The foundation of Inbound Marketing is original, engaging, informative content that speaks directly to the target audience. Not only does your business’s blog serve as one of the best mediums for sharing that content, but blogging is essential for brand development. We’ll show you how to do it right.
For anyone who’s not familiar with Inbound Marketing, here’s a quick overview. Traditional marketing relies on communication that goes out to consumers, such as print ads, billboards, commercials, etc. Inbound invites customers in. How? It educates them. Run a Google search on any topic. The first page of results will showcase excellent examples of inbound marketing.
Here’s one example of effective Inbound Marketing:
- An ideal customer has a question and types it into Google.
- The consumer sees the answer on Company X’s website.
- The consumer visits X’s site and get’s informed.
- Once on the site, the visitor may become a qualified lead or even a customer.
Even if neither of these things happens on the first visit, there’s a good chance the visitor will return in the future. Why? Because the site is now a source of useful information.
Why Blogging is Essential to Inbound Marketing
Content is the core of Inbound and great blogs are ideal content. This content is posted on the website and delivered through social media channels. If it’s outstanding, the content will be shared, and the company’s audience will grow. Blogging is also an important tool for Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
What Makes a Great Blog?
There are blogs… and then there are killer blogs that magnetize customers like crazy. Here are 5 characteristics of blogs that increase brand awareness and customer loyalty:
- Solves a Problem Ideal Customers Care About – Blogs that are loved and shared address issues that are important to the target audience. They provide tips and tricks that are genuinely useful.
- Speaks in the Customers’ Language — Language that would excite a teenage gamer isn’t likely to resonate with a middle aged stockbroker. Great blogs know exactly who the target audience is and what language they use.
- Has an Intriguing, Informative or Provocative Headline — The headline, “What I Did on My Summer Vacation” might generate a yawn. “5 Things I Learned About the Opposite Sex on My Summer Vacation” is likely to get a lot more attention (assuming this topic interests the target audience).
- Is Easy to Read — Great information and the right words are not enough. The writing needs to be easy to skim. Research shows that the most frequently shared content is also the easiest to read.
- Uses Action Words — Great blogs are full of energy. They use the active voice, and plenty of verbs (while still speaking the target audience’s language).
The first step in creating a great blog is to understand (really understand) who the target audience is and what they care about.
Then ask three questions:
- What are their problems and desires?
- Which of these relates to the brand?
- What kinds of information will keep them coming back for more?
If you’re starting a new blog, or taking a fresh look at an existing one, make a plan. If you’ll be producing all the content in-house, bring together a team of writers from different departments, rather than expecting one person to do it all. This keeps things fresh and includes more points of view. Brainstorm ideas and create an editorial calendar for the quarter, or even the year. This way pieces can we written in advance and deployed on a regular schedule. Creating and maintaining a great blog takes time and effort. But as a marketing tool, it can be invaluable.