Blogging is a valuable way to drive traffic to your website and generate leads. According to HupSpot, B2B marketers that maintain a blog receive 67 percent more leads than marketers who don’t maintain a blog, and companies who blog receive 97 percent more links to their website.
And because an effective blog strategy can dramatically improve your brand’s visibility, marketers who prioritize blogging are able to maximize ROI. In fact, marketers who spend the time and resources to develop a high-quality blog with well-targeted content are 13 times more likely to enjoy a positive ROI. However, if you want to reap the rewards of blogging, you need to take the time to develop a great blog.
How can you run a better blog in 2016 and maximize your chances at blogging success? Be sure to keep the following points in mind.
Related Article: Do More With Less: Increase Your Blogging Productivity
Appeal to Your Target Audience
The key to a successful blog is developing content with your target audience in mind. It helps to create user personas or a detailed picture of the people you are trying to target with your blog. Figure out wants, needs, and preferences, and use that information to come up with topic ideas that would resonate with your target audience.
Use Appealing Images
Blog posts with images consistently perform better than blog posts without images.
In fact, content with captivating images averages 94 percent more total views than content without images. The good news is that there are a number of sites out there where you can find free, beautiful images, including CompFight, Pixabay, Unsplash, and Big Foto. I published a big round up not long ago and handpicked 20 awesome directories where you can grab beautiful images for free.
Leverage the Power of Facebook
In today’s world, social media is one of the absolute most effective ways to drive traffic to your blog.
Make sure to post links to your most recent blog posts on Facebook, accompanied by a compelling image and an intriguing quote from the content, or a relevant question.
And remember, to fully leverage the power of Facebook, and all forms of social media, when it comes to promoting your blog, make sure to include social share buttons on all of your blog content. In order to maximize your reach, you also need to entice others to share your content.
Related Article: Content Marketing: How to Achieve More with Your Blog
Write Attention-Grabbing Titles and Headlines
Want to get the attention of your audience? There are few things quite as powerful as an attention-grabbing headline. Remember, the most effective headlines make a reader feel like he or she is missing out on some critical pieces of advice or information.
They elicit emotion and provoke a sense of urgency, making the user feel the need to click on the article right this very second. If you can tap into that reader’s fear of missing out on something, just about any piece of content can go viral.
Need a bit of headline inspiration? Take a look at these examples of powerful, attention-grabbing headlines.
Template - [X] ways to do [Y]
- 5 Ways to Supercharge Your Fitness Routine
- 9 Weird But Effective Strategies to Lose Weight
- 10 Amazing New NYC Restaurants to Try Right Now
- 7 Surprising Reasons You Aren’t Converting Your Leads
- 10 Superb Ways to Backpack through South American without Breaking the Bank
Template - Secrets about [X] that [Y] don't tell you
- What No One Tells You About Social Media Marketing
- Little-Known Ways to Score New Customers
- Secrets About Your Health that Doctors Don't Want You to Know
- Secrets That Hosting Companies Are Keeping From Their Customers
- Unbelievable Ways to Pay off Your Student Loans
Template - How to do [X] in [Y] time for [Z] results
- How to Create the Perfect Podcast that Gets Everyone Intrigued
- How to Lose Weight in 21 Days
- How to Run Your Business Like a Pro
Never just gloss over the headline process. It is one of the most important components of any blog piece, so give it the attention it deserves. And don’t forget, the key to success is writing more than just one headline. For any one given piece, you should be brainstorming at least a dozen headlines. From there, you can publish the best one.
Related Article: Why the Company Blog is More Important Than You Think
Measure Your Results
Remember, the goal of blogging is to consistently produce high-quality, compelling content that engages your audience and keeps them coming back for more.
To understand to what extent you’re achieving this, measure your results. It is important to keep track of key blogging metrics, including visits, traffic sources, bounce rate, social shares, etc. This can provide you with valuable insight into what type of content is resonating with your target audience most powerfully. The key is to use these metrics to understand how aware your target audience is of your blog, how interested they are in it, and how much they trust it.
It is important to keep track of key blogging metrics, including visits, traffic sources, bounce rate, social shares, etc. This can provide you with valuable insight into what type of content is resonating with your target audience most powerfully. The key is to use these metrics to understand how aware your target audience is of your blog, how interested they are in it, and how much they trust it.
Awareness refers to that first stage when a member of your target audience comes into contact with your blog. At this stage of the game, a person will decide whether or not he or she is interested in the content, and how much time to invest in digesting it. Metrics that allow you to track awareness include:
Metrics that allow you to track awareness include:
- Visitors (sessions): You need to understand how many people are visiting your blog and how frequently. But keep in mind that this isn’t just a numbers game, it also matters who is visiting your blog. For example, if you have a company blog geared toward B2B clients that is attracting a decent amount of traffic but not a single client from your target sector, that’s a problem. To better understand who is visiting your blog, try enabling Audience Demographics information within Google Analytics to get an approximation of visitors’ ages, gender, and interest categories.
- Traffic Sources: By looking at traffic sources, you can get a better understanding of how your audience is finding you. You can also see which channels are giving you the most valuable kinds of traffic (the users who spend the most amount of time reading your content) by measuring the time spent by each user coming via different channels.
- Interest: The more interested users are in your blog, the better, as it is an indication that you are producing content that your target audience finds useful and relevant. The most interested users will return to your blog frequently and spend a good amount of time on it, consuming the content you are producing.
- Returning Visits: Tracking returning visitors helps you to figure out what proportion of visitors are coming back for more content.
- Bounce Rate: If you are getting a good amount of traffic to your blog but your bounce rate is high, meaning that a significant percentage of visitors leave after spending just a few seconds on your blog, it could be an indication that you are either A) not getting traffic from your target audience, or B) getting traffic from your target audience, but your target users don’t find the content to be interesting, valuable, or relevant. A low bounce rate, on the other hand, suggests that users are interested in your blog’s content.
- Audience Engagement: To see how engaged your audience is, use Google Analytics to figure out what percentage of visitors are spending more than three minutes at a time on your blog. Remember, the longer visitors spend consuming content, the more engaged they are.
- Trust: You want to measure how much your audience trusts you as a source of information. You build trust with users when you convert them into part of your regular audience and provide them with content they find compelling, engaging, and authentic.
- Social Shares: When visitors share your content on social media, it is a good indication that they trust the content and you as a source of information, and also suggests that they find the content relevant, valuable, and interesting. The more social shares, the better.
- Subscriber Conversions: Keep track of how many people have subscribed to your blog or for email updates. It can provide a good indication of how many dedicated readers you have.
The bottom line? The more effort you put into measuring results, the more you will understand what type of content works, and what type of content doesn’t.
Related Article: 6 Hacks to Turn Your Blog Into a Lead Generation Machine
Last but Not Least - if You’re Struggling, Get Help!
Not everyone is a natural wordsmith.
If you are tracking your progress and aren’t getting the results you are looking for, it may be time to call in a professional. A professional writer will not only help you improve the quality and flow of your written content; he or she can also help you develop content that is better targeted to your target audience.
Remember, investing just a little in your blog can go a long way toward driving more traffic to your site, improving your conversion rates, and improving your bottom line.