Digital client engagement has evolved to the point where there are so many tools it’s not only hard to know where to start, but also to know where to focus the resources necessary to achieve results. This generally leads to frustration or, even worse, inaction. Today’s business environment is far too competitive to ignore that digital marketing – specifically, content marketing/blogging – will not only drive traffic to your website, but also position you as an expert and win clients.
Why content marketing? The numbers are staggering:
• 54% of marketers generated a client from their blog in 2014
• 86% of small business marketers view their blog as their most impactful marketing tactic
• 72% of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) professionals rate blogging as their top inbound marketing activity
While success through blogging isn’t a new concept, it is one that is gaining wild momentum. In 2014, the largest blog hosting site had over 83 million unique visitors in the United States EVERY month. Blogs fuel SEO as search engines crave valuable content and reward you for it with higher rankings in search.
Once you’ve decided to incorporate a blog into your marketing strategy, there are five guidelines to steer your efforts in the right direction:
1. Consistency – If you don’t have a calendar set up for your blog, how will your followers know when to come back for new content? For example, excluding holidays, the Proforma blog has fresh content every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Find a schedule (weekly, bi-weekly, etc.) that works for you and hold yourself accountable to it. No one starts a blog only to become one of the 95% that abandon it due to lack of consistency.
2. SEO – Use your blog to drive people to your website. A great way to incorporate key words that search engines use is to take advantage of alternate text for images. On every blog you post, the alternate text of the image used to support the post should be your blogs name and then the title of the blog. This will result in your website to be the top search result on Google. Also, ensure your blog is mobile friendly as it will negatively impact your SEO if it’s not.
3. Promote – Leverage social media to promote the heck out of each post. By linking your blog post to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and commonsku, you drive people to your website. Twitter is especially useful for this purpose and there are dozens of free programs such as TweetJukebox that will automate it for you. In all the social media noise, relentless promotion is your best friend.
4. Write for your Audience – I can’t stress this enough. Many beginning bloggers tend to make the mistake of writing about themselves or their business. Remember, readers generally want to read about things that concern them, not you. For example, think in terms of what they already know, and what do they want to know about your industry. Deliver information based on their needs and focus on how you can help them.
5. 80/20 Rule – Don’t fall into the trap of having your blog be solely about the latest products or just to “sell something.” A full 80% of your posts should be focused on building your readership by educating and entertaining them. Share a case history, relate to a common client problem, or discuss how social media has impacted your personal marketing efforts. This way, when you do change things up and post something that is sales-based, it will stand out.
Content marketing can provide a high return on your resource investment when done correctly. Being consistent, focusing on SEO, relentless promotion, writing for your audience, and keeping the 80/20 rule top of mind will set you apart from the competition either unwilling or unable to engage with their target audience through content marketing.