Blog posts are an important part of any content marketing campaign. This content can be used to inform readers, optimize publicity, generate leads, and eventually contribute to sales goals.
By including these features, content marketers and writers can best ensure that their blogs will find an audience and resonate with it.
1. Begin with knowing your purpose
Marcus Sheridan, marketer and president of The Sales Lion, says that every blog post should have a purpose.
“A post should always address a need or a problem that a customer has or will have. For me that’s where it starts,” he said. ”It’s based on the questions that customers ask.”
2. Make it useful
Along with answering inquiries, blog posts should teach readers something new.
Amy Izzo, marketing director at Marketri, says her company writes posts so that customers can “get the educational tidbits in small digestible form. The reader might not go out and buy an industry publication but they’ll Google [a topic] and read the post. Then they might end up visiting the company’s site.”
3. Start a conversation
Both marketers agree that blog posts should be conversational in nature.
Sam Peters of Remarkablogger points out that this can be accomplished by being personal, asking questions, and arguing for a cause.
Sheridan says this is one the most important parts of a blog post: “I think everyone should have an opinion [in a post]. The more black and white you can be the more successful it’ll be. The people that stand out in the industry actually have something to say. Too many people are afraid to have an opinion on anything.”
Izzo also doesn’t hesitate in letting her clients know that an opinion or an argument is a good idea.
“We tell our clients that it’ll be fine to be somewhat controversial and illicit comments to a degree,” she says. ”It’s also acceptable to give your opinion in a blog post, which is different than an article. Those are a little bit more objective, but blog posts are a way that you can show some personality. People want to read your blog post because they want some knowledge, but there needs to be a human touch as well.”
4. Interact with readers
The conversation can start on the blog, but it should continue in the comments section.
“When your readers see you responding back to comments, they get encouraged to share their thoughts,” according to Mustafa of Performance Marketing Insider. “Everybody wants to be heard, and acknowledged. People want to build a relationship with the blogger via commenting. So by intelligently responding back to comments, you’ll automatically get more readers to participate.”
5. Visualize it
In an increasingly visual world, images and videos should be inserted to optimize any blog post.
“Images give it more interest, and are more eye catching,” says Izzo.
“We have tried out making posts multimedia and given tutorials. It’s nice to have both the print there and something else to refer to, such as a video.”
6. No bragging
Companies should follow these guidelines, and beware of falling into common traps. Sheridan says that the worst thing a brand can do in a blog post is brag.
“Companies can’t just talk about how awesome they are the whole time,” he says. ”Nobody cares unless you teach them something that they needed to know.”
7. Write great headlines
Danny Iny of Make a Living Writing says to do the research and post something that hasn’t been covered. Also, a headline has to be eye catching.
Izzo concurs, “I think it’s important to have a headline that’s really going to grab peoples’ attention. If not, you’re going to lose half the audience. There needs to be something quantifiable for the headline so readers will know what they’ll come away with after reading your post.”
8. Promote, promote, promote
After all is said and done, a blog post cannot just sit there. It must be promoted so that it will actually be read.
Izzo says that packaging different blog posts into an e-newsletter is a great way to get readers to read more than one post from a brand. Sheridan is also an advocate of email marketing, but says it depends on the industry.
If the company’s industry is common, and the web is saturated with information on the same topic, SEO would not be the way to go. Instead, social media and e-newsletters should be the main focus. However, if content in a field is scarce, keywords and search algorithms should be taken into consideration.
Blog posts are a key to any content marketing plan. The formula for success is right in front of marketers, and should be utilized for the right purposes.