Blogging can be a really effective way for channel marketing managers to drive targeted traffic to their companies’ websites. But you wouldn’t know it from the way most are blogging.
In this post, you’ll learn about some of the most important blogging best practices that can create positive ROI for channel marketers.
Your Blog Must Have a Purpose
People blog for many different reasons. Some hobbyists see blogging as an outlet for their passion.
But in a business context, where results and ROI reign supreme, blogging must be done with a purpose.
Before you plan out a blogging editorial calendar, be sure you’re clear on your goals. Even better, set SMART goals – a cornerstone of effective inbound marketing:
For many channel marketers, a blogging goal may be tied to traffic generation, lead generation, or partner recruitment.
Now before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s take a step back and look at why it pays to blog in the first place.
HubSpot has found for example those companies that blog get 55% more traffic to their websites and generate 70% more leads.
How frequently do you need to blog to see results? While there are natural tipping points, more activity is generally better than less activity.
How so? 92% of companies that blog more than once a day are able to attract customers, clients, and partners via their websites.
How Blogging Helps Channel Marketing Managers with SEO
Each time a blog post is written, you’re creating another website page for search engines to index. In other words, each page provides a ranking opportunity –like a lottery ticket of sorts.
If for example, your company operates primarily in the storage space, by blogging on a daily basis about storage industry-related issues, you give your website a chance to attract visitors that are interested in the information that you’re sharing in your blog posts.
This also allows your company to demonstrate its expertise, position itself as a thought leader, and achieve trusted advisor status.
Blogging Generates Leads with the Right Contextually-Relevant Offers
Before you start blogging, it’s important to do persona research to uncover the common behaviors, goals, and pain points among your ideal buyers.
This way, you can make sure that you focus your content creation on the problems that matter most to your ideal buyer at each stage of the sales journey.
Once you understand the challenges and motivations of your ideal buyers, you’ll need to create contextually relevant premium content offers that will live behind landing pages. Typical lead generation offers for this purpose include downloadable white papers, eBooks, checklists, and guides.
Within the body of your blog posts and at the conclusion of your blog posts, make sure to link to the most relevant offer that you have that’s contextually-relevant to the topic of the blog post.
For example, if you have an eBook about flash storage and you’re blogging about common storage questions, make sure that each blog post promotes your most relevant available offer.
Other things being equal, when blog posts contain calls to action (CTAs) for highly-relevant offers, you’ll see higher click through rates (CTRs), higher landing page conversion rates, and more leads generated.
Don’t Obsess Over Keywords
Because of the large number of Internet users that are logged into Google-owned properties all day long, Google knows exactly which website pages are “sticky” and which cause users to “bounce” out almost immediately.
So if your blog posts for example are currently ranking on page one, but fail to hold readers’ attention beyond a few seconds, Google will penalize your rankings.
What does this mean? You must create remarkable content that’s highly valuable to your ideal buyer personas.
The payback for being remarkable is pretty straightforward: people remark about your content to others.
Today, this means that great content is shared via social media and linked to from other website pages –signals that can positively impact your blog’s search engine rankings and ability for individual blog posts to appear on page one for coveted keyword phrase searches.
In the course of planning an inbound campaign, after setting goals we’ll research ideal buyer personas and decide on which keywords to target for each persona.
Once you’ve prioritized your most important keywords, make sure that your targeted keyword phrase appears early on in the blog post’s Title tag.
And yes, keywords need to be mentioned once or twice in a natural way within the body of the blog post.
But stop thinking about the long outdated notion of keyword density. Google’s smart enough to detect that a mile away. Keyword overuse makes for a really bad user experience. And Google’s search algorhythms are also now smart enough to understand synonyms and variations of keyword phrases.
Put the readers’ needs first. Search engine considerations second. Period.
Titles Matter…A Lot!
You know how they say people judge a book by its cover?
In the blogging word, when searchers are looking at a search engine results page (SERP) with 10 organic search results and a whole bunch of paid results, it’s your blog post Title that will have the single greatest impact on whether you earn the click through or not.
The best business blog post Titles typically promise a solution to a problem or answer a question.
HubSpot co-founder and CTO Dharmesh Shah is frequently quoted as saying that you should spend about half of the time writing your blog post on Title selection.
Titles matter a great deal. Make sure you spend adequate time on the “advertisement” for your blog post.
“80 Percent of Success Is Showing Up” (Woody Allen)
While I don’t know if you could credit actor and director Woody Allen as being a blogging thought leader, a big part of success with blogging is showing up: being consistent and blogging often.
Blogging once a month won’t cut it. Even blogging once a week won’t make much of a dent.
However along the same lines, don’t get caught up in analysis paralysis. There’s no need to write an award-winning blog post every time out of the gate.
Simply understand the challenges that your personas are facing and write helpful blog posts that tackle these challenges one at a time.
Make It a No Brainer for Your Blog Readers to Convert
If you’ve ever taken any kind of sales training, you know just how important it is to “ask for the sale.”
In blogging, there’s a pretty similar analogy: You’ve got to ask for the conversion.
And the way this is done is through a call to action (CTA).
To maximize the lead generation value of your blogging, it’s critical that these CTAs be for highly-compelling, highly-relevant offers. The higher the degree of relevance, the stronger the lead generation value. And the higher the potential for great ROI!
Most channel marketing managers struggle to achieve positive ROI for their team’s blogging – mainly because they’re not blogging the right way.
In this post, you’ve been introduced to eight main points to keep in mind for your blogging to get much better results and ROI.
What have you found to be most crucial for getting positive ROI from your blogging? Please let us know in the Comments box below.
And to plan out how your blogging fits in with the rest of your inbound marketing– including traffic generation, lead generation, customer generation, and retention, be sure to download your free copy of the IT Channel Inbound Marketing Planning Guide.
Creative Commons Image Source: flickr photologue_np