Blogging should be a key part of your content marketing strategy; however, it is not for the faint-hearted. It takes passion, time, dedication, and regularly scheduled attention. While many of us have most of these prerequisites, time is typically the biggest challenge.
Whether you have five minutes or five hours a day to dedicate to your blog, there are simple ways to show it some love. And when you do, youâ€™ll not only feel all warm and fuzzy inside, but your audience will thank you, leading to a surge in web traffic and a more engaged audience.
Based on my years of experience in content marketing and community management at salesforce.com. RingLead and Radian6, here are a series of five-minute steps that I take to ensure my blog has high traffic and engagement.
1. Create helpful content
Before hitting that publish button, ask yourself, is this post helpful? All of your posts must be helpful to your audience, not your brand. In other words, will your audience learn something from this post that benefits them personally or professionally?
Oftentimes, we write blog posts about our own news or products. But, none of that is helpful to your audience. Whether you wrote it or your CEO wrote it, if itâ€™s not helpful, rewrite it or delete it. Itâ€™s that simple.
Total time to determine if the post is helpful and then publish or delete: 5 minutes
2. Be consistent
Whether you have enough content to post every day, every week or every month, choose a timeframe and stick to it. This simple act of consistency will go a long way in growing your traffic.
Look at your web analytics to determine the most popular timeframe for site visits and schedule posts then (or get help from your IT or web team, knocking even more time off your plate!). At RingLead, we found that traffic was high at 10 a.m. ET, so now we schedule a blog post to go live everyday at that time. This has attributed to a 143% increase in monthly web visits.
Â Total time to find the right timeframe and always schedule at that time: 5 minutes
3. Focus on headlines
If youâ€™re strapped for time and need one place to focus when blogging, itâ€™s the headline. The headline is the hook. Itâ€™s what gets your audience to click, read and share your content. Your headline should clearly and quickly explain what your post is about, without overpromising or going over 140 characters (it should be tweetable).
Total time to dedicate to a headline: 5 minutes
4. Donâ€™t forget SEO
SEO is the way content will remain evergreen, or ongoing and sharable for the future. Infuse blog posts with the key phrases that sync up with your overall marketing strategy. For instance, RingLead is all about data quality, so we work key phrases around â€śdata qualityâ€ť into all of our content.
To focus your time, SEO phrases should be included mainly in the headline, first paragraph, URL string and tags and categories.
Total time for infusing SEO keywords into a post: 5 minutes
5. Have a relevant call to action
Give your audience something to do next. This is not about selling, but helping. Our post, 3 Bad Habits Stopping You From Productivity, has a call to action to a productivity webinar. The goal is to give your audience something theyâ€™re looking for, or surprise and delight them with something they didnâ€™t even expect. Blog readers are not typically looking to buy, so the call to action should remain softer, leading to relevant blog posts, infographics, eBooks, webinars, etc.
If your objective is to generate leads, the call to action is the perfect place to include an offer with a required web form, such as an eBook or webinar.
Total time to add a call to action to a post: 5 minutes
There are many more ways to boost the effectiveness of your blog and grow your traffic like a weed. Share your ideas in the comments and join me on July 22nd at Curataâ€™s Content Marketing Forum to learn more blogging best practices.
For more blogging best practices, download Curataâ€™s ebook Business Blogging Secrets Revealed.