By John Sonnhalter, Rainmaker Journeyman at Sonnhalter
Your Blog is a repository of helpful content that can effectively attract a large number of prospective customers.
Here are 5 simple steps and suggestions to improve your company’s blog as a major tool for fueling new business leads:
Each new blog post is a new opportunity for you to be found online by your best prospects. Some quick suggestions:
- Write to a specific target audience and provide answers to their advertising/marketing challenges.
- Write consistently: This is important to creating regular readership. Write at least 3 to 5 posts per week.
- Post should average 350 to 450 words and be pleasantly scannable to the eye. Break up long paragraphs, use bullet/numbered lists when possible. Highlight key words and thoughts.
- Write in the inverted pyramid style, lead with your conclusion. People read differently online than they do for print. They tend to scan much more.
- Identify and consistently use key words in your post title. You want to be able to dominate these words in Google search.
- Let your reading fuel your writing.
- Write 1 original post to every 4 to 5 resource posts. You’ll never be considered a thought leader without original content, but you won’t generate much traffic if all of your content is just your original thought. A balance of both needs to be provided through your blog.
- Write with an “evergreen” style that will have a long shelf-life and provide a great return on your time investment.
- Provide the “Readers Digest” version for your writers. Do the work on behalf of your readers and pull out the nuggets in simple language that is concise and easy to read.
- Carefully think through your blog’s heading. A “heading” is a stand-alone phrase that describes your blog’s content that appears below it. I usually advise clients to create a blog descriptor statement for the header that lets a reader and search engines know the purpose and intent of the content. Mine is “Marketing to the professional tradesman in the construction, industrial and MRO markets.”
- Be sure you own your domain. A person that still has “wordpress or blogspot” in their domain won’t be able to change blogging platforms without losing traffic.
- Be sure your site is indexed with Google. If your pages are not indexed, then Google is not crawling them.
- Build quality inbound links. There are lots of online business directories where you can just submit your URL, agency’s name and a description of your services. There are also many social media sites where you can simply build links to your site. Writing guest articles and posts and optimizing our press releases can build links. The best way however, is to produce valued content and create a blog that is a repository of helpful information for your target audience.
- Make sure your content can be easily shared on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, as well as social bookmarking sites such as Digg, del.icio.us and StumbleUpon with Share buttons.
- Jumpstart traffic by repurposing your blog’s content through an email newsletter that is sent every other week. This is an easy thing to do. Since you already have the content and can create an email template that is reused, it will take literally minutes to prepare the newsletter and send.
- Build a sizable Twitter following that is targeted using TweetAdder and repurpose your blog content to your Twitter account using a program such as Social Oomph.
- Write guest posts; invite others to guest post for your blog.
- Comment on other blog posts and online articles, sites such as STAFDA or HVAC Professionals on LinkedIn, etc. Select those sites that are frequented by your target audience.
- Write content for searchability.
- Publish new blog content to your other social media accounts such as Facebook and LinkedIn.
- Conduct your own primary research using your blog; generate links and traffic through press releases using your groups on LinkedIn.
- Be proactive in facilitating speaking opportunities by creating a Speakers Page for your blog; list the topics and titles that you can speak to. You can also provide links to your past speaking engagements through YouTube; post photos through your Flickr Photostream.
- Pull blog content together, expand SEO opportunities, creating Slideshare Presentations, Whitepapers, etc.
All of this activity isn’t worth the time investment if it doesn’t turn visitors into leads.
- Place your RSS Subscription Feed button above the fold, near the top of your blog’s homepage. Visitors who subscribe will automatically receive updates every time you publish a new post either through an RSS Reader or through their email inbox. I would suggest setting up an RSS feed through Feedburner.
- Also place a subscription for your email newsletter within your blog’s sidebar to create Opt-Ins from site visitors.
If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it. Fortunately, you can measure a lot online and continually hone your program.
- Review your blog site’s analytics daily to see what posts are generating the most traffic, what search terms are being used, where traffic is coming from, who is linking to you, links readers clicked on, page views, etc.
- Utilize your email newsletter analytics to improve open and click-through rates. Test the day of the week your email newsletter is sent, time-of-day and subject line copy.
- Create a first-step call-to-action for your readers to know how to initially engage you. This could be something similar to my Industry White Papers. Make it something simple and of value that doesn’t take a lot of consideration but does separate to qualified prospects from those that just want to glean what they can get from you for free.
- Use this suite of tools to analyze your marketing efforts: