Marketers have a vast arsenal of weapons at their disposal, and one of the most powerful is the blog. So long as it is updated regularly, with high-value content that has been written to engage, educate and entertain the reader, blogs are among the most effective ways of tapping into the psyche of your target audience.
When packed full of unique content and written well, they encourage readers to come back to your website on a regular basis to access the news, reviews, insight and analysis you publish. Over time, this fosters incredible affinity with, and loyalty to, the business, brand or individual they are being created by or on behalf of.
But successful blogging is easier said than done, and there are plenty of traps to fall into, such as irrelevant content due to lack of planning and poorly written posts that offer no real value. These can be avoided, however, by taking a considered approach to blog creation, and by following the tips below:
Identify your audience:
The first thing you must do is to identify your audience. Without knowing exactly who the blog is being written for, it is almost impossible to create valuable content. You must outline reader demographics (age, gender, location, occupation, income, etc) and also how they will engage with your content – desktop, smartphone, tablet.
Also consider the purpose of your blog – is it to drive consumers to your website, is it to become a resource for readers, or is it to covert readers into buyers. This will help you better understand who you are creating your blog for, and will ultimately steer the type of content you write.
How you can help:
With your audience identified, you must learn what sort of content they are seeking. Are they looking for news and analysis, features or questions and answers? Do they want access to unique data and stats? Perhaps they are looking for tips, hacks, and step-by-step guides. It might be all of the above.
Armed with this understanding of what sort of content your audience is looking to engage with, you must think about how you can leverage your knowledge, experience and expertise to deliver it to them. You (or your client) are the expert in your field, and the content created must position you in this way.
It is often the case that businesses and brands have a lot to say, so to ensure all the bases are covered it is worth putting a content strategy/plan together. This should include key topics your audience wants to read about, as well as the core messages you (or your client) want to get across.
Content plans also give you something to work to, and provide structure and guidance as to the content being created and when. It also helps with consistency; if someone is away on holiday or off sick others can pick up blogging activity to ensure your readers receive content when they are expecting to.
With your battle plans in place, it is time to get creative. The style and tone of your content will depend on your audience and the format it is taking, but I always suggest keeping written posts tight – don’t use six words when two will do – with short punchy sentences that are easy to read.
Always remember to link to external sources used – data, stats, news reports, etc – and include visuals where they add value. Graphs and infographics are great ways of displaying complicated information in easy to read/digest forms. I also suggest including a couple of images to bring your post to life.
Check and check again:
You should also put in place stringent proofreading processes. Mistakes can seriously dent the authority of the post, even if it contains a lot of valuable information. You will most likely want your readers to become customers, so it’s important to get it right.
I suggest printing out posts and marking up errors with a red pen – black can be hard to see when going back through it. It’s also worth asking someone else to have a read through the post to see if there is anything you have missed – this can be easily done especially if you have proofread straight after writing it.
Sharing is caring:
Once you have uploaded your post, it’s time so share it far and wide on social media – I’m talking Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. This will help drive exposure, and deliver your content to new readers around the world looking to learn more about the topics you discuss and write about.
All told, blogs are a very powerful, cost effective way of reaching out to your target audience and building trust and affinity with them. Of course, to do that, the content you create must provide value, be well written and updated regularly. By following the above tips, you will be well on your way to rolling out blockbuster blogs.