Blogs have been around for a long time. In the past decade, however, the marketing potential of blogs has grown exponentially.
With content marketing drawing in more consumers and converting them than ever before, many companies noticed the potential for exposure and connection and decided to start blogs to showcase and highlight their brand. However, when it comes to a marketing blog, there are only a few ways to do it right and a lot of ways to do it wrong.
Fifteen professionals from Forbes Agency Council explore some of the most crucial steps a company should take if it wants to make its blog relevant and unique to its brand.
1. Provide Real Value
Make sure the blog shows your business the way that you want it to be seen. Don’t feel like you have to chase some idea of what your business should be, or what a blog should cover. Provide real value. Explain something that your potential customers may not know that can genuinely improve their lives. – Danny Star, Website Depot
2. Aim To Educate Your Audience
Your blog needs to be informative and educational. Don’t simply use it as a megaphone for marketing your services. The blog should have long-form articles that are detailed, informative, have great graphics and really answer questions clients have. Then the blog will become a resource to your clients. – Peter Boyd, PaperStreet Web Design
3. Define Your Customer Target
One of the most critical things to keep in mind when launching a blog for a brand is to spend time upfront to define your target customer’s persona. Identify very specific details about your best target customer such as their title, role and the specific pain points that may drive them to your product or solution. Use that as your guidepost for developing content that addresses those issues. – Keri Witman, Clever Lucy
4. Think Like A Publisher, Not A Promoter
Strive to impart valuable, objective information in your blog posts — something valuable enough that the reader would expect to pay for it — not promotional content. Remember, today’s customers expect to receive something of value before they buy. – Jeff Bradford, the Bradford Group
5. Find Your Original Voice
Give a reason to the reader to follow you, read your content and return. You compete with millions of other articles and with bloggers that already have millions of followers. But there is always space for a fresh voice, so find that original voice and speak to your audience, narrow this audience, and make it a niche. – Ally Spinu, USA Link System
6. Post Consistently And Thoughtfully
There’s nothing worse than going to a company blog and see the last post being 12 months prior, or to see a lot of useless postings just to get something live. Consistently and purposefully write about your brand and the marketplace you compete in. Give the reader valuable insights, not just the company story. Don’t sell — build a relationship, one thoughtful post at a time. – Durk Price, eAccountable
7. Give Back
One of the biggest mistakes that is made is when people think that they are not going to have to give back. Blogs become sources of “hey, look at me!” A blog should be 70% informative and helpful and 30% advertising at a maximum. When you create that kind of content, you will be followed and then become an influencer. – Jon James, Ignited Results
8. Leverage Your Team Diversity And Strengths
Use your blog to showcase your company culture and product value, but set it apart by leveraging the diversity and individual strengths of your team. For example, sales team members can show how they drive customer value through video interviews, product team members can discuss how they run A/B tests to build products that customers love, etc. Create guidelines and training to do this mindfully. – Preethy Vaidyanathan, Slice
9. Don’t Be Boring
While you want to certainly hit on informative topics that illustrate your brand’s expertise or products, and write with SEO in mind, you have to keep it interesting. Give it a personality, and don’t be afraid to give your customers a peek behind the curtain at times to humanize your company and culture. Avoid monotonous posts, and mix in all types of multimedia formats to keep it fresh. – Mike Rowan, KPItarget
10. Include Calls To Action
Your audience exists outside of your blog, so one must be conscious in terms of how they plan on going about getting users and how they keep them engaged. For example, clickbait is good content, but it needs to be backed with substance. Have a call to action once people have engaged with your blog and don’t just launch with one article — have a repository. – Lars Voedisch, PRecious Communications
11. Create An Editorial Calendar
Develop an editorial calendar to keep your blog organized and consistent. Plan to write about topics that are relevant to your brand and try to post at regular times, such as every Wednesday. By having an effective strategy that outlines a specific schedule of upcoming topics to discuss on the blog, you ensure that you don’t fall behind and your readers can easily follow your postings. – Goran Paunovic, ArtVersion Interactive Agency
12. Use Your Blog As Your Brand’s Storybook
Treat your blog like chapters of a book that tell your brand’s authentic story. When you do this, your belief system(s) as a company will come through. It will push you to focus on quality over quantity, and your followers will find deeper connections in what you have to say. – Camille Nicita, Gongos, Inc.
13. Use Guest Posts From Influencers
Asking influencers in your industry to write a guest post on your new blog allows marketers to leverage the credibility from an established authority while also quickly exposing your new blog to their existing audience. That is because most guest writers will promote the post they wrote after the fact. – Lyle Stevens, Mavrck
14. Answer What They’re Dying To Know About
Don’t blog just to blog. Instead, tap into what your target audience is already asking search engines. Use a tool like AnswerThePublic.com to identify historical variations of search questions that surround your target keyword(s). Then, write about that. You get to answer your audience’s questions, attract leads and increase the unique content on your blog. – Damon Burton, SEO National
15. Coordinate With A Search Campaign
Unless you already have a captive audience (most companies don’t if they need assistance with this) blogging is going to be two jobs at once — writing and engaging. Make it work for you by aligning it with your search goals. That is an immediate value-add. You can then work on engagement with new and existing audiences. – Christine Wetzler, Pietryla PR