With the right tactics, defense contractors can use blogging to increase awareness and preference, recruit top talent and expand their business development opportunities.
If you think back 15+ years, most companies had or were beginning to get their own websites. Now, all defense contractors have websites, but those on the cutting edge of business development are blogging. It's similar to the mid 1990s with the advent of websites, except now it's blogs that are becoming mainstream.
The reason for the adoption and growth of blogs is because they are the single most effective marketing tactic available today.
According to a recent HubSpot study, companies that blog get 55% more website traffic than those that don't blog. And, companies that blog get 70% more leads than those that don’t blog.
One of the best ways to understand what a blog is and how a company should approach blogging is in a popular four-word rule of thumb for the modern marketer: THINK LIKE A PUBLISHER.
Successful business blogs deliver content that is written for their ideal customer, also known as a buyer persona. The best blogs don't prattle on about their company, new hires and awards. Instead, like a good magazine, great blogs deliver remarkable content that solve their prospective customers' problems. The most successful blogs have a deep understanding of their readers.
To make sure that your business blog is packing the maximum marketing firepower, here are seven habits of highly effective blogs:
- Have a great title - In fact, spend half your time writing just the title. Like a magazine at the supermarket checkout, it needs to get your reader's attention and make them feel like they are going to miss something great if they don't read it. The best blog titles are actionable, keyword-conscious (i.e. the words for which you want to be found via search engines), brief, clear, definitive and intriguing.
- Focus on just one topic - There are two primary reasons for this: 1) it's easier for the reader, 2) each blog post should focus on just one long-tail keyword. For instance, the keywords for this post are "defense contractor" and "blogging."
- Be educational (or solve problems) - Statistics show that the blog posts that have higher readership and social sharing tend to be educational and not promotional. If your post is educational, your readers will share it and come back. If your post is promotional, say goodbye to the reader because they won't return.
- Blog consistently (and as often as possible) - As with most things related to Internet marketing, there are numbers to support the best practices. HubSpot tells us companies that blog at least 20 time per month generate five times more traffic than those that blog fewer than four times per month. And even if you only blog four times per month, it still generates almost four times more leads than not blogging at tall.
- Optimize for your readers AND search engines - But do it in that order. One of the objectives of blogging is to get readers to return and share the content with their social networks. If you write for a search engine with lots of oddly placed keywords and awkward phrases, however, your readers will sniff that out and won't like it. But, you also need to make sure you've included your keywords in the title and your page title, and other SEO related best practices like including a meta description, image file names and alt tags.
- Look good - How long should each post be? As long as it needs to be. Beyond that, make it visually appealing for an enjoyable read by using bolded text, subheads, numbers and bulleted list. Also, include internal links to additional resources, use high-quality images and don't be afraid of whitespace.
- Capture leads - Remember that you're blogging to fill your business development pipeline. Your blog has huge lead generation potential. Make sure to include calls-to-action (CTAs) on your blog and in each post. For example, on this page there are four CTAs (2 inviting you to subscribe to this blog, and 2 to download popular marketing ebooks).
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