Ten years ago, the word “blog” often referred to an individual offering personal musings on travel, fashion or politics. Now, blogs are one of the most powerful marketing tools a company can use, employed by small businesses and mega-corporations alike: half of the top 200 Fortune 500 companies had a corporate blog in 2018, and marketers that prioritize blog programs see ROI grow dramatically.
A business without a blog program is missing out on a key web traffic driver and is sidestepping one of the most valuable ways to engage with customers. Blogs have been proven to increase web traffic by more than 55% and produce 67% more monthly leads.
Part of the reason blogs are so successful is that they add real value to customers, and build brand confidence in a much more natural way than traditional advertising. More than three-quarters of internet users read blogs. Increased interest and growing readership have also led to increased competition.
With more organizations running blog programs than ever before, how can yours stand out and deliver the revenue-driving results you want? Having worked with clients across industries to build thriving blog programs, Matter is here to help.
Here are five best practices for running a dynamic blog program:
1. Know your audience.
Pumping out blogs without an understanding of who is reading them will not help anyone – or improve your bottom line. Take the time to research your audience. Though you want your blog to eventually reach a broader population, a good place to start is looking at your customer, prospect and client base. How old are they? What do they like? What are their needs? Why are they coming to you for information? If demographic information is not available, outline a clear intended audience.
Write for your audience and work to understand their needs. This will fuel your content and blog topics as well as the tone and voice of your blogs. If your audience is mostly older businessmen, perhaps you shouldn’t open the piece with, “Wassup, bros?”. 70% of people would rather learn about a company through articles instead of advertisements. Take advantage of that preference and use the blog to directly answer common questions or concerns about your products, services, business or industry.
2. Add value.
Every blog should be engaging and add value to the reader. Attention spans are remarkably short – most people only spend about 15 seconds on a blog page before clicking away. Blogs must grab readers immediately, and keep them there. When selecting topics and building out a content calendar, be very thoughtful about what the article is providing and how your expertise will enhance their understanding. Never post a blog simply to post a blog.
Corporate blogs are a great opportunity to highlight thought leadership within your company. Leverage the expertise of innovators internally, and collaborate with external experts when relevant to bring in other interesting perspectives.
On the whole, blogs should not be overly self-promotional. Top 10 Reasons Why Our Company is the Best is off the table. However, unlike byline opportunities in media publications, blogs can occasionally be leveraged to directly tell your company’s story and can include links to your product/service when relevant.
3. Be consistent.
Posting blogs consistently can help build a base of loyal readers, and will also help grow your credibility with search engines, increasing your chance that your content will reach new audiences. Creating a robust calendar that outlines priority topics well in advance of target deadlines can help guide you. Smaller businesses should always be careful to work within their capacity and prioritize quality over quantity, knowing they can scale output as they grow.
4. Optimize for search engines.
Many businesses start blog programs to boost their Google rankings and increase visibility. To maximize your chances of an impactful boost, conduct keyword research, choose your titles carefully and craft the article with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in mind. The Google algorithms are constantly changing, so be sure to update your published articles when necessary to align with those changes.
5. Don’t forget the visuals…or the skimmers.
Blogs that include images receive 94% more views. Inserting visuals that pair well with the written content can help break up the text and keep readers on the page longer.
Write and format your blogs as if the person reading only has one minute to gather all the information you wanted them to. Subheadings, bullet points, bolded text and lists are easy ways to make your content skimmable.
Once your blog program is running, actively promote the content on your brand’s social media, your leadership’s LinkedIn pages and e-mail newsletters — whatever channels will get more eyes on your articles. We’ve even had clients package multiple blogs and put them into an e-book. The potential reach is wide and ever-growing.
Looking for help building or running your company’s blog program? Reach out below and one of our experts will be in touch!