Today, more than ever, people want to trust who they’re doing business with—and who they’re doing business with should be a person, not a faceless company.
A blog is one of the easiest ways to both build and sustain trust with your customers. Whatever your industry, blogs are a powerful marketing tool that can help your brand establish a voice as well as communicate your brand’s personality and core values.
Blogs written with SEO in mind and published on a consistent basis will help your website perform better in search engine results, too, so people can find you more easily. You can also chase longer-tail keywords that earn views from qualified prospects, so you reach the most important people—the ones looking for exactly what you do.
One of the most important aspects of a blog campaign is that it can speak to multiple groups of people, all along the sales funnel. This means that you can educate people looking for information and sell to those ready to make a purchase decision. Blogs are an effective way to fuel other aspects of your business as well, like social media posts, newsletters, and linkable information for others in your industry.
The important thing to consider is that a blog campaign is not a short-term power play. Oftentimes businesses and agencies keep blogging at the back of their minds, because ROI won’t be obvious immediately. The long-term benefits, however, are incredibly valuable. With blogs you can build brand awareness and search results—with actual content to search for, people will find you even if they aren’t specifically looking for you.
It’s the blogger’s job to educate their target audience, as well as explain this quality-over-quantity, long-term strategy. True results may not show for six to 12 months—expectations are key here. Make sure you (or your specified blogger) are communicating the purpose of a blog campaign to the client, as well as how long it may take to see results.
The catch? You have to be strategic with your blogs. Slapping up a blog once a month about one of your products won’t get you very far. So many companies only discuss their products or services without ever bringing any personality or connection to their strategy, and it shows in their search engine results. There are a lot of areas to go wrong in—some blogs lack SEO, some lack consistency, and some had a strategy to begin with, but outsourced to the cheapest freelance writer they could find. All of these are common mistakes, but easily avoidable! Keep reading for the top five mistakes, and how to avoid them.
Mistake #1: Not Doing Your Research
Every single blog should start with research, and lots of it. There are a few types of research you should be doing before starting your blog—a haphazard blog campaign won’t get you the results you’re after. Overall market research, target audience research, and traditional competitive research are three kinds you should be investing time into.
Overall Market Research
This kind of research is meant to provide you with a broad picture of your market. Here you can identify the size, profitability, distribution channels, trends, growth rate, etc. Think big picture stuff. A great place to start? Type “(industry name) market analysis 2019” into Google and sift through some articles. Just make sure whatever you’re reading is recent and credible.
You need to know who you’re speaking to if you want to be able to speak to them effectively! This can be sourced both externally and internally. Ask people at various levels of your company who they think your target audience is. Odds are, you’ll get a lot of different answers—all of which should all be taken into consideration.
Once you have a general target audience in mind, you can delve a little deeper. Ask questions like:
- What questions are they asking online?
- What are their buying habits?
- What is their average income?
- What products or services are they using that you could do better?
This is the information that will help you create specifically targeted blog topics that you may not have thought of before. Try typing niche-specific keywords into Reddit or Quora, and you’ll be able to see what your target audience is asking. Your ultimate goal is to answer those questions for them through your blogs, and do so with enough personality to connect with them and share your brand.
Now it’s time to turn your focus to your competition, real or imagined. What does this mean? It means asking your business leaders about who they think the competition is, as well as using SEO tools to show you who the competition is from that standpoint. There’s a good chance the answers you get will be different, just like above.
Once you have a general idea of who your competition is, you can start asking specific questions, like:
- How often do they post?
- What topics are they exploring?
- What topics are they avoiding?
- What keywords are they ranking for?
- What does their website information look like?
- Make note of their top-performing blogs, their CTAs, paid as, etc.
Remember that the point of this kind of research is to learn, not to mimic.
Mistake #2: Writing for One Part of the Sales Funnel
Research the other companies within your niche, and read their blogs if they have them. Are their posts written for those in the beginning stages of learning, or for those ready to buy? Or are they just writing generic outlines and descriptions of their services or products? You have to create content that speaks to everyone in your target audience, not just those in one stage of the buying process. That includes people who are just starting their research, those who are knowledgeable but trying to narrow down their options, and those who know everything and are ready to buy right this second.
A good basic formula to follow would be:
- 50% educational content, for those starting their research
- 25% educational content, for those looking to buy
- 25% content for those ready to buy right now
Mistake #3: Lacking Consistency
Like we said before, this is a long-term process—having discipline and patience when it comes to every aspect of your blog campaign is crucial for success. This applies to your content calendar, the times and days of the week you post, and the consistency of things like voice, tone, and overall style.
You may be addressing three different groups of people within your target audience, but your voice should sound the same. So make these decisions early on and stick with them. Or, if you’ve been lacking consistency, sit down and make these decisions right now. Do you want to write in short, choppy sentences? Do you want to follow AP Style or APA guidelines? Listicles or longer form articles? Don’t think too hard about it—you can choose almost anything, as long as you’re consistent.
Mistake #4: Forgetting SEO
A blog campaign simply can’t reach its full potential until any core SEO issues are addressed first! Every blog you write should be written with SEO in mind. This means having an optimized headline, a focus keyword, any other related keywords needed, a list of the top URLs for research, etc. This is one of those things that will be hard to find in a freelance writer, but it’s essential to your blog campaign’s success.
Mistake #5: Not Having a Strong Editorial Process
This one is huge. You can have amazing information, a strong narrative voice, all the SEO stuff you could imagine, and people will click away as soon as they spy a grammar mistake. Inaccurate information or inconsistent grammar are two quick ways to lose credibility with your audience. So make sure you’re double checking your facts, and getting a fresh pair of eyes to read your posts.
If you’re doing the uploading, read the posts again after they’ve gone live on the website. You really can’t read them enough—you’ll be surprised what you catch!
Need help starting or maintaining a successful blog campaign? That’s where we come in! Contact us today!