Every single year, content creators, marketers, and business owners ask the very same question. After all, so many other, more interactive, visually-appealing content marketing formats have stolen the spotlight, it’s no wonder so many are assuming that any day now, blogs will be a thing of the past. That is, if they haven’t become that already. However, would you be here if blogging were truly dead? Unlikely.
As it turns out, this timeless medium of conveying key brand messages, establishing a presence for businesses in various niches, entrepreneurs, as well as creative souls has a tendency to persevere no matter how many shiny new formats join the playing field.
Why? Because storytelling at its finest happens in blogs. Brands as well as individuals use them for everything from search engine optimization, starting relevant conversations, all the way to educating their audience. No matter if you’re a one-person show, or you run an entire business that depends on creative content output, blogging has always been, and it always will be a relevant channel of communication.
Growing your blog in the face of diversification, however, is a whole new challenge, even for the most versed writers out there. So, if you’re eager to establish your own blog, grow your existing brand’s blog presence, or find a way to boost the relevance of your posts – here are a few ideas to keep in mind.
Blogging is no lonesome endeavor
In the early stages of setting up and running your blog, it may seem like a major accomplishment if you merely stick to your schedule and publish your posts on a regular basis. That, however, is far from enough to allow your writing to attract the kind of attention it needs to thrive. Otherwise, you might very well be looking at a dead blog.
In addition to writing and posting on your website, you need to expand your marketing tactics that will attract better exposure for each and every article you create. First of all, have you truly optimized your pieces with the right keywords, especially if you’re running a local business? Do you have well-maintained social media pages where you regularly share your blog pieces together with all the necessary tags? Can someone read your blogs comfortably on a smartphone or a tablet? Do you send out emails to notify your subscribers about your latest blog?
All of these and many other marketing approaches are designed to place your blog in front of as many people as possible – so you cannot expect each individual blog post to do all the work. The more difficult part actually comes after you publish the piece.
Generate interest by proving interest
Since blogs are not meant to be passive by nature, you should make sure that every article you write has well-designed CTAs on several carefully-selected places. If you’re trying to get more people to apply for your online course or to buy your e-book, your blogging page will certainly have these distinct guides “nudging” people in the right direction.
Introduce social proof
Sometimes, however, that nudge alone will not cut it. People want to see that others like them are interested in what you have to say and that they trust you with their investment, no matter how affordable or expensive your offers might be. One of the most effective ways to do that is to use a social proof tool on your website to create brief, but effective pop-up notifications telling your site visitors who and where purchased your product or signed up for your service.
This is a subtle way to show them that your voice is relevant in your niche and that there are so many others around them already trying out your service or product. As a consequence, those CTAs you place so carefully on your blog pages will be more appealing, and you’ll boost your chance to get more subscribers on your site. Even when the article itself is not sales-y by nature, it has the potential to increase your conversion rates when you pair it with the right tools.
Connect your blog to social media
Too many people treat starting a blog as a separate marketing effort from their social media presence. However, we’ve already established that writing your blogs isn’t an isolated part of your marketing strategy. In fact, it will only be as effective as your dissemination approach across various platforms where your target customers spend their time. Among the most popular and widely-used social media networks are Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. This relentless trio has become every blogger’s must-have for improving their article’s visibility and engagement.
Social media cross-promotion is one of the finest ways to boost the effectiveness of your blog content. What’s crucial to remember is that you shouldn’t simply copy and paste the same introductory sentence to each social platform. Use different wording, ask different questions, and optimize the images that go along with the post. Finally, don’t forget to add hashtags that will help these social media platforms recognize who will benefit from your post the most.
Unlike the two platforms we’ll tackle in a minute, Facebook lets you create long posts to go with your blog link. Still, only the first 480 characters will be visible on the newsfeed, and most users will not spend that much time reading the post alone if they’re meant to go to the blog. Find a short and sweet way to introduce your latest blog content to your Facebook followers and to entice them to go and read the article.
Remember, even though it’s not a strictly visual platform, posts with images have a much better click-through rate than text-only posts. As for timing, it will depend on your target demographic and when people in your niche are most active on social media.
This is where getting your followers to visit your blog gets tricky – Instagram doesn’t allow clickable URLs within posts; you’re only allowed a single link in your profile. That’s why you need to understand the power of great hashtags and using imagery with a short message to invite people to read your latest article. An image within your blog can be a great teaser for your Instagram audience, but do your best to write a great caption that will send them to your blog page.
Just like with the previous two platforms, Twitter has become increasingly visual in terms of content preferences. If you want more exposure and you need to harness more interest for your blog content, adding an image gives you a better chance to reach more people. Plus, even though the previous limit of up to 140 characters no longer applies (it’s 280 now), you should still stick to short form in your Twitter posts – the most common length is 33 characters.
Listen to search engine preferences
For the vast majority of businesses, content marketing is the key piece of the puzzle for improving their ranking in Google as well as other relevant search engines. Research proves that writing blogs on a regular basis can help you have 126% more leads than those who skip this particular segment of their digital marketing.
Another quality that separates successful bloggers from those who fail to utilize their content marketing strategy to the fullest is that they keep an eye on how search engine algorithm trends change. For example, Google once loved and rewarded articles 600 words in length. Today, however, you need to double and triple your word count to even stand a chance to reach the first page of Google.
Moreover, simply sprinkling those useful keywords will no longer cut it. Google now looks at the overall value of the blogs you write and the contextual relevance of your keywords and phrases. That simply means that the more practical value you provide in your writing, the greater your chances are to rank higher and get more people to your website. Using relevant references, recent data, studies, and other supportive material gives your blogs another level of credibility, which Google loves and appreciates.
Link-building throughout your blogging is also a vital factor in the eyes of search engines. Both internal links to your own resources and quality external links are some of Google’s most decisive ranking factors. So, if you want your blogs to be recognized by search engines for their value, add informative links to authority websites, and continue earning links back to your own articles.
Enrich with visuals
Articles can have a wide array of purposes. They can educate your readers, help them get to know your brand, share the latest news and changes in your industry, or provide them with clear instructions on how to tackle a certain problem. Research has shown that people who have illustrations with text in their instructions do a staggering 323% better than those who only use text-based guides.
What this means for your blog is that you need to consider adding a visual edge to your writing. Images, charts, graphs, infographics, or any form of visual content to accompany your writing will instantly make your blogs easier to follow and remember.
Finally, use vlogging, videos, and animated visuals to give your storytelling yet another, even more relatable dimension. Use videos to mention your articles and inspire people to read about what you’re covering in those videos, but also link to your video-based guides in your written content to help people understand the topic better. Let your entire content marketing strategy work in favor of your blog posts, and vice versa, so that your audience can appreciate your effort even more, and search engines will recognize your relevance and reward it with a better position in the SERPs.
Stay in the know of the latest trends
Writers know that storytelling and choosing your subject matter is about reading and keeping up with the trends as much as it is about refining the actual creative process. Simply put, you cannot expect your blog to survive the surge of other blogging platforms if you stick to the same topics without venturing outside of your comfort zone.
Educate yourself on your audience
Your current pieces as well as your competitors’ blogs are a great place to start. Use different analytics tools to see which articles have the highest engagement rates on your site, which topics receive generally the most attention, and which keywords and phrases your competitors are covering lately that are getting them more noticed.
These digital tools help you evaluate the impact of your content marketing strategy, but they also help you see what’s “hot” in the eyes of your target audience. Cover topics that your readers will love, and you’ll instantly improve your chances of better engagement in the form of more shares and more vibrant conversations across social media and in the comment section of your blog.
User-generated content is pivotal
Whether you sell a product, a service, e-books, video guides, or you’re a consultant, blogging is still one of the finest tools to retain and grow your authority in the field. Sometimes, you may not be the greatest expert alive on a certain topic, but you can build relationships with other bloggers who can contribute to your own library of useful, educational posts. You can even step out of the digital realm and visit blogging networking events to make connections and ultimately build a community.
If someone is qualified, educated, and recognized as an expert in your field of work, your own blog will reap the rewards of sharing the post of such an individual. They can give useful tips, share unique insights, and perhaps even cite specific research that can be extremely beneficial for your readers. Co-creation is another valid opportunity, so you can pair up with an expert blogger to craft a piece that will wow your audience.
Become a contributor yourself
Your own website’s blog isn’t the only place where you should strive to publish. With a loyal following and a decent standing in your industry, you can leverage your authority to re-publish, share, and send fresh articles to other successful bloggers whom you deem relevant.
The more you spread out, the greater the chances are that others will come across your writing, learn to appreciate your expertise, and you’ll expand your publishing network significantly beyond your starting point – your own blog.
This may seem like a very ambitious blog post justifying its own existence, but the simple truth is, articles remain essential for SEO, reputation-building, but also for establishing an emotional bond with your audience. It doesn’t matter what niche you come from or how intricate your business might be, blogging is one of those marketing artforms that will never lose relevance. Sure, it will adapt, evolve, and change to reflect the needs of the modern-day audience, but blogging will always serve you as one of the most reliable ways to generate better leads and boost your credibility. So, in case you still don’t have a blogging strategy, 2020 is the perfect time to build one that will skyrocket your digital presence.