Staci Cretu Nov 18, 2019 5:48:55 AM 13 min read

Your Content Strategy: Back to the Basics

The Recipe for a Successful Business Blog

By now, you probably know that content creation is a vital part of your digital marketing strategy. It helps your company’s website build SEO, gain online visibility, and provide valuable information to site visitors. But before you start creating content for your company’s website, it’s important to have a clear plan for how you’re going to craft your content for the best results. A content strategy will come in handy as you plan out your content, craft it in an effective way that’s easy to consume, and present it to your audience.

THE IMPORTANCE OF A BUSINESS BLOG

You might think that once you’ve built your website (i.e. creating a home page, contact page, about page, etc) that your work is done. But these days, as more people are browsing the web for information, having a blog is a great way to attract people to your business while giving them information, answering their questions, solving their problems, and providing them with actionable advice.

Unlike the rest of your website, you must update your blog section frequently by adding new posts. If not, your site isn’t likely to get consistent traffic, which lowers your chances of getting conversions.

To sum up, a business blog is great for:

  • Helping your website rank on the search engines
  • Sharing information about a given topic
  • Establishing your company as a thought leader and expert in your industry
  • Attracting visitors to your site and turning them into leads
  • Cultivating an online community and engaging with an audience

THE POWER OF STORYTELLING

Blog posts can be great—but blog posts can be incredible if they tell a story. Google receives over 4 million search queries every minute and your competitors are probably flooding the internet with quality content, especially if you’re in a competitive industry. You need a great brand story that stands out from the rest and makes people want to choose your business over others in your industry.

To get some ideas, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Why are you doing what you’re doing?
  2. How will it help your audience?
  3. What are you offering?

Once you have answers to these questions, you can creatively incorporate them into your story.

If you want to connect with your audience and appeal to their emotions, you need the three elements of a great story:

  • Characters: Your readers will be your characters. To introduce them, use your buyer personas to craft a compelling message that will resonate with your audience.
  • Conflict: This helps build the developmental and emotional dynamics of a story. Without conflict, your audience can’t relate to your story and won’t find it interesting. The conflict should coincide with your buyer’s journey.
  • Resolution: Tell how a problem is solved. More specifically, tell how your audience’s problem can be solved with your service. What happens next? How does the story end? How did the characters change? Add context and emotional elements into the story so that your audience can easily relate to and process the story. This offers next steps, such as a call-to-action for more content.

The main takeaway for powerful storytelling? Create emotional appeal, be consistent and authentic, and keep your story clear and concise.

BLOGGING BASICS

It’s important to create lots of blog content for each of your buyer personas at every stage of the buyer’s journey. This gives your audience a personalized experience.

CONTENT DEVELOPMENT

To develop your blog content, you need a direction and a blueprint for effective and efficient blog content. Your content shouldn’t be complicated; it should be engaging enough to hold your audience’s interest.

Also, make sure you’re writing about your company/industry and not about yourself. You can get topic ideas based on the following:

  • Most frequently asked questions
  • Things your prospects and customers need help with the most
  • What you wish people knew about your industry
  • Things that industry bloggers, social media, and competitors are talking about

KEYWORD RESEARCH

You can also do keyword research to find key topics your audience is searching for and questions they’re looking for answers to. To boost SEO, you can sprinkle these keywords naturally throughout your content. For even better results, you can use long-tail keywords, which are more specific and indicate a lead who’s more likely to convert.

MAIN ELEMENTS OF A BLOG POST

  • Title: When choosing your title, create 5-10 variations. Make sure the title is clear enough for readers and search engines to understand what your post is about. Also, keep your title length to about 60 characters and between 8-14 words, as titles of this length are most often shared on social media. If the title is long, put your keyword at the beginning. Always use the H1 tag, which indicates it’s a title to search engines. Effective title formats include numbers, questions, and “you-centered” language.
  • Format: Determine how you’re going to structure your post. Will it be in list format that lists out the main points of an article? What about a how-to formula that provides detailed steps on how to do something?
  • Intro: Your introduction should capture your readers’ attention from the first few words. You can do this by using humor, being emphatic, or including an interesting fact/statistic.
  • Body: The ideal blog post length is about 1,200 words. But don’t think too much about the length of your post. Instead, focus more on delivering to the reader and covering what you promised in the title. Spread your keyword evenly throughout your posts and headers when it appears natural and makes grammatical sense. Use whitespace, divide paragraphs into manageable chunks, use subheaders, and bold important text to make it easy for your audience and search engines to scan your content.
  • Visuals: Use visuals and multimedia elements to break up your text. To do this, use a featured image, which usually sits at the top of your post. This draws your readers in to learn more and shows up on social when your content is shared. You should also add images, videos, and audio recordings throughout your post.
  • CTA: Use image and text CTAs when appropriate. For example, after the first few paragraphs, include your CTA as hyperlinked text. Near the most relevant content in your post, use an image CTA such as a link to a webinar. You can also use a pop-up CTA that readers will see as they scroll down the page.
  • SEO: Use short URLs, while still providing context to what the post is about and including keywords if you can. Avoid using numbers in your URLs and keep them evergreen. Add image alt-text so that search engines can understand what the image is displaying. Provide a meta description (not exceeding 160 characters) that includes the long-tail keyword you’re trying to rank for. Your meta description will give search engines and readers information about your blog post’s content. Put in internal and external links to help boost your visibility in the search engines

CREATING EFFECTIVE BLOG CONTENT

Now that you’ve created a blueprint for your blog content, follow these tips to help you tackle the content itself.

  1. Use contractions to sound more conversational and more “human.”
  2. Write with simple language and avoid using big words, which can make you seem less credible and confident, according to a UCLA study.
  3. Use active voice and not passive voice, which can make your writing flat and boring.
  4. Be clear and concise. Each sentence, each section, and each paragraph should be focused and clear. They shouldn’t include “fluff” or extra words such as “very,” “really,” “actually,” “just,” “incredibly,” and “in order to.” Also, avoid using too many adverbs and adjectives, which can make for some overly long, complex, or weak sentences.
  5. Use a style guide that will provide you with a standard set of rules to follow for consistency in all your communications.
  6. Use second person language such as “you” and “your” for a more conversational tone.
  7. Use jargon and acronyms sparingly.
  8. Don’t be negative.
  9. ALWAYS spellcheck.

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