An effective marketing blog is an important part of any business’s content marketing strategy. But, like all other content marketing elements, your blog needs to be focused in order to be effective. There are plenty of things a marketing blog shouldn’t be. It shouldn’t be random. It shouldn’t be inconsistent or infrequent. And while its ultimate aim is to drive profitable customer action, it shouldn’t be an unrelenting hard sell. That’s because the primary purpose of your blog isn’t sales per se.
Content is king
So said Bill Gates back in 1996, and frankly, who are we to argue? However, where blog content is concerned, quality is key – and so is planning. Before you start writing your marketing blog, you need to know who your audience is, and what they are interested in. In other words, it all starts with the right research.
Good business blogs will not take just a couple of hours, regardless of how fast your copywriter can type. Planning is paramount. Think carefully about what you need to write about, today and in the future. Establishing an editorial calendar is a great way to manage/oversee the creative process. Don’t be daunted: there are plenty of ways to keep the ideas flowing.
Say why you’re special
Firstly, write about you know, or what interests you. The chances are, you and your team already possess an impressive amount of specialist knowledge. So don’t be shy – share it! Marketing blogs are a great way to showcase your unique expertise. Every post is an opportunity to tell your customers what you do and, crucially, what you can do for them. Tell the reader why your company is special, and you’re more likely to convince them to convert. Don’t just keep them informed about new products, launches and services. Unleash your (and their) imagination by explaining how what you offer can benefit them. Share your successes, awards and accolades too.
While your blogs should always be original (resist the temptation to duplicate!) be open to inspiration. Follow industry news and developments, and be ready to comment and contribute with your own thoughts and twists. Have an opinion. Ask and answer questions. Create a competition. Your blog is a great way to portray your corporate personality, and convey your company’s voice.
You can write the best marketing blogs in the world, but nobody will read them if don’t look appealing. First and foremost, make sure they are ‘findable’. Don’t bury your website’s blog tab/link in tiny script at the bottom of some obscure drop-down menu. Locate it in a prominent position on your home page, so customers can easily access it.
Use the right keywords, so visitors can locate your blog easily via search engines. Don’t forget to evaluate and update old keywords regularly.
Once you’ve enticed people to click on your blog, you need them to actually stay there and read it. But your dwell time (how long visitors stay on a page) will dwindle if your marketing blog content is unappealing. That’s why your headline needs to be enticing. Make the reader want to find out more.
No matter how interesting the copy, your customer is unlikely to keep reading if your blog is one impenetrable wall of text. Most people scan and skim a web page. Make it easy for them to do that, by breaking up your blog with plenty of space and subheadings. Keep your paragraphs short, and highlight important information with bullet points. Make it as easy and enjoyable as possible for your users to read right to the end.
It might sound counter-intuitive, but when you’re writing your marketing blog, it’s not exclusively about the words. Adding images, graphics and infographics can really boost your dwell time and user engagement.
Remember that the human brain can process visual content much faster than text-based content. Including images helps to make your post more interesting and less intimidating. They are a great way to demystify more complex/abstract topics. Images can be aspirational and humorous, as well as informative.
Get the timing right
With marketing blogs, as with so much in life, timing is key. Consumers like fresh content (as do search engines), so make sure you update your blog regularly. You might need to experiment to find out what works best given the resources you have available. But be realistic and prioritise quality over quantity. One original, optimised blog every week or two weeks is much more beneficial than three that are repetitive, badly written and irrelevant.
Share and be sociable
In addition to the words and the images, the best marketing blogs include a number of other elements. Your blog content needs to be shareable. Make it easy for visitors to feature it on their social media channels by including share buttons. These are a fast, easy to achieve social validation for each blog post you create. Share buttons also allow your customers to promote your content for free.
Links are another great way to increase the visibility and credibility of your marketing blog. Include internal links to direct readers to other parts of your website, and external hyperlinks to other websites and authority sources.
Lastly, don’t forget to include contact information within your blog post. If you have a comments section enabled, acknowledge and engage with the users who’ve taken the time to communicate with you.