All digital marketing today is driven by content. Your company blog is an integral part of your overall content strategy. Social and SEO are now an old married couple and if you don’t have a sufficient, well-designed blog strategy, you’ll miss out on increasing your search engine rank, boosting your thought leadership position and generating new leads for sales.
One of my favorite TV shows is Chasing Classic Cars with Wayne Carini. If you’ve seen it, you probably feel like me – excited to hang out with Wayne (the consummate car guy) to see what will happen next. He goes to auctions (once those were my home away from home) and win or lose, we all have a great time witnessing the excitement. He gets calls from customers all over the world to come look at and bid on their automotive family heirlooms, which have been sitting in their garage for years. He always finds a way to get them to crank up and next you see Wayne motoring down the road with another great find.
Blogging can seem like an old car that’s been forgotten in the garage. You might have heard once that blogging can be highly beneficial to your business so you fumbled your way and got your blog up and running. I’ve seen many company blogs where it was clear they had great intentions but for some reason, just couldn’t follow through.
If your blog is new, it can be hard find the time to commit, to know what to write about, to know how to optimize it for search and to know what to do with your posts once you’ve written them. A winning blog strategy is key. There are certain specific fuels and tactics that make cars (and blogs) run well. Here are 5 fuels that will ignite your blog strategy and get you over the finish line with flying colors!
1. Know Who You Are. It’s essential to know why people buy from you. I don’t mean things like, “We have the lowest price.” or “We’ve been in business for fifty+ years.” It’s important to delineate the reasons in detail so you can show evidence of that every time you publish content. If you’ve never gone through a brand discovery to define your specific content strategy, it would be a good idea to hire a content strategist to help you discover your WHY. It will be the launchpad for every bit of content you create and publish going forward.
2. Understand Your Buyer(s). Part of any successful sales strategy is to know everything about your customer. Take time to define who your ideal new customers are. Take some more time to define who your current happy, loyal customers are. When you have this information, you can publish content that attracts, engages, and generates new leads for sales.
Now that Google has eliminated organic search data from Analytics [ie: Keyword (not provided)] it’s never been more important to understand who your ideal customers are and what types of content they require to make purchase decisions. There are certain words and phrases your customers search for that relate to your business and what you sell. Having a very clear idea of your “buyer-personas” will improve your ability to get your content into the right hands.
3. Establish Goals. Never start any social or online marketing without clearly defining your goals. Maybe your goal now is to just have a strategy in place. Here are some additional goals to look at when kickstarting your blog:
- Blogging Frequency – How often will you publish?
- Blog Editor – Who will manage content submission and publication?
- Training – Great content doesn’t just happen. How will you know what success looks like? Successful blogs have specific characteristics that only an expert can guide you on.
- Plan for syndication – How will you get people to read your blog?
- Analytics – What tools do you need to measure your blog’s success?
4. Develop Original Content. The first place to start is to write what you’re passionate about. Next, outline what your customers/prospects are passionate about. To get traction, ask your frontline personnel to give you their customers’ 3 most-frequently-asked questions. If you have 20 salespeople in your organization and each gives you 3 then you’ve got enough blog content to last for 7 months if you post twice a week.
Utilize an Editorial Calendar. Managing content (blogs, social media and other marketing) can be very challenging. Content marketing has lots of moving parts that come together at different times to form cohesive campaigns. It’s imperative to have an editorial calendar to manage the process. Your Editorial Calendar will serve as a road map for the months ahead to ensure your content is optimized to meet your business goals and targets the right audience. It will also provide assurance that your contributors, stakeholders, and distribution channels are working in concert.
5. Extract Gold from your “Content Producers.” Employees are your gold mine but it’s up to your content marketing manager to extract the gold (and that ain’t always easy!). Always identify the comfort level of each employee. Leverage the power of these 4 types of content producers within your organization:
- The Writer. This is the employee who is willing and able to write. It’s extremely rare to find more than one or two within most organizations but do your best to find them and get them on board. Added benefit: other employees will see this happening and may want to join in the process.
- The Actor. These are your “showmen” (or “show-women”) who go 1,000 MPH and jump from one activity to the next. Extracting gold from an Actor comes in the form of video-based interviews. Produce 6-10 video segments and turn those into blog posts.
- The Talker. This person is a lot like the Actor but doesn’t want to be on video. Generally speaking, a 1-hour interview (audio or written) with a Talker can generate up to 10 potential blog articles/pieces of content.
- The Questioner. Some employees aren’t good writers, they’re not good on camera, and they don’t make a good fit for interviews either. However, just because they don’t have these communication skills doesn’t mean they can’t help with the process of brainstorming the types of content the company should be producing—basing said content on the types of questions consumers ask and seek out every day. The Questioner understands the customers well and is most likely introverted. Very often, support staff are Questioners.
So get that car out of the garage and let’s see it run! Your customers are waiting to drive business to your door.