Blogging is a crucial part of inbound marketing because it allows you to quickly distribute valuable information to your followers and new site visitors. This, in turn, helps build credibility, SEO juice, and helps you become more of a thought leader in your industry.
Additionally, blogging has an exponential long-term impact. The longer and more often you blog, the more traffic you will generate over time.
Not only that, blogging has an exponential long-term impact. The longer and more often you blog, the more traffic you will generate over time.
Starting and managing a blog is not a one-day task. It takes planning, resources, and effort to gain satisfactory ROI.
1. Identify Your Target Persona
The crucial first step to launch a successful blog is to know why and for whom you’re writing content. It’s not enough to just want to help your customers by providing content. You also need to understand who your potential customers are and what pain-points and hurdles they want to solve.
To solve this, start with a buyer persona – a fictional, generalized representation of your ideal customer. They help you understand your customers and prospective customers better and make it easier for you to tailor content to the specific needs, behaviors, and concerns of different groups.
When it comes to blogging, having a buyer persona to target content helps you understand what kinds of content you should be writing to attract your target customers.
2. Start Building a Bank of Evergreen Content
Now that you have your buyer persona you might ask how do you build and sustain a blog with content for that target audience? Where’s the best place to start? The answer: by building a list of evergreen content.
Evergreen content is any content that stays relevant no matter what week, month, season, or year it is. It is timeless, high-value, authoritative pieces of content that will remain appealing to your audience no matter when they interact with it.
Your evergreen content is where you should start your content brainstorming. It’s also what will help you rank for keywords and build authority with search engines over time.
3. Choose The Right CMS For Your Blog
In order to successfully launch and maintain a blog, you will need an effective content management system (CMS) that enables you to host digital content. What should you look for in a CMS?
i. Ease of use
If you do not have a lot of technical support at your company, choosing a CMS that’s easy to use is crucial. Most content management systems come with templates you can use or support to help you design it. Make sure you choose one that will work for the skills on your team.
ii. Key metrics you can track
Does the CMS allow you to track metrics like conversion rates, page views, and where your traffic is coming from? Analyzing the success of your blog will be incredibly important post-launch, so make sure your CMS allows you to track the success of your efforts.
60% of all searches on Google come from mobile, which means it’s absolutely essential for your blog to be optimized for any device that your user opens content on. A CMS that automatically makes your content responsive to devise type is a must for marketers starting a blog.
Once you’ve chosen a CMS, it’s time to make your blog come to life. You do not want to only make your blog look impressive, but also optimize it for lead generation and turning visitors into prospects and, ultimately, customers.
So, how do you design a great blog that will be easy to access and delight visitors?
It starts with the right elements and understanding the user interface and user experience. If you or someone at your company knows how to custom create your blog, make sure you check off our list of essential design elements.
i. Main Blog Page
The main page should tell your visitors about the blog and include links to the most recent posts. Be sure to include a search feature and/or an archive of your past posts so visitors can access both new and old content.
ii. Color Scheme
To make your blog’s design feels coherent, choose a color scheme and stick with it across all your pages. Trying using your brand colors as a base and adding a few accent colors to tie the whole design together.
Make sure your blog’s design looks consistent with the rest of your site branding. While it’s important to distinguish your blog’s look from other pages on your site, your visitors should still feel as though they are on a related page.
iv. Blog Post Template
Each blog post should have the same general layout so readers have a consistent experience across each page. A simple way to ensure this is by designing a template to use for each new blog post!
v. Calls-to-Action (CTAs)
A blog is a tool to convert buyers at the top of the funnel, so linking to pieces of content that will nurture your visitors down the funnel is important.
5. Focus On Your Content Strategy
Before launching your blog, it’s essential to think about an internal content strategy – both short-term and long-term.
i. How often should you blog?
How often and when to post will largely depend on what your company does, how big your company is, and how much of an audience you’re looking to attract.
That being said, the more you blog, the more traffic you will attract over time. And more traffic means more leads and more customers.
As a team, it’s your job to decide how much time you’re willing to invest in your blog. But as a general rule of thumb, once a day or a few times a week is a good place to start.
ii. What types of content are you going to write and post?
When it comes to content matter and post style, biogs are extremely versatile. You can post infographics, how-to posts, list posts, newsjacking posts, slideshares, editorials, etc.
Decide what types of formats you want to try and how many resources you can put behind each. Over time, analyze which format performs best to tailor your content strategy toward your audience. The more formats you try out from the beginning, the better your data will be over time.
iii. What are your goals for launch and post-launch?
How much website traffic do you want to generate within the first weeks of launch versus six months out from launch? How will you track those metrics, and how will you promote your blog in order to hit your goals?
While some of these questions will depend on your current follower base, your CMS, and your promotional strategy, it’s good to have an internal discussion about these goals well before launch so your team can align on their expectations.
Setting expectations internally while planning your content strategy is key. Does planning ahead mean your content strategy won’t change over time? Not at all. But laying this groundwork will make you more flexible down the road and allow you to be more focused in the meantime.
6. Setup Subscriber Pathways
An effective way to encourage your content’s reach is to encourage subscriptions. Ideally, this will lead the people who regularly interact with your content to see it, read it, and share it with people they know.
Subscribers also help you communicate regularly with the same people, letting you nurture them to become leads and customers down the road.
i. Subscriber emails
Set up a workflow that automatically sends subscribers emails with your latest posts. Make an email template with links to your posts that curates your scheduled content and send it on to your subscribers. Over time, make sure you’re optimizing the subscriber emails for clickthrough rate and conversions.
ii. Subscriber forms
How will your site visitors sign up for a blog subscrip-tion? Set up forms on your main blog page and CTAs on your blog posts to enable people to sign up. Subscribers must opt-in to be emailed, so be sure your CTAs and form copy are compelling.
Schedule your subscriber emails in advance of sending to allow time for corrections!
How often will your subscribers get emailed? Daily? Weekly? Each time a new post is published? It’s important to be clear to your subscribers about how often they’ll be emailed. Pro tip: The more you email people, the more likely they are to eventually opt-out. Keep the frequency to a minimum! We recommend weekly or monthly depending on how often you post.
v. Unsubscribe pages
You’re required to give anybody you email the option to unsubscribe from your mailing list. Have fun with it! Think of ways to delight your audience
and perhaps even encourage them to continue receiving your emails.
7. Plan For Logistics
Subscriber pathways are only the start of blog logistics you need to plan for. How else will you convert visitors into leads from your blog posts or get subscribers to interact with you elsewhere?
Here are some logistical elements of blogging to consider before launching.
i. Social sharing buttons
Attract new visitors and encourage people to share your content by adding social sharing icons to your blog posts.
Think about where you want visitors to go once they read your blog posts. You probably don’t want them to leave your site, so add CTAs and hyperlinks to other content, offers, and site pages. Over time, test to see what works best for your audience. Maybe it’s specific content offers, maybe it’s visual CTAs, or maybe it’s pop-ups!
iii. How to handle comments
Most content management systems enable blog commenters on posts. Comments are a good feature because it encourages user-generated content and engagements with your content. Make sure you plan for how to handle comments.
Will comments be allowed all the time or just for a short period? Who will be responsible for responding to those comments or questions? Decide on your policy beforehand so your team knows how to handle comments from launch day onward.
iv. Adding dates to blog posts
Don’t forget to add publishing dates to all of your blog posts! It’s important for visitors to know how recent and relevant your metrics content over is time for and credibility.
8. Decide On Internal Editorial Strategy
When it comes to blog credibility and authority, there are two main facets to keep in mind: search engine authority and the reputation of your blog from your visitors. Building authority with search engines is all about SEO and link building, but we’ll dive deeper into this next week. The reputation of your blog is all about your editorial strategy.
3 Questions To Ask Yourself In Order To Help Determine Your Editorial Strategy And Voice.
i. Who writes what?
The first step is planning who will write the blog content. Make sure you have enough resources and time to keep up with the content strategy you’ve set up. If you hope to publish three blog posts a day but only have one blog post author, you probably won’t be able to keep up with that schedule for long. Take the time to plan out your resources, and put your best content writers on the job.
ii. How is your internal editing process handled?
It doesn’t matter how good your writers are, every piece of writing needs to be edited and reviewed by an editor. Identify a blog editor, even if it’s one of many tasks they handle, to make sure no piece of writing gets published without being fact-checked and edited for typos.
iii. What are your editorial standards?
Every team that writes content needs an editorial standard or style to look to for guidelines. Whether it’s grammatical principles, citation guidelines, or capitalizations, make sure you have guidelines for your team in place.
9. How To Attract And Scale Traffic
In the long term, blogging can help increase your website traffic exponentially, but it will take some hard work on your end. How will you disseminate and promote your posts and make sure your content is ranking high on search engine results pages? It takes a little search engine optimization and promotional effort to achieve this.
How do you get started with SEO in the short term?
i. How to do keyword research
SEO starts with ranking for keywords that your target audience is searching for. The best way to rank for keywords is by designing your blog posts based on the keywords you’re trying to rank for. Start with keyword research, and use those keywords to brainstorm and tailor your posts.
ii. How to decide what to rank for
While researching, you’ll probably notice that some keywords have very high search volume with high competition. This makes them very difficult for any new publication to rank for right off the bat. Look for long-tailed, niche keywords with low competition to start. You may not generate high search volume right away, but the more niche your keywords are, the better qualified your visitors will be.
iii. Optimize your blog posts for SEO
Once you’ve chosen keywords, it’s time to optimize each blog post for SEO. Make sure you’re optimizing your meta description, page title, keywords, URLs, etc. for the keywords you’re trying to rank for.
Strategies for promoting your blog:
i. Social media
Once your blog launches, promote the launch and blog posts on your social media accounts. Leverage your existing audience to generate traffic to your new blog. Don’t forget to use images, videos, and compelling copy in your posts!
ii. Paid campaigns
Want to reach more people not already interacting with your brand? Use paid campaigns on social media platforms like Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to promote your new blog.
iii. Press release
The launch of your blog is a great time to write a press release and announce the launch to the public. The more backlinks you get to your blog on launch day, the better for your SEO juice and the more traffic you’ll bring in.