Today, nearly every savvy marketer knows the importance of a company blog, and for many of them, it’s the first step towards establishing an online presence. However, it isn’t enough to simply have a blog because, guess what?—every other online marketer has one.
Speaking in numbers, an infographic by BWHGeek estimated that there were over 152 million blogs on the internet in 2013, with one new blog created every half a second. Today, we can expect those numbers to have doubled or even tripled. The question is: how do you make sure your blogging efforts generate interest and stand out from the crowd?
Today when our attention span is believed to be less than that of a goldfish, every piece of content you create needs to truly resonate with your audience in a convincing, powerful, and credible way. The Internet is awash with statistics that will tell you how blogging can transform your business: from better visibility, more leads and sales to greater marketing ROI and stronger customer relationships. I am not going to reiterate those stats here. Instead, I’m going to discuss how you can give your blog that unique voice it needs to break through the clutter.
Strategy is the ‘Mother’ of a Successful Company Blog
Building a successful blog isn’t easy—and, it’s certainly not an overnight job. But, at the same time, it’s absolutely doable if you’re ready to spend time developing a strategy that allows for high-quality content creation and distribution.
Remember, it may take weeks or even months before you see any results, but once your blog gains momentum it will become a long-term asset which will drive people to your website for many years to come.
A good blogging strategy begins with identifying the real purpose behind your blog and goes further to cover important blogging elements such as buyer personas or target audience, competitor analysis, keyword analysis, ideal distribution platforms, ways to promote your blog, content scheduling, and metrics to measure progress.
Understand that Blogging is a Long-Term Commitment and Not a Quick Fix
A big mistake many people make while starting a blog for business is, treating it like a sales tool only. While there’s no harm in monetising your blog, it should be afterthought rather than a priority if you want to reap long-terms benefits from it. Makes sales a pleasant consequence.
I’ve seen a good number of companies writing blog posts as if they were sales pitches (see me yawning already?). They ramble incessantly about their products and services, which serves to show that the only thing they care about is selling their stuff.
Today, when nearly 84% of consumers make a purchase based on what they read in a blog, it’s important for brands to provide their target audience the information they need to make better purchase decisions. Blatant sales pitches don’t do that and trust me, your customers are smart enough to know that.
Show the Human Side of Your Brand
Closely evaluate your blog. Does it give off a vibe that’s personable? Can people identify with your blog? Do they start feeling connected to you as soon as they land on your site? If not, you need to focus on ‘humanising’ your blog. If your blog has a cold and distant tone, replace it with a friendly and approachable one. An occasional funny video or a behind-the-scenes glimpse into your workplace can be great ways to be yourself.
An excellent example of this is Zappos, an American online shoe and clothing store, widely known and appreciated in the marketing world for its great company culture. Zappos regularly blogs about its employees having fun in the office and even involves their audience to participate in contests and sweepstakes designed around their in-office activities and employees. How cool is that! To get ideas and inspiration from Zappos on how to engage your audience through office videos, head over to their blog or their YouTube channel.
Get Into the Mindset of Giving Away Free Information
A classic marketing conundrum is: To give away information for free, or not to give.
Many companies shy away from giving away information on their blogs because they fear their competitors may steal their ideas or their customers won’t pay them for their services.
Marketing experts like Jay Baer and Mark Schaefer have dispelled these fears through their own highly successful blogging experiences and the brands they have created—which stands mostly on the premise of giving away all the good stuff they know to their readers. You can read their take on the subject here and here.
But what if you’re a small business or a brand that has just started out? Can you equally benefit from this approach? Yes, you can. The idea is to break down the info you know will interest and benefit your audience into small parts, and present it on your blog. This will take care of the basic problems, challenges or doubts your customers may face and when it comes to bigger problems or advanced issues that demand professional help, they’ll turn to you for your expertise.
Simply put, you may give away the recipe for your secret sauce, but only you know how to make it best.
Outsource the Work But Keep the ‘Soul’ In-House
Running a blog is a lot of work and most business owners suffer from the lack of time to keep all the parts of their blogging strategy moving smoothly. Then, there’s a parallel social media strategy to maintain in order to popularise the blog. No wonder, outsourcing has emerged as great way for businesses to maintain their blogs and related social media activities.
If you’re outsourcing your blogging, be very careful about choosing the right blogger, be it a freelancer or an agency. Ensure they understand your business, its goals and visions, knows your customers, and adopts the style that allows your brand’s personality to shine through.
However, I’d strongly suggest that you be in charge of your topics, directions and goals. Afterall, no one knows your business better than you do.
If your business doesn’t have a blog yet, there are plenty of compelling reasons out there for you to do it now. And, if you’re wondering how to do it successfully, the things I’ve discussed above will help you get started on the right foot.
What do you think are the main ingredients of a successful blog? Let us know in the comments or get in contact!
About the author: Anna Kochetkova
Anna Kochetkova is a journalist by trade and a marketer by accident. She is a founder of Content Queen, creative platform for small businesses to learn about content marketing, storytelling, blogging and other wars. A Russian born Australian, she is known for being a creative strategist, exceptional writer and a marketing expert. Anna is also a senior manager at Yours Socially, a social media agency for busy entrepreneurs. She loves all social and carries a selfie stick in her purse.