You may have heard the news – blogging can be great for business.
When done right, blogging can deliver many impressive benefits:
– Websites with a blog tend to have 434% more indexed pages – TechClient
– 47% of buyers viewed 3-5 pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep – HubSpot
– B2B marketers that use blogs get 67% more leads than those that do not – HubSpot
Perhaps you’re already creating your own blogs – investing time, and likely blood, sweat and tears, to creating pieces you believe your readers will love. Maybe you’re investing cash money into the process – buying blog packages from professional content creation companies. Wherever you’re at – it’s time to step back and ask: What results are you securing? Any idea? Is it even worth your time? Worse still, is your blog a business asset or a liability?
Blindly blogging can be a fast track route to, at best, wasted time and/or money. And at worst? It could be harming your business image – serving only to repel, rather than appeal. Whatever your situation, this feature will help you establish a blog strategy that results in tangible pence and pounds on that profit margin of yours.
Time to get serious and commit to blogging
Goal: A regular reserved spot on your schedule
Just as with any form of marketing, you need to fully commit if you’re to secure the results we spoke about at the beginning of this feature. That means carving out a dedicated time to commit to blog creation, promotion and performance analysis. Don’t even think about allowing everyday tasks to interfere with this commitment – retreat into an email and phone free room if you must.
Why – what’s your purpose?
Goal: A purpose statement
Before we dive into the nitty gritty of content strategies, you need to establish a single statement that defines why your blog exists. The following questions should help:
- What is your company’s greater purpose?
- Who shares your passion?
- What backstory lies behind this purpose?
Who – who should be targeted and written for?
Goal: To identify and understand your ideal customer(s)
Who are you writing for? What do they care about? What concerns, desires, needs or wants do they have, that you solve? What are their pain points?
|Business||Main pain points|
|Livery yard /riding school||Boosting their income with extra revenue, late monthly payments, operating at full capacity, securing long term business|
|Equestrian veterinary surgery||Increasing clientele, gaining/maintaining staff, practice efficiency|
|Equestrian wholesalers/retailers||Lines to stock/sell, increasing brands/stockists, operating logistics|
|Equestrian trainers||Building and maintaining reputation, increasing clients|
These key questions are just the start to understanding your ideal customers (and by ideal, we mean most profitable, and least costly in terms of servicing). Unlike general businesses, as a company based in the equestrian industry you have incredibly niche resources for informing your insight into your ideal customer – such as:
– Blog comments on equestrian blogs, including Equestrian Business.
– Questions and answers on equestrian forums.
– Tools that can present an overview of fellow equestrian business already blogging (and their successes) – these tools include BuzzSumo and Topsy.
These sources of information should inform and guide your knowledge about your customer, creating a persona that includes notes on their interests, challenges, and demographic data. Ultimately you’re trying to build trust through your blog. If you can create high quality information of value for your readers, their trust in you will increase over time.
Taking a look at the competition
Goal: A top five list of your closest competitors
Whatever your exact line of business in the equestrian industry, there’s one thing for certain – you do not, repeat DO NOT, want your potential customers discovering purchase information, guides or blogs over on your competitor’s website. A competitor blog audit is the answer – look to your nearest competitors and get to grips with the content that they create. What do they talk about? How do they answer your target market’s pain points? What tone of voice do they use? How do they use media to keep the reader engaged?
Press Point Pro Tip
There are plenty of great tools out there for helping you quickly assess what your competitors are blogging about, and what results they’re securing – these tools include: QuickSprout, Open Site Explorer and SEMRush.
SEO: Not thought about it yet? Now is the time.
Goal: A list of external online places to feature your blog content
The days of writing a blog and simply expecting a ton of traffic are well and truly over. Today, gaining a respectable position in the search engines is nothing short of an art form. Known as SEO, climbing those slippery ladders of Google and the like demands that you:
- Understand what keywords and terms your audience are using to find blogs, information, products or services such as yours (for which the Google keyword tool is essential).
- Create a solid distribution plan – such as creating infographics to be shared on social media, turning your blog post into a SlideShare, creating images with key facts, stats and quotes for social networks such as Instagram and Pinterest or breaking down a blog into a complementary email series.
Getting the word out there – deciding how and when to promote
Goal: Write two lists
- The promotional tasks you’ll try in the first six months of your blogging campaign (there’s no perfect science here – as with many marketing areas, it’s a matter of trial and error).
- A list of influencers who could potentially create a loyal readership and trust in your blog with a single update or guest post.
As well as considering Pay Per Click, SEO and social media marketing, there’s something we want to focus in on – influencers. Influencers are those in the equestrian industry who are thought of as credible and trustworthy – those that your target market look to for advice, guidance and opinion.
With your list of influencers complete, you’ll need to do plenty of schmoozing. This will involve regular contact with your influencers – engaging with them via email and through their own blogs. You could create complementary opinion pieces in response to their blogs or engage them in debate on social media.
When – putting together a blog schedule
Goal: A pinned up, ready-to-role blog calendar, complete with dates, times and topics
How many blogs should you be posting a week or month? Whilst there’s no golden rules as to how regularly you should be posting or how many blogs you should be writing, a calendar plays one critical role – creating accountability amongst your team members. Each person should know what they’re doing, and when.
A final word on practicalities – who’s going to do what?
Goal: A rundown of who is going to take which role in your blog strategy
Running a successful blog takes many skillsets and a whole lot of time. Here are the roles that you’ll need to fill and hand out if you’re not to take on the impossible challenge of going it alone…
– Keyword research
– Facts, stats and examples research
– Strategy and editorial calendar governance
Measuring metrics: how did you do?
Goal: To decide on metrics that translate to leads, enquires, sales.
How will you define success? Sure, the ultimate goal is to achieve a boost in sales and a consistent supply of leads. But how do you get here? How many shares must you generally secure per sale?
Metrics that you could measure include:
– Plus ones
From blogging to PPC onto social and SEO, we handle every area of digital marketing – a huge, complex arena that’s only getting bigger by the day. Yet while we’re experts, we completely appreciate just how intimidating our world is for anyone less than a pro. So if blogging and content strategies leave you cold, it could be time to consider outsourcing. Which is right about where we can step in.
Maybe we should talk? T: 01953 851513 | E: firstname.lastname@example.org