Here at 98toGo, one of Atlanta's premiere inbound marketing agencies, we've built our business on blogging, literally. It all started when our co-founder, Tom Telford, realized he could get around paying for pay-per-click advertisements through smart keyword strategies and writing blogs.
Tom was one of the early pioneers of SEO, and our results show the value of a blog-focused Internet marketing strategy. If you put interesting content onto your website, and combine it with smart SEO strategies that guide visitors to you, you're going to see more traffic and (with any luck) more sales as well.
What's the best approach to writing blogs that truly appeal to people and help convince them to hang around your site to see what you offer? Well, there are a couple options available...
Writing Blogs For Fun
If you're someone who enjoys writing, it can be tempting to use your blog as your own little personal forum. You risk losing mass appeal by focusing on your own interests, but your blog is also practically bound to at least have more personality than your competitors.
Further, this approach can work quite well, in the right circumstances. The popular oddball Internet retailer Woot has practically built its success on its highly idiosyncratic and often downright satiric daily product blogs. If you want a good example of how to craft engaging blogs that are well off the beaten path, look to Woot.
However, if you're going to take the path less trod, you're going to be doing some bushwhacking along the way. Consider:
Do your own interests really align with those of your customers? Woot gets away with being snarky because its target audience is mostly made of younger Internet Generation types who enjoy that sort of humor.
Does your blog still convey good information? The real genius of Woot's style is they generally bury as much product info in their blogs as any other retailer; they just “hang a lampshade” on the whole process.
Seriously: Is your writing truly fun or funny? Get some honest opinions from people you trust before going live.
This is a risky approach. If you want to play it a little safer, however, there may be a better way...
Writing Effective Blogs
The alternative, of course, is the well-worn, stolid, and yet generally more effective solution of writing blogs that target your audience more directly.
Construct buyer personas, to connect with your audience and learn what they're looking for in a blog. What questions and challenges do they have?
Consider your keywords carefully, and pick those that match most closely to the products or services you offer. Make sure the information a customer sees from a link is relevant to what they searched for.
Directly address common issues that are relevant to your business or industry.
Utilize analytics software, such as Hubspot, to track pageviews and on-page times for all your blogs. This gives you great feedback on which ones keep people reading.
Keep the word count between around 400-800 words. About 600 is optimal.
Get feedback and utilize it. Encourage comments from your readers both on the blog, and through social media.
Test, Test, Test! Try new approaches. Keep track of the data so you can watch your progress over time.
Expanding Your Blog Writing
Generally speaking, unless you really believe you have a hot idea for a blog, the more careful approach is going to be the best. If you go slowly, track your data, and get a lot of feedback, pretty soon you'll be writing blogs that reach out to a wide variety of customers visiting your site.
Of course, nothing says you can't combine these approaches. Maybe Friday could be your “fun” day for complaining about bad movies or your favorite sports teams. Vary it up and keep your visitors coming back for more!
How do you balance “work” and “fun” when writing blogs?