Blogging is a powerful marketing tool that can lead to an average of 55% more visitors to your website, but a successful business blog requires a little planning.
Before you run to your keyboard to start typing the first thing that comes to mind, here are five essential steps to consider.
Identify Your Target Audience
Understanding who you’re targeting with your blog enables you to provide valuable, relevant content to the readers you want to attract. Analyze your current customers’ interests, pain points, the language they use, and what types of content have performed well with them.
Next, identify the audiences that you’d like to reach with your blog. You can gather information about potential audiences through social listening, researching your competitors’ audiences, or searching industry hashtags to see who’s interacting with them. Once you’ve found new audiences you’d like to reach, analyze their demographics the same way you did with your current customers.
With an understanding of your target audience, you can tailor your writing specifically to their interests. Using their language and providing content they’ll find useful will be key to building their trust.
Outline Your Blog’s Purpose
When it comes to blogging, the “why” is just as important as the “what.” Before you start publishing blog content, ask yourself why you’re creating a blog. Why is this blog valuable to the target audience you have identified? What gap in content or information are you trying to fill? Why should people read your blog instead of any of the other countless blogs on the internet?
Having a clear purpose in mind will help keep the blog aligned with your company’s mission and values. Purposeful blog posts are sure to be more valuable to your audience than fluffed-up push content.
Pro Tip: Using a content calendar to map your topics ahead of time makes it easy to stay organized, on track, and efficient in your blog planning.
Create S.M.A.R.T. Goals
Setting goals will help you stay motivated and focused on the purpose behind your blog. Without clearly defined goals, it’s easy for your blog to become disorganized and ineffective.
Whether you want to drive new traffic to your website, increase email opt-in rates, or attract influencers to work with you, make sure you’re setting S.M.A.R.T. goals. These are goals that are: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. Ensuring that your goals meet the S.M.A.R.T. criteria will increase the effectiveness of each goal and help you track progress.
Research What’s Already Out There
Now that you have an audience, a purpose, and some goals it’s time to start creating content. But before you write a blog post for a specific keyword, do a quick Google search. What content is already ranking near the top for this topic? Study a few of the highest-ranking results. Consider why Google believes they’re what people are looking for, and what adjustments you could make to your next post to make sure people see it.
Once you know what’s already out there, you can identify the gaps where your content can add value. There are over 600 million blogs on the internet and you want people to find and read yours. Get creative and avoid copying content already published on other blogs.
Plan for Topic Clusters
A topic cluster strategy focuses on strategically using hyperlinks to connect pillar pages and subtopic content. Pillar pages give a broad overview of a core topic, while subtopic content provides more in-depth information about a specific subject.
For example, if your blog is about basketball, you could create a pillar page about the NBA. Then, you could write subtopic posts about each team, specific players, or rules to the game. Next, you would connect the subtopics to the pillar page through hyperlinks and create a topic cluster, which makes it easy for readers to bounce back and forth between all of your related blog posts.
By connecting subtopic pages to pillar pages, you create a topic cluster that keeps readers on your site longer, improves your blog’s SEO, and makes your content organized and comprehensive.
Now that you’re ready to start your blog, here are a few of our favorite tools to help you start publishing:
The CMS hub gives you a platform for your blog that’s fully connected to all of HubSpot’s marketing tools. Features like an easy-to-use editor, CTA creation tool, and the ability to preview the post on any device make the CMS Hub a great platform for any blog.
Keyword Planner is a free SEO tool to use before choosing keywords for your blog. Just tell the program a few words or phrases related to your business and Google will generate a list of possible keywords. From the list of keywords, you can view analytics such as search volume, and choose the best options for your blog.
Quora is a Q&A website where users can ask questions and crowdsource answers. While Quora can be a great place to engage with communities within your industry, you can also use it to brainstorm writing topics.
Search a few topics related to your niche and see what questions are asked most frequently. From this search, you can get a sense of gaps in your audience’s knowledge and plan blog topics that address them.
Ready to get your business blog up and running? We can help. Pivot is a HubSpot Platinum Partner with 17 years of experience in the AV industry. Reach out to us to get a conversation started.