Blogs are big business nowadays, but they’re not always effective for business.
Let’s face it, if you’re putting in a shift and poring out article after article, you want some sort of return on that investment. The aim of providing content is to attract readers, turn them into customers and hopefully ensure that they will eventually go on to become brand advocates. Sadly although most businesses have realised the importance of getting information across to their customers, they haven’t quite worked out how they can make their content marketing more targeted and effective.
Well engaging online audiences isn’t really that difficult if you can break the problem down into bite-sized pieces.
If you have a blogging strategy and adhere to this, then you should really start to see a return on your investment pretty quickly. So, what should this blogging strategy include?
Tell the reader about you and your business.
If you look at most websites you’ll notice that they generally have an ‘about us’ page. Why’s this? Well, it’s because it tells the viewer who you are, what you do, where you’re based and what makes you different from the rest. Most importantly of all, the about us page tells the reader how to make contact with you. Unfortunately some bloggers fail to make the connection between the website and its content. If a website has an about us feature, shouldn’t the blog also have one? The answer is yes, of course it should.
You’d be surprised just how many visitors land on your page quite by chance. They may enjoy the content you’ve shared, but leave the blog not really knowing who you are and what you do. So, there’s every chance they won’t return. So what should the about us link tell readers? Well, that depends on what your underlying message is and what you wish to promote – that is whether your sole aim is to sell or give out information. However, any basic about us link should include the following:
- Who you are.
- What you do.
- The specific services you can offer to customers.
- How to contact you.
Get your readers to subscribe.
It’s all well and good getting passing trade on the internet, like the accidental visitors mentioned above, but what you should really be trying to do is to build an online community that engages with one another. The easiest way to do this is to get your readers to subscribe, so you’ll need a subscribe feature that is prominently featured via an RSS button. Most internet users know what RSS feeds are, and are happy to subscribe to them. The subscribe button also offers a great opportunity for you to offer your readers other features like a newsletter opt-in.
Make the most of the social media.
It goes without saying that all blogs should be social, so it’s a prerequisite that you should include links to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google + as a minimum. However, that really is only half the job: what you’re really trying to do is to spread your message as far and wide as possible. What you need to do is look at social sharing options. It all depends on which blogging platform you choose to run with, but all of these platforms have social sharing plug-ins available. The best part is that most of these can take as little as 3 clicks to install, activate and customise.
Make your blogs easy to follow and navigate.
There are all manner of ways of making your blog easier to navigate, but by far the simplest way is to keep everything organised in columns. Readers like logical navigation as it makes it so much easier for them to find what they’re looking for. Try to incorporate a prominent ‘top post’ feature somewhere on the blog, and also include a ‘popular’, ‘commented’ and ‘latest’ widget in the navigation column so that readers will be able to find your best content in the shortest possible time. If you’re lucky enough to generate a loyal audience, then repay some of this loyalty by also including a ‘top commentators’ section, and if the contributions made by particular readers are helpful and prove popular with other readers, then feature those contributors regularly and give a link back to the site of origin.
Archive your blog posts.
This might sound obvious, but it’s surprising just how many sites fail to do this. If you have a loyal following, or have started to attract repeat visitors, then there’s nothing more frustrating than not being able to find a specific blog, or discover other blogs that relate to the topic in question. Nobody really wants to see an endless list of posts, because after a while the list becomes meaningless. So break down the archive of previous posts into categories and subjects, and then drill down further by date. You might think it unnecessary, but trust us your readers will appreciate it and be more likely to stay loyal to you and your business.