Show Me the ROI!
While it's true that blogging is a tool for defining your brand and establishing a position as a thought leader, if you're considering blogging, then I'm confident that you're mostly motivated by the fact that content marketing can drive ROI. HubSpot's research has indicated that content marketing is a much more effective way of driving revenue than disruptive marketing, when the two are compared side-by-side. But that doesn't mean you'll drive revenue just by showing up 3 times a week and publishing 600 words. We've outlined some of the main components of content that converts.
1. Include a Call-to-Action, Every Time
If your response to this statement is "Why on earth would someone expect leads from blog content that lacks a CTA?", congratulations. You're absolutely right. A company might have a few very qualified leads who take the time to find their phone number or contact form and let it be known they're researching products or services. However, there's going to be thousands more who simply head back to Google and keep researching elsewhere. Your content marketing efforts are going to be much more effective if all it takes is a single click for prospects to learn more and let you know they're interested.
2. Align Your Content with Your TOFU
Companies see a 55% increase in leads when they increase their total number of landing pages from 10-15. Having more content offers means companies are able to better tailor the topics and concepts to their buyer personas, resulting in a greater number of website visitors who can find something that's perfect for their needs.
No matter how outstanding your CTA is, if it's not aligned with the topic of your blog content, you're not going to see many leads. There should be a logical progression between your blog content and the offer advertised. Anything else will just feel disjointed or like you're trying too hard.
3. Write to Your Personas
I've recently learned that many professional authors will quit reading blog content if they encounter a single grammatical error. I'm sure there are other segments of the population who will stop if there's not enough references to zombies or peer-reviewed research. Your content needs to speak to your personas in a way that's more refined than merely addressing their questions. Speak their language, whether that means plenty of memes or the latest jargon, and present yourself as an authority they can trust.
4. Perform Keyword Research
There's a much better chance Google will rank your content well if it's written naturally and includes a long tail keyword in the title, alt text, and meta data. Blogging has the potential to send your organic traffic, defined as traffic from a major search engine, through the roof. If it doesn't include keywords that matter and it's not generating inbound links and social media shares, no one is going to organically find you.
5. Include an Awesome Image
Visual content is valuable, and the right image can add far more than 1,000 words worth of value to your blog, particularly if you're going to be sharing on Facebook or Pinterest. Blogger Judy Dunn believes images add the following components which can boost engagement and lead generation:
Convey the main feeling or emotion of your content
Illustrate a metaphor or analogy that is central to your main idea
Evoke surprise or curiosity
Complement your headline
6. Think Like a Journalist
Print journalism may have suffered the past few years, but business bloggers can learn a great deal from the writing style of traditional media. Major newspapers can't afford the loss of professional image associated with presenting incorrect facts or poor writing. Your business won't win trust or clients if your blog content comes across as sketchy. Here are four things, courtesy of Mickie Kennedy, that bloggers should take from journalists:
Get your facts from reputable sources, and check them twice.
Trust and authority have to be earned and maintained.
Give credit to your sources and use Copyscape to ensure you haven't unintentionally emulated other content.
Editing and proofreading are essential.
7. Never Write Awful Titles
Most of us learned in High School English or Journalism class how to write a truly great headline for the school newspaper. You needed to communicate who was involved and where and when the event happened in just a handful of words. Blog titles have the same responsibility of relaying the full scope of your content to readers, but they need to be racy enough to stand out in a busy social media feed at the same time.
Lure your prospects in, wow them with your quality, and present them with a call-to-action they simple can't resist. Easy enough, right?