There are innumerable benefits that blogging can have on a company’s bottom line, and now that more and more organisations understand this, business blogging is on the rise. A few of the major advantages of blogging include:
- Increased Exposure & Search Engine Ranking
Companies with blogs get 97% more links to their website. Furthermore, websites with blogs tend to have an average of 434% more indexed pages than those without. Despite the widespread use of paid advertising, a whopping 70%-80% of users prefer organic search results to paid ones and in fact, ignore paid ads completely.
- Lead generation
This is why B2B businesses are more likely to use blogging and why their marketing success is largely reliant on it. In fact, HubSpot found that marketers that use blogs get 67% more leads than those that do not.
- Establishing credibility and authority
Did you know that 47% of buyers viewed 3-5 pieces of content before converting, according to one 2016 Demand Gen Report? Blogs have become exponentially more credible in nature, recently being rated as the ‘5th most trusted source for accurate online information.’
So, you’re aware of the vast benefits that blogging presents – but where do you start? Well, we’ve come up with a 7-step guide to help those struggling with the organisational aspects of blogging.
7 steps to completely organising your blog
1. Define your target demographic
The first stage in organising your blog is figuring out who you’re trying to target. Who is your audience? How exactly are you going to use your content to influence their behaviours?
Each and every piece of content you create should have an explicit purpose. Without the answers to these invaluable questions, you run the risk of throwing out content that simply just won’t stick.
If you’re not exactly sure who your target audience is, then try creating buyer personas (also referred to as marketing personas). These nifty little representations of your ideal audience are an invaluable tool for organizing your blog.
2. Identify their preferences
When you have an accurate picture of your target demographic, you can figure out their preferences. This will inform the content types, styles, tone, voice, and distribution channels you use.
Specificity is key here; your ability to accurately identify their preferences lies largely in how well-developed your insights into your audience are.
For example, if your target audience is a demographic consisting of middle-aged businessmen with incomes in the six-figure range, then your best bet in terms of distribution platforms is undoubtedly going to be LinkedIn.
Sometimes, more general information is also useful here. Keep in mind that:
- 36% of internet users, regardless of their demographics, have a preference for list-based headlines.
- Blog articles with images receive on average 94% more views than those without. Bear these things in mind when creating your blog strategy.
- Generally speaking, long-form blogging content performs the best and ranks higher in Google SERPs, with “top-ranking content” usually being between 1,140 – 1,285 words, according to Search Metrics.
Properly identifying these preferences can make or break your blogging efforts, so it’s vital to get it right.
3. Document your strategy
Having a well-documented blog strategy is essential. It keeps your whole team on the same page, and ensures your goals for the blog guide you at all times. We love TechSoup’s “5-Step Plan to an Effective Content Strategy” – we felt that it did a great job at hitting the key points while remaining concise and digestible.
Again, no content should ever be created without an exact purpose. Your blogging efforts should always align with the audience’s journey. Are you creating content for the top-level awareness stage in your marketing funnel? Or perhaps you’re creating blogging content that is meant to generate quality leads?
Resources – like money, time and staff – are also important. Well-organised blogs make the most of the resources they have available to them, so this also needs to be included.
Finally, a blog strategy is nothing if it’s not measurable. You need to be able to measure the performance of your blog according to the goals you’ve set. This allows you to see how what works, and what doesn’t, over time.
4. Create a content calendar
There’s a reason every major publisher on the planet uses editorial calendars to organise their content. When it comes to organising your blog, a content calendar is indispensable.
Content calendars help keep your efforts organised, clean, and professional. They also help build a rapport with your audience. Having a content calendar establishes the path for consistency and reliability.
There are plenty of apps, tools, and platforms at your disposal for creating one. Trello, CoSchedule, Google Docs, Evernote, Microsoft Excel…or good old-fashioned pen and paper. It’s not necessarily the format that matters – it’s whether it works for your team. (Read our guide on building the perfect content calendar here.)
Update your content calendar on a yearly and monthly basis to make sure you’re on course. HubSpot recommend that you ‘force yourself to start at the highest level and work your way down through the food chain (yearly to monthly planning), you see everything from a grand perspective and consider each detail along the way.’
This ‘big-picture strategic thinking’ is the key to creating a successful content calendar for your blog.
5. Collect an arsenal of tools
Efficient blogs involve a lot of moving parts. That’s why an arsenal of great blogging tools is so useful in the day-to-day running of your blog. Here are a few of the most commonly used tools for research, SEO, formatting and distribution:
- Google’s Keyword Planner can help you find core keywords to create content around. This tactic is a great way to ensure that you’re receiving the highest quality organic leads possible. Google Analytics can also help you measure and track the performance of your blogging content.
- BuzzSumo can help with researching content topics by showing you high performing content of your competitors.
- Yoast SEO is an absolutely essential WordPress plugin that takes the guesswork out of search engine optimization.
- Canva has become hugely successful for those looking to bring their graphics A-game. It helps users create custom graphics to go along with their content and eliminates the issues surrounding the integration of stock images.
- MailChimp can distribute your content to your mailing list.
The possibilities are practically endless, and every day there are more resources to help you free up your time.
6. Don’t go it alone
Managing a blog is something you can’t do all on your own. Depending on your current workload and blogging goals, the process can quickly become overwhelming.
This is why so many content marketers outsource various tasks. Linda from Craftaholics Anonymous discussed how letting go of the reigns and getting some assistance completely transformed her efforts:
‘[Outsourcing is] one of the best blogging decisions I have ever made! It’s hard to ask for help and to let someone else do things for your blog that you normally do, but it honestly has saved my sanity. Just having someone help with the small things makes a difference.’
Of course, outsourcing has some drawbacks. A general rule of thumb for working with a remote or freelance team is that it’s always best to err on the side of over-communication
7. Optimise for conversions
Good blog design is also important for success. However, it’s not enough to simply aim for a good-looking site. When it comes down to it, functionality trumps aesthetics. If you’re really looking to get results, then you need to design your blog for conversions.
There are numerous optimise conversions on your blog. Often, it boils down to creativity and A/B testing. Here are some ideas:
- Creating a blog subscription page
- Ensuring quick loading times
- Using ‘exit intent’ pop-ups
- Mobile optimization
- Adding social share links
- Using subscription incentives, such as gated content
You can find (and fix) common blog design mistakes using this guide.
Another method worth mentioning is focusing on keywords. When carried out effectively, this inbound marketing tactic can have tremendous results on your organic search rank and as a result, lead high-quality traffic with higher likelihoods to convert to your blog. In fact, HubSpot found that this tactic alone can increase conversions by as much as 87%!
Content marketing is a results-driven business. Success doesn’t happen overnight, and it’s certainly never an accident. If you’re a content marketer looking to achieve high returns, then getting your blog organised for the year is a good place to start. Remember the seven steps, and use them as a guide to give yourself that much needed competitive edge.