You might think that blogging is outdated. After all, technology and online fads change at what seems to be an ever-increasing rate. Shouldn’t brands be looking to the hottest new trends and social media apps to stay relevant and connect with their audience members?
The truth is that “blogging is now one of the most popular ways of communicating and spreading information and news online.” It is also one of the main ways in which brands can gain credibility and be discovered by future customers.
Even though social media is an important aspect of content marketing, it cannot replace the ability of blogging to give brands control over their own narratives. On social media, there is always the danger that other posts and people will distract the user. And social media platforms restrict content length, type, and accessibility.
What’s more, research demonstrates a strong connection between having a blog and generating sales. Blogging is crucial to gaining the attention of people who are not ready to purchase, but who are interested in a company. Blogging also increases site visits by 55%.
So blogging needs to be a key component of your content marketing strategy. But before you create your content, you need to know why and for whom you are creating it: “Ask yourself if you are creating content to boost brand awareness, generate leads, convert users, attract past customers, improve search ranking results, or something else altogether.”
Content marketing professionals widely agree it is important you know your audience well. You should be familiar with the needs of your ideal users, their interests and their pain points. Google Analytics can be helpful here. Also, don’t underestimate surveys, an old tactic that can have a powerful impact.
One obvious use of surveys is adapting your product according to your customers’ needs. But you can also turn that data you collect into resources, such as white papers, that you offer on your blog.
Blogging is a valuable space for long-form content that explains your company story. But part of creating interesting blog posts is coming up with different media in which to communicate your ideas. For example, infographics are a compelling, visual way of presenting data.
Consider videographics as well. Those capitalize off of video’s ability to entertain people with a simultaneous use of images, words, music, and movement. Erik Qualman’s “Socialnomics” videos, for example, are highly engaging. The Economist is another example of how to use videographics to convey data that could otherwise be challenging to follow.
Another type of visual to consider is user heat maps. There is plenty online about how to use heat maps to learn more about your audience and the effectiveness of your site. But consider creating real time heat maps that your audience members themselves can view. User heat maps help people to feel connected with others who are in their same situations.
While you don’t want to focus on trends so much that you neglect evergreen content, keep in mind that as technology develops, it can help you connect with your audience in ways that were not before possible. Take, for example, Facebook Live.
Search Engine Journal reports that live videos keep people watching longer and commenting more often than other videos do.
However, as noted earlier, you need to know your purpose for using Facebook Live. Do you want it to attract your ideal customer or to attract other influencers? One great use of Facebook Live would be doing interviews with key influencers in your niche. You could also use it to demonstrate the effectiveness of your products or how to fix any problems users might be having.
Once you’ve created some solid resources, consider not asking for subscriptions for people to access them. Instead, offer them without initially asking anything from your audience. Then if your users are interested in viewing additional content from you, have them sign up to get more.
Entrepreneur has a few caveats for you as you go forth to implement your content marketing strategy. Yes, it’s important to be creative, and yes, it’s important that you target your particular audience. But also make sure you are careful to measure the results of your efforts and that you’re willing to adapt as necessary.
Document your work so that you can determine your effectiveness. And even though blogging is important, don’t focus only on one channel for your marketing efforts. Share your content across a variety of platforms, especially the ones where your audience members spend most of their time.
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