Blogs are an important facet of any content marketing strategy. When done well, they connect people to your business by way of helpful, entertaining, and relevant writing. But many companies pump out multiple blogs each week, only to find that they’re not seeing the traffic they’d hoped for. Now, you can write a great blog with the perfect turns-of-phrase, compelling research and vibrant storytelling. But is it the right blog to reach your audience? Because if not, you may have wasted your time.
That’s what we’re here to talk about – planning and writing blog content that will actually find its way onto the screens of prospective customers.
How Blogging Works Within Inbound Marketing
It’s nearly impossible to decide what kind of blogs to write for your brand without first understanding how blogs work to draw traffic to your website and attention to your brand. To explain, I’ll start with an example.
Say you are starting to think about buying a house for the first time. Naturally, you have a lot of questions like, “Can I afford a house?” “What are the first steps to buying a house?” and “Is now a good time to buy a house?” When you have questions, you turn to search engines like Google. Upon entering your question into the search bar, the first listing that pops up is a blog titled, “How Much House Can I Afford?” Sounds like it could be helpful! So, you click on the link and start reading.
The blog answers your question, educates you, and entertains you in the process. When you get to the end of the blog, you notice the final sentence: “If you’re ready to find out how much you could get preapproved for, contact one of our lenders.” You realize that this is a bank’s website, and through reading the blog, you understand that you’ll need to work with a lender before you can purchase a home. You bookmark the website so that when you do go in search of a lender, you have one option already saved. A week later, you call the lender, and the mortgage lending company has successfully created a lead through its blog!
That, in a short version, is how blogs work within your inbound marketing strategy.
Selecting Blog Topics Your Audience Cares About
Given this example, it’s important to think about the questions your audience will ask related to your industry. What kind of information or tools would be helpful to them? If you were in their shoes, what would you be typing into a search engine? This thought process will guide you to the most effective blog topics. It also requires some work on your end to define exactly who your audience is and what they care about (but that’s for another blog).
Your blogs shouldn’t be all about your company, or only what you feel like writing about. Resist the urge to make all of your blogs about specific products or services you offer, as those topics are likely too narrow for people to find them. If you have news about your company that you want to share, save that for a press release. On the contrary, marketing blogs should be tailored to the topics that your target audience cares about. They should provide value to your audience before you gently guide them toward the products or services you have to offer.
Writing Effective Marketing Blogs
When it comes time to sit down and write your marketing blogs, there are some things to keep in mind.
Write for content first. This means that, first and foremost, the writing is good and clear. The blog should be organized in a way that’s easy to follow and speaks directly to the topic displayed in the title.
Write for search engine optimization, or SEO, second. Content that is well-written and valuable is the highest priority. But SEO is also very important. There are different strategies to achieving high rankings in SEO, but for blogs, most of them involve selecting 1-2 keywords that you use in your title, your headers, your body, your URL and your meta description. Hubspot has a great blog that covers this topic in detail.
Carefully select where to insert your brand. Particularly when you’re writing a piece that’s educational, naming your brand and its services in the leading paragraph can automatically discredit you. It may come across that your account is biased and not to be trusted by the reader. However, there are topics that can be legitimized by inserting your brand name. It’s important to consider your topic carefully and how your brand should play a role.
- Don’t be pushy. No one wants to feel like they’re being sold to. The whole philosophy behind inbound marketing is that you’re putting out meaningful content that draws people in, so you don’t have to give the hard, sleazy sales pitch.
- Consider writing longer. The optimal length of blogs for SEO has evolved over the years, and now, blogs over 1,000 words tend to perform better on average. That said, don’t forget about bullet #1 – write for content first. If you’re adding a bunch of mumbo jumbo at the end of your blog just to reach 1,000 words, it stops bringing value to your reader and can discredit your blog altogether.
- Use headers to guide the reader. Blogs are getting longer, but our attention spans are still short. That’s why it’s important to break your blogs up into shorter sections with clear subheadings that pertain to the content in each one. This allows readers to skip to the content that most interests them, rather than digging through multiple long paragraphs to find what they need.
Writing the right blogs to reach your audience is a process of trial-and-error, and it takes consistency and longevity to see long-term results. But if you’re diligent, you can develop positive connections with readers and ultimately become a thought leader in your industry through valuable writing.
If you enjoyed this edition of PRIME Pulse, take a look at some of our other related articles:
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