Today we’re discussing how to optimize your blog to reach your business growth goals, such as increased website traffic, increased website conversions, or increased brand awareness. If you don’t yet have a blog or don’t understand why you might need one, start by reading our “Do Blogs Still Matter?” post.
Once you understand why you should be blogging, we’ll dive into how to get the most benefit from it.
Write What the People Want
One of the biggest challenges to writing a regular blog can be topic ideas. Especially if your product or service is not especially “sexy,” it can be difficult to write new and interesting blogs. But they don’t have to all come from your head – and they shouldn’t.
Source ideas for blogs from a few key audiences. First, look around your company – who has unique expertise in the company and is willing to write for you? As long as you set up an editor to clean up any writing errors, feel free to empower other staff members (especially outside of the marketing department) to write topics pulling from their experiences, interests and knowledge.
Next, source from your readers and customers. Ask questions on your blogs and emails, and then use the answers to inspire blogs. Social media is a great place to ask people for future blog ideas or commonly asked questions. Show your followers some love by giving them shout-outs in the blog or social post to thank them for the great questions.
You can also use web searches to find topics. Use a website such as Ubersuggest to find popular keywords relevant to a topic, let Google automatically fill in a search (to see what others are looking for), or dive into more detail with an app like KeywordTool.io.
Bring Them in with Great Headlines
Clickbait is not necessarily a bad word, especially when what you want is for people to click your blog titles. Avoid being overly sensationalist or misleading, but otherwise do try to write headlines that grab readers’ interests. Effective headlines should be varied and interesting. Try asking questions, or being quirky or funny. Some studies show that the best headlines are polarizing – people want to click on what they love or hate, so try stirring the pot occasionally on your headlines. Find some examples of “clickbaity” but effective headlines here.
Write Good Content
You’ll only attract people to your blog if they find it valuable. Though it sounds contrary to what we know about attention spans, longer content actually performs better, in terms of which blogs get read and shared. Take the time to research a topic and really dive in. (Check our blog on writing good web content for some pointers – but know that it’s now OK, even preferable, to write more than 500 words.) A quality, longer blog will situate you as an expert, provide several opportunities for using long-tail keywords, and provide evergreen content that you can leave on your site to generate leads for months to come.
Your content should also be optimized for keywords and search. Try a resource such as SEMrush or Spyfu to review your content to ensure you’re effectively incorporating keywords to perform well in search and attract your target audiences. A well-written blog with well-integrated keywords can end up being a first-page result in online searches, attracting people to your website through the blog.
Optimize Successful Blogs
Run analytics to determine which of your blogs over the past few months are getting the most views, and then go back in to make them even better. Can you tweak the headline? Expand your photo captions? Embed some links? Add a paragraph to update content? Small tweaks will make the content look refreshed (so Google knows it’s new), and will likely make a popular blog even more popular.
It’s good practice to review blogs every 6 months or a year to go back in and optimize the top performers.
So, How Does a Great Blog Drive Leads and Business Growth?
Once you’ve put in the effort above, what happens? All the above steps should help your blog move higher on search engines for basic search, as well as for more long-tail keywords and voice searches (think about how you ask questions to your phone). But once you’ve gotten the clicks from potentially interested clients, you need to convert them to strong leads through the marketing funnel. Your great blogs will increase Awareness and Interest, but you need to follow up with strong marketing to more visitors through Desire to Action.
To do so, first ensure that your blog encourages action and engagement:
- Include embedded links so users will stay and explore other pages on your website.
- Have strong calls-to-action (CTAs) placed strategically to encourage users to contact you, complete basic forms, or sign-up for a newsletter.
Speaking of that newsletter, be sure to capture interested blog readers by getting them to sign up to read more. Email is still an incredibly valuable marketing strategy, and blogs are a great way to increase email subscribers. Additionally, interested blog readers are likely willing to follow you on social, so include easy ways on your website for interested readers to follow you with one click. By converting one-time blog readers to dedicated followers, you’ll have moved them closer to strong leads and customers.
Are Blogs Worth the Work?
We realize all the above steps require a dedicated blog-production employee or team, and not every business can dedicate effort to this valuable growth tool. That’s why ALINE often ends up writing blogs for many of our clients. We love developing engaging content to support SEO and lead-generation strategies. We view blog writing as a component of larger digital marketing strategies.
So if you need a little extra help—either launching a blog, optimizing your content or keeping it running—then please reach out to us.