Do you have a business blog?
Are you happy with the marketing role your blog plays?
Many businesses consider blogs “a cost of doing business,” or code for “We’re not sure what it does but we’re afraid to stop doing it.”
In this article Veronica Wong Ai Ming will explore why and how to make your blog the hub of your content marketing plan?
Why make your blog your content marketing hub?
To put a slightly different spin on what Chris Brogan says, blogs are your home base; they are at the center of your content marketing system.
Whether you’re a small business or a Fortune 100 company, blogs should be at the heart of your content marketing because blogs fuel social media, search optimization and the sales process.
The top five reasons to use a blog as your content hub are:
1. Blogs are owned media. Your blog content is yours. You’re not at the whim of changes in the rules of third-party platforms, such as the recent changes to LinkdIn,Twitter and Instagram. A blog has the added bonus of providing an always-on crisis management channel to get your message out 24/7.
2. Blogs are a form of social media. Through social sharing, comments and guest posts, blogs provide the basis for building a targeted community. In fact, HubSpot‘s research showed that blogs top other forms of social media for effectiveness.
3. Blogs support search optimization. Because of their structure, blogs are search-friendly. You can enhance this by focusing each article on a specific keyword phrase and link to internal and external content.
4. Blogs drive sales. To support sales, write blog posts about how to use your products and show them in context to provide prospects and customers with product information they need. Then link to your specific product pages to support the sales process.
5. Blogs incorporate a streamlined CMS (content management system). At its core, blogs are an easy-to-use, low-cost content system.
7 Tips to Make Your Blog Your Content Marketing Hub
To make your blog an accountable aspect of your content marketing plan, here are seven steps to get on track.
#1: Build a Strong Blogging Foundation to Support Your Content Marketing
In order for your blog to be the center of a strong content marketing plan, you’ll need to make sure you build your blog on a strong foundation.
One of your first decisions is how to set up your blog. Make sure you use your own URL. The best option is to use a self-hosted WordPress blog. Don’t use a free hosting option such as Blogger or WordPress.
#2: Know Your Audience
Before you begin blogging, you’ll need to know whom you’re writing for and what they’re interested in reading. One way to find out more about your audience is to use marketing personas.
Create a set of marketing personas to clarify and give a personality to the people you’re trying to reach. It’s easier to write for someone you know than a faceless mass. Incorporate their content consumption habits and their social media proclivities.
#3: Develop Your Content Marketing Plan
Several components come into making a good content marketing plan. Here’s what you’ll want to include in your content marketing plan.
Map out your promotional calendar
Start by planning your organization’s marketing events for the year and use public holidays where appropriate. The objective is to create hooks around which to develop your content.
Plan ongoing columns and related communications
Think like a magazine and brainstorm regular offerings such as news roundups, customer of the week and interviews. Develop a set of columns to offer either weekly or every other week. This provides the basic structure for your blog’s editorial calendar. Include themessuch as research. Consider how you’ll offer this content to other segments of your audience such as in your regular emails.
#4: Optimize Content to Enhance Effectiveness
Your content isn’t finished once it’s written or created. You still have to enhance its attractiveness to readers.
Here are some key points to make your content work for your business.
· Integrate your 360° brand into each blog post and piece of content
· Optimize content for search
· Format content to facilitate consumption
#5: Plan Your Content Promotion
Just publishing your content isn’t sufficient to reach a broad audience. You’ll also need to promote your content so that more of the right people see it.
Here’s what you’ll need to do to promote your content.
· Incorporate automatic blog content delivery
· Leverage social media to distribute
· Extend your content reach
#6: Allocate Resources to Your Blog
To make your blog the heart of your content marketing, you need human and financial resources. Quality content that attracts and converts prospects doesn’t just happen when employees have time. These resources may be internal or external.
You’ll want to consider a variety of resources. You’ll want to look at resources forcontent creation to develop the information; creative, including design, photography and formatting; editorial to ensure that the content conveys the appropriate ideas, as well as editing to ensure the grammar is correct; marketing to get your content distributed; andtechnology to facilitate uploading and other technical issues.
#7: Track Content Marketing Results
As with any other business initiative, you must measure your results. Plan your metricsand content creation to ensure that you have integrated the ability to capture the data you need.
Used properly, a blog not only supports your social media, search optimization and sales processes, it acts as the hub for the rest of your content marketing.
What do you think? Is there anything else that you’d add to this list? If so, what would you include and why? Please leave your questions and comments in the box below.
Veronica Wong Ai Ming