More than 40% of today’s companies are taking advantage of an inexpensive, user-friendly marketing tool for generating leads and strengthening customer relations.
A few years back, if someone mentioned the word BLOG, the first thing which came to mind was an online journal, a format for documenting thoughts and expressing ideas to later share with the world.
LENGTH. Does size matter?
Today, however, a number of high-profile businesses have incorporated blogs into their marketing strategy.
What was once considered to be a medium for only sharing deep thoughts and descriptive experiences has become a useful, inexpensive communication platform to help businesses promote their products, educate their customers, and interact with their customers.
Blogging helps businesses better define who they are and what they’re about, while at the same time opening up a new avenue to providing better customer service.
Therefore, if you should decide to incorporate a blog into your marketing strategy, these 5 criteria will help you establish a firm foundation.
EXPERT. How much of a know-it-all are you?
As part of your marketing strategy, you (the blogger) must be perceived as a subject matter expert.
This is the first step to building your credibility, which, in turn, will benefit your business.
Blogs should answer questions, offer advice, deliver industry updates, and promote upcoming sales and special offers.
To help drive business, each post should end with a call to action to visit your website, contact your office, visit your location, email you directly, or sign up to subscribe for more information or a free sample.
It’s no secret our nation’s ability to focus is steadily declining.
According to Statistic Brain, a Los Angeles, California, statistic research company, the average US citizen’s attention span fell from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds in 2013.
Based on those findings, you could assume shorter copy is the obvious way to go – right? Well, not necessarily. Surprisingly, the average length of content for the top 10 most searched blogs on the internet are well over 2,000 words.
If you’ve ever thought people don’t read web content, the reality is they do.
Even in this era of "give it to me quick, and give it to me straight," readers want more; more tips, more examples, and more ideas.
Readers perceive longer posts as offering more valuable information. That’s why content which averages 7 minutes to read is more frequently shared than shorter posts.
Although longer blogs tend to be shared more, shorter posts are not necessarily bad or ineffective.
In cases where you’re promoting a product or service, readers will be more engaged by content which immediately addresses a specific benefit or feature. In these cases, it’s best to keep copy short and follow it up with a call to action at the end.
QUALITY. Isn’t it enough to provide timely and relevant information?
Posting blogs on a consistent basis is important in keeping customers and potential prospects in the loop as to the latest developments with your business, recent industry trends, or latest offers - a point which we will be discussing shortly.
Even more important than consistency is quality.
Posting a number of meaningful blog articles is good, but not at the expense of quality.
If you spend 10 minutes writing a blog, then post it online without reviewing it for typos or grammar mistakes, the post could make you and your business look foolish.
Sloppy written blogs will have readers questioning your work ethic and the maturity of your business. If you’re not willing to invest time in providing meaningful, grammatically correct content, prospects will wonder how much time you’ll invest in their needs.
You don’t want to be viewed as someone who overlooks details.
SEO. Does it matter which words I use?
Every business wants to be the first option to appear at the top of a Google, Bing, or YaHoo search page.
There are a number of different factors which will impact your ‘placement’ or ‘ranking’ on search pages. One of those factors are the words and phrases within your website content and blog postings.
Believe it or not, the right words and phrases could elevate your link from displaying on the fifth page (which most consumers will never get to) all the way to being placed in the middle of the first page, where it will gain more exposure.
If this isn't making much sense, let me explain it this way:
Let’s say you’re in the moving business. A young married couple in your area have decided to move from a 2-bedroom apartment in the city to a luxurious 4-bedroom, 2-story home in the suburbs. Since this is the first time they've ever had to move, they want to hire a moving company to help them. They go online, type "moving companies" in Google, and within a millisecond, they’re presented with a number of movers in their area. Fortunately, your moving company is listed at the top; therefore, more people click the link which takes them to your company website, increasing traffic to your business.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a process of identifying specific words and phrases, found in your content, to determine your ranking on different search engine sites.
Therefore, be very descriptive when writing blog posts. The more key words and phrases you incorporate into your blog posts, the higher your blog or company’s website will be positioned.
CONSISTENCY. Can't I just post when it's most convenient?
92% of companies who posted blogs several times a day acquired a new customer as a result.
Generating more customers is a matter of staying within a prospect’s peripheral view.
As an old marketing adage reminds us, people exposed to a product 7 times are more likely to buy it. If you’re able to capture the attention of a prospect, you’ll have better luck retaining their attention and potentially converting them into a customer with consistent, quality written posts.
However, if you post relevant articles only when it’s convenient, those prospects will most likely miss out on many of your updates, eventually forgetting about you and your business altogether.
To keep prospects interested, it's best to make sure posts are available on a consistent schedule. Dedicate one day each week to creating and scheduling future posts.
1. Expert. Supplying your audience with fresh content which answers questions, provides tips, and offers important updates will build your credibility.
2. Length. Readers perceive longer blogs as providing more valuable content.
3. Quality. The amount of time you invest in your blogs creates an impression about you and your business. Therefore, do your best to provide polished copy and images.
4. SEO. Words and phrases matter. The right ones can elevate your company’s exposure on search engines.
5. Consistency. Create an editorial calendar for scheduling postings. Consistent postings increases traffic to your business.
There are a number of tips available online on how to write, organize, and promote your blogs, but these 5 tips will help you establish the foundation for your company blog.
Don’t expect results right away. Once your blog is available online, it will take time to establish a following. With time and patience, you will be able to establish yourself as the go-to person that business consumers will come to rely on.
For additional tips on blogging, check out the IASourceLink.com recorded webinar entitled "Savvy Business Blogging in 7 Easy Steps".
Content contributed by Matthew Cassady,IASourceLink. IASourceLink is a proud affiliate of U.S. SourceLink, America's largest resource network for entrepreneurs.