In this post we are going to talk about why you need to be blogging and what you need to know when you start this most essential element to your inbound marketing, actually your overall marketing efforts.
We will discuss it in 3 key areas: What is blogging, how it relates to your inbound marketing campaigns and what are the best practices for creating really awesome blog content.
What is blogging and inbound marketing
Blogging is possibly the most essential element to attracting visitors to your website. It’s a collection of articles or written resources that provide helpful and useful information to your target audience. The more useful info and help you can provide, the more potential customers you will attract to your product.
The content and guides that you create on your site today are going to work for you 24/7 for a long time to come, and it is a once off cost as well. You may either hire someone to write, or you may have someone in-house that can create content that is highly valuable. And that is it! A small resource expense (time or money) for a potential sale.
In a study undertaken in 2012 by Hubspot of over 2500 businesses that had any online presence, over 79% of the businesses polled stated that they can show a positive return on their online marketing investment when blogging and content marketing played a large role in their strategy. This return was over and above the spend of their entire online campaign, and the business went on to say that they will be investing more of their budget into content in the following years.
Blogging can generate qualified leads in a number of ways, as every blog post that is created on your site will grow the number of indexed pages on your site. This means that there are more pages that can potentially bring in leads; it’s casting a net in a way. You’re casting the net further and further when you create more and more content.
The more you post, the more opportunities you create for yourself to generate new leads. The potential customers come to your site, they read your content, they like what you have to say about a subject, they read some more, they start to see that you are the expert in your field on the subject, and then, if you have your site optimised well, they will reach out and make contact. They may not make contact for some time however, and you as a content marketer need to nurture those leads over time, but they will reach out when they need your services.
In the 2013 follow up poll by Hubspot, over 43% of businesses that were spoken to state that they had acquired new customers solely attributed to blogging. Just like other inbound marketing channels, blogging will generate more customers, a better brand and the perceived trust and authority that your brand has, no matter what the industry.
Best Practices and how to make something awesome
The key part to your blogging strategy is that it is remarkable. That remarkability is what will generate more traffic, links, social shares and again, more authority. How you create that remarkability of content is a straight forward process if you follow these tips
Keep your buyer persona in mind
You need to focus on the persona and stage of your visitors. By having a good understanding of your customer and the demographic of your readers, you are going to be able to make better content decisions when you start creating that content.
Creating content can be done either in house or you can outsource it. At DSA we outsource some for client work, however, for our own blog, it’s all in house.
By creating the content in house we can ensure that the content is of the highest quality, and comes from the years of experience that we have in online marketing and SEO.
This post that you are reading now, is targeted to the business persona customer (customers that are already in business, have an existing website and some understanding of SEO). This article is also targeted at the phase 1-2 customer as well, either just doing some research to get a better understanding of agencies that operate in Bangkok and Asia, or building their own knowledge.
Phase 2 customers are readers that may be in the market for an SEO agency, however, they are still just browsing, trying to find someone that they can trust.
Speak with Authority
When you create content, it needs to be something that you are passionate about. You need to create content that you can talk endlessly about. Your capital online, the capital that will make you stand out from the rest of the companies out there is your knowledge and your authority on that subject.
Some people will have a difficult time developing content that matches their passion to their business, however, with some time and creative thinking, you can link any subject together.
Creating content with authority, will imbue your readers with the sense that you can be trusted by them, as you are an expert in whatever field you are blogging about.
Constancy and frequency
Producing content regularly is the key to driving more traffic to your site, and to building a large user base that returns, and with time, purchases from you. If you post content every week, your users will get used to that, and come back when they know there is a new post. Additionally, you should write with a definite style. That style should be consistent post to post, and you should let it define the site. When a user consumes your content regularly, they will, through your style, get to know you and what they can expect from you.
When it comes to the SEO value of creating content, outside of the revenue generation, regular posts are absolutely essential to any campaign. At DSA we post twice a week, and our posts are well over 1000 words long, so we get a lot of value from that length.
If you are unable to write that much, write more often, post 3 times a week but only 500 words and you will see the same sort of results. But of course, the more the better, and the better the content the better again!
Your blogging tone can define the way that your users react to your product and that may need to be carefully developed and refined. A corporate business may not find that blogging in a light hearted and flippant manor best suits the voice of the company, and a small online gift store may not find that dry technical dissertations on their products inspires users to purchase from them.
Developing your style to match the brand is called a brand voice, and there is a lot of research on that topic with some great thought pieces like this from Distilled (https://www.distilled.net/tone-of-voice/). Essentially developing your voice breaks down to 4 key areas:
- Defining your values
- Expressing your personality
- Using humor
- Telling a compelling story
Firstly you need to work out who your business is and what its values are. We have done this at DSA in the following way. By defining our company and people values we can create the mission for the business and a parable that encapsulates what we believe.
The Company Values:
We do something awesome every day no matter how small.
Do everything; ideas executed and failed are better than ideas kept to yourself but pivot quickly.
Company first, department second and team third.
The People values:
Doing something awesome takes a team. Be the team that people want to join
Everyone has a voice, speak your mind and take time to listen.
If I was to be reviewed tomorrow on my performance today, would I rehire myself?
To become a recognised and respected name throughout the Asia PAC region for online marketing knowledge, quality, software and services.
Two men are laying bricks in an open field, someone walks up to them and asks the first man, “what are you doing”, he says “building a wall,” the Person asks the second guy, “what are you doing”, he says “building a cathedral”.
Once you have your values planned you need to work out how to express your personality. If you are a sardonic person, let that show in your content, if you’re funny, again, use that to your advantage. As stated earlier, your content can allow your readers to develop a relationship with you, get to know you and the way that you think and with luck, they will start to value you and your business.
To really define your personality you should work on the words that you use and the way that you use them. A formal tone will convey a sense of authority, but not necessarily one that users will feel comfortable approaching, and one that they are less likely to relate to. A jocular tone will more likely entice your readers to feel that they can contact you with confidence and that you will respond, however, they are more likely to feel that you may not be able to manage a large contract.
As an example:
This month DSA Global will be discounting its SEO consulting rates by 25%
We’re about to throw down some mad discounts! Are you game?
Same offer, yet two very different personalities at work and as you read the lines, you would have been surly assuming that they are coming from two very different types of company.
Humor seems to really dominate the web, with a large amount of companies, trying to use funny as a way of cutting through the clutter. In an article on http://www.econtentmag.com/Articles/Column/Media-Redux/The-Problem-With-Our-Page-View-Obsession-88712.htm Author Ron Miller, states that publishers like Cracked and Buzzfeed have made multi-billion dollar companies from ad revenue on their humorous content, and has himself had over 24,000 views on just one comedy article.
Humor in content can be hit or miss however, and it may fail more often than win, but there are plenty of out of work comedy writers, so you may be able to hire some to rewrite your content for that illusive laugh that gets the content shared.
The last element to developing your style is to tell a compelling story, developing a solid narrative to your content that will keep readers engaged from start to finish. All stories must have a start, middle and an end, but also a flow, readers need to feel that they are being taken down a path from interest to understanding, and if you’re a good writer, you can make an interesting story from the most, dry topics.
Next to link building, content is possibly the most important element to your online strategy, creating something of interest to your readers that gives value to your customers, and conveys that you are the best person for the job will not only help you drive more traffic to your site, but eventually make more money.
If you feel that your content needs developing, that you can’t find your brand voice, or if you just do not have time to develop a multi facet online marketing strategy, feel free to talk to us at any time.
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