I don’t know how many times I’ve pressed business people to create a blog to help grow their business. In the realm of inbound marketing, blogging is the cornerstone of deliverable content, the “must do” if you’re planning to grow your business and looking for positive ROI, including metrics like customer acquisition cost (CAC) in the mix.
Sometimes, however, all the work businesses put into their blog doesn’t seem to produce and they come to the conclusion their blog is failing.
Because the Internet is a thriving place people go to seek solutions and answers, no blog should ever fail. It should be the one main thing that is driving traffic to your website and producing new leads for you.
Normally, there are seven main things we look at that make a blog successful. Chances are, if your blog is not doing well, one or more of those things are not working, or are being overlooked. Let's look at them:
1) You’re Using Your Blog for Self-Promotion
This is #1 for a reason. Most of the time when a company starts a blog, they get the idea, “This is yet another way for me to promote my branding or products.” Great idea—maybe 20 years ago.
Self-promoting blog articles talk up a company’s latest projects, products, acquistions, news, and new hires.
The hard truth is, the only ones who are really interested in what you’re doing are your peers, not those who might want to buy from you.
Your blog needs to feed potential customers who come to the Internet seeking solutions. Feed them, and you’ll draw them to you.
2) You’re Missing the Relevancy Mark
So many business blogs are about really great topics, but they’re about industry topics that have little relevancy to most potential leads.
For example, a tech company that develops software solutions for B2B companies creates a blog. They blog 3-4 times per week on topics so technical that most of their customers would have no idea what they’re talking about, and even less care about. With software, customers want to know, “if I click on this, will it do that?” The issue? The blog is not relevant.
Years ago I used to write a lot of articles about CSS web design coding—a fun thing for me. Did it bring me any business? Nope. Can you find even one article on the topic of CSS programming in our blog today? Nope. Nobody cares—aside from other programmers, none of whom are our customers.
3) You’re Blogging About the Wrong Topics
If you were to draft an email to someone, the first thing you’d do would be to enter the recipient’s email address in the “to” field. My point is, you know to whom you’re writing.
Same with blogging. The very first thing you should do is get the persona in your head of your ideal customer. You need to know as much about him or her as you can: Their job title and position, online habits, issues they face in their industry, goals they are trying to achieve, and where they go and whom they trust for information.
Once you’ve envisioned that ideal persona—really a representation of your ideal customer, you can craft blog articles aimed to help them.
You do that by discovering high value topics and writing about them. You need to solve, so you’ll need to either add to the existing knowledge base or reframe it into something more easily digestible.
Sometimes just reframing content yields results. We took our Hubspot’s inbound methodology and created an infographic from it. The infographic now gets as many page views as most similar text-based pages.
4) Your Drive to Publish Affects Quality
So often, the last thing a marketer wants to do is write a blog article. Being pressed with deadlines affects quality so the blog fails to grow your business. If you’re writing bland content, everything will suffer, including your reputation.
Time to take a step back, review, and find something fresh to write about.
Once you’ve published a quantity of articles, you can see which ones are getting the traffic and which ones are not. Aside from things like bad titles, often the articles that aren’t getting read are just poor articles. Don't be afraid to heavily edit those articles and get them to the place where they produce.
5) The Formatting is Bad
A blog that will grow your business needs good formatting. By “formatting,” I mean things like:
- White space. You know those websites where all the text and images are crammed in together? Wonder why no one spends any time on those sites?
- Good subheadings. People don’t want to hunt for sub-topics. Please use clear subheadings.
- META tags. The META description tag should contain a plain language description of your page or article.
- Bad or no keywords. It’s not so great to have written a nice article that no one can find. Keywords, especially long tail keywords, are essential to getting found.
6) The SEO Is Bad
A good keyword strategy accounts for most foundational SEO work today. Second to keywords, are linking to relevant articles both within your domain and outside of it—linking to other blog sites.
There still are a lot of SEO consultants using “black hat” SEO tricks that are long outdated. Buying links, keyword stuffing, and text masking are some of them. Add to that thin or scraped content—copying and pasting content from existing sites. If you have any of these things going on, they could be largely responsible for killing your search ranking. It’s interesting how Google will penalize some sites and not others. Bad SEO tactics are just not a good risk.
7) You Have No Conversion Paths
Every inbound marketing alarm bell goes off with this issue. We see this a lot: A company actually is writing decent blog articles and publishing them on their website. Then, they over-use some keyword associated with their branding, like “real estate,” don’t diversify keywords, don’t target personas, and, don’t give visitors a way to become leads.
A contact form is a bottom of the funnel conversion path. If that’s all you have, you’ll only attract those who are ready to buy. That’s nice, but what about middle of the funnel visitors who are still trying to decide? Or top of the funnel people who are aware of some need, or some upcoming decision, but are not yet ready to buy?
Creating landing pages and offers for each place in the funnel is necessary to capture the most leads and drive positive ROI for your blog.
Without conversion paths, your blog may drive traffic to your home page, which is good, but conversions will still remain the luck of the draw.
Key take-a-ways from this article:
- If you believe your blog is not producing, sometimes a good fix is not difficult to achieve.
- You must create a blog for a specific audience. If you over-generalize, you risk attracting the kind of leads you don’t want.
- Blogging is a labor of love. If must find ways to get excited about your topics yourself, otherwise you’ll end up with poor quality articles.
- The only way to acquire leads and know you’re acquiring them, is by using conversion paths that generate leads at various places in the sales funnel.
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