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Blogging In The Age Of Content Marketing


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Blogging In The Age Of Content Marketing

  1. 1. Why Blog ? Intro Two Peas in a Pod: Blogging and Content Marketing Identifying Your Target Audience(s) Getting Down to Business: The Blogging Process Don’t leave them Hanging: the Importance of CTAs Building your Audience Guest Blogging Conclusion 05 04 09 08 14 20 22 24 27
  2. 2. TABLE OF CONTENTS Editing Hana Abaza Writing & Research Aaliyah Madadi Graphic Design Quentin Zancanaro <
  3. 3. Blogging in the Age of Content Marketing4 BLOGGING IN THE AGE OF CONTENT MARKETING Where do you find the time to write? Whatresourcesdoyouneed?Howdo you manage and measure your con- tent? Whether you are new to blogging or have been doing it for years, over the course of the following chapters you will find insight regarding best prac- tices for executing a comprehensive blogging strategy. Even though blogs have been around foralmosttwodecades(weblogs any- one?),they’veonlyrecentlybeenseen as an important tool for brands. Pre- viously considered a “nice-to-have” rather than a “must-have”, blogs are now a proven, cost-effective market- ing channel for driving leads and gen- erating customers - if done well. To become an effective blogger, you must create strong content that’s alignedwithyourbusinessgoals,pub- lish it regularly and promote it effec- tively. But what do you write about?
  4. 4. 5Blogging in the Age of Content Marketing WHY BLOG? Perhaps you’re thinking about starting your own business blog or maybe you already have one and are looking to take it to the next level. Regardless of your reasons for reading this eBook right now, it’s important that we take a minute to understand and define the value and significance of effective ­business blogging in today’s digital world. 1
  5. 5. Blogging in the Age of Content Marketing6 Brand Awareness Assuming that you’ve got the ­pieces aligned to write great content for a targeted audience (don’t worry, we’ll walk through this), blogs are a phenomenal avenue for building brand awareness. Interesting and relevant blog content can have a wide reach and although your contentwon’texplicitlydiscussyour brand and products/services, your brand’snameandlogowillbe­apparent and associated with the content you produce. Producing high quality con- tentandsharingitwithyour­audience and influencers means that your brand’snamewillbesharedacrossthe web for more people to see, thereby increasing your brand awareness.  SEO Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a big beast to tackle and would make for an entire eBook on its own; however, what’s important to know about SEO is that a blog is one of the easiest low-hanging fruits for build- ing your SEO strategy. Since your blog lives on your website, you can and should be writing content which ­incorporates strategic keywords thatare­importanttoyourcompany’s SEO and Search Engine Results Page (SERP)­rankings.Asyourcontentdrives more and more traffic to your site, searchengineswillbegintorankyour site with higher authority which will increase your SEO and SERP results. Furthermore, search engines crawl andindexeverypageandkeywordon your website – and that includes any new blog pieces you publish. Using targeted keywords within your con- tentmeansthatyourpiecewillappear higher in SERP results when people are searching for a particular topic. Check out this piece for a step-by-step guide to creating an effective SEO keyword strategy. Shareable content via blog impacts SEO as current digital landscape changing – social SEO helps from that perspective.  2. 1.
  6. 6. 7Blogging in the Age of Content Marketing Thought Leadership Greatcontentproducesauthorityand trust with your audience. Over time, your readers will associate your in- teresting, relevant, and informative contentwithyourbrand.Buildingthis rapportandrelationshipwithyourau- dienceisinvaluableasyouworktodrive thesepeoplefurtherdownthefunnel. Qualified Leads Assumingthatyourbloglivesonyour company’swebsite(whichitdefinitely should), your content will ultimately pull a targeted audience of ­potential buyers directly to your website! Soundsprettyawesome,right?­Forget foramomentthesignificantSEOben- efitsthatthistrafficwillbring–you’ve ultimately got a group of people on your website that you’ve identified as being your target audience (as determinedbyyourstrategiccontent creation), who now trust your brand asathought-­leader,andhaveagaping problem/pain point in their lives that your product/service can solve. Yes – donecorrectly,yourblogcanbeasignif- icantdriverofleadsforyourcompany! Another way to think of blogging (and content marketing as a whole), is as a relationship. Through your content, you’re taking the time to build a relationship with your audience, showing them that you understand who they are, what they’re interested in, what they’re struggling with, and why they can trust you. Unlike the old school hard-salesapproach(doesaused-car salesman come to mind?), content marketing and blogging is all about building a genuine relationship with your audience – one that’s built on a strong foundation of trust and reliability.    Instead of trying to hit a home run on the first date, content marketing is a long term approach that is built off layers of conversation and trust. When a connection is built and a relationship secured (i.e. a lead is generated), you can bet it’s been built out of love, not infatuation... or coercion.  3. 4.
  7. 7. Blogging in the Age of Content Marketing8 TWO PEAS IN A POD: BLOGGING AND CONTENT MARKETING Now that we have a strong understanding of the im- portance and power of blogs in the realm of content marketing, let’s dive in and learn how we can create a blog and a killer blogging strategy! 2 Bloggingandcontentmarketingtruly gohand-in-hand.Yourblogshouldbe the central nervous system of your entire content marketing strategy: it is the home for all your content and the portal for your target audience to learn and engage with your brand. Regardless of the type of content you’re producing (blog posts, vid- eos, infographics, eBooks, white- papers), your blog is the home and Hub of all your content. You want to keep your audience engaged and interested in all the different types of content you produce (you know, to keep nurturing the relationships you’ve worked so hard to build), and agoodblogisexactlytheplacewhere this relationship building happens.
  8. 8. 9Blogging in the Age of Content Marketing IDENTIFYING YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE(S) Before you actually begin the con- tent brainstorming and creation pro- cess, it’s absolutely imperative that you have a strong understanding of who you’re speaking to: who’s your audience, what type of people are they, what do they like/dislike, what pain points do they experience...the ability to answer detailed questions such as these allows you to create content that speaks directly to your target consumer. Since the goal is to engage with people that are most inclinedtobecomecustomers,thefirst step is to understand who they are and then to effectively communicate with them through awesome content.  3
  9. 9. Blogging in the Age of Content Marketing10 Creating Your Audience Personas To write compelling content for your audience, you need to know every- thing about them. According to HubSpot, your audience personas should be “semi-fictional characters that represent your dream ­customers.” The key thing to remember is that they are characters – an identity that you ­create rather than one that’s based off real ­people. You want to be detailed in your description and include facts about both their personal and professional lives such that you paint a clear ­picture of the person(s) you’re speaking to.  Consider including facts such as: 1. Personal and professional goals Demographics Personal and professional pain points Behaviour characteristics++ + +
  10. 10. 11Blogging in the Age of Content Marketing Make sure to include a picture along with your ­character ­personas; you want to make the ­profile as ­detailed and realistic as possible so every person in your company can ­visualize and empathize with the character.   IDENTIFIERS - Busy managing marketing activities - Approachable - May have a small team, buys into corporate culture HOW WE HELP - Make it easy to create a central destination for customers - Provide metrics to see what content is effective DEMOGRAPHICS - Skews female - Age 25 to 35 GOALS - Keep her boss happy (metrics) - Keep customers happy - Wants to learn BACKGROUND - Marketing Manager at Targetly - Works for Jimmy, she’s the doer - Experience in marketing; still learning digital marketing landscape CHALLENGES - She doesn’t know what’s working - Doesn’t know where to invest her time and budget - No time to create content, several approval steps - Planning and communication isn’t great NIKKI
  11. 11. Blogging in the Age of Content Marketing12 If you’ve ever had the ­opportunity to watch a keynote ­presentation by Joe Pulizzi, he most likely spoke of the importance of ­creating a ­content marketing mission statement. Joe explains that  Especially if you’re just starting out in content marketing, building a mission statement is a great way to narrow the scope of your ­strategy; it will help you understand who your target audience is, what you should deliver to that audience, and how it affectsthem.Ultimately,this­mission statement will guide you to ­create and deliver the right content to your audience, and to eliminate ones that don’t advance your end goals.  In simple terms, the mission statement must answer the question, “Why do we exist?” Example :    “The Uberflip Hub is a place where ­marketerscanfind­useful­information, advice, resources and inspiration to becomea­top-notchmarketersthatget results - ­whether that means increas- ing leads, brand awareness or your ­bottom line, we’ve got you covered.” With your buyer personas and content marketing mis- sion statement defined, you now have a strong understanding of the exact audience you’re writing for and the value you will provide them with your content. For every piece of content you create, always keep your buyer personas in mind and vet the content against your mission statement; the goal is to ensure that every piece of con- tent communicates well with your target audience and that it’s aligned with their needs and wants.  Joe explains that a strong content marketing mission statement ­consists of 3 key components:  Your core target audience (as defined by your audience personas) Content Marketing Mission Statement 2. What will be ­delivered to your audience through your content The outcome for your ­audience 
  12. 12. LEARN MORE ABOUT TOSUPERCHARGEYOURCONTENTMARKETING Uberflip lets you organize and centralize all of your content into one beautiful, responsive and social site – attaching strong Call-to-Actions that convert leads into customers directly from your content experience. Mobile in minutes - instantly make your content mobile Sprinkle relevant CTAs throughout your content to generate leads Measure which content turns leads into customers Create targeted content streams for specific topics or personas Try it FREE
  13. 13. Blogging in the Age of Content Marketing14 One of the biggest pain points for content marketers is coming up with blog topics to write. An easy way to circumventthisissueistothestayon top of what’s buzzing in your indus- try. Set aside 30 minutes every day to read popular blogs, news sources, and social media for trends and con- versationstakingplace.Makenoteof articlesyouenjoyedreadingorpieces that received a high volume of social shares.You’llquicklyfindthatstaying currentwithindustrynewswillallow youtohaveyourfingeronthepulseof what your audience is talking about.  Use these topics as a starting point for your own blog content and think about unique angles or ­perspectives you can provide. Your audience isn’t interestedinrepeatedly­readingabout the same topic, so this is where cre- ativity is important. Think about how youcanprovideadditionalviewpoints or how you can elaborate on exist- ing perspectives in a compelling way.  GETTING DOWN TO BUSINESS: THE BLOGGING PROCESS 4 Topic Inspiration1.
  14. 14. 15Blogging in the Age of Content Marketing Another good strategy is to keep a document handy where you can record blog ideas as they come. It’s handy to have a bank of ideas readily available when you need them. Once you have your topic selected, give yourself some time to simply think about it – let it soak in your mind and allow yourself to explore different ­angles of the topic. You’ll be surprised how much this process of actively thinking about your piece will flesh out your ­arguments and let you quickly nail the important aspects.  Need Inspiration? Herearesome(free)toolstogetitgoing. Portent Idea generator  Thinkoutsideoftheboxbeforecreat- inganytypeofcontent.Portentoffersa keyboard-basedgeneratoroftitlesfor potentialcontentpieces.Price:Free. Pocket   Save articles, videos or pretty much anything into Pocket. Save direct- ly from your desktop browser or from any mobile device. Price: Free. Feedly   An RSS reader that lets you easi- ly track, organize and read content from different sources. Price: Free. Google Trends  Google Trends shows you what’s popular with Google searchers in real time and in the past - great for making content decisions based on actual data. Price: Free. MindNode  Keep track of your brainstorming sessions on any device, including iPad, iPhone, and Mac. Price: $9.99.
  15. 15. Blogging in the Age of Content Marketing16 Blog titles are the first thing your audienceseesandthe­effectivenessof your title will make or break whether they continue reading or move on to another piece. ­Especially with social media, a good title is the key for getting people to click on your link and read your content. However, despite knowing the impact that blog titles have on engagement, they are often the most difficult part of your piece to develop. Here are some tips for writing effective blog headlines to engage your audience and get them to read your piece.  Instructional Titles: People love reading articles that teach them how to improve and learn more about a topic. If your blog post offers ­instructional ­insight about a particular topic, ­consider the following types of titles:  - How To Create Engaging Titles - Tips for Creating Engaging Titles - Top 10 Ways to Create Engaging Titles Titles that begin with “How-To”, “Tips for” and “Top 10” (or any other number), are effective ways of indicating that the reader is going to learn useful information from your piece. Ask Questions: Questions are a great way to catch your audience’s attention and entice them to read beyond your title. The best questions are ones that your audience is already thinking about as it will encourage them to ­discover answers by reading your piece.  Pulling Them In: Headline Pointers 2.
  16. 16. 17Blogging in the Age of Content Marketing Short Titles: To optimize your audience’s engage- ment,makesureblogtitlesaren’ttoo lengthy.Ageneralruleistokeepyour titles at 8 words or less…more than thisandyourisklosingyouraudience before they even get to your piece.  Transparency: Make sure your audience can ­quickly extract the main point of your piece from the title. ­Sometimes ­writers get carried away with crafty and creative titles that ultimately leave readers confused. Especially with pieces that are shared across ­social media, you need a headline that readers can quickly digest.  Test them Out: Tryoutdifferentvariationsoftitlesand test their success. Depending on the typeofcontentyou’rewritingandthe preferences of your ­audience, you’ll start to notice trends in ­engagement. Assuming that the quality of your pieces are comparable, you can partly attribute engagement to the different types of titles you’re using.  Check your analytics and analyze the historic page viewandclick-throughratesofyour blogs.Whatareyourtopblogposts andaretheresimilaritiesinthetypes oftitlesyouused?Isaparticulartitle format driving more engagement thanothers?Bylookinghistorically through your posts, you can start to track trends in engagement and optimize future posts accordingly. 
  17. 17. Blogging in the Age of Content Marketing18 Set a timer for 45 minutes and close all unnecessary windows on your ­computer, including chats and email. If you want to get the piece done quickly, it’s important to minimize distractions that can lead you astray. Thesenext45minutesaren’tthetime to ­multitask between different proj- ects – not only will it take more time towriteyourpiece, the content could alsoappearfragmentedsinceyouaren’t writing with the same frame of mind.   Choose to write your pieces during a time of day where you’re most ­productive.Perhapsyou’reamorning person and prefer to write pieces at the beginning of the day before Don’t allow yourself to get bogged downbywritingtheperfectsentence orusingglamorouswords–justfocus on writing the piece and getting all your ideas down first. Then you can always go back to edit and revise if necessary.Writersgenerallyfeelstuck whenthey’rethinkingtoohardabout Finding the Time to Write 3. you get busy with other priorities. Some people might like to write at the end of the day, just before they head out. Find the time that works best for you and try to stick to it.  Now comes the easy part…writing!
  18. 18. 19Blogging in the Age of Content Marketing the topic or the writing process, and that simply won’t work when you have a short 45 minute dead- line. You can always go back and make the necessary ­grammatical, structural, and design changes, but first you need the content.   If you’ve hit a road bump and simply can’t find the words to get down on the page, the best thing you can do is to take a short break from writing and come back to it later with a renewed energy. It happens to the best of us so don’t fret – better that you revisit the piece in a few hours then try to pump out content that just doesn’t work.  of people read blogs more than once a day. Check out : Where is Your Content Hiding? Content Marketing Hack: 5 Tips for Dealing With Writer’s Block How to Create Great Content With Limited Resources (HubSpot Science of Blogging 2010)
  19. 19. Blogging in the Age of Content Marketing20 You’ve done your research and (efficiently) created a well-writ- ten and informative blog piece for your audience. Through your buyer persona analysis, you know exactly whoyou’rewritingforandhowtobest engage them. Your content market- ing mission statement has ensured thatyourpieceaddsvaluetoyourau- dience and delivers on the content promise you’re making to them. You’ve driven your target audience to your blog and they’re reading your content...but now what? This is your chance to contin- ue building a relationship with your audience but before that can happen, you’ve got to initiate the next step. This is where a ‘Call to Action’ (CTA) comes into play.   DON’T LEAVE THEM HANGING THE IMPORTANCE OF CTAS 5 CTAs come in many forms – it could be a button on the side of your blog pro- voking readers to subscribe for updates:
  20. 20. 21Blogging in the Age of Content Marketing Or perhaps it’s a banner at the end of your blog piece ­compelling readers towards a lead-generation content piece, such as an eBook Every CTA you create should always reflect one of your content marketing goals. Perhaps you’d like to increase eBook readership or blog subscriptions. Maybe you want to drive signups to a product demo or upcoming conference. Whatever the case may be, make sure you’re creating CTAs for strategic reasons. Second, your CTA must be actionable. It’s important that you clearly tell your audience what you’d like them to do. A good CTA should be no longer than two sen- tences and should clearly state what action you want your reader to take. Remember not to overwhelm your audience with too many CTAs – depending on the length of your piece and the design of your site, aim to have between 1 to 3 CTAs on any given page. But don’t forget...
  21. 21. Blogging in the Age of Content Marketing22 We’ve walked through the process of creating effective, targeted content – now we’ll learn how you can use your content to build your content marketing audience.  Frequency Thetopicofbloggingfrequencyoften sparksthe‘quantityvs.quality’debate: does posting content frequently ­sacrifice content quality? Quality contentshouldalwaysbeyourfirstand foremost goal. Yes, there is ­definitely anintricatebalancebetween­quantity and quality, and if posting more ­frequentlybeginstocompromisethe quality of your work, then definitely scalebackonfrequencyandfocuson writingmoredetailed,well-researched, and thought-provoking pieces.  However, the ideal scenario is to ­frequentlypublishhigh-qualitypieces. BUILDING YOUR AUDIENCE 6
  22. 22. 23Blogging in the Age of Content Marketing Content Distribution The more frequently you post, the morecontentthereistodrivepeople to your site. Try experimenting with posting at different frequencies per day. You’ll most likely find a correla- tion between frequency and traffic to your blog, but play around and try to find that sweet spot. For example, perhaps posting 7 pieces a week drives double the amount of traffic than posting 5 pieces, but posting 10 piecesaweekfailstodriveasubstan- tial increase in traffic or leads. Keep track of your metrics and don’t be afraidtoplayaroundandgetcreative. Content marketing is an ­iterative process which means you should always be experimenting and trying new tactics, with a keen eye towards analyzing and adjusting your tactics.  Without spending too much time focusing on social media strategies in this eBook, it’s important to note that social media is a phenomenal tool for content distribution. Use your social channels to engage in conversation surroundingthecontentyou’ve created and share it with your audience.  When sharing content, mention the author in your tweets so they also share the piece with their audience. Also share with people or companies that are mentioned within a piece of content as well as key influencers in yourindustry.Youwanttobestrategic aboutthis,however,asyoudon’twant tobombardthesameinfluencerswith content over and over again. Share different pieces with different influ- encers,basedontheirexpertiseand interests;shareitwiththembecause your content will add value to their lifeand/orthelivesoftheir­audience. By approaching content marketing withagenuinedesiretoprovidevalue for your audience, people will be happytoreadandshareyourcontent.  Check out: Hootsuite ClickToTweet TapInfuence Buffer
  23. 23. Blogging in the Age of Content Marketing24 Guest blogging can be an effective approach for building awareness and credibility for your brand. Start your guest blogging strategy by iden- tifying the influential blogs that your target audience reads. Most influen- tial blogs accept guest submissions and this is a fantastic way to get your contentandbrandtoawideraudience. Incorporate guest blogging into your contentstrategyandsubmitexclusive, well-­written, and strategic content to these blogs. Content on sites like thiscaneasilyyieldacouplehundred socialsharesinasingleday;makesure you strategically incorporate back linksinyourcontentbodyandbio,and include references to your brand if appropriate (don’t do a sales pitch!).  Over time, guest blogging can raise brand awareness with your target audience and positions you as a thought-leaderonkeyindustryoutlets –nottomentiontheSEObenefitsofa popularbloglinkingbacktoyoursite.  Also consider opening your blog up to guest writers. Remember that you likely won’t get much traction with guest blogging until you’ve in- creased your brand awareness and audience. All of this takes time and patience so don’t fret if people aren’t rushingtosubmitpiecestoyourblog.  As you continue your content marketing strategy and post on larger blogs, guest blogger ­submissions will start to trickle in.  GUEST BLOGGING 7
  24. 24. 25Blogging in the Age of Content Marketing Forblogmanagementtobestress-free, youneedtohaveanorganizedcontent calendar. Uberflip’s content calendar is planned for a few months ahead and we schedule our writers based on the frequency they’ve ­committed to writing. Keep in mind that your writers have different ­expertise, styles of writing, and themes that they cover. As a result, it’s important to plan your calendar accordingly so that the authors and topics in any given week are varied and diverse.  Being organized doesn’t mean being rigid – in reality, your calendar rarely stays exactly as planned. ­Impromptu content may be written based on industry news or writers may fall short of meeting their deadlines. The important thing is to be flexible to such changes in your schedule.  Managing your Blog 1.
  25. 25. Blogging in the Age of Content Marketing26 Ifyouwanttohaveareallystellarblog, never forget your audience. What engagesthem?Whatcontentdothey share? Which pieces do they spend the most time on? Knowing these facts is part of your role as content manager and can be one of the most interesting and rewarding parts. Yes, blog content is important for SEO andamillionotherreasons,butatthe simple core of it, your blog is nothing ifyoudon’thaveanengagedaudience.  GUEST BLOGGING Know your Audience 3. Whatarethekeysforensuringthatall your writers are engaged and writing thequalitypiecesyourblogdeserves? You need to be flexible and accommo- dating.You’llquicklygettoknowyour writers and their styles: some might write 2 pieces when they only need one,somemightsubmittheirpostthe morning it’s due, while others might simplymisstheirdeadline…thepointis thatyoulearnhowyourteammembers operate and that you’re strategic in accommodating them. As mentioned before,youneedtobeflexibleifthings don’tworkoutthewayyouanticipated. Managing your Writers 2.
  26. 26. 27Blogging in the Age of Content Marketing CONCLUSION YOU MAY ALSO LIKE Launch Flipbook *Blogging is a long-term strategic journey that can increase traffic, establish a steady stream of leads and customers, and increase engagement with your brand. While getting started can be daunt- ing, take it step by step, consistently investing time and energy into your blog. By following these 7 steps, you willcertainlybuildastrongfoundation foryourbusiness,andcanrestassured that the processes and tactics you implemented will pay off over time. So what are you waiting for? Happy blogging!
  27. 27. CURIOUS ABOUT Check out how Uberflip can supercharge your blog. ? LEARN MORE