Blogging is an essential part of the content marketing plan for many businesses. It helps demonstrate your expertise and answers the questions people might have about working with you.
It’s also a great way to provide the regular, quality content that is so important to getting the attention of Google and other search engines, and research by HubSpot shows companies that prioritise blogging are 13 times more likely to see a positive return on investment.
But it’s not necessarily for everyone. Entire books have been devoted to the subject of blogging so we won’t go into every detail here, but the following tips should be a good starting point as you think about why and how blogs can play a role in your business.
Write for the audience, not for yourself
One of the biggest mistakes people make when they start blogging is to write about what they do, or something that interests them. This often happens because they’re blogging for the sake of it, because someone told them it’s important and quoted those stats about how much more business they can generate.
Yes, blogging is an essential tool in the modern world of content marketing, but you can’t just pick up a tool without knowing how or why you should use it. Before you put proverbial pen to paper, you need to understand your audience. Who are they? What are they interested in? Why do you believe you can solve their problems?
This is all part of a wider marketing strategy and if you’ve decided blogging is the way forward, it should be because you’ve put the time and effort into your focus, strategy and tactics first.
Once you have, great. It’s time to get writing.
Cut out the jargon
At Underpin Marketing, we’re passionate about eliminating jargon. It’s important to show you’re an expert in your field, but there’s a fine line between demonstrating credibility and drifting off into industry phrases and buzzwords. It’s easily done because you live and breathe the terminology every day, but jargon confuses and alienates your audience, and no one wants to do business with someone who confuses them.
Instead, try to write like you speak to new customers. People get hung up on formal writing, probably because most of us were trained to write in an academic way at school. There’s a place for this in some circles, but for the most part, people reading business blogs just want a straightforward explanation from someone they believe they can trust.
If you’re talking over your customers’ heads, or are so formal they get bored before you’ve made your point, you’re not doing yourself any favours.
Here are a few more tips to help make your content interesting and relevant not only to your readers, but also to those all-important search engines:
- Break things up. Bullet points like these make your content more visually interesting, and will catch the eye of the people who prefer to skim.
- Use relevant images. Speaking of visually interesting, make sure your imagery is relevant and eye-catching. Especially pictures at the top of your posts – they play an important role in drawing people in.
- Include links. Promote relevant content on your site and encourage further reading by linking to other posts and pages. Don’t forget to link to your (quality) sources too, as this adds weight and authority.
- Don’t forget your keywords. Blogging used to be all about cramming keywords in for Google’s sake. Times have changed and search engines are much more sophisticated, but you still need to identify the key phrases and terms as part of your strategy, and include them in relevant and authentic ways.
How long is too long?
One of the questions we’re often asked is: How long should a blog post be? Much as it pains us to say it, it depends on what you have to say. Google seems to like long-form content, so putting the time and effort into in-depth pieces pays off.
But quality is the most important factor, so don’t waffle on for the sake of pushing your word count to an arbitrary four-figure target. If you’re truly focused on your audience, you’ll understand where they’re coming from and therefore what they need to hear, so your writing will reflect this. If you’re not, something has gone wrong with your strategy, so pull it back and make sure you have the right foundations in place.
Share, share, share
Finally, make sure your content has a chance to live its best life. There’s no point putting all that time and effort into a blog post only for it to sit on your website getting no attention.
Make it easy to share your content, particularly with snappy soundbites and powerful quotes. Then make sure you’re promoting it on social channels, and encourage others in your organisation to do the same. This can be easier said than done, so a solid social media marketing campaign, timed well and supported by graphics and imagery, can make all the difference.
We’ve got plenty more to say about blogging as we’ve only really scratched the surface here, so do keep an eye out for more in the future. In the meantime, please get in touch if you’d like to discuss your own marketing strategy and the role content should play in it.