REMEMBER OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN'S SONG FROM GREASE,
"WE GO TOGETHER LIKE RAMA LAMA LAMA KA DINGA DA DINGA DONG"?
A business blog and content marketing can exist as separate entities but together they make a winning combination for any digital marketing strategy. I can't imagine one without the other ... like Wimbledon without strawberries and cream. Unheard of!
I'm going to show you how your business blog can and should be used as part of your online marketing strategy to:-
- Generate interest and awareness in your brand
- Attract and convert new business leads
Isn't this what we're all in business for, to attract and build a loyal customer base who will come back time after time and purchase our products?
Why Listen to Me?
"Why should I listen to you, anyway?" you might be asking.
"What do you know over and above everyone else?"
During the recession I lost my job twice in the space of three years. It was a frightening experience and times were tough. I'd only just moved house when I lost my last job in February 2013.
Happily, one evening as I was sitting on my sofa, I experienced one of those 'light bulb moments'. I realised I had the skills to set up a business, work from home and start making my own luck. Over the following 6 months I read as many business magazines and books as I could, signed up for online webinars with influential marketers and social media experts, visited business expos in London and started writing a blog (albeit badly to begin with!)
A year and a half later I won my first national business award which culminated in a reception at No. 10 Downing Street with Small Business Saturday UK. It was an incredibly proud moment, given that I knew absolutely nothing about business just a short time ago.
And you can do the same!
I'm going to help you achieve your business goals, starting with a well thought-out content marketing strategy.
Blogging & Content Marketing
A few weeks ago I wrote an article about "How to Create an Effective Business Blog" in which I shared some incredible statistics with you,
"Businesses that blog are 13 times more likely to see a positive ROI than those that don't." [HubSpot, State of Inbound 2014]
The benefits are clear but here are a few more facts by way of an incentive:-
- Blogs are accessible and affordable for all small businesses
- A blog is an example of 'owned' media which can be optimised with your unique brand colours and text
- "Small businesses (1-10 employees) tend to see the biggest gains in traffic when they post more blog articles" [HubSpot]
- "Websites with blogs have 434% more indexed pages" [Social Media Today]. This is a huge benefit when it comes to SEO.
- 43% of marketers generated a customer from their blog this year.
What is content marketing?
In a nutshell content marketing is the creation of your own content and promoting it online in order to generate new business leads and build brand awareness.
"71% of B2B marketers use content marketing to generate leads". [MarketingProfs]
Content marketing consists of four main stages, each of which are equally important -
Remind yourself of what your business goals are and check that the content you produce is going to help you reach those goals.
Once you've created your content there's no point in using it in a random, scattergun way. According to the experts at the Content Marketing Institute, it's incredibly important to have a written content marketing strategy in place,
"60 percent of those with a documented content marketing strategy consider their organisation to be “effective” at content marketing." - [Content Marketing Institute & MarketingProfs]
For this and other detailed information click over to the impressive SlideShare created by the CMI and Marketing Profs -
[slideshare id=43822070&w=425&h=355&style=border: 1px solid #CCC; border-width: 1px; margin-bottom: 5px; max-width: 100%;&sc=no]
It's essential that you understand how to measure your success or your 'return on investment' (ROI) so you can find out what content is working and what is not and revise your plan, if necessary.
It sounds fairly straightforward but, unfortunately, there's a little more to it than first meets the eye.
For the best advice I recommend you take a look at "A Simple Plan for Measuring the Marketing Effectiveness of Content" by the Content Marketing Institute. You'll find out which Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) you'll use to measure success and how to collect data. Make the most of a free spreadsheet to help you with the process.
Depending on what kind of content you're creating, you need to plan it out carefully so that your efforts don't go to waste. Keep reminding yourself of what your goals are so your content remains relevant.
"62% of marketers' content is failing although brands' content has doubled" - the Content Marketing Institute.
If you're producing "How To" videos or podcasts ensure you have a practice run beforehand to make sure sound and lighting is set up correctly. Write notes and familiarise yourself with what you're going to say beforehand.
If you're providing written content make sure you think of a title or headline which will entice readers to click through and read your article.
As previously explained in "How to Create an Effective Business Blog", you'll need research keywords for SEO and ensure you use them in strategic places without spamming.
Consistency is key to blogging if you want to set yourself up as a trustworthy and reliable business you'll need to work out a timetable and stick to it as much as possible.
Content can take many forms and depends entirely on what business you have. For example, if you were planning a B2B marketing strategy your content may consist of -
➣ Free guides or 'cheat-sheets'
➣ "How To" explanatory videos
as well as premium content such as eBooks and White Papers (these will most likely be paid-for content).
Some people think that as soon as they've finished writing a blog article and hit the "Publish" button they can put their feet up and relax.
Personally this is the process I enjoy the most and involves sharing, sharing, sharing!
In order to get your content in front of as many eyeballs as possible you need to post it across all your social media channels. Grab the short-link from your title page or use a link shortener like Bitly, particularly for Twitter.
Consider using apps like Hootsuite or Buffer to help you schedule your social media posts; you'll have the benefit of their own link shorteners and analytics to help you measure your ROI.
If one of your business goals is to build a client base invite readers to download your free content using a call-to-action (CTA) button or a sign-up form. You've worked hard to entice readers onto your blog so don't allow them to bounce off your page without directing them to take a particular course of action which will benefit you both!
If you can't use plugins on your blog, create and use your own call-to-action buttons and add a link to a unique landing page. I've created some free, customisable CTA and social media buttons to help you with this process -
I did some research into plugins for those of you who can use them and the following three came top for lead generation and sign-up forms:-
If you already have a good client base ensure you send out each new piece of content via email or weekly newsletter to keep your customers interested and updated. If you have a segmented email list for different buying personas, however, only send out content that is relevant or of interest to them otherwise you may end up with unsubscribers.
Which leads me nicely on to the subject of email marketing and my next blog article.
Despite the rise and rise of social media and content marketing, email marketing remains one of the most effective tools in the marketing toolbox.
"59% of B2B marketers say email is the most effective channel for generating revenue". [BtoB Magazine]
With this in mind I shall be introducing you to a lady who knows a thing or two about email marketing and she'll show you exactly how to generate leads, build your email list and transform your sales!
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