Did you know companies that blog have 55 percent more website visitors and get 70 percent more leads than those that don't blog? Here's how to get started.
Content is the fuel that drives successful marketing. Marketing analyst Rebecca Lieb from the Altimeter Group puts it this way: “Content is the atomic particle of all digital marketing.”
By creating valuable, high-quality content that is targeted at a specific audience (like your prospective customers), you will attract more visitors to your website. More importantly, you will attract the right visitors because they are likely to convert into leads and customers.
Creating helpful content will also help with your search engine rankings. Other sites are more likely to link to yours if you are publishing helpful content – and that boosts your rankings and helps improve your website’s discoverability.
By far, the most effective way to increase site traffic and leads is with a company blog. A blog makes your site dynamic by injecting new content every time an article is published. Search engines reward websites that consistently add fresh content. And that translates into more visitors and leads.
The secret to blogging success, however, is to think like a magazine publisher. The goal of your blog is to publish valuable, nonpromotional posts just as an industry magazine that runs fresh or newsy articles.
Write for your customers. When blogging, make sure to avoid industry jargon that’s understood by your employees but not by prospective customers.
So what do you blog about? If you want more traffic and leads, don’t write about your company and its products. Instead, write about the problems your potential customers face.
The best way to start a company blog is to answer the 10 most common questions you get asked by prospective customers. Query your sales team and customer service people for the most common questions. Once you have those 10 questions, you have your first ten blog posts.
Now publish one a week. After 10 weeks, look at your analytics to see which ones got the most traffic, comments and shares on social media.
A blog post doesn’t need to be a complicated magnum opus. Here are the five most important things you need:
- A compelling title - Take as much time as you need to create a great title. It needs to clearly indicate what the article is about, including the benefit to the reader. Remember that clarity trumps persuasion.
- Well-written and formatted text - Use headers and bullet points to break up the content into sections. Online, readers scan more than they do with print.
- Multimedia content - This can make a blog post more memorable and fun to read. It also helps break up the text, making it more pleasing to the eye. Aim to have a least one relevant image per post. But don’t stop there if you have other relevant information in the form of slideshow presentations, videos and infographics.
- Links - In-text links to relevant content can help readers dig deeper into the resources they are most interested in. You can point to other content on your site and landing pages to help you generate more leads.
- Call-to-Action (CTA) - A CTA is a website button, image or text link that encourages a visitor to take an action by typically clicking on the button, visiting a landing page and filling out a form in return for some kind of content. Often, that content is a white paper, e-book, webinar or a newsletter.
That last one is real important. EVERY blog post should include one or more CTAs to help boost lead generation. Include CTAs in the sidebar of your blog as well as at the end of every post. You can also include text CTAs within the body of your blog content.
Before launching your blog, make sure to prepare at least one piece of in-depth, lead-generation content like an e-book that will prompt an “information exchange” on a form behind the CTA. Other types of premium content that can be offered include white papers, research reports, how to videos or recorded webinars. Effective lead generation content is something your prospects might be willing to pay for.
(This article originally appeared in Inside Business - The Hampton Roads Business Journal, on December 1, 2014.)