Blogging is a great way to showcase thought leadership, inspire audiences to take action and enhance the depth of your website. Blogging can also be a great lead generation tool for businesses – and even serve as a volunteer and donor cultivation tool for nonprofits.
When adding any tool to one’s marketing arsenal, it’s important to have a roadmap in place and to know what role the new tool/tactic will play in helping to achieve a measurable goal. While reads and shares can help to quantify blog reach and engagement, identifying the volume of leads generated requires additional tracking functionality to be put in place. Bottom line – know the outcome(s) you are looking to achieve before you begin blogging.
Here are 10 tips to creating a great blog:
- Create an editorial calendar – use it as a guide, but also give yourself latitude to create opportunistic postings as trending topics arise in the media, your industry, etc. Among the features you can include in your editorial are recurring (weekly, monthly, etc.) features, guest posts, event teasers and recaps, and the list goes on.
- Incorporate key words to help search engine optimization (SEO). You don’t want readers to feel overwhelmed by a stream of jargon so focus on one or two keywords within each post. Be sure to put the keyword(s) in your headline, opening graph and closing graph, at a minimum.
- Think about your format – use headlines, subheads and bullets. An increasing number of visitors consume content from their smartphones and other small-screen devices, so ensuring blog posts are easy-to-read is key.
- Determine the frequency of your blog – more is better. Think in “chunks” to break long posts into two or three postings. Be realistic about how often you will blog and commit to maintaining that level of frequency so readers can know what to expect and when to expect it.
- Incorporate your blog into your website design – again, this helps with SEO. If structured properly, every new blog post can add one new page of optimized, searchable content to your website.
- Your blog is an extension of your branding — remember to be consistent in branding image, tone and messaging.
- Content should inform and reflect your personality – writing a blog can be more conversational versus other marketing platforms, such as websites and brochures. Just be sure to keep tip #6 in mind as you go – casual and conversational is great but consistency of brand and voice is key across all marketing channels.
- Include images and video – for a writer it may be hard to admit that people look first and read second. The more engaging your visual content is, the better the odds of your post being read. Whether creating custom Infographics for inclusion or sharing video clips from conferences and events, consider how visual and multimedia assets can help to enhance the reader’s experience and increase social sharing.
- Tags on your blog helps visitors find you and, yes, again, can boost SEO. Keep a list of your website keywords handy and use them in your titles and Meta descriptions, as appropriate.
- Include a call to action – comment, sign-up, attend and share. A blog is meant to be interactive. Ask readers to do something! Remember, in a world where nearly every company, individual and nonprofit is creating content, information overload is all too common. Don’t assume people know what you want them to do after consuming your content – tell them!
Blogs are valuable online marketing tools for companies and causes alike. Whether you are new to blogging or looking to take your blog to the next level, take the time to integrate blogging into your overall marketing strategy and outline key performance indicators/success metrics for your efforts. Whether your goal is to increase social reach/sharing, generate leads and/or make your website a richer hub of expert commentary, blogging is a great way to achieve the objectives and generate tangible online marketing ROI.
Looking for more blogging tips and best practices? Download our free guide, 20 Tips for Better Blogging today.