Mark Twain once wrote, "The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug." A similar statement can be made about "the right blog" and "the almost right blog.
In content marketing, your blog exists in an ecosystem. Standing alone, it's worthless. As part of an integrated thought leadership plan, though, it can generate leads and establish your website as a destination for industry insight.
Developing this plan is just as important as crafting the content that executes it. When strategizing for your blog, consider these 10 elements of an engaging one:
It may seem redundant, but it bears repeating: Your blog needs content. But what it doesn't need is content for content's sake. Strong content uplifts a brand, but half-baked copy can defame it. Time spent ideating for your blog deserves the same focus and commitment that you'd devote to any other company function — like sales or recruitment. Your content is linked to each of these processes. Furthermore, what you produce doesn't have to be one-size-fits-all. Take note of these examples of high-quality, engaging work across multiple industries for inspiration.
2. Your Target
If you’re not writing for your target market, you shouldn’t be writing at all. At Influence & Co., we encourage our clients to embrace distribution to smaller, niche publications. Why? These are the places where their target audience lives. It’s the space that provides the most potential to generate leads. Your blog should do the same for you.
Your blog isn't your brand's sole marketing tactic; it's part of a larger content strategy. When a consumer hears about your company through paid or owned media, they'll most likely seek out insights on your thought leadership or company culture. Your blog is the place they'll go, so it must be on-strategy.
4. No Promotion
This element could live within the first element, but it’s important enough to stand alone. Your blog and the content that populates it do not exist solely to promote your company. Content marketing and public relations are frequently confused. While brand promotion makes sense through a PR lens, content marketing does not serve to punctuate large company developments. Your blog should serve to educate and engage your target audience with transparency and genuine insights. It is not a traditional promotion channel.
A general misconception about blogging is that it must be word-driven. Au contraire. Blogs can — and should — be home to multiple types of media, including written content, images, video, and infographics. It’s important to note that Millennials prefer visuals to block copy, and it's never too early to create content that embraces evolving trends and demographics.
Your business's operations fall on a calendar, so shouldn't your blog posts? That’s all there is to it. To help you organize your efforts, we've created a free custom editorial calendar template that can ensure your team is scheduling posts appropriately.
7. Email Signatures
Albeit a subtle gesture, including a link to your blog in your email signature guarantees you a touchpoint with each of your business contacts. In particular, when talking to potential leads, this allows for easy reference to blog content that can educate and nurture them through your sales funnel.
Content that lives exclusively on your blog won't reach its full potential. Potential leads aren't going to know to travel to your website; you have to meet them where they are. Distributing your blog posts through social channels, utilizing a newsletter, and repurposing content on LinkedIn are all ways to better leverage the work you've already put in. Auxiliary benefits include drawing people to preferred landing pages and generating consistent readership.
9. Internal Links
You might notice that I've been hyperlinking to other blog articles throughout this piece. This is intentional, as internal links create content paths that build readership. By substantiating points with your own expertise, you boost metrics and reader trust in your company.
10. Calls to Action
Your ultimate goal is to convert readers to leads. Remind them of that. Once a reader believes your company is an expert in its space, entice her to access gated content that furthers claims or stances that are taken in your posts. Mind you, this doesn't mean pester her. You have to earn that email address by writing compelling copy.
In today's marketplace, consumers want more from companies, and they know where to find it — often, it's directly on your company blog. Make sure it's "the right" and not "the almost right" one by taking advantage of these elements of an engaging blog to escalate your business's reputation as an industry leader.