To help answer this question I thought it might be helpful to look at why I’ve seen blogs fail in the past and what we can learn from these mistakes…
Blog with a purpose
If you produce content just for the sake of it, it’s never going to deliver the return you expect. I’ve spoken to companies in the past that are keen to copy what their competitors are doing – to the point of replicating their blog content. But when I’ve questioned why, the answer is simply, “Well if it works for them it’ll work for us.”
This attitude really jars with everything I’ve ever been taught and learned about marketing. Everything you do should be driven by the wants and needs of the customer. And even if blogging is what the customer wants, you need to consider whether it’s the only, best, or most effective way of delivering what they want.
Once you’ve determined the purpose of your blog, you can identify the criteria you will use to measure success. Once you acquire the ability to measure its effectiveness, you can start to tweak and test things to improve your blog and get it working harder for your business.
Commit to blogging regularly
Blogging should never be a case of chucking some content on your site when you have some time to spare. It’s a marketing tactic that needs to be executed against a plan. And when executed regularly, research suggests that it yields impressive results – marketers who prioritise blogging are 13x more likely to enjoy positive return on investment, with B2B marketers that use blogs receiving 67% more leads than those that do not.
If you’re not creating and publishing regular content, it can actually damage your brand. If you’ve not blogged for a while, what message is that giving people? That you don’t care, or have nothing interesting to say? Perhaps that you’re too busy with client work, so you don’t need any new business? Or maybe that you’re out-of-business?
Blogging requires commitment and investment. If you know you can’t keep it up internally, consider hiring a copywriter who can dedicate the time and effort it requires.
Mix it up
If you stick to the same format, it becomes boring to write and uninspiring to the reader. To prevent this from happening, think about trying different things on your blog – afterall, blogging is so broad in its scope, it wouldn’t make sense to stick to the same old format.
Think about mixing:
- Short pieces with long copy
- Opinions with research-lead pieces
- Round up blogs with thought leadership
- Thought leadership with tactical SEO pieces
- Words with pictures, video or infographics
- Pieces bylined to the company with pieces produced by subject matter experts
Make it part of something bigger
A stand-alone blog doesn’t deliver as much value as a series of blogs that centre on a specific theme or topic, or blogs that tie into something else to explore a particular element in more detail.
Case studies, white papers and guides are great examples of content that you can break down or expand out. By re-spinning and repurposing that content, you can elaborate more on specific elements to demonstrate your expertise or thought leadership.
Alternatively, if you’re starting with creating a series of blogs on a specific theme, why not wrap them up into an ebook to create a high-value piece of content that’s worthy of really shouting about?
Share your content
I worked with one client that insisted that once they’d published their blog on the website it would automatically be read. It took me a long time to convince them that people don’t wake up one day and automatically know you’ve shared something new. You have to tell them to visit your website – and make it as easy as possible for them to perform that action.
So once you’ve published your blog, rather than assume people will read it, make sure you share it far and wide online to give it the best chance of being seen and shared.