Practical Blogging Tips For Those Looking To Improve Their Content Marketing Strategies
Do you remember all those obnoxious cliches that athletics coaches used to drop? Maybe in your life it was a music, drama or art teacher.
Now it might be a boss.
The athletics cliche usually goes something like this…
In order to succeed, you have to work harder than your opponent.
But it can easily be scaled to fit the other situations in your life quite easily. Success doesn’t come without hard work and dedication.
A lot of times we bristle when we hear it. But the thing is, it resonates with us because it’s true.
If you’ve been at it for any amount of time you should already have a good idea of who the blogging leaders of your industry are. If not, you’d better do some quick research.
Chris Brogan writes one of the most popular blogs on the Internet. It didn’t come fast or easy for him. Chris talks a lot about how it took eight years for him to build his content platform.
Sure, you can look at those who have built significant content platforms with a little bit of envy, but the truth is that they’ve put a lot of hard work and dedication into their craft.
Dan Gable is one of the most successful college wrestlers ever. His strategy was simple. He used to picture his opponent preparing for a match. Then he did more. His strategy is easily transferrable.
Are you taking your blog writing seriously?
Do you fit any of these descriptions?
- I don’t have anything to say–I call B.S.! There’s a wide array of blog ideas out there. It’s up to you to find them. Your readers and customers have questions about your industry. They’re looking for quality information. Those who provide what their customers are looking for, win. It really is just about that easy. There are a couple good approaches that you can take if you’re truly stuck for blog ideas. One is to think of the questions that your offline customers typically have. What do you seem to answer the most in the daily course of running your business? Blog posts are a great place to address these, because chances are someone else is looking for them too. Another great approach is to conceptualize your blog posts from the headline on down. Check out Jon Morrow’s Headline Hacks. That should keep you writing for a long time.
- Not producing great content– It should be fairly easy to determine if this is the camp that you fall into. How? Because your blog isn’t picking up any traction. When you blog, you should notice an influx of readers. Don’t get me wrong, producing a successful blog takes a lot of hard work and time. But if you feel like you’re in an echo chamber, you might want to reevaluate the type of content that you’re producing. Maybe it simply means packing more useful information into your posts. Maybe it means to knock off the “hard sell.” Great content is simply a spot on the map, and people can be coming from all directions to get there. Make sure that you’re editing your work consistently, and using proper grammar and spelling. That’s the most difficult sin for readers to forgive.
- Not putting in the time–OK, be honest. Do you really put the time in to do this right? Do you have a true blogging and content strategy in place to grow your business? Simply throwing up a half-thought out post once or twice a month isn’t really going to do. Your blog is the window into your website for customers who are seeking out information (and really, they all are). It’s going to be the first thing that a lot of people see. What are the things that you want customers to know about your industry as they shop? This is the place to talk about those things. You’ll need to stop making excuses, and find the time to write on a consistent basis. It may mean waking up an hour earlier, or taking some notes on your lunch break. It’s time to squeeze some productivity into the down time that you experience throughout your day. Utilize those spare minutes, or find a ghost blogger or copywriter who can help you build a better content strategy.
- Lack of planning– Blogging requires a significant amount of planning. Content marketing is storytelling, but it’s still marketing. Stories are fun and awesome, but you’re selling something. You should have a list of keywords that you’re trying to rank for, to build a larger audience. You need to use those keywords in the process of partnering with Google, not tricking them. Sprinkled lightly is still the best strategy, because you don’t want to keyword-bomb your readers. If there are many facets to your business, or you’re posting to several different blogs, using an editorial calendar can help you keep your content strategy straight.
- Failure to promote–Does it kill you to mention your blog to any professional connection? You need to be able to tell a client, or perspective client that you wrote about something recently, and that they can benefit. Not everything in this social age is about a hard sell, but you’re in business for yourself. It’s hardly the time to curl up and be shy. That goes for promoting your work online as well. Tweet. Post on G+, LinkedIn and Facebook. Rinse and repeat. You can also look for industry sites that might be willing to syndicate your blog as well. The name of the game is finding an audience.
Writing a blog that earns you business is hard work. It can take hours of work every day, and every week. But the thing is that your customers and the search engines are craving that content. It’s a great way for you to stand apart from the hundreds or thousands of competitors creeping into the search results along with you.
Unfortunately there’s no magic bullet, or golden ticket. Even the writers and business owners with the most natural tallent can fall short, if they’re not putting in the work to becoming an industry leader.
Now’s the time to give your readers the information they crave. While we are all suffering from Internet A.D.D., long form content is still doing extremely well. But it has to be scannable, provide value, and be worth your readers time.
What do you do to make your blog work for you? Have you gotten customers through your blog or guest blogging?