We published our first blog in March of 2014. Two years, 8 months, and 35 blogs later: what have I learned about blogging for business?
Our very first blog was ‘Three Cs of Content Marketing’, we were pretty happy with it: people gave us good feedback, it was relevant to our business, it had a nice graphic, and useful content.
As you might imagine, there’s a bit more to blogging than ‘nice’ content! There’s timing, frequency, relevance, length, structure, flow, seeding, engagement … the list goes on.
But I’m not here to do a 101 in blogging – there are countless articles covering the ins-and-outs of blogging for business. Instead I’m going to share some specific experiences and insights from our journey over the last 32 months…
We started with a very specific vision for our blog: share marketing insights using simple single-point infographics with text that expands on the idea.
This idea was good, and it worked well for a while. But it was very time-consuming to generate the infographics for every article, and over time we wanted to cover content that wasn’t applicable to this structure (how does that work with a news article about winning an award?).
After a while we started writing articles that didn’t fit the original concept, but we didn’t update the branding and vision. This lead to articles that weren’t very different to everything else out there.
We have now rebranded our blog from ‘Marketing Illustrated’ to ‘Marketing Insights’ and we focus on marketing insights with a strong point of view. Our blog is now centred on our monthly digital magazine, ‘Insights’.
In the rush to create content you might stray from your original vision. Your vision will need to be updated in order to stay relevant to your business.
When we started our blog we were quite consistent, with eight blogs in five months. That’s less than the textbook minimum of one per week, but we maintained roughly fortnightly blogs for that period.
As we got busier in the business, it became harder to maintain the consistency, and we eventually dropped right off – I’m ashamed to admit we didn’t publish a blog for a full 10 months!
Our first blog back, in June 2015, was a doozy: ‘Cut-Price Chic: Six Strategies That Made K-Mart Cool’ – to this day a full quarter of our website traffic is directly to this blog!
We were committed to righting our wrongs and maintaining volume and consistency, with four blogs per month. And we did that, for a while. The problem was that in the rush to meet the quota the quality sometimes suffered. We produced some uninspired, run-of-the-mill articles like ‘The Secret to Your First 1000 Social Media Followers’.
We weren’t seeing great results despite the additional effort, and once again we got busy and blogging went on the backburner. This time it was only a three-month hiatus.
Now we are back at maintaining the volume of content, but we are acutely aware that there is no point writing an article if it doesn’t have anything genuine to offer.
The most important thing is quality of content – articles with a voice and something to say that your audience will want to hear. But greatness awaits those who can achieve quality and quantity at the same time!
Early on in our blog, I wrote them all myself. And I wrote blogs on whatever I felt interested in. While keeping vaguely marketing-oriented, I produced some kinda weird content like ‘Good, Fast, Cheap: Pick Two!’, ‘Good Enough is Never Good Enough’, and ‘7 Factors that Promote Intrinsic Motivation’.
The fascinating thing is that we hit blogging paydirt with and ‘7 Factors that Promote Intrinsic Motivation’ – we now rank on searches for Intrinsic Motivation and generate around 20% of our monthly traffic from this blog.
The problem? None of these visitors are our target audience. The term ‘Intrinsic Motivation’ is commonly used in the education industry: they are not looking for digital marketing services!
Successful content and traffic volumes have a broad benefit to your overall site performance, subtly boosting SEO site-wide. But really we want to rank on Google and attract visitors from within our target market.
Never forget whom your target audience is and what SEO keywords you want to rank for – or you could end up with hundreds of teachers visiting your site every month!
Our most successful blog of all time is ‘Cut-Price Chic: Six Strategies That Made K-Mart Cool’. It was our first blog back after a 10-month break, and we really hit the nail on the head with this one!
I was fascinated with the transformation of K-Mart from a daggy Big-W clone to a trendy ‘cheap chic’ store. But there was nothing online about that from a marketing point of view. I wanted to know what business strategies and marketing choices got them there.
The result was an article that tapped into the phenomenal success of K-Mart with a unique point of view on the topic.
Try to find a unique angle on a trending topic, and relate it back to your business and your target keywords.
More recently we have started including an editorial blog every month. For us, an editorial is a blog written directly by me, from a personal perspective, and with a story or experience at the core.
The first couple of these blogs have done really well. ‘Why I Started a Digital Marketing Agency’ received our highest ever level of social media likes and shares, with an average read time of seven and a half minutes. And ‘Why Is Bendigo a Web Design Backwater?’ provoked a great response with lots of social media comments and shares.
In fact this blog is one of these ‘Editorials’. Here I’m relating my personal experiences through the ups and downs of trying to build a business blog over the last two years. It’s blogging tips framed as a human story.
There is an innate human interest in hearing and sharing stories. You can tap into this by making our content human and personal.
We’re all on a business journey. With every decision and every action we forge a path forward.
If you include blogging as part of your marketing mix (and we strongly recommend you do!), then you’ll have your own experiences – good and bad – and learn your own lessons.
Have you got any insights into blogging for business? What are your experiences? Share your story in the comments below.
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