So, you want to have a more effective blog?
Whether you’re a marketing manager or business owner, you probably understand content continues to reign as king in the digital marketing world.
Content captures new attention, creates interest, and builds loyalty. And while businesses understand the importance of content, the execution by most is still profoundly weak. That's probably how you found your way to this post.
My job here isn't to convince you of the importance of content. Most businesses already get this. That’s why content marketing investments have grown each year and will continue to grow.
Instead, this article will highlight some of the methods we use for creating highly blog content.
Blogging is just one of the many ways of using content to market your brand. In terms of driving search engine traffic and rankings, we consider it to be the single most effective tactic in today's SEO world.
Why Should You Believe What We Have To Say?
Because we've actually done it.
Using the methods below, we’ve turned our own website into a picture perfect model of the inbound marketing philosophy.
In doing so, we’ve managed to grow our traffic 1100% in only three years.
Frankly, this is the type of organic traffic growth most content marketers only dream of.
But we're not dreaming it, we're living it.
Our advice comes from direct experience, not a rehash of someone else’s ideas (which, unfortunately, is what most digital marketing bloggers are out there peddling when it comes to blogging).
Business owners can use the following advice to ensure your content marketing investments are being used wisely. Marketing managers should use this advice when planning their upcoming content calendar.
1. Feed Off Feedback - Find Your Niche
Our motto for content is “top shelf or bust.” Weak content accomplishes absolutely nothing.
Quality can be defined in several different ways, but for this example, we'll focus on audience response.
To begin, look back to old posts that have been shared, liked, or commented on.
Seek to understand what it was about that post that resonated with your audience. It could be the topic, style, or even the tone. Some of our most successful posts were written with an emotional edge, and readers responded to that passion. Similarly, we see a favorable response from posts about data and customer behavior.
Like a comedian honing his act on stage, you won’t know what’s really good until you put it out there and see how people respond.
Once you understand the combination of delivery of subject matter that gets people to engage back with your content, continue in that direction. Niche's are critical, and you need to find yours.
2. Answer People's Direct Questions
If you don't have an established audience, put the clever blog titles on the shelf.
Instead, title your posts as though you're answering someone's direct question.
According to comScore, by 2020, 50% of searches will come from voice.
Process that for a second...
Within a few years, half of all searches will sound something like, "Hey Google, what is __________."
We are moving to an artificial intelligence world, and Google is relying on you to answer the world's questions about your industry.
As people get more comfortable asking Google questions (either through voice or text), a gold rush of content opportunity is being created.
Clever blog titles don't rank well, but posts that align directly with a user's question will.
3. Let Rankings Be Your Guide
High Google rankings alone won’t generate cash for your business, but they’re still a very important metric for content marketing.
I can't stress this point enough.
If you're trying to drive traffic from a search engine, you need to monitor your keyword rankings.
Search is one of the best ways to reach a new audience online. It begins when you write a piece of content addressing a specific issue or question, then when someone searches that specific issue or question, they find your post ranking up top.
In reality, most posts don’t jump to the top of Google as soon as you hit “publish.” Instead, they’ll probably land on the second or third page of Google.
Page 2 of Google and beyond is a content graveyard. It represents a trophy shelf of wasted content marketing time and resources.
So unless you’ve achieved page 1 rankings, you work on that post isn’t complete.
Re-read that last sentence. If you're not on page one with your content, your job is not done.
To overcome this, it’s important to monitor the keywords you intend each new piece of content will rank for.
If a blog post’s top keywords get stuck on the 2nd page or lower, dedicate your next several content hours to updating that post with another 500-750 words.
Republish the post with a new publish date, and re-share the post with your followers. Lengthy posts that are updated frequently will always have a better chance of ranking over a stale piece of content.
4. Identify Which Posts Receive The Most Traffic
Pareto's Law applies equally to blogging. Meaning, the majority of your traffic will likely come from a very small number of posts. You should know which posts are producing the most traffic and results, and make sure they’re getting the ongoing attention they deserve.
It’s not uncommon for a post to suddenly achieve a high ranking in Google without you knowing. Similarly, you may earn a link from another website which suddenly sends volumes of traffic to your post.
So even if you're obsessively tracking keyword rankings on your post, you may suddenly jump to the top of Google for a keyword you hadn't thought of. By monitoring landing page traffic, you'll know which ones are winning visibility.
To do this in Google Analytics, navigate to Behavior > Site Content > Landing Pages.
Since it's unlikely your post is perfect out of the gate, the opportunity always exists to make it better. It may contain time-sensitive data (that eventually becomes outdated), a weak explanation of an idea, or lack of a call to action. These are all things that can be improved continuously over time.
Once you realize a post is receiving attention, it’s time to go back and build that post out even further. Keep the information updated, elaborate on ideas, add more references, and try different calls to action.
While content investments continue to grow, the majority of content produced is weak and ineffective. Use the four methods above to focus your blogging strategy, and earn your way to real, measurable business results.