The Role of Blogging in Your Inbound Marketing Strategy [Current Best Practices]
Blogs are NOT dead! Consistently publishing blog content is one of the most important aspects of crafting a successful inbound marketing strategy.
- Are you looking for ways to increase traffic to your site?
- Is getting new visitors proving to be a challenge?
- Do you want to revamp your inbound marketing strategy?
If so, then adding a professional blog to your business website might be just the thing you need!
Blogging has become one of the most effective ways to generate website traffic. If done correctly, blogging can increase brand awareness, improve SEO, and build relationships with customers. Yet, in some circles, the blog has earned an unfair reputation as passé.
Learn how blogging is essential to any successful inbound marketing strategy and discover current best practices, as well as review some blogging bad habits that you should avoid.
What Is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing is most effective when used consistently. It can be expensive, but if done right can save companies money. Understanding what you’re doing before you start is key. And it takes time to get results. But once you do, you’ll see how much better it works. Inbound marketing uses traditional methods of advertising. Outbound marketing is using a big megaphone to shout your message. Inbound marketing uses a magnet to attract people who want what you offer.
Traditional marketing used to rely on a more sales-oriented approach. However, modern marketing methods focus on offering solutions to problems. This type of marketing is called inbound because it attracts prospective customers to your product, offering, or service with specific solutions. Inbound marketing uses a magnet to attract people who want what you offer.
Alternatively, outbound marketing on the other hand is about getting in front of as many people as possible to show them your offer.
Inbound Marketing vs Outbound Marketing
Outbound marketing focuses on interrupting an audience with content they may or may not care about.
Whereas inbound marketing creates value by forming relationships with prospects before selling to them. It’s about building trust. This is accomplished by providing useful content that interests people in the form of blogs, eBooks, whitepapers, case studies and testimonials, videos, infographics, etc.
An inbound marketing strategy is comprised of two approaches—an organic content marketing model and a paid advertising model. The organic model allows you to create valuable content and attract people online who are searching for what you offer. While the paid model, you pay to promote your products or services to potential customers via ads and other paid channels.
The Benefits of Blogging
Blogging, once perceived to be a mommy hobby has now grown into one of the most powerful business marketing tools available. Any good inbound marketing strategy today has to make a place for blogs and custom content.
In fact, 78% of chief marketing officers think custom content is the future of marketing.
Creating and maintaining an archive of quality blog posts greatly boosts the effectiveness of your inbound marketing strategy.
Attracts New Customers
Publishing quality content attracts people looking for information on the topic you are writing about. Blogs and good quality content allow you to more easily generate leads for your business.
Increases Brand Awareness
A blog can help improve brand awareness because it positions you as an expert in your field. When people see your blog posts, they are more likely to think of you when they need the product or service you offer.
Quality blog content can help improve your website’s SEO because it increases the number of links to your site and the number of social shares. This helps you rank higher in search engine results, which drives more traffic to your site.
Blogging helps you form a relationship with customers and prospects by providing value to them. When readers see that you have their best interests in mind, they are more likely to trust you and consider becoming a customer.
Blogs are great at generating leads. When you publish quality content that people want to read, you are able to reach out to them and request information in return. This is a great way to source email addresses, which in turn allows you to boost your database of potential clients.
Keep in mind that the most important aspect of leveraging a blog is quality content. Simply churning out blog post after blog post and hoping your target audience will find something worthwhile will not yield much success.
Blogging Practices That Work Best Right Now
We have already spoken about how important blog content is to your inbound marketing strategy.
With over 4 billion people online every day, there are constantly new methods surfacing about how to reach existing and potential customers effectively. And blogs still remain one of the most effective.
Content for blogs is never a challenge as there are simply so many different approaches you can take. From humorous to how-to-guides to stories shared. There are endless possibilities when it comes to topics for blog content. However, when planning the integration of blogs into your inbound marketing strategy, there are some blogging best practices you should remember.
Consistency is Key
One of the most important factors to remember when blogging is to be consistent. Blogging is not something that can be done on an ad hoc basis—not if you want an effective return. Part of the blogging strategy you develop needs to take into account how often you will be posting.
This may seem like a bit of an irrelevant step, but it is so important. It’s easy to get caught up in the activities of a workday, to then see your blog slip through the cracks. This just needs to happen for a couple of days in a row here and there in a month and you will start to lose credibility. Readers want to know they can rely on your content. They want to know it matters to you and that it is something you are passionate about.
Making time for your blog posts is one of the best ways to convey this message! Publish new content on a regular basis and make sure it is high quality. If you can’t commit to publishing new content on a regular basis, then the reality is that you should not start a blog.
Target Your Audience
Any good inbound marketing strategy considers the audience! When you are writing your blog posts, make sure you are writing for your audience. One of the best ways to achieve this is with a little research before you get started.
Take some time to profile your audience. Categorize them according to pre-defined personas. These personas are known as buyer personas. They give life to the members of your audience. They allow you to plan specific content for specific personas.
In this way, you are able to generate content specific to the needs of the various personas. Drilling down and creating relevant and real content for these personas will seem them identify strongly with what you are saying, and in turn, with your company.
Knowing your target audience’s likes and dislikes, as well as their pain points and desires, will allow you to write content that meets their needs and provides value to them.
Optimize Your Blog Posts
Keywords are the secret sauce for successful blogging and cannot be stressed enough. While you may have a long list of keywords you have already decided on using, you need to pause and take time to research these keywords to see how effectively they are going to optimize your content.
While each post should be optimized with keywords related to your product or service, it is the optimization that is so critically important. Ultimately, research and relevant keywords used strategically will help you rank higher in the SERP (search engine results page), resulting in more people finding your blog posts.
While the content in your blog is the most important part, visuals play a significant role too. A great way to engage readers is to use visuals in your blog posts. Visuals break up the copy, draw the reader in, and lighten the approach. Use images, infographics, or videos to help explain complex ideas and make your blog posts more interesting to read.
Promote on Social Media
Another important part of any inbound marketing strategy is how effectively you incorporate social media. Social media has fast become one of the most powerful inbound marketing strategy promotion tools in any inbound marketing strategy.
One of the best ways to get your blog content in front of more people is to promote it on social media. Post links to your blog posts on all of your social media profiles, and use your keywords as your social media hashtags to help increase the audience reach.
Successful blogs encourage audience engagement and draw readers in. Reply to comments and start discussions on your blog posts. Doing so creates a community of loyal followers who are interested in what you have to say.
Use a Call-to-Action (CTA)
Any good inbound marketing strategy incorporates CTAs. A call-to-action approach is a great way to encourage readers to take the next step in the customer journey with you. CTAs can be anything from asking for feedback, requesting an email sign-up, or asking followers to share your blog post on social media.
The most important part here is the actual engagement! Get your community talking and interacting and watch how their loyalty builds.
Use Guest Bloggers
Guest blogging can be a great way to introduce new readers to your blog. When you allow other bloggers to write posts for your blog, it gives them exposure to your audience and allows them to build a relationship with your followers.
If you are able to make contact with influencers, you can also look at inviting them to participate in a blog or series of blogs on your page. In this way, you are able to channel information about your product or service to their follower base thereby extending your audience reach and lead base even further.
Optimize for Search
Optimization extends beyond the keywords. When publishing new blog content, ensure the post is properly optimized for search engines.
Quality writers create optimized headlines and meta descriptions, use keywords in the body text, optimize images with alt text, use internal and external links throughout the content, and add social media sharing buttons.
Clever and strategic use of these elements organically extends the reach of your blog and allows you to grow your follower base authentically.
Blogging is a long-term commitment. Achieving overnight results is an unrealistic expectation. It often takes a year or more to build a successful blog.
The key is to be consistent in your blogging efforts and publish high-quality content on a regular basis. After some time you will start to see the results of the hard work you have put in.
Measuring your results is critical as it allows you to see the effectiveness of your overall strategy and the impact your blog is having.
Take the time to measure your progress regularly. This will not only show you where things are not working well, but it will also provide encouragement on your journey. You will be able to track the micro improvements as they occur at the start and watch them turn into significant growth.
Use analytics tools to measure the results of your blog posts. Keep a close eye on this so you can also monitor which topics are most popular, what types of content your readers prefer most, and how to improve the effectiveness of your blog.
Blogging Practices You Should Stop Right Now
If you find yourself doing any of these blogging red flags on a regular basis, take a step back and rethink your inbound marketing strategy approach.
Void Feeling Like Blogging is a Chore
Make blogging a priority and add it to your schedule. You will avoid rushing to get posts published at the last minute, which can lead to lower-quality content. This is also a sign it might be time to outsource your blog creation to a professional agency.
Avoid Thinking That Blogging Should Be Done in Isolation
Good blogs have depth and depth comes from layers of ideas and concepts and topics. Working in isolation can damage your blog and make it one-dimensional. Encourage cross-team participation and listen to the ideas and suggestions of co-workers in different departments.
Gathering feedback from co-workers for new blog post ideas, blog topic pitches, or just general support can be extremely helpful. Get involved in online communities or start your own blog group with like-minded bloggers.
Avoid Writing Only for Search Engines
Blog writing is not solely meant for the sole purpose of pleasing search engine algorithms.
Focus on writing first about relevant topics that are important to your business. Then write for your readers, engaging them in topics that interest them and that are helpful to them.
Focusing on creating quality content that provides value to your audience first makes optimizing for search engines an easier task later.
Avoid Publishing Too Often
Publishing too often can be damaging to your blog. Avoid drowning your readers in unnecessary or irrelevant content just for the sake of posting.
Quality over quantity is important to remember when publishing content.
Aim for one new post per week on the same day and time, and not only will you be more successful in your strategy, but you will feel less overwhelmed too.
Avoid Re-Publishing Old Blog Posts Without Revamping Them
While recycling older material can be a great way to get the most out of your content marketing strategy, you must be adding something new of value. Don’t publish the same old posts over and over again without adding something new.
If you’re just recycling content, your readers will quickly lose interest. Publish fresh, new content that is relevant to your audience. Or, thoughtfully repurpose older content. Find new keywords to add in order to re-optimize your content and make sure the article is fresh and appealing to your audience.
Avoid Writing Only For Yourself
While you do need to let your own passion for your topics, products, services, and industry information shine through, you also need to keep your reader at the front and center of every strategy.
This content is for them. As such, it is important to make sure that what you right holds relevance for them as the audience first and foremost. When you’re blogging, it’s important to write for your readers. Focus on producing original content that will truly help people and keep them engaged with your blog.
Partner With WriteForMe For Help With Your Blog Content
Whether you are looking to get started with blogging or you are hoping to get more out of your current efforts, WriteForMe has your content marketing solutions.
At WriteForMe, you will work with content experts at every step of the process. From content strategy development to writing to publishing, you’ll get the most out of what content marketing has to offer.
Learn what WriteForMe can do for your inbound marketing strategy with a free content playbook.