It wasn’t too long ago that blogging was seen as a fad many businesses ignored. Rather than investing in this new platform, they focused their marketing strategies elsewhere. Fast forward to 2020 and blogging is an essential piece of any content marketing strategy. Not only does blogging help you grow your business, but it also:
- Is a cost-effective marketing strategy
- Improves your website’s SEO
- Produces organic results that drive traffic back to your website
- Increases the number of backlinks your website receives
- Improves your brand’s credibility
- Makes it easy to engage with your target audience
With benefits like these, it’s easy to see why so many brands are adding blogging to their content marketing strategy. Ready to jump on the blog-train? We’re taking the mystery out of building a successful blog with this step-by-step guide.
1. Identify Your Target Audience
Much like with branding, you need to know who your target audience is. Take a look at your current customer base. What are their pain points or challenges they want to overcome? Knowing what your audience struggles with or wants to learn more about will help you create content that appeals to them.
Not sure what your audience wants to see? Ask them! Invite current customers to fill out a survey or check out online forums where they hang out.
2. Determine Your Internal Editorial Strategy
Before launching your blog, create a blog post template and style guide to ensure every blog post stays consistent. The blog post template will keep the formatting of each post on point, while the style guide will cover the acceptable spelling (grey vs. gray), grammar, and style of the copy.
It’s also a good idea to decide:
- Who will write the blog posts?
- Will the post be published under the author’s name or ghostwritten?
- How often will a new post be published?
- What are the goals for each post?
3. Create a Database of Evergreen Content
Much like evergreen trees that last year-round, evergreen content remains relevant so you never have to worry about it becoming outdated over time. By design, evergreen content helps you obtain long-term search engine results for your blog. Create a database of evergreen content ideas that you can convert into a blog post down the line. Then, write each piece with SEO mind to show up on Google, drive traffic back to your site, and build backlinks.
Some of the evergreen content to add to your database includes:
- Target audience demographics/pain points
- List of relevant keywords and keyword phrases
- How-to guides
- Tips or answers to frequently asked questions
- List of existing content for repurposing in some way
4. Implement a Promotional Strategy
Unfortunately, the “build it and they will come” mentality doesn’t exactly apply to content marketing. To get eyes on your blog, you need to have a promotional strategy in place. This strategy will help you effectively market your blog posts. The best part? You can build a strategy around free marketing channels like SEO and social media. If necessary, add paid ads on social media or search engines to the mix.
5. Choose a Content Management System
If you’re adding a blog to an existing website, you more than likely already have a content management system (CMS). But, if you’re starting from scratch, this will be your very first step. Don’t skip your research when choosing a CMS! Pick a platform that fits your budget, has great customer service and is easy to navigate. In addition, pick a CMS that automatically converts your content to the appropriate device format. With nearly 60% of Google searches done on a mobile device, this is essential!
Once you’ve chosen a content management system, it’s finally time to bring your blog to life. The structure may vary from blog to blog, but there are some common pages to include. In addition to your blog, make sure your site has a home page, about page, and contact page.
6. Leverage List Building Opportunities
Social media seems to get all the glory when it comes to building an audience. The truth is, relying solely on social media to grow a following is like building on borrowed land; you don’t own it and it can be taken away at any time. Think about it this way, if Facebook and Instagram were to disappear, how would you reach your audience? The answer is simple: your email list!
An email list is the best way to communicate directly with your audience, improve the chances your content is seen, and eventually convert subscribers into buyers. Make it easy for readers to sign up for your list by utilizing subscription boxes and popups on your blog. Then entice them to sign up with calls to action, exclusive content, and free downloads.
7. Start Writing
Before you launch, it’s a good idea to have 2-3 blog posts already published on your blog. Pre-published content will keep readers on your website longer, especially when building links from one post to another. In addition, have 3-4 blog posts in the hopper so all you have to do is click publish. With a bank of content, you won’t end up scrambling to write a blog post from scratch on publishing day.
Each blog post should include:
- A click-worthy title
- Headings and subheadings (H2, H3, etc.)
- Images/graphics with ALT Tags filled in
- Links to credible resources and (relevant) existing content
- Calls to Action
- You’re Ready to Launch!
Content strategy? Check! Blog set up with several posts in the hopper? Check and check! With all the prep work done, it’s finally time for the fun part; launching your blog! Hit publish on that brand-new post and shout it from the rooftops…err, share it on social media.
Keep in mind, your blog may not get a lot of traction right off the bat. Don’t let it get you down—building a successful blog takes time! As you add more content to your blog, take stock of what’s working and what’s not. What content does your audience engage with? Which blog post titles are getting the most clicks? Then, let the results guide your next steps.
Does the thought of adding a blog to your brand strategy leave you feeling exhausted? Let the Cyberdogz team take it off your plate! Contact our team to learn how we can streamline the process.