Inbound Marketing Strategy Is Almost Always The Answer
I don’t mean your blog sucks because I don’t like what you’re writing about. I mean your blog sucks because it’s failing to drive website visitors and leads for your inbound marketing program. When I say sucks I mean it quantitatively sucks. It’s not an opinion; it’s a fact.
When we see businesses with blogs that are underperforming or not performing at all it usually comes down to one or two issues.
The first is the business is blogging with no inbound strategy behind the effort. There isn't enough planning or thought into what they are blogging about and why. The other has to do with frequency. They're not blogging enough to impact the results for a variety of reasons.
Let’s look at both in this article.
Blogging Without Inbound Marketing Strategy
I’ve written many times about the connection between all the inbound tactics. This connection, or thread as I like to think about it, is required to sew all the disparate inbound tactics together in a cohesive and orchestrated way. Without these connections, we often see inbound programs that underwhelm and underperform.
When it comes to blogging this is the perfect example of how everything needs to be tied together. In order to know what to blog about you need to know what keywords you want to be found for when a prospect does a search related to your business. In order to know what to blog about you also need to understand intimately the questions your prospects are asking at all phases of the buyer journey.
Prospects have different questions during the awareness stage than they have during the consideration stage and the decision stage. You need to know all these questions and they must be perfectly connected to the keywords we discussed above. Google and the other search engines are moving away from disparate keywords and moving toward content in context, which means asking a question and getting a set of suggested pages with answers to that question.
But this is just the first step in connecting search strategy to your blogging efforts. The next step has to do with the long-form content you’re planning on creating during your marketing campaigns. Your blogging should be a window into the long-form content, so readers get a taste of what’s available and then you offer them the full meal at the end of the blog article. Now your blogging effort is driving leads by promoting your long-form content.
But wait, there’s more. You want your social media, email marketing and video marketing to be tied in too. So you need to think through what conversation starters (or social posts) you’re going to need to promote both your blog articles and your long-form content. The same holds true with email marketing. How are you going to promote your new blog and long-form content to your existing leads in a way that moves them through your sales funnel and their buyer journey? How do you encourage them to read more? Learn more about your business and feel the pain associated with your prospects' current challenges or issues. This is an art that needs to be thought through and planned for.
If you skip this step, you’re going to be wasting a lot of time on tactics and activities that are not aligned with the major desired outcomes from your inbound program.
Blogging Too Infrequently To Impact Inbound Results
How often should you blog? We get that question all the time. The answer depends. How competitive are your keywords? If they're highly competitive, you’re going to need to blog more frequently. If they're less competitive, you might be able to get away with a less frequent blog posting schedule. However, almost all businesses have both competitive and non-competitive keywords that they should want to be found for on the search engines. The trick then becomes picking the right combination and applying blog content accordingly.
No matter how good you are at estimating blog frequency as it relates to keyword difficulty you should be prepared for an optimization phase of your blogging efforts. After you’ve been blogging for a few months you should have enough data to see what types of articles are getting views and what impact your blogging is having on your “get found” strategy.
Once you have this data you’re going to want to make some adjustments in the area of content, frequency, link strategies, CTA button application and more. How you optimize you blogging efforts is going to have a lot to do with the traffic you drive to the site and the leads you generate as a direct result of blogging.
Yes, the more you blog the more visitors you’ll see to your site. But these people have to be the right people. You need a solid plan and inbound marketing strategy to ensure you don’t end up wasting a few months attracting the wrong type of person or getting found for the wrong keyword. I’ve seen both.
Start Today Tip – To make sure you don’t waste valuable time and money with a misdirected blogging effort, do your planning up front. I would much rather see you wait 30 days to get started with a solid plan rather than jump in, start blogging, and have to reset and restart 90 days later. Remember that you can’t separate SEO, content, social and email marketing strategies. Each of these has to be tightly aligned and each has to benefit the other. This is one of the major tenets of inbound marketing. One plus one equals three when you’re doing it correctly. Skip this step or fail to tie these traditionally disparate tactics together and you’re likely to be underwhelmed with your results. Inbound only works when you do it correctly.
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