How to Make Your Blogging Machine Work Harder
Let me take a wild guess. If you spend hours planning, writing, and promoting your content marketing, you’ve probably forgotten - at one point or another - that your blogs are supposed to work for you, not against you.
We’ve all done it. But the truth of the matter is that every piece of content, no matter how big or small, should be created to support an overall business goal. According to recent research from marketinginstitute.com, only 35% of marketers have a documented content marketing strategy in place. And of that bunch, only 32% of those marketers find their strategy to be effective.
This is a big problem - especially if you want to create content that serves a business purpose, rather than just sitting idle on your website.
So, before you embark on the magical journey of content writing, consider asking yourself what you want to achieve. This could include:
- Brand awareness
- Lead generation
- Gathering audience insights
- Increased web traffic
- Better audience engagement
Your business goal(s) will likely dictate how you create, promote, and evaluate your content marketing campaign - so choose wisely.
With this in mind, we’ve put together five fun and easy ways to create blogs that support your business objectives. And we promise it won’t take hours either.
1. Invest in Pay Per Click (PPC)
Great for: brand awareness
The key to great blogging and increasing brand awareness is to create content that people love and want to share. It’s as simple as that - well, almost.
For any business that has an ongoing blogging campaign, it can feel like you’re one person shouting in a room of thousands. We all talk about conversion rates - the process of turning a lead into a customer - but that’s only a small snapshot of the customer journey.
How do you make your brand visible to customers in the first place?
This is where PPC comes into play.
Building upon Google’s proficiency with search semantics, brands can use PPC campaigns to offer tailor-made solutions to their customer’s purchase queries. Here’s an example:
In the above scenario, the customer has identified the need to buy - but he/she doesn’t know which brand is the best solution. Using PPC, however, it’s possible for brands to push themselves up the search ranking ‘priority’ list and offer an immediate answer to this search query.
Of course, the customer might ignore the paid advertisement altogether. But the main objective of PPC is to encourage customers to keep a specific business in mind whenever they identify the need to purchase.
If you would like to learn more about PPC, then have a look at this informative and engaging article by Murray Newlands on inc.com.
2. Embrace Email Marketing
Great for: lead generation
A great email marketing campaign will help to provide some much-needed support to your content marketing strategy.
QuickSprout, for example, worked out last year that 16.25% of its site traffic came from email marketing campaigns. By creating excellent blogs, and sending the content directly to email subscribers, Neil Patel soon became one of the most influential entrepreneurs in the world.
But how did he convince people to sign up to his subscription in the first place?
The clever clogs at QuickSprout succeeded in doing the seemingly possible: they used email marketing to make connections. Their website is inundated with opportunities for customers to sign up and receive more valuable business advice. QuickSprout itself is actually a hub of resources - something which offers a genuine incentive for customers to visit time and again. So, it’s no surprise that they will happily sign up to QuickSprout’s email subscription.
Noah Kagan, from the wonderful OkDork.com, has also achieved remarkable success from his email marketing campaigns. He might profess to knowing lots about cold emailing, but let’s be honest, Noah Kagan isn’t really sending cold emails. His contact database is filled with people who’ve willing subscribed to his services. The content that Kagan creates is exceptionally engaging and valuable, so people are happy to send over their details and receive his emails.
This, in turn, helps to generate qualified leads for Kagan - and it only cost him his time.
For other businesses that want to use email marketing to acquire fresh leads, here are a few handy tips to kick-start your campaign:
- Make sure your email marketing campaigns are mobile optimised and easy to read. Beware of too many images
- Include email sharing buttons on your content - it’ll help grow your database quickly
- Incentivise customers to subscribe to your email database with competitions
- Create content for the purpose of acquiring email addresses, like whitepapers or eBooks. The download form will include a space to enter in email information
- Don’t forget about email subject headings. This great blog will explain how to cultivate the perfect, attention-grabbing header
Any of these tips will make it easier to leverage your content to attract more leads and meet your business goals.
3. Pick A Great Headline - And Keep Testing Them
Great for: gathering audience insights
In the fiercely competitive world of blogging, there’s a hard truth that we all need to face at one time or another: it’s not always what’s on the inside that counts.
Jessica Black, the Marketing Manager at Contently, summed up this problem nicely: “If your headline isn’t good, your article is irrelevant”.
An attractive, snappy headline is arguably the most important aspect of any content piece. According to research from copyblogger.com, 8/10 customers will read your headline - but only 2/10 will actually read the content.
So, if you want to create content that meets your business objectives, you need to get good at writing headlines. And I mean really good.
There are lots of fantastic tools available online that can help marketers write better content. Here are some of our favourites:
- Portent’s Content Idea Generator: this nifty tool lets marketers type in their content topic and presents them with lots of headline ideas. This is a fun, pragmatic way to test content titles - even if you need to press the ‘refresh’ button a couple of times.
- Hubspot’s Blog Topic Generator: like Portent, Hubspot has created a fantastic resource that allows marketers to type in three nouns and be given a host of related blog topics.
- Linkbait Title Generator: this handy resource is simple and extremely worthwhile. All you need to do is type in a topic and you will be given a wide selection of headline ideas.
- Blog Title Generator by IMPACT: perhaps the prettiest headline generator in this blog, IMPACT has also developed a great tool that helps marketers create punchy headlines.
Alternatively, if you’re looking for a DIY approach to headline generating, then read this fantastic blog by Brian Clark about using Cosmo magazine. We promise you won’t regret it.
Regardless of what you choose, testing headlines is a fantastic way to find out what makes your audience tick. You might find that certain words or phrases have a particular resonance. Or, more likely, you’ll find that a great headline can help encourage actionable behaviour - helping push a customer down the sales funnel, into making a potential purchase decision.
4. Prioritise evergreen content
Great for: increased web traffic
These days, marketers need to be their own champions of digital environmentalism - reusing and recycling great content whenever possible.
But it’s not about being sloppy or lazy with new ideas. Evergreen content is one of the best ways to consistently drive more traffic to your website, helping to see a bigger return on investment over an extended period.
So what does it mean?
The term ‘evergreen’ is used to describe any type of content that has long-term value to the customer. Unlike a press release, which is time specific, evergreen content can help drive traffic (and leads) to a website over a sustained time frame. It can also prove tremendously useful for social media teams - who can track content performance and harness this data to plan future content campaigns.
From the perspective of marketers, however, evergreen content is a powerful weapon when used in conjunction with Google Analytics.
Google Analytics can provide marketers with a host of wonderful data - not only pageviews, but they can track how traffic is brought to a website. The higher the direct traffic, for example, the more likely it is that audiences are bookmarking your content and revisiting the site later.
But unlike news articles, for example, evergreen content is more likely to rank well over an extended period. With lots of engaging links and keywords, Google will actively reward evergreen content by helping it to rank better than its short term counterparts. And, what’s best, this success is largely circular - as higher rankings means more site traffic, and vice versa.
Evergreen content is an investment - not only in your own business resources, but in the audience themselves. It will tick in the background of your ongoing content campaigns and encourage audiences to revisit the webpage time and time again.
In essence, evergreen content will keep working in the background. Even if you’re away from the desk.
5. Ditch the sales pitch
Great for: better audience engagement
This might go without saying, but no business blog should begin with the objective of selling.
Imagine yourself as the customer: would you be interested in reading your sales pitch?
Okay, maybe that was a bad example. If you’re a business owner, or budding marketeer with a passion for witty content, then there’s a good chance you’d find this useful. But from the perspective of your customers, your business is just one voice shouting in a room full of thousands. Even millions. So, if you want to create content that supports your business strategy, then you’ll need to do something different.
In a nutshell, blogging shouldn’t be any different to having a conversation with someone. But content marketing, unlike advertising, actively listens in anticipation for a customer’s response. If no one reads the content, or feels the need to share it on social media, then it might as well not exist at all.
The best content marketing strategies are a two-way process; a true labour of love.
So, leave the sales pitches to one side. Give something before you ask for anything in return - a wonderful customer relationship is no different to any other relationship in your life.
Making your content machine work harder
The best content marketing campaigns begin a killer strategy - a safety net to ensure that every blog, or piece of web content, is created with a specific business objective in mind.
Of course, how you utilise content marketing will depend entirely on your own business and what you want to achieve in the future.
But if you want to improve brand awareness, or generate more leads, there’s some small but effective steps you can take. This could include anything from mastering the art of headline writing, or something more metric-orientated - like PPC.
The choice is entirely up to you.
However, we do have one word of advice: your content machine should work for you - not against you.