To blog or not to blog? That is the question… Actually it isn’t, because nowadays anyone who is anyone has a blog built into their website. The real question should be: how do I get the most out of my content to engage visitors and boost my business?
Blogging is an excellent marketing tool, as well as a fun and entertaining way to engage with potential customers and establish yourself as an expert in your field.
So, how do you generate clicks and sales using a blog? Grab a cuppa, pull up a chair and read my top 10 tips.
1 Choose your blog writer wisely
Nobody knows your business as well as you, that much is 100% certain, but writing about it is a different kettle of fish. Apart from making sure your grammar is up to scratch, being able to craft enticing, engaging copy that captures both the spirit of your business and your personality is an art form in itself.
It means you may have to admit you’re not the best person to write your blog. Finding a qualified professional, either through a social media marketing agency or a freelancer, who can put in the time needed to create sparkling content can be a winner.
2 Keywords are key
One of the biggest traps some business owners fall into is not doing their homework before blogging. Dashing off a post about your brand or business may seem tempting, but without putting in the keyword research beforehand, chances are your not-so hard work will go to waste.
There are lots of free keyword search tools you can use (SEMrush and KWFinder are but two) to find keywords and phrases related to your business that people are using in searches. Try to identify ones that generate decent traffic but aren’t everywhere, then use them in the blog title, meta description, headers and main text.
3 Long form is good form
This is one area where having the support of a professional copywriter makes good sense, because blog length is crucial. First, readers with an interest in your chosen subject will be happy to soak up a longer post, especially if it’s well written, but second, more copy equals more keywords, which is perfect for ‘long tail’ keyword searches.
However, just as very short posts don’t rank well on search engine results, the long and waffly post faces just as many challenges. You also run the risk of boring your readers, who will be reluctant to come back for more. Think quality, rather than quantity.
4 Revisit past blog posts
An easy way to update content on your site without writing 1,000 words every week or month is to go back over a previous post and update it.
Perhaps there’s a new report out that’s linked to your sector that gives you a chance to revisit a favoured subject, or a celebrity news story you can use as a hook to rejig an old post. It’s a smart way to continually generate long-form content – just remember to check and update the keywords!
5 Make a splash with images
As well as providing a dash of colour, images are a great way to break up longer blog posts, ensuring readers remain engaged and carry on clicking. As with all content, quality is paramount: unless you’re trying to be arty, a blurred, badly cropped photo won’t enhance your post.
Again, keywords have a role to play here too, and should be used in the image’s filename, caption and alternate text to maximise search engine rankings. Keep an eye on the size of your picture – a massive image can drag on your web page’s load time, and always ensure you have the legal right to use a photo.
6 Remember the ‘real’ readers
There’s a huge amount of technical stuff to cram in when blogging, particularly when you’re looking to get people clicking, but it’s also very important to remember you’re writing for human beings too.
Go easy on the jargon – you may know what it all means, but there’s no guarantee a potential customer will. Make sure your blog is designed for how it will be read (is your site mobile friendly?) and use fonts that don’t strain the eyes. Finally, check the blog loads quickly. No matter how cracking your content, people won’t hang around for a slow site.
7 Use your blog to capture emails
Many business websites have a ‘sign up to our mailing list’ option somewhere among their pages, but a blog is a chance to directly engage a potential customer with an integrated data capture form.
Whether you use a sidebar sign-up, old fashioned text call-to-action or a pop-up, it’s a handy way to grow your network. Plus, if you use email marketing tools such as Mailchimp or Mad Mimi, you can use the RSS feed to automatically notify subscribers of a new blog post. Nifty.
8 Boost clicks with social sharing
One of the great things about blogging is you don’t have to be shy about asking readers to publicise it. Straightforward requests for your content to be shared on social media are a great way to get your brand noticed.
Smart tools such as Sumo or Addthis allow you to add a host of clever icons to blog posts, which means sharing them on a slew of social media platforms is as simple as a click. It’s worth taking some time to identify the best platforms to market your business, to target your ideal audience.
9 Bring on the feedback
Unlike most other writers who are usually terrified of opinions about their work, business owners who blog should encourage and welcome comments from readers for several good reasons.
First, the content has connected with someone, so it’s done its job. Second, it has compelled that person or people to reply with their own take on your blog, which will boost your keyword-rich content. Third, blog posts that generate a community conversation or discussion are favoured by Google, because people generally stay on those pages for longer.
10 Build up those blog backlinks
If you’ve followed steps one to nine, you’re well on your way to creating an effective, engaging blog post that will boost traffic. The final tip, while excellent for your site, can be a bit trickier.
Backlinks are, as the name suggests, hyperlinks to other websites and the more you can sprinkle through your blog posts, the better, as they reinforce your site’s authority. It does mean reaching out to other bloggers and asking them to feature a link to your content on their page. Some will do so without a second thought, but others might need some persuasion – so draw on your business marketing skills to convince them.
So, that’s my top 10 blogging basics to get people clicking. If you’re looking for help developing regular and engaging content for your business drop me a line at www.agnesmarketing.co.uk/contact or book 20 mins in my diary for an exploratory chat – https://calendly.com/agnesmarketing