Founder/CEO of ContentMender, an SEO-Driven Content Marketing agency.
Multiple companies, from small-to-midsize businesses (SMBs) to multimillion-dollar corporations, tend to put their blogs on the proverbial backburner as they spend — and often times waste — money on other forms of marketing. One of the biggest culprits, in my experience, is Google Ads. This is a very valuable service when starting out, but once your spend is gone, that ad disappears. You have to continue fueling it for more leads, and I find it doesn’t do much for building brand awareness.
I believe this type of advertising is for a short-term mindset. As searchers steadily go against the status quo of advertising, they ignore these ads. Organic search results are more trusted and can provide endless lead generation. And this is where the blog rules. Creating a successful blog is not that simple, though.
First, you must have an SEO-friendly website with a strong technical platform — quick speed, mobile-friendly, image optimization, etc. You must also have a blogging strategy that’s built around target keywords.
The blog helps more than just increasing SEO value. It also builds what I call ART: a company’s authority, reputation and trust. When a business excels at ART, sustained growth will naturally follow.
I previously provided tips in "Starting A Business Blog Is A Must For Success: Eight Tips." I’m going to take things a step deeper here, and provide additional tips that will help you garner ART, which leads to loyal clients and a higher return on investment (ROI).
Strike a 50/25/25 blend.
I once explained this by telling clients to create a blend of content that speaks to prospects in different phases of the traditional sales funnel. After reading Smash the Funnel by Eric Kieles and Mike Lieberman, I no longer refer to the sales funnel, but rather, as Smash the Funnel calls it, the “cyclonic buyer journey.”
This “journey” has eight cyclones, beginning with “pre-awareness” and ending with “ongoing delivery.” For success, you must create blog content that talks to each step of the cyclone.
I’ve had success creating blog calendar’s that feature a 50/25/25 blend of content:
• 50% for newbies seeking education about their problems and solutions.
• 25% for intermediate readers who know the problems, but want better solutions
• 25% for experts (think CMOs) who are fully educated and seeking better solutions. This 25% also talks to existing customers to further create loyalty.
It’s all about appealing and building ART from a large but targeted audience. Speak to all. The reason to put half of the focus on the newbies is simple — you want to be, as John Hall says in his book of the same name, “Top of Mind” for readers throughout their buyer’s journey, from awareness to post-client/customer status.
Blog from different company perspectives.
Another way to build ART within readers in various cyclones of the buyer’s journey? Create blogs from different perspectives throughout the company: CEO, marketing, sales, technicians, finance, etc.
Each perspective will offer a unique perspective that will naturally attract those in similar positions. Due to my position, I love reading inspiring pieces from fellow CEOs or heads of marketing departments. Well before I launched my own business, most of my time was spent reading content from people of similar stature — writers on writing, SEOs on SEO, etc.
The following is a quick example of diverse authorship from an investing firm:
• CEO blogs to inspire prospects and current customers to invest, projecting a long-term overall vision view.
• CMO blogs about finance project management advice.
• Finance team blogs about various tools that ease the investing process.
• Technician team blogs about investing techniques. They get super granular on details.
Create a quarterly calendar loaded with evergreen content.
Blogging without a strategy is like riding a motorcycle with bald tires. You’ll get somewhere, but it’ll be a horrible and dangerous ride. Same for blogging, though that horrible ride equates to lack of authority, reputation and trust. And this equates to zero readership and zero ROI.
A plan is needed, and the most successful route I’ve witnessed is through a blogging calendar that is, at minimum, a quarter out. This calendar should also feature mostly evergreen content — education that will stick around for years to come. Build out your calendar using the points above, and also remember the importance of keyword research that I talked about in my last article.
Post consistently and frequently.
Posting consistently and frequently is crucial for success from both the search engine and user perspectives. In regards to users, this type of posting shows how dedicated your company is to providing valuable information in an orderly manner. And if an internal team can get it organized, imagine how organized they will be with clients. This fact will even weigh on some prospects from a subconscious level.
It also shows search engines that you care about constantly creating new content, which aids in SEO.
Stale content gets noticed. What if a prospect landed on a blog and it was loaded with outdated resources and dead hyperlinks? This will show that the business doesn’t put quality first — even if this occurs on a subconscious level.
My agency recommends quarterly reviews when the team freshens the content (tweak headlines, newer factual info/statistics), and updates the blog with hyperlinks that point to newer blog posts or service pages. This process is relatively easy within the 12-18 months, depending on how much content is created, but can get laborious afterward. The results are worth every effort, and your prospects and current clients/customers will put higher levels of ART on your business.
If you’re using an agency, ask about this. Many agencies pump out content and forget about it. This is not optimal for long-term results.
Blogging with the goal of establishing authority, reputation and trust (ART) will help your business achieve long-term success. Again, this is no short-term play. Sometimes it can take up to a year for results to be observed. If you’re dedicated to the long-term vision of your company, the ROI will arrive. And once things start rolling, this ROI compounds over time. Who thought ART could be this cool in the business world?