Can you answer this question simple question?:
Why are you blogging?
- To increase brand awareness?
- To drive traffic to your site?
- Improve SEO?
Now think about that question again...how are you measuring this?
- Form submissions?
- Number of subscribers?
- Volume of downloaded content?
There's more to blogging that simply hitting the publish button and hoping for the best. To create a successful blog platform takes careful planning, consideration and strategy. But as content is the fuel of inbound marketing, it is essential you get it right.
As Abraham Lincoln once said: "Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe."
In this case, your knowledge and insights are your tools. Sharp knowledge and strong insights will give you the easiest execuction.
Your time and efforts should be invested into profitable exercises and your blog's ROI is an excellent place to start. Here are seven steps to consider when trying to improve the value of your blog platform.
ROI must be measured to ensure your marketing efforts are creating tangible results. Rather than relying on vague metrics and benchmarks, setting out clear key performance indicators (KPIs) will allow you the insight to consistently strategise your offering, and implement a stellar execution that improves your performance.
There are many online tools (a lot of them free) that will help you track your key performance indicators (KPIs). But first you must decide on what the most important factors are:
- Top performing posts - this provides insight into what content your readers prefer and are (likely) revisiting and sharing
- Where the traffic is coming from?- this allows you to see where your content is most visible, and where your audiences are coming from
- Which CTAs are being clicked on? - measuring which calls-to-action (CTAs) are garnering the most clicks provides knowledge into the location of successful CTAs, and the type of language your audiences prefer
- Are people subscribing? - do you come across as an authoritative source? Do people want more?
- What’s not working? - this will tell you what to avoid in the future, and what needs working on
These are the fundamental metrics that will set you on your path to ensuring maximum ROI.
You should review your metrics on a monthly or quarterly basis. This gives you enough time to spot trends and create benchmarks yet still act on the results in a timely fashion.
After all, how can you improve if you’re not measuring?
For this step, a content calendar is a great place to start. What questions and pain points do your prospects (and customers) have, and can you answer them? Build your content calendar with these objectives in mind.
You should endeavor to provide value to your customers in the form of useful, well-written content. Answer questions and provide solutions they'll want to share.
A great exercise to help you achieve this is to track keywords and high-ranking Google searches associated with your industry, and use these as potential blog titles. Seek to answer questions your audiences have by creating content around them.
Write about topics your customers are interested in, regardless of whether you find them interesting. A good content writer knows to write for the audience and not for themselves. Provide value and the blog will promote itself.
Make it evergreen
Evergreen content is designed to stay relevant, meaning it can be repurposed or revisited for months, or even years down the line.
Some of the best performing blog posts will likely be evergreen since they garner more traffic over the long haul. If its value has longevity, it’s likely to keep on performing overtime.
We have written previous blogs about the value of seasonal marketing, and you should still consider this is still a great way to propel your blog efforts around certain times of the year. But underpinning longevity will ensure it can be repurposed when these dates re-occur, in order for it to achieve its maximum potential.
Promote your blogs through email marketing, social media, and even paid promotion.
Building an online community with whom you regularly share helpful, relevant content is a free way to increase the visibility of your posts. Social media allows for re-sharing and an incredible reach, so take advantage of this.
Remember to consider contextual marketing when sending e-newsletters to maximise the impact of your material. Personalising is also made possible through the use of segmented lists. That way, you can filter your contacts based on their position within the buyer's journey, delivering them the most fitting blog content.
Add visual content
Videos, images, graphics, animations: all help your reader digest your content in a web-friendly manner. They also make your content more readable.
If you’re not already familiar with your audience’s preferences, consider trialing different formats. You can measure this by using those handy KPIs you’ve now set.
This is also a great opportunity for some A/B testing. I know we drum on about this one a lot, but it’s a simple way to test what your visitors and users prefer.
When promoting your blog content, visual elements can be the rocket fuel in your visibility efforts. Creating posts suited to the platform, for example, Pinterest, Facebook or Twitter, using engaging imagery, video content or animated gifs. Even outside of your actual blog post, visual content can do wonders for its performance.
Do your best performing posts have visual content? If so, perhaps this is the way to go in the future. You can then apply this knowledge to explore which type of visual content works best.
Include relevant and clear CTAs
So your blogs are valuable, authoritative, visible, and your prospects are now itching to do business with you. Is there a clear CTA to move them to the next step? How do they make contact with you, or sign up to receive more of your useful content? Are there relevant content offers within the page?
Keep on reviewing you call to actions (CTAs). They're ultimately the key to a tangible ROIs. A user-friendly blog platform will be intuitive and move the visitor through the buyer’s journey with ease and minimal effort.
Don’t stop measuring
And finally, never stop measuring.
Not only will your KPIs and performance metrics provide insight into what's working, but also what isn’t working, allowing you to tweak your content strategy and keep on improving.
As with anything, improving takes persistence and commitment. A healthy ROI might not appear overnight, but implementing the techniques discussed can help you get the most out of this inexpensive marketing tool.
We suggest reviewing your KPIs on regularly but hold an intense assessment every 3 months. This allows you to be agile in your approach, whilst recognising trends.
A blog platform is an inexpensive way to attract visitors to your site, increase awareness of your brand, and position yourself as a thought leader in your field. But it’s important to have a clear idea of why you’re doing what you’re doing, and how you will measure this. To learn more about how inbound marketing could benefit your business, read our eBook.