader to click on the CTA and proceed onto the landing page.
Achieve Your Business Goals With a Successful Blogging Strategy
By following these steps, you can create a successful blogging strategy that will help you achieve your business goals. blogging is an important part of any inbound marketing strategy, so make sure you take the time to create a plan and produce high-quality content that will engage your target audience.
How Often Should You Blog?
I am often asked how often should a business blog. My answer is the typical consultant's answer - it depends!
What Does it Depend On?
We have had clients who blog two times a day, seven days a week and we have had others who blogged perhaps once a month. We, ourselves, have published hundreds of blogs and continue to publish one or so a week. What results have we seen?
More Blogs Equals More Revenue - No Exceptions
Let's take the first client who had a blogging team publishing two blogs a day, seven days a week - in both English and Spanish. At 1,000 blogs published, their site was receiving around 1.5 million unique visitors a month, and converting every seventh visitor into a paying customer.
For our other clients who have chosen to blog less often, preferring instead to concentrate on 'quality' content, their results have been as expected, less than spectacular. By blogging less often, even though the content was very high quality, the number of blogs published was way lower than the first case study mentioned. Their traffic never exceeded 2,000 visitors a month and their revenue achievement was far less.
You Have to Achieve Both Quantity and Quality to Succeed
Though there are millions of blogs being published daily, it remains a vital source of traffic. Our experience, based on the data we have access to, says that you need to publish high quality blog content often, and that the higher the number of blogs you have published, provided they follow all SEO best practices and provide value, the better your results will be in terms of organic traffic and lead generation and revenue achievement.
How Often Should You Blog?
There is no hard and fast rule here, other than, very often. What we have seen is that Google seems to rewards frequency. For instance, when we first started blogging, we took the low volume, high quality route. We didn't see much traffic from that effort.
As an experiment, we then switched to a concept we called a blogging sprint. We published one blog every day for a month. We could not do this all at once, as we also needed to have the downloadable content and the latest tools we had designed ready. We also wanted to incorporate video marketing into our business blogging efforts.
We Planned Out Blog Topics Matched to Our Content Strategy
We built our landing pages based on our content strategy and keyword research as well as using artificial intelligence and machine learning and deep knowledge of our customer journey. We then created relevant content in the form of blogs that provided insightful content that was considered valuable content that covered industry trends, provided thought leadership and covered topics related to what to what we do, which is primarily the development and delivery of business intelligence and lead generation systems to large companies and other SAP partner companies and SAP customers.
Blogging Drove Landing Page Optimization in a Virtuous Loop
Digital marketers continuously implement landing page optimization tweaks. The process should be a continuous process driven by search engine feedback provided by Google and other search engines such as bing. In our case, our blogging sprint, designed to not just increase traffic, but as well, to drive increased lead generation, drove a dramatic increase in business.
Social Media Publishing Forms a Key Part of Blogging Success
The best marketing blogs also leverage social media as one of channels. Our digital marketing tools allow us to publish directly to our key social media platforms, including Facebook, LinkedIN and Twitter.
They also allow us to tailor the message for each channel according to the requirements of each channel. As a data driven digital marketing company, we rely heavily on marketing automation. However, we don't let marketing automation run wild.
Social Media Marketing Can Be a Key Demand Generation Channel
Though every type of business can use social media to boost sales, not every social media channel is appropriate for every type of business. You should also keep in mind that the audience for a social media channel may vary greatly by country. For instance, LinkedIn is more popular in the United States than in Japan, as far as a job board. Facebook tends to do better in Japan for job searchers than LinkedIn.
Leading Marketing Companies Use Paid Search - a Lot!
Blogging can be very time consuming. But once it is written, many popular blogs then employ both Google Adwords and LinkedIn ads to 'boost' the traffic to the blogs. If you're looking to increase revenue, then paying for traffic can make sense.
What are the Benefits of Advertising Your Blog Posts?
The benefits of advertising your marketing blog boil down to:
- Increased website traffic
- Increased leads as a result of the website traffic
- Revenue growth by leveraging paid search advertising to increase blog post viewership
Business Blogs Can Become a Go To Resource
It is important to have goals, set some targets and track results so that you can determine whether or not your blogging strategy is effective. If it's not, then make changes. But if it is working, keep doing what you're doing! You'll see an improvement in lead generation and revenue achievement over time.
Digital Marketing Tips
As digital marketers, we are always looking for ways to improve our business results - this includes improving website traffic, generating more leads and achieving higher levels of revenue. A key part of any successful digital marketing strategy is blogging; but simply blogging for the sake of blogging isn't going to get you over the finish line.
You Must Focus on Conversion Optimization
If you follow all of the advice in this blog and you should, and you get a massive increase in traffic and conversions, congratulations. You're off to a good start to digital marketing success using content marketing. But that won't put you in first place in today's hyper-competitive digital marketing landscape. Master digital marketers go much further, and focus on conversion rate optimization.
Conversion Rate Optimization - Get More From Less
Conversion Rate Option or just CRO, focuses on improving every element of the customer experience, starting from they first run across your business, typically after doing a search on a search engine, all the way through to buying and taking care of your product.
Improve Your Offer to Improve CRO
Perry Marshall, of 80/20 fame, is one of my favorite marketers. It not just that he is a pilot (like me) or very smart (way smarter than me), it's one key point he made - improve your offer. Always and forever, spend time on improving your offer, it will make everything else you, as a digital marketer do, work better.
If you focus on CRO, you'll get more mileage from every blog you publish and every digital marketing tip you implement.
Email Marketing is a Key CRO Tactic
Marketing automation platforms, like Hubspot, allow you to send out lead nurturing emails to customer segments of one. Email best practices are many, but one constant piece of digital marketing advice is to make sure your emails are valuable. One of the best ways to leverage this channel is to send out emails that provide summaries of relevant blog posts you have published in the past, as well as links to read the full blogs. This is one of the key tactics you should keep in mind when setting up your lead nurturing sequences.
An Online Business Depends on a Robust Email Marketing Platform
If you run online business, such as an ecommerce store, having and using an email marketing platform, like Hubspot or Klaviyo, which is fully integrated with your store and your digital marketing automation platform, is key to improving conversion rates.
Content Curation of Your Best Marketing Blogs
Your business' blog should be one of the best marketing blogs out there. Using tags, you can use your email marketing platform to send out curated lists of your best, most relevant blogs, to prospective customers 'in the moment'.
Smart Content Combined with Smart Coupons
The marketing industry is very advanced. One of my favorite revenue boosting tactics for our ecommerce clients is to send out special offers, usually in the form of coupons, when they have interacted with one of our blogs, especially if they have something in their shopping cart. Amazon does this all day long. But the smallest player can do exactly the same. They just need enough blog content and creativity to come up with the offers.
"How to" Marketing Blogs Are Especially Powerful Digital Marketing Tools
Imagine this scenario: You need to change the battery in your Car's Remote Control. You've never even looked for the battery before, let alone decided to change it yourself. Where do you go first? Most people probably go to Youtube and search for Car Model + Remote Control Battery. In my case, that means I search for Lexus LS 460 Remote Control Battery. I will get back pages of results. But I just want to find the battery part number. Not watch an hour on the subject.
Smart Marketers Answer the Question
Now imagine I put the same question into Google, and I get one of the little featured snippets that tell me exactly what I want to know, and provides me a link to the location of the blog where that featured snippet was posted.
There's a lot of different ways this scenario can play out. Perhaps I will order from that company's website. Perhaps I will click an affiliate link on that site that takes me to Amazon, where I buy it. This happens all the time.
"How to" Blogs for Complex Sales Scenarios
Many of our Inbound Marketing and Sales clients are focused on selling complex services, primarily with the SAP space. SAP is an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system used by hundreds of thousands of businesses, of all sizes and across wide variety of industries.
The blogs they write are often about how to use one or more the SAP solutions to achieve very complex business outcomes. Sometimes, there is reticence about explaining how to do certain things, as it seems to be giving away intellectual property of the client. Though that is a possibility, here's what actually happens,
Prospects Bring Up the Blogs In Meetings!
As I mentioned earlier, Hubspot's marketing automation platform allows you simultaneously publish your blog on your own site and on your social media channels, including LinkedIn. It has happened on numerous occasions where customers or prospective customers (prospects) have made reference to a post we had a client do on LinkedIn or even had it on screen and asked us to go through it with them.
Blogs Help You Build Trust and Establish Thought Leadership
At the Same Time!
Most of our client's prospects are very busy. They are experts at what they do, and are happy when they find someone with expertise they need to accomplish a goal. Like almost everyone in the business world, they usually have a LinkedIn profile which is constantly feeding them information - tailored to their interest, which they have expressed both implicitly and explicitly.
If you've published an in-depth piece of content, that explains how to do something, perhaps, for example, how to improve your strategy or upgrade your data warehouse, and they've read it, more often than not, they want you to do it, so they don't have to. After all, they're already very busy, and probably don't have the bandwidth to fix whatever issue they have or to pursue whatever opportunity they've run across.
Blogging and Productized Service Offerings Are Magical Revenue Machines
One of the most powerful 'offer improvement' strategies you should pursue is productizing your offer. Many would argue that when you productize your service, you limit your revenue potential. That's the glass half-full view of life and is completely wrong.
Here's how it actually works. Let's say you have a complex service offering within the SAP space. The problem is, only part of the offering can be productized while the remaining part of the offering has to be on a Time & Materials basis, meaning the price varies for that second part.
Your Steps to Explosive Revenue
Step One: Stop with the 'it depends' and write down what you actually have to do every time. For instance, most of my SAP partner customers have to conduct 'scoping' exercises. These never vary by much. In fact, with a little thought, and examination of past project documentation, you will generally find the same set of questions and answers being asked and received, with only minimal variation in the outcome. This is the part you turn into a 'productized' service offering, the scoping session.
Step Two: Now that you have delivered your pre-packaged, 'productized' service offering, you can put together your fully scoped project offering. But since you also had time to interact with the client's project team, you also had time to develop a level of trust between you, your team and their team.
Step Three: Most of the time, it is entirely possible and highly desirable to present 2 or more (ideally 3) possible offers in your now fully scoped project offer. It is also a good time to offer the maximum plan but resequenced over longer periods of time to meet client budgetary constraints.
I do all this with my favorite project management tool, MS Project. But you can do the same thing with any of the other tools out there, such as Monday.com (there are a lot of them). Planning out the initial productized offering can be done very quickly and very precisely using the MS Project Management tool. Just keep in mind - you want to plan out a Deliverables Oriented, Work Breakdown Structure, time bound, fully resourced project plan, including your team, your required resources and client required team members and resources. MSProject will then spit out a fully costed project plan. Total time to develop? Less than half a day if you have the questions and expected deliverables defined. It doesn't get much simpler than this.
Write More - Sell More
Now that you have your Productized Service offer ready, packaged and ready to go to market, time to start blogging.
Align With Your Marketing Funnel for the Win
Your blogging should be focused on each stage of your marketing funnel. You remember those:
Productized Service Should Be Your First BOFU Offer
Though you will need to blog for each stage of the funnel about your entire offering, this strategy, the one we've seen work over and over, requires that your BOFU blogging is focused on selling the productized service offering first. It's the one that is easiest to explain, has a price and can be used for commercial leverage.
Your TOFU Offer Has to Be About Your Business
Because you're probably not well known, if known at all by your potential customer, I recommend that at least some of your effort in the TOFU stage is oriented toward developing confidence and trust in your brand.
Your BOFU Offer is Your Service Offer Bridge
Once a client has 'trust' in you and your brand and thinks you might be able to solve their problem, then your offers can transition more into the details of your offering. It is not yet time to seal the deal - unless they give you the signal to stop selling and sign the deal.
Multiple Routes to the Sale
When you first start your content marketing offering development offer, you will probably just set up one funnel. However, as time progresses, and you get more customer feedback, primarily by active listening, you will see a need to develop multiple routes to your BOFU offer.
Marketing Automation Platforms Handle This
You need a powerful marketing automation platform to handle a multi-channel marketing approach to sales. It must provide the ability to route different email to different contacts based on behavior and predictive lead scoring. It also must provide one central contact management database, tightly integrated with your sales and marketing teams.
We've talked a lot about what it takes to use a blog as an effective marketing tool. We've explored how it must be tightly integrated into your overall marketing content approach, and your offer. If you would like to get started with your business blog, you might like to check out our Introductory Guide to Business Blogging. Just click the button to get your copy.