B2B marketers who use blogs generate 67 percent more leads than those who do not.
Your blog is the backbone of your online content-marketing strategy. Having a blog-posting strategy in place that resonates with your target audience will help with your goal of generating more leads for your business. It also helps establish your business as a thought leader in your industry.
Know Your Audience
Your blog’s success depends heavily on whether or not you are delivering the content your audience is interested in. Your blog-posting strategy needs to revolve around topics that establish you as a thought leader in the industry. Also, when you post content that resonates with your audience, it’ll lead to increased conversions.
You can find out whom you need to develop content for via the following ways:
- Create reader personas and tailor content to what they’d want to see.
- Develop surveys to see what interests your audience.
- Monitor your previous content (what performed well and what didn’t).
Here is an example of an insurance company that knows its audience. Once someone requests a quote or indicates that he or she is interested in a specific insurance type, the homepage blog stream was updated with posts that were relevant to that type of insurance. The company also tailored follow-up emails to those topics.
You always want to be working toward something when it comes to your blog-posting strategy, and creating clearly defined goals helps you do just that. Make sure these are SMART goals. An example of a SMART goal for your blog would be “Increase blog subscribers by 20 percent in Q4.”
Establishing a routine as part of your blog-posting strategy is a must. Your readers will become used to seeing your content consistently and on a schedule. You’re at risk for losing your audience if you decide to take breaks from posting, so stick to the publishing calendar.
Blogging consistently also helps with SEO because search engines prefer fresh content. Aside from the increase in long-tail keywords (which we will elaborate on later), you will see a decrease in your bounce rate with more time spent per visitor on your site.
Here is a case study of how blogging consistently can work wonders, even for niche companies such as Conversant Bio. Its blog visits went from about 5,000 in December 2014 to 34,000 per month in October 2015. It also saw the number of quality leads increase by 700 percent.
Make the Most of Your Blog Posts
Your current blog-posting strategy can be great when it comes to frequency, but if your post aren’t optimized, you won’t see your efforts turn into any new leads.
Including internal and external links is important for your blog posts. Internal links will increase traffic and rankings for SEO as well as establish you as a thought leader in your space. External links help establish credibility and maybe even an opportunity for them to link to you as well. It is also important to ensure these links are natural for a reader and you aren’t adding in a link for the sake of it. Consider building out a link-building campaign to help beef up your link profile.
Keyword research is a fundamental part of your blog-posting strategy. Quality content is favored by search engines, but if you aren’t using words that people are searching for, your blog won’t perform as well as it can. There are many tools out there to help you in your keyword research—HubSpot Keyword Tool and Moz Keyword Explorer are just two examples.
It’s also important to use more long-tail keywords, meaning phrases with three to four words that are specific to your topic. Popular search terms actually make up fewer than 30 percent of the searches performed on the Web. The remaining 70 percent lie in what's called the "long tail" of search, according to Moz.
You may have great ideas, but finding out what questions are being asked directly from prospects, customers, or others online will help ensure you are writing blog posts that actually answer real questions your audience is asking. This is a great post from a SmartBug colleague to help you do just that.
Your blog post isn’t just about the copy; the image is also important. A blog post that is visually appealing will see more engagement; it also helps you increase traffic from image search engines (just be sure to include an alt tag). Consider if charts or graphs help illustrate the story. Recruit a graphic designer if need be. We are a visual culture, and social media is becoming more image-centric, so it is important to include a visual in each and every post for maximum views.
Crafting a guest-blogging campaign is great for obtaining backlinks to your site, which is great in terms of SEO. Guest blogging also helps share your content with a larger audience, so it helps build brand awareness.
Post on LinkedIn Pulse, which will reach your connections. You can even do a Part 1 on Pulse and Part 2 on your blog to cross-drive traffic! But make sure you don’t post exactly the same thing on both.
All of your blog posts need to be action-driven; there should be something that entices the reader to become a lead. Calls to action (CTAs) can be visual or just plain text, but they must be related to the blog post in some way; otherwise, you will see a low conversion rate on your posts. Although most CTAs tend to be located at the bottom of a blog post, play around with the placement to see what works best for your company.
Maybe try using in-line anchor text CTAs, like shown in the image above. One of our clients at SmartBug has seen a 6-7 percent conversion rate with in-line text CTAs in the middle of the post.
In order to increase your reach of your blog posts, you need to share them across social media channels. Sending out one tweet about your new post isn’t going to cut it either. There need to be multiple messages scheduled per platform that your company is on. Invite your employees to share the posts to increase your reach even further, and add them to the automatic blog notifications so that they get an email whenever a new blog post comes out.
Keep in mind that different social channels have different peak times for sharing, as well as what should be included in that message. Paid social advertising is also a great idea to help build your blog audience. Just make sure you’re keeping track of posts that are performing well (and not so well) so that you can continuously improve.
Promotional idea: A quality blog series can be put into a PDF for your sales team to send to prospects or as a leave-behind.
In order to see how successful your blog-posting strategy has been, you must analyze your efforts. There are many important metrics to measure when it comes to your blog, but the most important ones are traffic numbers and conversion rates. From there, you can tailor your content to what your audience wants to read about.
Also, look through your old posts that still receive traffic and see if any can be optimized. Here’s a HubSpot blog article on the success that HubSpot has seen with blog optimization of past posts.
In short, getting the most value out of your blog-posting strategy is achieved through careful research of reader personas, optimizing your posts, promoting on social media, and learning from what has worked in the past and what hasn’t. If you follow these steps, you are on the path to a successful blog that your readers look to for news and advice.