3 Steps To Improve Your Blog Content Marketing
Let’s be honest. Blogging is hard work.
You have to find the right combination of multiple factors: platform, topic, voice and audience.
And consistency is key. You can’t post a blog and then have a three-month hiatus. Most people have a short attention span, and it’s easy to lose your following if you aren’t keeping them engaged.
Not to mention the challenge of actually writing a coherent piece. I once had a professor who said no one really enjoys writing. He compared it to running a marathon. You enjoy the end result and your accomplishment more than the actual act.
For a long time, I saw blogging as a chore. It was something on my daily to-do list that required a lot of time and effort, and it felt like there was very little reward because website analytics revealed few people were reading our posts.
Over time, I’ve totally changed my mind, though, and learned how to be a better blogger. Here are 4 tips to help you develop a love of blogging and improve your approach:
1. Get Into “Your Zone”
I don’t know about you, but I need to be in the right state of mind to write something more than a quick e-mail. Our office has an open-plan design, and we enjoy a collaborative environment. I love being able to share ideas and information with my team, but that isn’t always conducive for writing something that requires deep thought.
To help, I found a quiet, comfortable space in the office, our co-lab, that makes it much easier for me to focus. I can curl up on the chairs there and write for a set amount of time with minimal interruption before returning to my desk to complete other tasks.
I also sometimes write when I’m at home watching a show. That doesn’t work for everyone, but I find that the background noise actually helps me to feel more at ease. Of course, it can’t be a show I’m invested in, like The Walking Dead or Scandal, and it also can’t be one that requires me to keep my eyes on the screen, like foreign programs with captions (if you haven’t seen City of God, you’re missing out).
Whatever environment helps you to be most productive, find a way to recreate it.
2. Don’t Force It
When I first started blogging for my B2B company, I tried to make every blog an insightful piece with lots of words. Putting a mandatory, lengthy word count on each post made the task daunting from the start.
I realized that it’s good to have variety. Different segments of your audience enjoy different things, and it’s good to mix it up to test out what readers respond to best. It helps you grow into a better blogger once you get to know your audience and provide them with better content that keeps them coming back. It also allows you to play around with content rather than boring yourself with a standard blog template that doesn’t allow you to develop flexible writing capabilities.
3. Find A Design You Love
One of the requests most designers grow to hate is “make it pretty,” but people like pretty things!
To help inspire myself to blog, I decided to take a look at other blogs and pick out things I liked. This gave me greater insight into current design trends and which were more successful. For myself and many other blog readers, the visual design or images play a large role in reader experience. Blogs that are just blocks of black-and-white text don’t hold my attention and are difficult for me to finish. At the same time, an excessive number of visual elements can be distracting and slows page load time.
Changing the layout of my company’s blog made it more fun and exciting for me to create content. More appealing design made me look forward to creating posts and more proud to share them.
4. Actively share…and re-share
This one seems like common sense, but it must be said. Once you spend so much time writing and designing a blog, you’ve got to get it out there. Experimenting to see what maximizes your blog views is critical. Send out news of your post through various channels, such as e-mail, social media and community forums. Social media is great because it’s free and offers the opportunity for people to repost, retweet or regram your content.
Advertising on the right digital platform to reach your target audience is also a great idea. As a B2B marketer, I’ve found LinkedIn to be a great place to do this. This platform also allows you to share content to industry groups for individuals with similar professional interests.
Sharing your content with journalists and other bloggers sometimes secures republication if these individuals think your content can benefit their own readers. They also might be so impressed with your writing skills that they offer you guest blogging opportunities in the future.
And don’t just share once. You can repurpose content to get the most use of it. If you share a blog one week, share it again the next week to reach people who might not have seen it or paid attention to it the first time.
By the way, make sure to think SEO before you hit the publish button to ensure that individuals performing Internet searches are directed to your content. Research the right keywords to use. Personally, I love using Google Trends to see what the most-searched keywords and subjects are.
By using these 4 tips, I not only became a better blogger, I also saw more success from my efforts. Traffic to our blog and our site as a whole increased, and more individuals from both inside and outside the company took an interest in contributing content.
I’d love to hear tips from you on how you make blogging more fun, easy and successful. Share your own experiences in the comments below or get in touch with me via Twitter: @ccmarce_writes.
Image: Flickr.com, Christian Gonzalez, @full-aperture, "Natural light in Steilacoom Park, WA"