The journey to generating stacks of warm and hot leads starts with creating great content that converts, and a business blog is a brilliant channel for that content. According to Mashable, 57 per cent of businesses have acquired a new customer via a company blog. Yet many companies I see either don’t bother with it, or see very few leads coming from it. Here are my top tips for creating a successful business blog.
I often get asked: ‘How often should I post?’ There is no correct set time and I usually say, ‘as often as you have good content to post but at least once a week’. On our Tracepoint blog, we post twice weekly, following an editorial calendar that we update regularly. However there are times when we have more to say – for example, when the Inbound Marketing event was on. Then we posted nearly every day, commenting on the great talks we heard. My point is that you should try to post regularly, as frequently as you can. Blogging once a week will take an hour or two of your time – an hour or two that will cost you nothing, and with a targeted approach could be your key to getting found by the right people.
One of the key uses of a business blog is that it adds fresh keyword-optimised content to your web domain on a weekly basis, providing search engines like Google, with plenty to index. Educational or entertaining blog content is great for promoting across social media and means your less dependent on search related traffic too. And make sure your blog is a feature of your company’s website otherwise all that fresh, keyword charged content will not be bringing traffic to your site.
Blogs help to inspire confidence in your brand by demonstrating that you have both expert knowledge and a deep insight into your field of expertise. So make sure your content reflects this.
Nobody wants to read a 10,000-word tome. Boring product-based content is time consuming to produce and you’re more likely to have snores than leads. Of course you want to talk about your products or services, but save that for a short paragraph at the end. Instead, I find it better to hook the reader in on personal experiences, client success stories, commentary or advice around key issues, relevant to them. What you can learn from items in the news is often a good start. See what I mean in this post about President Obama’s inauguration speech. Concise, timely and relevant is the key to keeping readers coming back for more, which of course also means keeping them interested in your brand.
The tone of voice, style of writing as well as the content itself, make blogs a useful tool for strengthening your brand. I strongly recommend having a look at other blogs in your industry and others to get a feel for the tone of voice and style that you feel best fits your brand. Coca-Cola’s collectibles blog, for example, has a very strong style. Other bloggers are also a good source for opinions and content to comment on or include in your own posts. Make sure you don’t forget to quote the source though, and to link to them. On the subject of links, anchor links are vital in getting readers (prospective customers) to see your offers and relevant product information that solve specific problems they have.
Another really simple way to maximise inbound lead generation is by including a call to action in the blog post. A call to action is button to tell your reader what to do next. For example, ‘read this e-book’, ‘watch this video case study’, ‘click on this link to find out more’, ‘get pricing’ etc. But to really make this work, you need to put the call to action at the end of post – when you’ve made all your points to convince the prospect. If someone has taken the time to read to the end of your blog post, then you are likely to have struck a chord with them. The call to action at the end that offers more content on the same or a similar topic allows you to strike while the iron is hot.
A quick word on titles. There is no right or wrong here. Some organisations like quirky and some like the ‘say what it does’ approach. I have seen both work. Personally on the Tracepoint blog I have gone for the ‘tell the reader what they are going to get out of it’ style. So, recent titles include: The future of inbound marketing for business – 4 key things you’ll learn at Inbound Marketing UK 2013 and Whip your S&M teams – for better B2B lead generation performance. As you can see, it is important to include industry specific words in your title so that potential readers – your prospects – will see the relevance immediately, but a bit of controversy works too!
Finally, don’t forget to measure the success of your blog. Blogs are extremely easy to track via an analytics account so you can quickly see the direct value of leads generated from it – therefore you can easily tweak the content and strategy to improve lead generation if you feel necessary. Using analytics, comments and shares, you can also use your blog to garner views and understand customer and industry feedback, thus helping to better direct your marketing focus.
Blogs deliver easy-to-read information directly to an interested audience. Whether you write the posts yourself or you outsource it, blogging can be one of the most inexpensive forms of lead-generation available.