We’re ¾ of our way to benefiting from a successful business blog. In our previous two installments (How to Start a Killer Business Blog and How to Write a Killer Business Blog)we looked at how to set-up a successful business blog, and the best-practices for writing your blog posts. Now, we just need to raise awareness for your blog, and find some readers! In this third installment, we’ll be looking at effective content marketing strategy in 2014. Get excited, because it’s time to discover the best ways to market your business blog!
5. Use Targeted Social Media Marketing
Many people believe that content marketing strategy and social media marketing are two separate approaches. In reality though, SMM couldn’t exist without content marketing. Social networks exist because of sharing. Their users share opinions, media and helpful information – all of which are covered by the remit of a well-written blog.
By sharing your blog content on relevant social networks, you’re improving it’s efficacy in three distinct ways: improving it’s reach, increasing it’s virality and engaging prospective leads. SMM facilitates interaction and discussion with a wide-range of people, in a way that conventional blog commenting doesn’t. Best of all, with the help of free content marketing resources like BufferApp, you can easily manage and update a range of social networks without any hassle. It’s as simple as sharing your blog posts in the right networks, at the right time, and encouraging discussion.
Which social networks should your content marketing strategy target?
For B2B businesses, LinkedIn is the perfect network – it’s made up of business professionals, and you can post in groups relevant to your industry niche. You can also encourage discussion on your post, and readily connect to prospective leads.
B2C businesses will fare better on Twitter, Facebook and G+, as these social networks are more socially-focused than LinkedIn. Making use of #hashtags on all three is an excellent way of increasing the reach of your posts, and targeting them to the right demographics.
Visual businesses, like design agencies or freelance graphic designers, should focus their efforts onto Pinterest. As an entirely visual medium, your business can create pinboards of its own work, alongside helpful ‘Inspiration’-style posts to attract a larger audience.
4. Publish More Blog Posts
One of the simplest, easiest and most effective ways to market your blog is to simply write more blog posts. In this invaluable case study by Neil Patel of Quicksprout, the power of publishing an extra blog post each week is illustrated beautifully:
It makes sense. After all, the more we publish, the more we can share, discuss, link to and benefit from. Assuming of course, that we only publish valuable content. Writing low-quality, spammy content, and sharing dozens of meaningless infographics will have a negative effect, and serve to devalue your business, brand and website. If you can’t manage a workload of several valuable blog posts a week, it might be worth hiring a content marketing agency to create high-quality, targeted content.
3. Write Guest Blog Posts
Reaching out to other well-established blogs in your niche is one of the most effective content marketing strategies you can develop. It may seem counter-intuitive, but offering your blog posts to your rivals is one of the best ways to raise awareness for your own blog.
Within any competitive business niche, there are likely to be a couple of big players. For example, in the content marketing niche, the likes of Copyblogger, CMI and HubSpot draw the most traffic and engagement with their blogs. Their blogs have thousands of hits each and every day. This seems like bad news for your blog, right? Wrong!
Imagine if you could get one of your own blog posts on their blog. It’d be seen by, read and engaged with by literally thousands of people. It would raise your profile, and associate you with the quality of your rival’s blog. Courtesy of the link back to your website in your author bio, it would also drive a ton of traffic to your own blog.
So how can we effectively use this content marketing strategy? The key, as with most content marketing strategy, is research. You need to regularly read, visit and engage with your rival’s blogs. Add your own opinions, critique and praise to their blog posts, in the comments of each. This achieves three things:
- Helps you to get noticed by your rival’s blog editors and webmasters.
- Allows you to prove that your knowledge and insight would be valuable to your rival
- Helps you to determine if the people who engage with their blog posts would also engage with yours.
You can then send a polite, well-worded and honest email to the blog webmaster. Explain who you are, and show off your knowledge of their website. Explain why you think they would benefit from your guest blog post, and offer a short overview of your intended topic.
Obviously, there’s no guarantee that this content marketing strategy will work, but the potential rewards are well worth the effort. Not only can you skyrocket awareness of your own blog, but you can also develop relationships with likeminded business owners and agencies. You may even be offered an ongoing guest blog spot, or reciprocal blog exchange – both incredibly power content marketing strategies for your blog to adopt.
2. Create Linkbait Posts
Linkbait posts are crucial to a successful blog marketing strategy. These are blog posts which are designed to be the cornerstone of your content marketing strategy, linked to from lots of other blog posts and extremely easy to share. As well as providing valuable, keyword-heavy content, they also drive a ton of traffic and readers to your site.
So how do we know what defines a good linkbait post? How can we predict the success of our blog posts?
To start with, we can’t. The success of each post is influenced a huge variety of factors, and there’s a certain element of luck in determining the success of our linkbait. However, there are a couple of tried-and-tested formats we can follow:
If you’ve ever spent time researching a topic or product online, you’ll understand how hard it can be. Often, you have to navigate hundreds of poorly written articles, with relatively high-levels of assumed knowledge. If only somebody could compile all this helpful information into one article! By writing comprehensive guides, you can attract visitors at all phases of the sales funnel, and ingratiate your website with it’s helpful content. They’re also easy to write – and you can just condense and compile existing information into one concise post.
Top List Posts
Everyone loves list posts – they’re relatively short, easy to read, and packed full of actionable advice and information. They’re also really easy to create, and overused as a result. In order to make your list post stand out, make it the biggest and most complete post on a topic. If there’s already a similar ‘Top 10 post’, write a ‘Top 20’, ‘Top 50’, or if you’re really going for gold, ‘Top 100’. Following this content marketing strategy is a sure-fire way of harnessing the traffic of existing list posts, and pulling them to your site.
Free things are awesome. A Free eBook, templates and images are all incredible linkbait posts, because they genuinely benefit people. By providing useful information and helpful tools, without asking for anything in return (almost anything… we get their email address!), you’re adding genuine value to your visitor’s experience, and making their lives significantly easier. As a result, they’re very likely to share the post around their social networks, and drive traffic to your site. Linkbait at its finest!
1. Get Smart with In-Text SEO
You might think of SEO as separate from content marketing strategy, and even more separate from business blogging. However, your blog posts actually offer some of the most powerful opportunities for maximizing your website’s SEO and marketing. Best of all, by writing regular blog posts, you can multiply these benefits. Remember this killer blog marketing statistic from Part 1 of this guide?
- Blogs give websites 434% more indexed pages, and 97% more indexed links [Content+]
That huge increase in indexed pages and links is an SEO-benefit, created by using the following in-text SEO techniques in all of your blog posts:
Using Keywords in <H> Tags
Using keywords in the body of blog posts is common practice; but by forgetting to include them in Heading HTML tags, you’re missing out on a lot of potential SEO benefit. Search engine algorithms scan and analyze our blog posts for relevance to chosen keywords. Different in-text elements have different rankings in determining the relevance of our page to the keywords. Keywords in our titles have a greater effect than keywords in the body of our post. Use a combination of <H1> (main heading), <H2> and <H3> (subheading) tags in your posts, and include keywords in a cross-section of all three.
Optimizing Your Page Title and URL
Even more important for SEO are your blog title and URL. If your title and URL both contain a prominent keyword, you seriously boost that posts chances of appearing high in the SERP (Search Engine Results Page). If you’re writing a post about ‘Content Marketing Strategy’, you should consider including the keyword in both the page title and URL.
Harnessing Image Alt Text
If, for some reason, an image can’t be displayed on a webpage, the Image Alt Text for that image is displayed instead. This text should be a short, descriptive summary of the image – but there’s no reason it can’t also contain keywords. Search engine algorithms use the data contained within our Alt Text as part of its keyword analysis, so including the occasional keyword here will boost your rankings. By clicking on an image in WordPress, you can edit its size, HTML link and Alt Text.
Speaking of HTML links, linking to your own website within your blog posts will have a noticeable effect on your SEO success. Returning to those indexed links and pages from earlier, search engines still count internal links when calculating your PageRank. Granted, they aren’t rated as highly as links from external webpages – but they still count. When you have a regularly updated blog, you could be publishing several times a week (5 times each week for example.). If you include 5 internal links in each post, you end up with 25 new links to your site each and every week – that’s 1,300 new links every year, without spending a penny.
[For a more in-depth explanation of these techniques, read our guide to in-text SEO content marketing strategy.]
No content marketing strategy should be complete without a blog, and together, these 5 techniques and tools offer a powerful and effective way to market and sell your business. If you’re looking to kick-start your business blog, check out our affordable blog management packages, and start benefiting from a professional business blog today!
Read Part 1 of this guide: How to Start a Killer Business Blog
Read Part 2 of this guide: How to Write a Killer Business Blog