Nearly two million new blog posts hit the Internet every day. That’s over 1,000 posts a minute.
What are the chances of your business’s blog post becoming a viral sensation?
Let me tell you: slim to none. (And we haven’t even gotten to the truths yet…)
Before worrying about keyword density or images… before formulating a “perfect” content distribution plan… you should be asking yourself one question:
“Are people actually going to like this?”
There are a variety of reasons that most business blogs won’t be successful, but the biggest will always be lackluster content.
As a vital part to an effective inbound marketing strategy, blogging should be taken seriously. Paying attention (really paying attention) to content quality is the starting point of publishing posts that will establish thought-leadership, get shared among your prospects, and drive sales.
While nothing can ever replace the inevitable blood, sweat, and tears that come with creating high-quality content, these five truths (and their accompanying tips) may give you enough of a wake up call to boost your business’s blogging success:
1. No One Knows What You’re Writing About
Most blog posts sink into oblivion because they attempt to “boil the ocean” — in other words, they try to accomplish too much and, thereby, accomplish nothing. Avoid making your topic too broad or vague, and instead try to refine your focus as much as possible.
It’s easier to do this when you realize that a blog post doesn’t need to be a viral sensation to give you ROI. It just needs to be popular among the people that matter – the select group that is most likely to buy your product: your buyer personas.
Instead of this topic:
“the advantages of blogging”
Consider this topic:
“unconventional blogging tactics for business owners in the healthcare industry”
It helps to know who you’re writing for. Use personal experience and a little bit of research to build out your buyer personas (read: How to Create a Kickass Buyer Persona).
Answer these questions, and you’ll know what to write:
- What is your buyer persona most likely to ask you in person? (Ex. “How much does this cost?”)
- What is their ultimate goal? (Ex. ROI, free time)
- What pain points do they experience on a daily basis? (Ex. Lack of organization)
Then, how to write it:
- How does your buyer persona process information? (Do they like lists or paragraphs?)
- What piques their interest most? (Features or benefits?)
- What is their education level? (Do they understand technical writing?)
Play your cards right and you will have enough relevant and specific blog topics to last you months.
2. No One Likes Your Headline
Your headline is the only thing between your customer and the content you spent hours upon hours working on. And like your brand, your headline needs voice.
Sites like Buzzfeed and Upworthy grew audiences by breaking headline writing down into a science, say their founders.
Peter Koechley, Upworthy co-founder, told Wired that a great headline can increase click-through rates by as much as 500 percent.
Neil Patel of Quick Sprout, one of the world’s most successful marketing blogs, says that, while 8 out of 10 people will read your headline, only 2 out of 10 people will read the rest of the content.
He goes on to say that a writer should spend half of their total time on the headline.
Several publishers have coined formulas for their headlines. Among the most common:
Number + Adjective + Keyword + Promise
Instead of this:
How to Improve Your Marketing Strategy
7 High-Octane Ways Your Marketing Strategy Can Supercharge Your ROI
Through experimentation and A/B testing, you’ll learn little things like that odd numbered lists tend to perform better, but — at the very least — you should be adding personality to an otherwise boring headline.
“Dressing up” your headline for the first time may feel a little weird. I like to get over this feeling by staring at Google Analytics while eating ice cream.
3. No One Believes What You’re Saying
Your blog needs to be more than a marketing tool. It should be an ongoing source of valuable information and industry-wide insight. Stop writing blog posts about your product, and instead work to establish thought-leadership.
To ensure your posts are valuable, do your research and share useful facts, data, and testimonials. Back up everything you say with links to high-quality, credible sources. This will help strengthen your message and your online authority.
Backlinking to your sources will help you build relationships and can benefit your SEO by increasing the likelihood of receiving backlinks of your own, therefore boosting your referral traffic and injecting your blog post into a web of reputable, relevant content within search engines like Google.
4. No One’s Reading the Whole Thing
Avoid giant blocks of text.* They’re intimidating, and typically unsuccessful because of the fickle, “just-give-me-the-facts” nature of online browsing. (*Unless you have some solid data showing that your buyer persona prefers it.)
Instead, make your blog posts scannable. This means breaking up your content with a variety of design elements, including:
- Short paragraphs
- Short sentences
- Bulleted or numbered points
- Bolded takeaways
- Visuals, like photos, illustrations, and graphs
If you can map what you need to say onto an infographic, even better. To give you some perspective, infographic search volumes have increased by over 800% in just 2 years time.
5. No One’s Going to Stick Around
Dead ends suck. And failing to give your readers a “next step” directly correlates to your website’s high bounce rate.
Think about it: when your readers finish your (beautifully written & surprisingly educational) blog post, they’re likely going to be a lot more engaged than if you had just hit them with a pushed advertisement.
This is the moment that your blog gets to be a marketing tool. The end of your blog post is prime real-estate for one of your calls-to-actions. Without a call-to-action, or CTA, your readers will leave your website, and you will be out of a sales lead.
A basic CTA can be a prompt for a blog subscription, a premium offer, or simply a link to another valuable post. Whatever you choose to make it, always remember that the key to a successful CTA is relevancy.
Give it a gander below, and let us know if you have any questions!