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#ContentWritingChat Recap: Blogging for ROI in 2017: Where to Blog, SEO, and Writing Strategies with Julia McCoy

Are you curious about blogging for ROI in 2017? That’s what we covered in our latest round of #ContentWritingChat! And if you missed out, you’re in luck because we’ve created a recap for you and it’s filled with awesome tips. Keep reading to check it out!

Blogging for ROI in 2017: Where to Blog, SEO, and Writing Strategies with Julia McCoy

For this week’s chat, our very own CEO stepped in to guest host. Julia McCoy shared her expertise on blogging for ROI in 2017 and offered some amazing tips for writing, SEO, and where you should be blogging this year. We covered some of the key topics to help you succeed as a blogger this year, so make sure you read through them and start implementing this advice for yourself!

Q1: For those that aren’t convinced, why is blogging still so important for brands?

The reality is, many brands still aren’t convinced that blogging is worth their time. They don’t realize the value that it can provide to their audience and their brand overall. So, let’s convince them why they should be blogging! Here are just some reasons blogging is important for brands:

Julia knows that blogging is a must for brands! She even shared some pretty impressive data that backs it up. The graph above shows Express Writers outranking major competitors solely from blogging. She also shared some stats that are sure to convince you of the importance of starting your own blog this year.

As Annaliese said, blogging is a lead generation opportunity. So many people will stumble upon your blog and want to do business with you because of the content you share. She also said blogging helps you build influence, which is key to drawing in your audience.

Jason knows that blogging is a powerful way to establish an authentic, authoritative voice. Your blog is your place to share your thoughts with your audience.

Blogging is an opportunity to show off your expertise to your industry, but also to your audience. It’s a great way to connect with your audience and to start building a relationship with them.

To put it simply, blogging is an opportunity to expand your audience, share quality information with readers, and can help you establish your voice as a brand.

Cheval’s advice is important to keep in mind. Social media is like rented property when you think about it. You don’t own the platform, nor can you count on it to always be around. If a social media platform shuts down, you’re going to lose your followers and everything you’ve worked so hard to build (unless you’ve successfully converted them to readers, subscribers, and customers). Your blog, however, is one place that you truly own and are in control of.

Q2: Where should you blog this year besides your own website? Discuss how to find the right platforms.

While blogging on your own website is great, blogging on other sites can provide major results. There are a lot of benefits to guest blogging, but it’s all about choosing the right places to post if you want to make it work for your brand. Keep these tips in mind:

Julia recommends creating a target persona for your audience so you know what they’re like. You can figure out their demographics and also what sites they’re reading on the web. That’s where you should be sharing your content! Check out the blog post she linked for more information on creating your own target persona.

The key to choosing the sites to guest blog on is figuring out where your audience spends their time online. You want to post on the sites that your target audiences reads so they’ll discover you and head over to your website.

Jason also knows the importance of finding the popular blogs in your wheelhouse and guest posting there. It’s the best way for you to reach your target audience and hopefully make them a fan of your brand.

Varun recommends posting on forums that are specific to your industry, guest blogging on authority websites, and also using platforms like Quora, Reddit, and LinkedIn.

Another great option is to create content for Medium. Trying posting there a few times and see if you notice any results. Blogging for ROI is going to take some trial and error and you have to figure out what works for your brand.

Q3: What are a few SEO strategies all bloggers need to know if they want to get their content noticed?

It’s no secret that if you want to get your content noticed, SEO is very important. And we can’t talk blogging for ROI without mentioning some SEO tactics, can we? Of course not! So, in order to make sure your content gets noticed and attracts viewers, these are the optimization basics you need to know:

Julia knows how important it is to be able to conduct keyword research. She also said you need to know how to use H2s, H3s, alt tags, and how to write a meta description. It may sound overwhelming for beginners, but it’s all easy to figure out.

Sarah from ThinkSEM said you need to know your audience and what is going to resonate with them. Before you start thinking about SEO tactics, this is the first thing you need to consider.

As Sara said, it’s important to have a keyword tool handy so you can research which focus keyword is ideal for your content.

Once you have the right keyword, you can plug that into your content. You’ll want to use your keyword in the title of your blog post, the URL, the meta description, and throughout the post itself. As Mallie said though, it’s important that you don’t go overboard. Keyword stuffing is a huge turn-off for your readers and Google doesn’t like it either. They should be incorporated in a way that feels natural.

Yoast is a great SEO plugin to use if your site is running on WordPress. It’s very simple to use and it makes optimization easy for beginners and those who are more experienced. We use it here at Express Writers and highly recommend it!

Jeff knows that Google Analytics is another great tool to use as part of your keyword strategy in order to optimize your content.

Q4: How can you figure out what content your audience most wants to see on your blog?

In order to attract people to your blog in the first place, you need to create the content they want to see. Once they know you’re a source of great information, they’re going to keep coming back for more. But how do you figure out what kind of content you need to create for your audience? Check out these tips:

Julia recommends figuring out what your audience’s biggest questions are and answering them. You can use tools like Answer the Public and others to figure out what they need help with.

Not sure what your audience wants? Ask them! It really is that simple. You can create a survey and share it for readers to leave their feedback and you’ll easily see what they’re interested in. You can also post on social media to get suggestions.

Jeff also agrees that asking your audience what they want is a pretty powerful strategy. Not only does it provide you with great feedback, but it gives your audience the chance to have their voice heard. They’ll appreciate that.

Besides flat out asking them, you can also conduct a little research of your own. Figure out what they’re talking about, what they’re liking and sharing. Listening is key to understand your audience. Check out their conversations on social media and pay attention to the comments they leave and the emails they send.

It’s also worthwhile to see what your competitors are doing. Check out businesses that are similar to yours and find out what’s been working for them and what’s not. You obviously don’t want to copy their strategy, but it can give you plenty of ideas for what you can create.

Sending out a yearly survey is a great way to question your audience about their interests. Getting into the habit of doing it every year ensures you’re always updated on what your audience is looking for. It’s also wise to check your analytics to see which posts are more popular since it gives you an idea of what to create more of.

Kristen also knows your analytics can be helpful when it comes to content creation. See which posts get the most traffic and which posts your readers spend the most time on to see what works best.

And as James said, it all goes back to understanding your audience.

Q5: How important is it to include a call to action in your blog posts? Describe an effective CTA.

A call to action essentially tells your reader what the next step is. What do you want them to do after reading your blog post? Do you want them to leave your site without engaging with you, possibly to never return again? Definitely not! That’s where a call to action comes in. Check out these tips for crafting an effective CTA:

Forgetting a CTA could cause you to lose out on leads. Not good! Check out our post on crafting a CTA for more in-depth tips.

Check out a few of our CTAs above!

If you’re blogging for ROI, then it’s essential that you prompt your readers to take action. A clear CTA will tell them exactly what to do and will encourage them to follow through.

As Jeff pointed out, you also can’t assume your readers are just going to take the action you want them to take. You need to make it clear and empower them to follow through.

Zala said you shouldn’t make your readers guest what they need to do next. Make it clear what you want them to do with a CTA.

Your content should serve a purpose and it’s important to let your audience know what’s next. Sarah recommends that all CTAs should be visible, understandable, and well-placed and in order to be effective.

Without a CTA, there isn’t much of a purpose to your post, is there? Make sure it’s well-written, compelling, and concise in order to inspire action.

Q6: What are the secrets to making blog customers convert into real customers and clients?

Once you have people visiting your blog, you want them to take that next step with your brand. You want them to ultimately become customers and clients. How do you make that happen? We’ve got some great advice for you:

Julia’s advice is to choose targeted reader topics and provide thorough answers. Don’t forget to also optimize your content and to add a CTA.

Annaliese said you need to create high-quality, targeted content that leads readers through your funnel. This is key to seeing them finally convert.

Value and CTAs are two keys to success when it comes to blogging for ROI.

Focus on solving the common problems your audience is facing. They’ll appreciate you for it and you’ll be able to establish yourself as an authority in the process.

Don’t forget to engage with your audience as well. This helps to build a trusting relationship with them, which is key to ultimately making a sale.

Great advice from Michael: helping sells. Commit to helping your audience and you’ll start seeing results.

Q7: Do you rely on any tools to create amazing content for your blog? Share your favorites!

With so many tools available to us today, there are plenty to choose from that can help in content creation. Here are some suggestions to check out:

Be sure to check out Julia’s three favorite tools!

Mallie is all about her editorial calendar and so are we. No matter how you create your calendar, what’s important is that you actually use it.

WordPress, Google Analytics, Twitter, and Yoast are all great tools to use! Don’t forget how important that creative brain of yours is and time.

Quora, Reddit, Canva, and Bitly are all helpful tools.

Hemingway and Moz are two popular tools for content creators. Do you use them?

Maria is a fan of Trello for keeping things organized.

These are great suggestions from Sabjan!

Taking pen to paper is always so satisfying! Sometimes it’s just a lot nicer to do things the old school way as opposed to typing or punching out laters on our phone’s keyboard.

Q8: Which blogs do you read on a consistent basis? Tag them and let them know!

To wrap up our chat on blogging for ROI, we wanted to know which blogs our audience loves to read. Here’s what some of them had to say:

Julia likes to read content from Content Marketing Institute, Steve Rayson’s BuzzSumo posts, and Neil Patel’s blog.

Much like Zachary, we’re big fans of Gary Vaynerchuk here at Express Writers.

Annaliese enjoys reading Hootsuite’s blog.

These are all great suggestions from Rebecca!

You’ll want to add these sites to your reading list!

Don’t get so caught up in consuming content that you forget to embrace the world around you. As Shannon said, you need to pay attention and you’ll surely find some ideas for your content.

We look forward to seeing you at the next #ContentWritingChat! Mark your calendars weekly for Tuesday at 10 AM Central Time for great chats centered around content writing and marketing. Follow @ExpWriters to stay updated on our new topics and guests!

#ContentWritingChat June 7 2016 Recap: How to Consistently Find Fresh Blog Topics

Did you miss #ContentWritingChat this week? There’s no need to worry! We have you covered with a recap of Tuesday’s chat, which was filled with great tips to help you come up with your next blog topic.

Let’s dive into the tweets!

#ContentWritingChat June 7 2016 Recap: How to Consistently Find Fresh Blog Topics


This week, Monika Jansen joined us as our guest host. Monika is the founder of Jansen Communications, as well as an experienced online copywriter. She shared key tips on creating “fresh” content for your blog.

Q1: What are ways to come up with new topics for your blog?

The truth is, sometimes it’s hard to come up with interesting topics to write about on your blog. Instead of stressing as you try to come up with ideas, check out these tips:

Monika suggested starting with your FAQ. Odds are, you’re getting a lot of questions from clients or readers of your blog. Address those questions in a blog post. It’s so simple, but it’s effective because you’re giving your audience exactly what they want.

If you’re still stuck, just ask your audience what they’d like to see from you. They’re the best people to tell you what they’d like to read.

Kyle knows it’s important to keep your content relevant to your product or service. His tip is to choose topics that haven’t been covered yet or haven’t yet been covered in depth. Ask yourself what could use more coverage in your field and start writing.

Jenn likes to use Google Alerts and also tracks hashtags to see what other people are talking about. This is a great way to alert you to trending topics or questions people in your field may have. Asking your colleagues for ideas is another great tip!

For Hannah, coming up with blog topics starts with a brainstorming session with the team at her job. If you have multiple people on your team, get everyone together to talk about ideas. They just might have some amazing tips you can use.

Our CEO, Julia, agrees that teamwork is powerful. She also likes to use BuzzSumo to research competitors for inspiration.

Don’t forget to read! You want to stay updated with everything that’s going on in your industry. Reading will help you come up with ideas, plus give you amazing content to share with your audience.

Erika said social listening is a great way to come up with content ideas. If you join a few Twitter chats, you’re sure to find people asking questions. Use those ideas to spark new content for your blog.

One thing to keep in mind via Michael: give your audience what they need, not just what they want.

Q2: What are your favorite tools/methods to help you come up with blog topics?

There are plenty of tools you can use to find blog post topics, plus a method or two you can implement. Here’s what our chat participants like to do:

Monika’s advice is pretty clear: read more often! Find books, articles, etc. in your industry and start diving in.

Brittany likes to use Google Keyword Planner and she also likes to check trends and hashtags. While they’re all helpful, she also knows sometimes you just need to brainstorm with a pen and notebook.

We’re also fans of BuzzSumo here at Express Writers, so we highly recommend it. Check out Feedly to see what other websites are posting about and it might spark some ideas of your own.

Erika is also a fan of BuzzSumo, which is awesome! Some other tools she uses includes: Google Adwords Planner, Meltwater, and Feedly.

Sarah from ThinkSEM knows Twitter is a great place to find ideas. She also turns to articles from industry experts and uses Google Analytics. Don’t forget to check out your analytics to see what people are searching to get to your site and what they’re searing while on your site. It’s the perfect way to discover new ideas!

Google Docs is a great place to brainstorm your ideas. TimeTap suggested taking a look at what other bloggers in your field are doing. You don’t want to copy them, but you can still draw inspiration from their content and put your own spin on things.

Q3: How can you ensure you consistently provide great content for your audience?

You want to make sure all of your content is amazing, right? These tips will ensure you’re always publishing your best content:

Monika’s advice is to write like you talk. Conversational writing will keep your audience engaged and help them to develop a connection with you. It’s much more personable.

Debi knows it’s important to address the pain points of your customers. What problems are they struggling with and how can you help? Address their biggest issues and answer their questions. It’s the best way to provide value to them.

Make sure you’re paying attention to your analytics. As Erika and Maggie said, you need to know what your audience is actually reading and engaging with. Provide them with the content that resonates with them to keep them coming back for more.

Varun suggested looking at your content through the eyes of your audience. Ask yourself if what you’ve written adds value. You can also ask for feedback, but make sure you actually implement what you’ve learned.

Similarly, you want to ask yourself if you’d find your content to be interesting. If the answer is no, it’s better to come up with a new idea.

Great advice from Hannah: test, learn, optimize. You need to make sure your audience is actually responding to your content, which means testing is very important.

Just give them what they love! It really is as simple as that. Get to know your audience and figure out what kind of content they enjoy so you can create more of that.

Q4: What makes a blog topic “fresh”?

So, what exactly is a “fresh” blog topic? Here’s what our #ContentWritingChat friends had to say:

Monika said it’s all about providing your perspective, your experience, your approach, and your tips. It’s your knowledge and personality that keep content fresh.

Kyle said a fresh blog topic could cover a current event or a new piece of technology. It could even mean providing a new point of view on a topic that’s already been covered.

Eliza said fresh blog content is relevant. If it’s relevant to your audience and the time, then you’re golden.

A fresh blog topic could be something new or it could be a new spin on something old. Add your perspective for a unique take on a topic.

As Brittany said, you can also freshen up old blog posts if they’re still relevant. We also like her use of “freshify.”

Well said, Julia! This is exactly right.

Q5: Should you incorporate trending topics into your blog content?

Should you write about trending topics on your blog? Check out these tips and see for yourself:

As Monika said, you can write about trending topics, but only if it’s relevant to your audience and your brand. Keep that in mind when choosing which ones you write about on your website.

It seems Ray agrees. If there’s a trending topic you want to write about, ask yourself if it’s the right fit for you. Is it appropriate for your industry or your company? Does it fit with your products or services?

Tim and Zachary said you should go for it, but only if it’s relevant to your niche. You don’t want to just jump on the bandwagon to be trendy.

When it comes to writing about trending topics, Kyle said to make sure you contribute to it in a meaningful way. You should be able to add value to your audience.

Consider your target audience and whether or not it serves your long-term goals to write about a certain topic.

Michael suggested seeing if you can spin trending topics into evergreen content ideas. Evergreen content is always great for your blog and can help bring regular traffic to your site.

Q6: What are some tips for being consistent when it comes to blogging?

How important is consistency as a blogger? It’s pretty important! Here are some tips to help you stay on top of your game:

Having an editorial calendar is key! Make sure you’re planning posts on the topics your audience is most interested in.

Fantastic advice from Christoph: never stop blogging. You need to make the time to commit to blogging on a regular basis. Scheduling your posts in advance is definitely helpful for this.

Sarah recommended having an editorial calendar. It’s a great way to keep you organized and you’ll never have to wonder what you should post. She also said to have a few posts ready to go for those slow weeks and months.

Like Sarah, Brittany also recommended having evergreen content ready to go for those times when writer’s block strikes.

Having a schedule is so important. Make sure your writers are aware of the schedule and stick to it as well.

Julia said to set aside time every week to plan out your content. You never have to stress about what you’re going to post if you plan in advance.

Jenn suggested checking your analytics to see if there are better days to post. If you notice one day is more popular than another, take advantage of it.

Great advice from Molly: set realistic expectations for yourself. You’re going to have to work your way up. You won’t see results right away.

Q7: How can you repurpose your blog content?

Don’t just leave your best content on your blog. Find ways to repurpose it!

Monika said to create graphics out of your best tips and share them on social media.

Here are some ideas from Julia: create quote visuals for posting on social media, make a SlideShare with great tidbits, or turn your written content into video content.

You can even turn your blog posts into podcast episodes. To drive traffic back to blog posts, include a round-up in your email newsletter.

You can even turn your post into an infographic or a complete eBook.

For Jenn, she reuses blog content by sharing it on social media, in emails, and in a magazine.

Molly said to keep an eye on your top performing posts. Make sure you update them with a new call to action, relevant links, etc.

Kelli knows link building within your site is important. Make sure you’re adding links to your newer posts in those old posts to keep people on your site.

Zachary was still sharing ideas even after the chat! He recommended choosing a favorite blog post and saving it as your pinned tweet on Twitter to drive more traffic to it.

Q8: What metrics can you measure to see how effective your blogging is?

How can you determine if your blogging efforts have been successful? Keep an eye on these metrics:

As Monika said, you should always consider what your goals are. Those are the metrics you should be measuring.

Are people sharing your content? Are they interacting with it in any way? Are they converting?

Are people reading your post, sharing it, and talking about it? What does your bounce rate look like? You want to get people to stay on your site once they land there.

Molly also knows checking your bounce rate and the amount of time spend on the page are important to measure. This will give you an idea of whether or not your audience found value in your content.

Don’t forget to include a call to action (CTA) within your post. Then, track your results to see if people are responding.

Are you getting return visits to your site? You want to make sure people keep coming back for more. You should also track that important length of time on page, social media shares, CTA results, and email newsletter sign-ups.

Great tip, Jenn! Remember that not everyone will tag you when sharing your content on social media, which means you’ll miss some shares. Search your URL on Twitter to see all the shares from your site.

We look forward to seeing you at the next #ContentWritingChat! Mark your calendars weekly for Tuesday at 10 AM CDT for great chats centered around content writing and marketing. Follow @ExpWriters to stay updated on our new topics and guests!

7 Things You Can Do Now To Make Your Blog Traffic Start Growing

We’ve all been there.

You launch a blog and create great content and then you wait anxiously, obsessively checking your blog stats and waiting to see a drastic boom in readers.

This process can get tiresome.

blogging seo comic

Your scenario could vary: maybe you’re dreaming of overnight fame or a life as a professional blogger. Maybe you just want someone, anyone really, to read the post you just spent four hours writing.

Whatever your reasoning may be, you’re not alone if your blog traffic is less than what you hoped it would be.

Many bloggers who start new sites expect a boom and get a trickle of traffic instead and, if you’re not careful, this drastic difference between expectation and reality can easily cause bloggers to become frustrated and disillusioned.

Most new bloggers struggle with this issue and, fortunately, there are many effective ways to boost your blog’s traffic.

Read on to learn more.

What Really Brings In Blog Traffic?

Blogs exist for different reasons, including but not limited to conveyance of information, building of community, encouragement of conversations and production of revenue. If your blog is getting a good deal of traffic, it’s a safe bet that your site is meeting the needs of the readers you’re targeting.

The 3 Pillars of Blog Traffic

People who read blogs often want the following things:

1. Interest

If you want people to visit your blog, you have to provide them with something interesting, thought provoking, helpful or exciting. Nobody is going to keep coming back to a site that features dull, dry, poorly written posts. Because of this, interest is one of the primary driving factors in creating blog traffic. It doesn’t matter at all who your target readers are as long as you seek to provide them with interesting content they can relate to.

2. Value

Does your content provide something of value to your readers? If not, this may be one of the reasons you’re not getting much blog traffic. Value can mean a variety of things depending upon who your readers are and what they want, but one of the easiest ways to increase blog traffic is to provide value in your content. How-to articles are valuable, VIP updates are valuable, coupons and promotions are valuable and high-quality, niche-related content is valuable. Readers who get something from a blog are far more likely to keep reading and to tell their friends about the page.

3. Consistency

Would you continue to visit a page that featured the same, boring post for six weeks? Most likely, the answer is “no” and you can bet your readers feel the same way. One of the best ways to boost your readership is to maintain a consistent web presence. Aim to add a new blog post at least once a week and consider sending out automated emails to your subscriber list when you do. Striving for fresh content is a great way to keep readers interested and expand your fan base quickly.

Ready? Get your pencils sharpened...

Ready? Get your pencils sharpened…

And Here Are 7 Key Steps to Boosting Your Blog Traffic

1) Create Great Content: Audit What You Have, & Ask Yourself Is it Great?

Although running a successful blog is about much more than simply writing well, crafting great content is by far the most effective way to expand your reader base and garner more blog traffic.

Crafting great content means using proper grammar, writing well and knowing who your audience is, but it also requires a mind for strategy. Being strategic in your blog-building efforts means that you’re seeking to meet a specific need for readers. Blogs are used by readers primarily for education and entertainment purposes and, either way, it’s important to give readers what they want.

If your blog is an educational platform, check out websites like Quora to see what readers like yours are curious about and then write posts that answer their questions. If your blog is an entertainment blog, watch the social and political climate for current events worth writing about or seek to provide humorous, relatable commentary about your niche-topic, like Brittany Gibbons does on her smash-hit parenting blog, Brittany Herself. By being hilarious and empathetic, Gibbons creates content people want to share and, as such, she’s made a name for herself in the blogging world.

Also, auditing what you have is a really good way your blog has what it takes to bring in traffic. It might be time to delete some fluff that may be too low quality, and could even be pushing people away.

2) Make Content Shareable

Once you’ve got great content, how do you get more people to read it? The main trick is to make your content as social as possible, meaning that you need to optimize your blog content for social media sharing. When you take into account that 74% of American adults are on at least one social media site, it becomes clear why this is important.

While it’s great to have a high-quality blog, a blog that isn’t shared across social media is going to have a very difficult time gaining readers simply because it’s not hanging out the same place the readers are. Although people do many different things online, 28% of most people’s daily online time is spent on social networking sites, which means you better get thee to Facebook.

In order to better promote your content across social media platforms, it’s wise to take simple steps such as adding a “share” button to your blog, doing some analytics research in order to share content when your audience is most active online or adding an image to a blog post and sharing it on Twitter.

Additionally, it is important to be active on a few different social media sites, such as Facebook, Google+ and Twitter. This allows your readers to find you on their favorite social media site and interact with your content in the way that is easiest for them. Additionally, once you’ve begun to garner shares on social media sites, it’s important to keep up with and participate in the conversation in order to further increase your presence and reach. You can do this by commenting on other blogger’s comments, answering questions on Quora, joining niche-related forums, asking for comments or emails from readers and taking surveys.

3) Pay Attention to Your Design

Even if you have the best blog content is the world, nobody is going to read it if they can’t navigate your site. For this reason, it’s important to pay attention to blog design and ensure that your site is laid out in a way that offers a user-friendly experience.

Readers should be able to locate content quickly and easily (installing a search bar is a great way to facilitate this) and navigate their way around your page without stress. For individual blog posts, links should be a different color than the rest of the text and headlines should be offset using bolding and header fonts while big blocks of text should be broken into lists or small sub header sections.

The secret to building a beautiful blog site is that the template should be clean and simple, the layout should be uncluttered and easy to navigate, the home page should be one column and the overall feel should be unique and warm.

4) Optimize Your Blog for SEO

If you want to drive more traffic to your blog, this is one of the most important steps. Unfortunately, it’s also the step that most bloggers skip because it seems too difficult. Trust us, though, it’s not and skipping out on SEO only hinders your blog.

Currently, Google processes 3.5 billion search inquiries every day and that number is only rising. This immense amount of traffic can be a serious advantage to bloggers who properly optimize their blog content. Although SEO may seem scary on the surface, there are plenty of great guides to optimizing your content for SEO.

According to SEO-giant, Moz, “20% of the effort and tactics to make your content optimized for search engines will yield 80% of the value possible.” That said, go forth and don’t be afraid of SEO. Proper utilization can have a profound effect on the success of your blog.

5) Be Really Cool About Your Images

Images are a highly shareable form of visual content. Visual graphics, be they images, infographics or memes, resonate with the human brain much quicker than text-based content, evoking quicker response time and a greater connection. That said, blogs that feature images are much more likely to garner shares and attention than those that do not.

To increase the readership of your blog, begin including high-quality images in your posts. Be cool about it – don’t be the average joe.

This will instantly boost your blog’s shareability.

There are plenty of great images available through stock image sites like istockphoto.com and pairing this with the awesome Canva can get you some really amazing imagery for your blog.

6) Use Links

Everyone appreciates links – including but not limited to search engines, readers and other bloggers. When you’re writing a post, make an effort to include links back to your other blog posts as well as to external sources that have a high domain authority ranking.

These links work in several different ways: first of all, they make your text more visually interesting and help readers interact with and learn more about unfamiliar concepts or external sources. Secondly, links provide a shout-out to other high-quality blog sites, which builds kinship and provides you with valuable contacts for further blogging endeavors.

Other site owners can see your links to their sites via Google Alerts or a simple look at their blog site’s top referrers. When your links are high quality and you’re using great anchor text, links are a great way to earn points in the blogging community and inspire other bloggers to link to your site, as well, which provides both sites with more readers and a larger reach.

7) Embrace Guest Blogging

When it comes to increasing your blog’s traffic, guest blogging is a tactic that can’t be overlooked. Writing guest posts for other sites and accepting guest posts onto your site is a great way to build community, provide value to a new set of followers and build relationships with fellow bloggers.

When you’re just starting out, it can be tough to position yourself for guest blogs but, many times, it is as simple as reaching out to a blogger you admire and pitching a guest post. The worst that can happen is that the blogger will say no and, if this happens to be the case, don’t get discouraged.

Leverage your friends, family and personal connection for guest blogs and keep offering your writing skills to blogs you admire. At some point, you’ll land a few guest blogging opportunities and your traffic will most likely increase.

Building Blog Traffic: It’s Possible and You Can Do it!

Building blog traffic can seem like a difficult task but, truly, it comes down to a few simple skills that anyone can master. By ensuring you’re offering great content that is interesting, valuable and consistent, optimizing your blog content for social sharing and SEO, providing a great layout, adding images to your post, utilizing high-quality links and making an effort to give and receive guest blogging, you can be sure that your blog will see an uptick in traffic.

Although it may be a slow progression, it pays to avoid becoming discouraged. Blogging is not a get-rich-quick scheme and, as long as you’re creating great, reader-focused content, you’ll achieve blogging success.

18 Ways to Grow Your Traffic Through Blogging

Blogging is such an incredible tool within content marketing—one of the most powerful ones, too. It gives you a unique ability to reach out to a wider audience and gives you the chance to write on a variety of things from why people need your product to what colors a dress might be.

Most importantly, it also gives you the ability to grow your traffic and bring in new visitors, giving you the possibility of increasing revenue. Let’s look at just how you can do this with a few excellent blogging practices.

18 Incredible Ways to Increase Traffic With Great Blogging Practices

Just how can you grow your traffic through your blog? Let me walk you through some great points that can help you improve your overall content marketing campaign! Be sure to let me know which of these practices reach out to you in the comments.

  1. Blogging Can Increase Rankings and Bring in More Organic Search Traffic. A great reason why blogging can be great to grow your traffic is because it helps you rank higher on the search engines. Organic traffic is great, and the more you blog, the more likely you are to increase that. Remember that each blog you write is just one more landing page that gives readers and visitors a chance to see your web page and products. The more you write, the more landing pages you create, which helps you create more opportunities for your site to rank and be found. 
  1. Write Different Content Types to Drive Traffic. A good idea to help create blog posts that help drive traffic is to follow some of the findings from Newscred’s social media study. Researchers found that things such as “how-to” posts and lists brought in more social media traffic, as did blogs with evergreen topics. One thing the study also noted is that content types tended to be shared differently at different times throughout the year. This is a good reason as to why you should always research your audience and pay attention to your analytics. You can figure out which blog topics will do best at which times, giving you the chance to create great blog posts that increase traffic. 
  1. Share Your Blogs on Social Media to Increase Traffic Even More. Increasing traffic to your blog isn’t going to happen as soon as you write and publish. In fact, you are going to need to do a little more work to drive traffic through blogging. A great place to start with is social media. Social media is an incredible way to help boost blog traffic to your site, and you can do so in many different ways. Just work with your social channels and research your analytics to see what things you need to tweak and which things are working well for you. 
  1. Never Ever Forget About Email Newsletters. Another way to bring in more traffic with and to your blog is to send out information about your blogs in your email newsletters. You can promote a wide variety of things in your newsletters, and your blogs should be one of those items. Encourage readers to click and read your blog postings, and encourage new visitors to your site to sign up for a newsletter to know when you’ve posted a new blog. 
  1. Write On the Latest, Trendiest Things to Bring in Viewers. Something that can really help drive traffic with your blogs is when you blog about the latest, trendiest items out there. You can blog about new films and how they can inspire people in your industry, use memes that have gone viral, or any other currently trending item to help bring in visitors. Remember, you shouldn’t only focus on viral, trendy content. But it is a great idea to boost traffic. 
  1. Always Make Sure Your Blogs Have Epic, Impactful Headlines. According to Lindsay Kolowich over at HubSpot, headlines are a vital part of every single content marketing strategy. A headline is what convinces someone to click on your link, which then helps to improve traffic. If you want to boost your traffic through blogging, then always make sure you are creating powerful headlines that encourage people to click. This could be your only chance to bring in new viewers. 
  1. Utilize Different Keywords, Especially Long-Tail, In Your Blogs. Neil Patel points out that keywords, especially long-tail keywords, are vital to your blogging campaign. You need to make sure you are using excellent keywords that can drive traffic, and you should also make sure you use a variety to bring in a wider audience. Patel shows that you can increase your traffic and clicks by 78 percent when you use long-tail keywords, which is truly remarkable! Use your keywords, and bring in more traffic. 
  1. Make Sure Your Posts are Perfect for Your Audience. In the article I shared above, Neil Patel also points out how important it is to know your audience and have posts that are specifically for them. Research your demographic and the clients you already have to gather information on what your audience will like and want to see. You can also send out questionnaires and ask your social media followers what type of posts they’d like to see. The more you write posts that are perfect for your audience, the better your chances are of increasing your overall site traffic. 
  1. Have a Stunning, Professional Blog Layout and Design. Written content isn’t the only thing you should consider when trying to use your blog to drive traffic. You should also consider making sure you have a great and professional blog design with an easy-to-follow layout. This can help encourage your readers to come back and read future blog posts, and can even encourage them to read your past pieces. If your blog looks like it is thrown together, your readers aren’t likely to stick around for very long. 
  1. Utilize Images, Videos, and Infographics in Your Blog Posts. Along with a great design, you should also focus on visual content on your blog, as well. You can share videos with your clients, create an infographic out of a longer post, and attach images to your written content. This can help get more attention from a wider audience. People enjoy having multiple content formats to consume, and each of us consumes content differently. Give you readers and visitors options to help drive continual traffic. 
  1. Create Evergreen Content to Drive Traffic Constantly. Trendy topics are a great way to drive traffic, but those will only last for a few weeks or even a few days. Once the trend goes away, the traffic will dwindle; so how can you keep it going, as well as increasing it? You can write evergreen content that focuses on topics that don’t go stale. A great way to know if you’re writing evergreen topics is to pay attention to your topic and how you write. If you write something without focusing on trends or current pop culture references, chances are it is evergreen. If you’re writing or referencing something that is popular right now, then it isn’t. 
  1. Always Craft Excellent, High-Quality Articles. Increasing and maintaining traffic are two sides of the same coin, meaning you need to focus on both when creating your blog content. One of the best ways to make sure you are working on both is to write amazing, high-quality content. If you aren’t sure if you are writing high quality, you can always hire a copyeditor to look over it or simply hire a copywriter with training in high-quality web content. 
  1. Consider Covering News Topics on Your Blog. Writing on fun trends can make your blog pop and bring people in, but sometimes you should focus on writing something a bit more serious and informative. A great way to increase traffic through blogging is to write blogs on news pieces. If you’re in the social media world, then writing on what new thing Facebook is doing or a new social media channel will be great for news content. News content can be amazingly captivating for your audience while providing them with top information from the latest news sources. 
  1. Write and Publish Blogs Consistently. A consistent blogging schedule can also help increase your traffic. People like to know when to expect blogs from their favorite sites and companies, and if you set a schedule, they are likely to keep an eye out for your new blog. Set a schedule and play with it for a bit to see how often and which days work the best for you. Make sure you keep your schedule the same for a few months to get the best measure of what days work and also so that you aren’t constantly changing things around on your readers. 
  1. Engage With Your Audience to Promote Further Clicks and Engagement. Another great way to increase traffic with your blogs is to engage with your readers when they comment. Always be sure that you reply to a comment and consider doing more than the cursory, “Thank you for reading” response. You can ask your reader a specific question in reply to their comment or answer a specific question they asked. Engaging and conversing with them can help encourage them to come back and read your newer blogs, and can eventually convince them to become clients instead of just readers. 
  1. Don’t Hesitate to Pay to Promote Your Blog. Organic traffic is great, but sometimes you need that extra push to help increase website traffic with your blog. You can promote your blog through various ways such as pay-per-click ads or utilizing social media ads on channels like Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. This can help drive some traffic, and when people find your blog and see that you’ve spent a good portion of time and energy on it, they’ll stay. Once this happens, then you can be well on your way to getting organic traffic. 
  1. Comment on Industry Blogs and Link to Your Blog. You can also encourage people to visit your blog by commenting on industry blogs with a link back to yours. This doesn’t mean to promote your blog and get all spam-like. Write something that provides value to the writer of the blog, and if you have a similar blog you can mention it. In addition, many comment forms allow for people to share a website along with their name, which is a great way to help link people to your page without even mentioning it in the comment. 
  1. Allow Readers to Share Your Blogs Easily on Social Media. As I mentioned earlier, social media is a great way to increase your traffic through blogging. You can post your blogs to social media, but you can also allow your readers to share your blog easily through social share buttons. Putting up social share buttons on each post can help you reach a wider audience because, if a reader likes one of your posts, he or she can then click the social button and share to their channel quickly and easily. This can help bring in more viewers, and end up converting those visitors into clients. Never underestimate the power of a social share button on each and every blog post. 

Remember, Patience Truly is a Blogging Virtue

When it comes to increasing your traffic through blogging, remember that it might take some time. Even though a lot of viral content can make it seem like things happen in a snap on the Internet, the reality is that it takes time to build your presence. You want to be a trusted source, so follow these tips with your blogs to create a great presence and drive traffic. If you need help with creating blog posts that are engaging, then contact Express Writers. Our blogging services provide you with excellent, high-quality material that you and your readers will enjoy.

expert blogger

Our Top 10 Strategies To Becoming An Expert Blogger

How do you become an expert blogger?

This is a question that’s asked by many aspiring content creators.

And it’s a good one. After all, blogging and content marketing are stronger than they’ve ever been.

91% of today’s businesses participate in content marketing. 

In addition, there are tons of ways to make money blogging in the modern world. For example, we use blogging to earn 99% of our leads and revenue around here at Express Writers.

And we’re not the only one bringing in the bacon through our blogging. Michelle at makingsenseofcents.com is a blogger I follow who travels the world and makes six-figures monthly through affiliate blogging. And Jon Morrow at SmartBlogger is a smart marketer who uses his blog to earn over $100k/month.

So, whether you’re attempting to start your own blog or looking to create content for other businesses, the opportunities are there.

And while there’s quite a bit of competition in this space, becoming an expert blogger is something that can set you apart from the field.

If you’re able to nail the strategies outlined below, you’ll be well on your way to becoming an expert in the blogging world. Let’s get started.

Learn how to become an expert #blogger in our 10-step guide. Click To Tweet

expert blogger

10 Strategies to Becoming an Expert Blogger

Ready? Let’s get into them!

1. Learn How to Write Well-Structured Blogs

Arguably, writing is 80-95% of the weight of a highly-successful blog.

Just look a few examples of top-ranking, top-shared, conversation-driving blog posts:

The structure and readability of these blogs are critical examples. This is the style you need to follow when you write a blog. For example, look at the readability and short, impactful-sentence structure of Morrow’s blog, linked to above:

blog post example smartblogger

Learning how to write a great blog is definitely an art and a science.

But once you learn the art of writing a great blog, everything follows. We have a free guide on how to write great SEO blogs that might help. And my book, So You Think You Can Writeis an excellent primer to learning online content writing standards.

Takeaway: Learn the structure and writing style of great blog posts.

2. Create Audience-Centric Content

Understanding this concept is the most important step on your journey to becoming an expert blogger.

Fortunately, it’s also a pretty simple one to follow.

There are essentially two types of content; content-centric and audience-centric.

Image Source

As you can see in the image above, content-centric blogs are those where the writers create content and then try to find an audience that will read and appreciate it.

Writers of audience-centric blogs, on the other hand, establish the audience they’re writing for and work to create content that’s designed specifically for them.

The more important point to take away from the image above, however, is that audience-centric content enables you to reach your maximum audience.

By identifying who you’re writing for, and what they want to hear, you’re giving your content the best opportunity to earn the interest of readers and be successful.

And isn’t that your goal?

Takeaway: Identify your audience and create content based on what they want to hear.

3. Stay Up-to-Date With Your Industry

Ten years ago, not many people were familiar with content marketing.

As time has gone on, however, the industry has developed and improved to the point where Marketing Mag projects that content marketing will be a $300 billion industry by 2019.

So, how has the content marketing industry grown so much over such a short period of time?

Because the amazing people that helped create the industry, and those that have joined since, have worked to constantly improve it.

Modern day blogging is MUCH different than it was 10 years ago.

In fact, it’s a lot different than it was just 3 years ago.

And because the industry is constantly evolving and improving, it’s essential that you stay up-to-date.

How Can I Stay Up-to-Date With the Industry?

You can start by paying attention to the movers and shakers.

People like:

  • Joe Pulizzi. Founder of the Content Marketing Institute. Author of ground-breaking books like Content Inc. and Killing Marketing.
  • Ann Handley. Head of Content at MarketingProfs. Author of Everybody Writes.
  • Jay Baer. Founder of Convince & Convert. Writer of four best-selling books related to content and digital marketing.
  • Brian Clark. Founder of Copyblogger.
  • Darren Rowse. Founder of ProBlogger.

In addition, there are plenty of great blogs to follow. Some of the best include:

To get the most out of these blogs, be sure to join their email lists to receive useful content to your inbox on a regular basis.

Takeaway: Follow top industry experts and blogs for tips and strategies that can improve your skills.

4. Research is Everything

Next to writing well is research.

Just like writing skills are integral to structuring a great blog post, research is everything to a well-read, informative, and accurate blog.

As Shout Me Loud contributor Chassie Lee tells us, research is the core of content marketing.

She goes on to say that:

“Research is the first and most vital step when developing and executing a content strategy. Without complete research, the steps of Ideation/Planning, Creation, Connection, and Measurement will be based on insufficient data.”

So, you know that research is important. But how do you actually do it effectively?

What’s the Best Way to Research Effectively?

This is where things can get a little tricky.

Because, while there are many ways to go about researching, you’re going to have to take the time to determine the strategy that works best for you.

In Neil Patel and Kathryn Aragon’s Advanced Guide to Content Marketing, they recommend a three step approach.

Researching and creating an outline can be time consuming. But by writing down ideas and researching them as they come to you, you can significantly reduce this part of the creation process.

References are essential to creating useful content. Be sure to gather any references you can that will help you make your point when writing.

Takeaway: Work to develop an approach to research that works for you and ensures you’re able to consistently create useful and relevant content for your audience.

5. Develop a Content Differentiation Factor (CDF)

While it’s true that becoming an expert blogger has a lot to do with gaining knowledge from others, that doesn’t mean you should just follow in their footsteps.

The ability to carve your own path, and differentiate yourself from the pack, is equally important on your quest to becoming an expert in your field.

But to truly separate yourself, you have to provide a compelling reason for someone to read and devour YOUR content instead of a competitor.

If a potential reader or customer were to ask,

“Why should I read your content over your competitor(s)?”

What would your answer be?

Creating a Competitive Advantage by Developing Your Content Differentiation Factor (CDF)

If your goal is to develop a competitive advantage, and give potential readers a reason to choose your content, then it’s essential that you develop a Content Differentiation Factor.

content differentiation factor

While establishing your CDF can be a complex and time-consuming process, it’s absolutely necessary if you want to succeed in the world of content marketing.

To create your CDF, you need to clearly answer the question of:

“What is your unique, standout perspective in your content niche that makes you an expert that needs to be heard?”

Because this topic is a bit too in-depth to cover within this post, I encourage you to check out my article on How to Find Your Brand’s Unique Content Differentiation Factor and Use It to Your Advantage for a more detailed resource on developing your CDF.

Takeaway: Take the time to develop your Content Differentiation Factor so you can provide potential readers with a compelling reason to view your content over your competitors.

6. Make the Readability and Usefulness of Your Content a Focal Point

As you begin to study other expert bloggers, you’ll find that almost all of them talk heavily about the short attention span of today’s internet users.

And it’s true. Modern day attention spans are undoubtedly shorter than they’ve ever been.

But that doesn’t mean you CAN’T capture their attention.

Legendary comedian Jerry Seinfeld has a different take on this topic than most. As he says:

In a lot of ways, Seinfeld is right. If you’re producing high quality content that captures the attention of your audience, people will read it.

To make sure they read it, however, you have to focus readability and usefulness.

Honing in On Readability

Making your content readable isn’t difficult, even if you aren’t a great writer.

Let’s take a look at a few tips that can help you with this:

  • Write short, to-the-point sentences
  • Include no more than 2-4 sentences within each paragraph
  • Break up your content with images, subheadings, and bullet lists

If you’re looking for a tool that can help you discover the readability of your content, Readable.io is a great free option.

Let’s take a look at the results when we plug in the article you’re currently reading:

As you can see, it gives us an overall grade while also providing more detailed statistics about things like keyword density, syllable use, reading level, and more.

Yoast SEO, which is a WordPress SEO plugin, is another great readability tool if you’re looking for something even more advanced.

Making Your Content Useful

Making your content useful is simple if you’ve already committed to creating audience-centric content.

So long as you focus on what your audience wants, and ensure your content serves as a useful and actionable resource, you shouldn’t have a problem with this.

Takeaway: Attention spans are only short when your content isn’t readable or useful.

7. Stay Consistent

Consistency and persistence is important in just about every part of life.

But it’s really, really important in the world of blogging.

And there are many reasons for this.

For one, as Forbes tell us:

“Without consistency, it’s difficult to build brand loyalty.”

If you aren’t able to develop a core audience that regularly reads your content, you’re going to have a very difficult time succeeding in the blogging world.

And, unless you’re consistently publishing content, it’s going to be impossible to develop that core audience and brand loyalty.

Consistency is also important for SEO reasons.

As HubSpot has found, blogs that publish 16+ blog posts per month generate about 3.5x more traffic than those that publish between 0-4 posts.

While there are other factors, such as content quality and promotion, that will have a positive impact on SEO and traffic, creating and posting consistently offers a clear opportunity to get ahead.

But if you don’t currently have the time or resources to publish 4x per week, that doesn’t mean you can’t succeed as a blogger.

Blogging, after all, is a long term game.

As DeMers also tells us:

“Posting at least once a week is usually sufficient to establish a regular core of readers, and these readers are typically the ones who will form the core of your brand community.”

Once the core of your brand community is developed, you can start focusing on developing more content in an effort to boost traffic and build a stronger SEO profile.

And, as your resources expand, you can begin to hire freelancers or content creation agencies to write some of your content for you.

Takeaway: Know that blogging is a long term game and that your ability to stay consistent will have a major impact on your success.

8. Make Promotion a Priority

Of all the ways that blogging and content marketing have evolved over the years, possibly the biggest change has been with the incredible increase in the amount of content being created.

In 2015, Marketing Profs reported that there over 2 million blog posts are written and published every day.

Not surprisingly, however, most of that content goes unnoticed.

Because while content creators are writing and publishing plenty of blog posts, many of them are failing to realize the importance of actually promoting that content.

How to Promote Your Content

This is a topic that’s FAR too in-depth to cover within this post. But, as we’ve mentioned, understanding how to do it will be incredibly important to your success.

So instead of giving you a brief summary, here’s a few great resources that can help:

Takeaway: If you want readers, it’s essential that you develop strategies for promoting your content.

9. Leverage Social Media to Build Authority

Becoming an expert is hard. But becoming KNOWN as an expert is even harder.

Fortunately, the power of social media enables just about anyone to make it a reality.

You just have to put in the work to do it.

Sujan Patel, a growth marketer who has used social media and content to build his own personal brand, is one of the foremost experts on this topic.

In an article he wrote for Forbes about the 9 Ways to Use Social Media to Build Your Personal Brand, Patel offers a few suggestions for building authority. They include:

  1. Find the Right Groups. Find the social networks and groups where your target audience is active. Facebook and LinkedIn both offer great opportunities for this.
  2. Keep Your Image Consistent. While it’s important to cater your content to the social media platform it’s being posted on, it’s also crucial to control your audience’s perception by maintaining consistency with how you represent yourself across the web.
  3. Engage as Often as Possible. Create a consistent posting schedule and be sure that you’re communication with your audience as often as possible.
  4. Give, Give, and Give Some More. Make personal connections with your audience and ask them what you can do for them. And, above all, avoid being salesy and promotional.
  5. Become Involved in Discussions. Show that you’re human and connect with others by getting involved in discussions. Not only is this great for visibility, but it’s an opportunity to offer your unique insights on a topic.

Takeaway: Social media and content marketing form a powerful team. Leverage this combination to build authority in your industry.

10. Don’t Forget About SEO

While it’s true that creating audience-centric content plays a crucial role in becoming an expert blogger, you still need to understand how to write content for SEO.

By doing so, you enable your content to be found via search engines and therefore reach its maximum viewership potential.

And while there are some technical aspects of SEO that can contribute to success with SERPs, most of the strategies necessary to succeed are fairly basic.

Here are five rules of thumb for great SEO content:

  1. Focus on 1-2 Long-Tail Keywords. Don’t overdo it with keywords. Focus on 1-2 that have the least competition and include them in your title, headers, meta description, and body copy.
  2. Design Your Post to be Mobile-Friendly. More and more people are viewing content from mobile devices. And, as Google is beginning to emphasize mobile-friendly design as a part of their algorithms, you’re significantly reducing your potential reach if your content isn’t mobile optimized.
  3. Optimize Your Meta Description. While the meta description doesn’t have a direct impact on search rankings, the words within it help searchers decide whether to click on your content or a competitor.
  4. Optimize Images. Search engines crawl for images based on their alt text. For this reason, you’ll want to be sure that you’re optimizing images (especially custom images) for search.
  5. Link Internally When Appropriate. By linking to other posts on your site, you’ll help keep visitors on your website while also sending signals to search engines about the relevancy of your content.

Takeaway: Be sure to optimize your content for search engines to maximize your potential reach.

Bonus #11. Develop Your Own Unique Voice and Style

I couldn’t end without tossing in an extra bonus point.

Question: Do you know of any cover bands that are more popular than the actual band that they cover?

I highly doubt it.

This is the reason why it’s important that you develop your own unique voice and style for your blog.

Takeaway: Develop a voice that is unique to you and avoid copying what others before you have done.

Start Your Journey to Becoming an Expert Blogger!

While the road won’t be easy, utilizing these 10 strategies will undoubtedly help you on your journey to becoming an expert blogger.

Use these strategies. Start your journey. You won’t regret it.

And if you need help — we can craft amazing blogs your readers will love. Talk to our team today.

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don't suck at blogging

6 Ways To Not Suck At Blogging

Blogging is like a full-time profession for many of us, and because of that we have a dedicated interest in our audiences. We are the place that they come for content and we have a responsibility to provide current, accurate reporting as far as content is concerned. Our opinions usually shape the final decisions of a number of our readers and because of that a lot of power rests in our hands. Creating captivating blog entries is always a challenging task, especially when you have a lot on your plate and little time to get it all done.

In order to be a successful blogger, you have to understand what success means to a blogger. For some it equates to a lot of clicks, but to others it means providing a source of information to our readers. We are tasked with presenting an unbiased view that is free from fear or favor when it comes to a particular topic and we should take our responsibilities as bloggers very seriously.

Success Tips To Help You Make Your Blogging ROI Increase

If you truly want to succeed and produce a blog that you can be proud of, here are a few things that are almost guaranteed to net you success.

Success Tip #1: Put Your Audience First

How many bloggers out there truly know their audience? How many of them are simply assuming what their audience wants and instead miss the attractive points that would draw the crowds? Understanding your audience is one of the most important things any blogger can do. By understanding what drives your audience, you locate the motivation behind their need for content and this allows you to better home in what they love to read. Putting your audience first means taking their likes and dislikes into account. Usually in niche blogs this is a simple matter because only an individual that follows the particular area of interest would be a reader on such a blog. When it comes to more open, wide-ranging blogs there is a lot more scope for you to be good (or bad) at presenting your ideas. Knowing your audience helps you to streamline your ideas to present it in a more palatable fashion to your readers, according to Copyblogger. Know what they read and what interests them and you’re well on your way to creating riveting content that will ensure that people take notice of what you say.

Success Tip #2: Be Unbiased In Your Representation Of Facts

Anonymity has made it easy for anyone to be a blogger and hide their real identity. It doesn’t do much to promote trustworthiness, however. When you produce a blog, what you write on it is a direct reflection of your own opinions and ideas. However, if you’re blogging about a factual piece of information then you should be careful to separate your ideas from what makes up the body of truth. Representing fact is important and the more accurate you are in presenting the fact uncolored by bias, the more your audience tends to trust you. Creating trust in an audience means that it is more likely that they will come back to you for news since in their opinion, you are a reliable location to get the truth. Opinion pieces are welcome since the aim of most blogging is to represent a blogger’s opinions on a particular issue. You must be careful to draw the line between opinion and fact since blurring those lines will lose you credibility in the eyes of your audience. Showing your audience two sides of the story before chiming in with your own take on the issue is a very good way to present an issue in a simple, unbiased way.

Success Tip #3: Don’t Get Complicated

One of the things that turns a lot of readers off from a blog is content that is simply padding. Overcomplicating an issue is a very common way to pad a word count, but it does your audience no favors. The more complex a piece of content is, the less likely that you’re going to get readers willing to sit through your filler text. Get right down the point and do it effectively and efficiently. It might be a lot easier to simple research a point in depth rather than trying to create meaningless phrases and words to make up a word count. Keeping it simple helps connect with your audience without alienating them. In some industry blogs, using jargon that is common within the industry does not count as being complicated. This exception is because such blogs are usually aimed at industry professionals that are already familiar with these terms. General Blogs should try to maintain a conversational tone without inserting obscure words and phrases. Doing so usually interrupts the flow of your conversation with the reader and could lead to them dismissing your entry as not worthy of their time.

Success Tip #4: A Picture Paints a Thousand Words

We’re no longer in the dark ages of the Internet where a single jpeg file could take as much as ten minutes to load on a dial up connection. Thanks to the wonders of easily available high speed internet, using eye-catching images is not only an option, it is recommended. Quite a lot of human beings have the ability to process graphic information far more readily than textual information. It’s the reason why memes are such a popular thing in internet culture today. Utilizing images capitalizes on this ability by giving your readers content in a breathtaking flurry of color and shape. Selecting the right image for your post is as important as writing the post itself and due care should be taken to choose an image that best represents what you want the reader to take away from this entry. Images are probably the best way to communicate simple ideas and you should utilize them in blog posts as often as you can in order to give your content a more attractive look.

Success Tip #5: Post Regularly and Consistently

Last but maybe most importantly, blogging isn’t a fly-by-night enterprise. It requires a lot of dedication and hard work before it even has a chance of being successful. Looking at how blogs have been developed over the last decade, it is obvious that in order to maintain your momentum and to keep readers coming back for more, your posts should be done on a regular schedule. Ideally, posting one blog a day is a good idea, although some people do cover more than one post, sometimes incorporating multiple posts of different types of content into one single day. Other bloggers only post once a week, but their content is rich and it leaves the readers on the edge, awaiting the next instalment. Creating regular blog posts not only gives you visibility, it shows that you are consistent. Nothing is more unnerving to a reader to find that a blog they have followed for a long time has simply ceased to exist. The longer you post for, the more confidence that readers have in following your posts over the long term. Blog readers tend to increase over time the longer you blog so it’s in your best interests to keep your posts coming regularly to grow your readership over time.

Success Tip #6: Networking is Essential

The advent of social media has made it much easier to share your blogs as well as to engage in conversation on them. Conversation on an entry is one of the most important driving factors in a blog. With social media intertwined with most blog hosting outlets, it is not a surprise that most bloggers have a social media outlet dedicated to sharing and promoting their blog entries. Many bloggers also ask questions within their entries so that their readers can comment and start up their own private discussions in the comment threads. The true masters of blog networking follow other blogs that have similar interests and attempt to engage their writers in civil conversation. This usually leads to an exchanging of ideas and sometimes even readers. There is a downside to this blogging practice, however. Comments are left to the discretion of the user and unmoderated comments can lead to spam. There are ways to avoid this such as requiring a login to post a comment but it can interrupt the flow of readers who simply want to leave a comment and be on their way. The benefits to reaching out socially to your audience far outweigh the negatives.

A Noble Profession Not Learned Overnight: Blogging

Blogging isn’t something you learn to do overnight. Starting a blog is a simple process, but keeping one running for any length of time will test your dedication. Creating new content can have you feeling burned out at times and even trying to follow multiple threads of discussion can leave you tired at the end of a long session. With dedication comes reward. Blogging is rewarding on many levels, both financially and intellectually. Sharing information about a topic with others who may not know as much as you offers the benefit of helping you grasp concepts easier while at the same time providing a useful resource for others.

Creating compelling content and interacting with users from other blogs helps to bring you closer to your readers and discover new points of view and new ideas. Blogging is a noble profession, and if done right it can be one of the most rewarding things any writer can find themselves undertaking.

Photo credit: alphaspirit / iStock

 

 

blogging tools

5 Tools Everyone in The Blogging Industry Should be Using

It’s tough being a blogger. You spend hours of time on the web as you strategize, plan, and carefully craft your perfect post. You face deadlines, lack of motivation, and writer’s block. Not to mention, you could really use an assistant. Oh, and coffee. Lots of coffee.

Sound accurate? As a blogger, you might think that you are on your own in terms of perfecting your craft. Lucky for you, your life is about to get a little bit easier. Whether you are a seasoned blogger or you are just at the beginning of your career, there are a lot of tools available on the web that can help bloggers stay on track and fight writer’s block. Blogger to blogger, here are 5 tools that are bound to keep your fingers flowing on that keyboard.

1. The Wonders of Blogging With WordPress

wordpress blogging

Still using Blogger or another old school blogging platform? If so, it is time to get a little bit of WordPress love in your life. WordPress was originally started as a simple blog platform solution. However, it has experienced explosive growth over the last several years, morphing into the ultimate content management system that it is today. WordPress offers many benefits to bloggers, and you are truthfully crazy if you have yet to convert.

So, what is it about WordPress that makes it so spectacular for bloggers? For starters, it is super simple to use and customize. While older blog platforms only allow you to change your background and maybe your font face, WordPress allows you to create an entire functioning website around your blog.

If you are not a web designer and shudder at the thought of HTML, you are in luck. WordPress contains literally millions of themes that give you a beautifully designed website with the click of a button. It really is that easy.

To take the benefits of WordPress a step further, Google actually favors WordPress websites and blogs. WordPress also contains built-in SEO plug-ins that you can install to help give your blog an extra boost.

These advantages only skim the surface of why WordPress makes an excellent tool to bloggers. What are you waiting for?

2. Can’t Keep Track Of Your Posts? Enter the Editorial Calendar

So, this blogger tool is mostly developed by you, but it a necessity and really helps bloggers to stay organized. There are several ways to go about creating an editorial calendar; one being a simple Excel spreadsheet.

editorial calendar

Image source: contentmarketinginstitute.com

Depending on your posting frequency, you can plan your blogs day-by-day, week-by-week, or even month-by-month. Consider splitting your blog topics into categories, such as posts that are trending, seasonal, news, and how-tos.

Another way to create an editorial calendar is by literally using an online calendar. Google Calendar in particular has a pretty decent set up to help keep you on track.

google calendar

Image Source: linkedin.com

If you still doubt your ability to make a solid editorial calendar on your own, there are free templates available that you can mold to fit your needs. For example, Hubspot offers a free and convenient editorial calendar to get you started. Staying organized as a blogger and knowing exactly what topic to write about will make your job a breeze.

You know what they say – failing to plan is planning to fail.

3. Never Have Any Good Ideas? Hubspot Helps With That

As one of my favorite tools for bloggers, Hubspot’s Blog Topic Generator is perfect for coming up with fresh ideas when you are in a pinch. One of the greatest obstacles that every blogger faces is wondering what to write about next. I don’t know about you, but I am not a fan of wasting time while trying to figure out my next blog topic.

hubspot blog topics

The blog topic generator is super simple to use. Type in 3 nouns that relate to your industry, and click the button for instant ideas.

blog topic generator

The disclaimer here is that this tool is not fool proof. Sometimes it generates topics that do not make much sense. A little common sense goes a long way with this tool, but I think it is a lot of fun and pretty useful.

4. Tracking Your Visits With Google Analytics

Most bloggers want to know how much traffic is pouring onto their blog on a regular basis. One of the best tracking systems, hands down, is Google Analytics. Google Analytics will give you an overview of specific blog topics that are performing well on a traffic level, and what posts aren’t making the cut. You will see your bounce rate in analytics, which gives you an idea of how engaged your audience is with your website.

google analytics

Image Source: semilogic.com

Google Analytics also can measure your tracking coming in from social media, so you will know exactly how much traffic your Facebook or twitter account is pushing to your blog.

Analytics has tons of cool and useful bells and whistles. There are a lot of useful features to explore, and they can all help analyze your best content. Every blogger can absolutely benefit from the power of Google Analytics.

5. Wordfence Security Keeps Your Blog More Secure

The reality of owning your own blog is that there is a very real possibility that your site can become hacked. If you are on the WordPress platform, there is a free plug-in called Wordfence that will alert you of any potential threats that occur on your website. This includes attempted anonymous logins and security updates. Hackers can find loopholes to enter your site through old and outdated code, so always be sure to update your WordPress website as requested by Wordfence. This tool can save bloggers a lot of headache and heartache. Don’t put yourself in a position where you become the next horror story.

Now that you know 5 essential tools that all bloggers should be using, you can start increasing your productivity while making your blogging career both simple and streamlined.

Featured photo credit: ilkefoto / iStock

 

 

awesome blogging tips

Awesome Blogging: 20 Tips From An Expert

About 15 years ago, it was virtually unheard of for businesses to have their own blog. At the time, blogs were mostly diaries in disguise (Livejournal, anyone?), and very few companies had even heard of the concept of blogging for business. Content marketing was anything but a topic of conversation, and some small businesses lagged behind on having any type of web presence at all. As the concept of having a company website became more and more prevalent, keeping the website updated and maintained became another battle. It became clear that having a company website was anything but a fad, and businesses soon had to incorporate ideas of standing out from their competition online. The web was a blank canvass for upcoming business blogs, and the competition was about to explode throughout the new millennium.

Fast forward: it’s now almost 2015. While not every single company possesses a blog these days, many of them do. It’s interesting to see companies that have a smart blogging strategy in place, and those who aren’t too dedicated to managing their own blog. If companies aren’t currently blogging, the typical reasons include:

  • Not enough time
  • Fresh out of ideas
  • Don’t know where to start

20 Techniques To Blow Up Your Business Blogging

If you manage a company blog and you’re experiencing one or all three of these set backs, today is your lucky day. I’ve been around the blogging block a time or two, and I can tell you what kind of techniques work for creating, managing, and writing your very own blog. The following tips will enhance your online presence while having a blog that’s easy and entertaining to read for your customers. After all, isn’t that overall goal?

1. How’s That Headline? Did you know that 80% of customers will read your headline, but only 20% will actually read anything beyond? Think of all that hard work you put into your blog, only to have your customers click the back button. Writing powerful headlines is an absolute must for generating any kind of engagement. Think about it from your own point of view: if this blog post was entitled “20 Ways to Write a Nice Blog Post”, would you ever click on it? If I were a betting woman, I would definitely bet no. No one likes a boring read. Put some thought into that headline.

2. Verbs, Not Adjectives. While adjectives have their place, using verbs in your blog has the potential to create some very compelling copy. Some of my personal favorite verbs include:

  • Dazzle
  • Compel
  • Astonish
  • Bewilder
  • Captivating
  • Conquer
  • Delight
  • Discover

Putting verbs in your headline or copy inspires people to take   action. Taking action leads to conversion. What does this mean? Verbs are power words for your blogging strategy. Not to mention, they are pretty fun to write with. Give it a try.

3. Spark Some Emotion. Notice that all of my favorite verbs are related to some form of emotion. If you want to write a strong blog, you’re going to have to write something that sparks some form of emotion: preferably a positive one, since most people aren’t going to respond too well to negative emotion.

Connecting to people on an emotional level gives them something that they can find as relatable. If you can get your customers relating to your company or product, that’s a big part of the battle. That’s when they become emotionally invested, and that is exactly what you want.

4. Become an Inspiration. Isn’t it great to feel motivated and inspired? Help your customers feel the same. While inspiration can come in many forms, use your sources to better your community or the life of a person in need. If you have an interesting background of how you came from poverty and built your business from the ground up, people will want to hear your story. Depending on your industry, you can take this in many directions. You can inspire people to get healthy, get an education, or even seek treatment for an addiction.

5. Write Longer Posts. Sorry folks, but two paragraphs are not going to cut it. In fact, three or four paragraphs probably won’t take you very far, either. Studies have shown that long content (think 1500 words minimum) performs and converts better than content that’s considered short. Your audience is looking for engagement, and long (well-written) content is a surefire way to get your audience thinking.

You’ll be spending some extra time at the keyboard, but it’ll pay off in the long run.

6. The Presentation Factor. Have you ever received an e-mail that was literally one giant block of text? That e-mail could have contained the secrets of the universe, but the presentation ruined everything. And it was such a great topic!

When you’re writing your blog, it’s important to establish exactly how you’re going to present the information. If you are currently using the one-huge-text-block strategy, it’s time to start thinking in punctuation and paragraphs. Be careful on how you present.

7. Playing with Paragraphs. Paragraphs are mandatory when it comes to almost any kind of content writing. As a general rule, most paragraphs are about six sentences long. I like to play with paragraph lengths and keep them around 100 words if at all possible. When I hit around the 100-word mark, I then divide the paragraphs up using sub headers.

8. Standout Sub Headers. Yes, your headline has to be top notch. However, that’s no reason to skimp on your sub headers. Use the same techniques for writing strong headlines, and incorporate those into writing your sub headers. Your sub headers are typically in larger or bold font compared to the rest of your text, so think of them as additional opportunities to grab attention. Sub headers need some love, too!

9. Always Use Images. Try to include an image with every blog post, even if it’s just one. Images break up the monotony of text-headline-text-headline. Keep in mind that some people are visual learners, and graphics can help relay your information in different ways than text alone. You don’t have to hire a photographer, but it’s nice to have some unique images to go along with your blog post.

10. But Refrain From Super Generic Stock Images. Let me be clear and say there’s nothing wrong with using stock images at all. However, remember that there are batches of stock images out there that almost every other company is using. If you have to resort to bad stock images, use them sparingly. Just remember that you might come across another company using the exact same photography as you. Try to stay unique in every aspect of your blog that you can.

11. Remember Who You’re Talking To. As you craft your blog post, it’s easy to forget that you’re not talking to your word processor: you’re talking to people. Write as if you are having a conversation with another person on the other side of the screen. Expect people to comment and reply back. Once your blog is published for the real world to see, people will likely have something to say.

12. Use Your Competitor’s Blog as Inspiration. Whatever your competitor is blogging about, you can do it better. Don’t outright steal their ideas, but use their blog posts as an edge. If you read their blog post for the week and it feels like there are gaps in their information, take advantage of this opportunity and fill the holes with your own unique blog posts. Chances are, this is information that your customers are already looking for. Many companies will hold back on giving away too much information because they think that their customers will take the valuable info and run. This isn’t always the case; giving away valuable information for free makes you an authority. Customers will buy from authoritative companies.

13. Don’t Overcomplicate Your Message. Blogging is not meant to be a mysterious and super complex marketing strategy. Blogging is about giving your brand a voice and reaching out to customers who are looking for relevant information. You can easily break down your thoughts by using bullet points, short paragraphs, and images. If your blog is easy to digest, you won’t have to worry about readers grasping your message.

14. Plan Ahead. Planning ahead for your upcoming blog can help save a ridiculous amount of time. If you’re normally hard-pressed for ideas, take an hour or two per week to dedicate solely on discovering great content ideas for your blog. It’s so much easier to sit down at your computer in the morning knowing exactly what topic you’re writing about that day. Staring at a blank screen waiting for an idea is a one-way ticket to writer’s block.

15. When You’re Tired, Take a Break. It’s a common sense technique, but don’t push to write more when you’re burnt out for the day. Personally, my quality of writing takes a drastic nosedive when I’m running out of steam. Some people may thrive on this, but it’s important to realize when you’re at your max. Step away from the computer for a while and even take a catnap or go outside for a walk. Your creative juices will come flowing back when you’re feeling refreshed.

16. Answer Questions. Customers are coming to your website because they’re looking for information: most times, that information is coming in the form of a question. Try to make sure that every blog post answers a question in one way or another. Answering questions for customers adds educational value, which in turn helps you build your brand.

17. Tread Where Competitors Won’t. This technique is one of my favorites. I personally love tackling topics that competitors will not (or have not) addressed. For example, if you work in an industry where price is typically not revealed until late in the buying process, write a blog post addressing this issue. Better yet, write a blog post that gives price ranges for your products. You’ll be surprised at how much traffic you can generate by blogging about taboo topics in your niches.

18. Be Consistent. Consistent blogging is best practice for establishing a regular publishing flow with your customers. If you write your blog on Monday morning and publish it after lunch on a regular basis, your audience will come to expect your regular publishing schedule. This is beneficial for customers who might be scoping out your blog for deals, promotions, or new products. Try to pick a day that works for you and stick with it.

19. Leave Them Hanging. OK, so only a little bit. Building anticipation through your blog is a great technique for getting your audience to come back for more. This is especially true if you’re offering a free product, making a big announcement, or you’re about the spill the beans on something juicy. You know the feeling you get when your favorite TV show leaves you feeling like you’re at the edge of a cliff? It can be frustrating, but you know you’ll be back for more next week.

20. Don’t Try to Be Everything to Everyone. Catering your blog to everyone under the sun isn’t beneficial to anyone. Blogging isn’t about throwing everything you’ve got at the wall and hoping that it sticks. You want to write to a specific audience so you can maximize your traffic and conversion rates. Even if you’re a company that sells paper plates, don’t try to boil an ocean with a one-size-fits-all blogging strategy.

 

These techniques have personally helped me throughout my blogging career, and it’s helpful to refer back to them whenever I’m in a pinch.

If there’s anything that you take away from these tips, always strive to remain relevant and helpful to your customers.

Remember: if you build your blog around addressing your customers’ needs, you’ll always come out as a winner in the end.

Image credit: alexskopje / iStock

 

 

teaching through blogging

Keep Your Audience Engaged By Teaching Through Blogging

Engagement, shareability, and even going viral. It’s what we all want out of our blogging. But how exactly do you get there? How do you keep a reader engaged enough (to read past the first word)? How do you get to the level of going viral and getting excess shares? One way is to teach through your blogging. It’s simple—start teaching your clients and visitors with your blog. Let’s take a look at why you should teach your clients, the benefits, and few examples of how you can do this!

Why Should You Teach Your Clients?

One of the main reasons you want to teach your client base is to keep them engaged with your blogs. Sure, the few blogs about your company are entertaining, but they do not provide value for your readers. Your services landing pages are where you can tell people about your company, what you offer, and more, but your blog is your chance to give your customers something of high value. People love being able to learn from businesses because it feels like they are getting something for free. This encourages them to use your company in the future for whatever their particular needs are. Marketing Land points out that when anyone encounters a problem they can’t solve on their own, they head right on over to the nearest search engine. This gives you the amazing opportunity to rank quickly and bring in new customers!

What Are The Benefits of Teaching through Blogging?

Teaching is something that is perfect for every company with a blog to do. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits you will see when you teach your clients through your blog:

1. Keep Visitors Engaged In Your Writing. One of the key benefits of teaching is that you are able to keep your visitors engaged in your blogs. It is easy for people to just skim and skip your content if it doesn’t offer anything that they want or need. If you start teaching people, they will keep reading your blog. You may even see that people do more than just skim your blog because people can’t learn just by skimming (though some do try!).

2. Convert Visitors Into Customers. You know that it is important to convert those visitors to customers, but you might find that it is quite difficult to do. Teaching through your blog is a great way to do just this. You will show visitors that you offer something pretty awesome and they might consider using your company in the future, or even purchase something that day! Doesn’t it seem like a great idea to start teaching your clients? Offer them something of value to show your visitors that you really are the company to go with.

3. Create Longtime Customers. If you continually offer something that has value, you will find that your customers are more apt to stay with you for a long time. We all love receiving consistent information that can help us in our everyday problems and are more likely to stick with a company that offers something no one else does. Just think about it; are you more likely to stay with a company that never offers any helpful information on a certain task or problem? Or are you more likely to stay with a company that consistently offers you valuable information? We know that we’d prefer a company who gave us consistent useful information!

4. You Get A Competitive Edge When Teaching. Teaching is still something that seems relatively new, and as Mack Collier points out, if you teach, you get a strong competitive edge. This is a great way to start beating your competition and you might even bring over a few of your competition’s client base just by simply teaching people. Obviously, your competition might learn from you to teach others, but you will have the satisfaction of knowing you are worlds ahead of them already.

5. Content With Value Is More Apt To Be Shared. In the same article mentioned above, Mark Collier explains that content with value is more likely to be shared on social sites. The more your content is shared, the closer you will get to have something go viral. Viral content is something that most companies really want because it will get them noticed by more people and grow their client base significantly. There are several different ways that viral content can be achieved; teaching your customers is just one of many.

6. Your Brand Becomes More Trusted. Hubpsot points out thatyou will find clients are more likely to trust your brand if you teach them, than if your blog doesn’t offer anything valuable. They can give your brand excellent reviews and you will stand out amongst all of the others in your industry. Teaching can really help your reputation management and keep your reputation higher. As you well know, reputation is crucial in the online world and is what can make or break your business. Teaching will help you keep that reputation up.

7. Overall Happy Customers. According to the same Hubspot article mentioned above, you will find that clients will be generally happy when they are learning from your business. What you are doing is showing your client base that you appreciate them enough to give them help and information for free. As stated previously, customers will be more likely to share your business with others, and you will find that if a particular blog post really resonates with them, they will share it. Happy customers make for a happy business.

How Do You Teach Through Your Blog?

You are now probably thinking, “well, those benefits sure sound great! But how do I go about teaching through blogging?” We are going to give you a few tips on just how to teach through your blog and offer some excellent, valuable content for your clients.

1. Offer DIY Projects. People really enjoy DIY projects; just take a look at Pinterest! Offer your client base a project that is relatively easy to do that will not end up as a “Pinterest Fail.” This can give people the ability to try something on their own, which will help them trust your company. You can even follow it up with a statement that if a customer needs further help that your business can do just that.

2. Give People A Fun History Lesson. Sometimes, it can be fun to learn about the history of your products, services, or industry. Give a little history lesson in your next blog post to give people the backstory to your items. This will make your company seem more like humans run it and give people a feeling of connection with you. Make sure that you make the history fun and exciting. If you find that the written blog might be too overwhelming, make it into a handy infographic or turn it into a fun video.

3. Offer Free e-Books. Freebies are something we all love and you can utilize this perfectly when teaching customers, while giving them something for free. Places such as offer great free e-books for their clients and gives them the ability to learn about the latest, greatest ways to market their business. This makes their client base feel appreciated while also making sure that Moz is able to keep their base. Consider crafting an e-book to send out to your client base or maybe offer one when someone signs up to become a client. Either way, you are offering your clients an excellent resource for their business, making them more likely to stay with you and to share information about your business with their peers.

4. Hire Guest Bloggers To Offer Other Information. Another great way to teach people is to ask guest bloggers to write for your blog. This gives you access to more information and a different viewpoint on particular lessons that you might not have been able to give. You will find that a guest blogger can offer quite a bit in the way of useful information to your client base, and it also helps to keep your content fresh and ever-growing. Make sure your guest bloggers know what you expect from them and give them a set of guidelines to help them adhere to what you want in a guest blog.

5. Research What Your Customers Want To Learn About. While the above ideas are perfect ways to begin teaching your client base, make sure you also research what your clients want to learn about. You can do this by gathering questions to email your clients, setting up polls, or asking on your blog. You’ll be surprised at how many people are willing to give their input.

In Closing

You will start noticing that you bring in more revenue and that you maintain a client base when you start teaching your clients. Offer newsletters, blogs, emails, or whatever format you want to teach and your customers will keep coming back to you for more information! Now is your chance to sit down and start outlining a few excellent teaching pieces!

 

 

content marketing statistics

32 Insane Statistics of Content Marketing

Who here has not once been intimidated by at least one facet of today’s content marketing? If you haven’t, then you’re obviously an extremely knowledgeable, confident, and masterful guru of content marketing. If you have, then you’re absolutely not alone.

Many of us have felt intimidation when staring down the barrel of the latest and great content marketing trend or shift. In some cases, the intimidation factor has been so strong that it has stopped us from jumping on board with a new trend. As a result, we lose out on prime opportunities. And sometimes we drop the ball. It happens to the best of us.

Every year we see blogs and articles about the new trends in social media, content marketing, and search engine optimization. But when is the last time you saw a compilation of statistics all about content marketing?

 

Content Marketing Statistics That Will Blow Your Mind

 

In the past few years, content marketing has weathered some pretty dramatic changes. Many of us have watched trends rise and sink, sometimes wishing we’d jumped on board, and other times thanking our lucky stars that we didn’t. We’ve snooped around the Internet and found some eye-opening stats that might boggle or change your mind about content marketing:

  1. On an average, marketers spend over one fourth of their marketing budget on content marketing. (B2B Marketing Insider)
  2. 93 percent of marketers are using social media, yet only 9 percent of marketing companies have full-time bloggers. (Search Engine Journal)
  3. 78 percent of Internet users conduct product research online. Your website will likely be your potential customer’s first impression. Says HubSpot, “[This] means your new business card isn’t a business card—it’s Google.” (HubSpot)
  4. Companies that outsource are doing bigger projects, spending an average of more than $1 million lat 2013 with a 5.5% increase from 2012. (Adweek)
  5. Over 10 million Facebook “apps” exist. (Search Engine Journal)
  6. 61 percent of consumers claim to feel better about a company that delivers custom content. They are more likely to buy from such a company. (Custom Content Council)
  7. 78 percent of business people opt to use a mobile device to check email. (HubSpot)
  8. 80 percent of all Pinterest pins are actually re-pins. (Search Engine Journal)
  9. Interesting content is one of the top three reasons why people choose to follow a brand on social media. (Content+)
  10. Companies that opt to build a blog and post content regularly receive 55 percent more web traffic. (HubSpot)
  11. The 55 to 64 year age bracket is the fastest growing demographic on Twitter. It has grown by 79 percent since 2012. (Search Engine Land)
  12. The Facebook and Google+ 45 to 55-year age bracket demographic have grown by 46 and 59 percent, making it the fastest growing social media demographic. (Search Engine Journal)
  13. In as few as two years, the number of marketers who believe Facebook is “important” or “critical” to their business has increased by 83 percent. (HubSpot)
  14. The +1 button on Google+ is hit at least 5 billion times per day. (Search Engine Journal)
  15. Blog and social media websites reach 8 out of 10 U.S. Internet users and account for 23 percent of all time spent online. (Content Marketing Institute)
  16. Since debuting in 2010, Instagram has seen more than 16 billion photos uploaded, which equates to approximately 5 million photos being uploaded every day. (Search Engine Journal)
  17. Thanks to blogs, websites get 434 percent more indexed pages and 97 percent more indexed links. (Content+)
  18. 91 percent of mobile Internet access is for social media activities with approximately 73 percent of smartphone users accessing their networks via apps at least once per day. (Search Engine Journal)
  19. Inbound marketing costs about 62 percent less per lead than outbound, traditional marketing. (HubSpot)
  20. LinkedIn produces more leads for B2B companies thanks to Twitter, Facebook or blogs, individually. However, only 47 percent of B2B marketers say they actively use LinkedIn, versus 90 percent on Facebook. (Inside View)
  21. During every minute of every day, there are 684,478 pieces of content shared on Facebook; 3,600 new photos posted in Instagram; 2,083 check-ins made on Foursquare. (Search Engine Journal)
  22. 67 percent of B2C and 41 percent of B2B companies have acquired a customer via Facebook. (HubSpot)
  23. B2B companies that blog produce an average of 67 percent more leads per month than companies that choose not to. (Social Media B2B)
  24. YouTube has over 1 BILLION unique visitors per month, and managed to reach the desirable 18-34 demographic more than any other cable network. (Search Engine Journal)
  25. When deciding to make a purchase, 46 percent of web users will look toward social media. (Search Engine Journal)
  26. While in-store shopping for an item, approximately 40 percent of U.S. smartphone owners compare prices on their mobile device. (HubSpot)
  27. Ever wonder about the male versus female ratio of social media users? Facebook is 60 percent female, 40 percent male. Twitter is 60 percent female, 40 percent male. Pinterest is 79 percent female, 21 percent male. Google+ is 29 percent female, 71 percent male. LinkedIn is 55 percent female, 45 percent male. (Search Engine Journal)
  28. 57 percent of businesses acquire customers via their company blog. (HubSpot)

 

A Shocking Drop of the Ball

 

Based on the stats above, it’s no secret that blogs are important to content marketing. So when did you last update your blog? How often do you add new content to your blog? Be honest! Here’s an even better question: how important do you think blogging is for your company or brand on a scale of 1 to 10? Did your opinion change after reviewing the stats above? Well, here are a few more blog specific statistics that might shock you:

29.   According to HubSpot, 57 percent of companies gain new customers from their blog.
30.   61 percent of online consumers in the United States decide to make a purchase based on blog recommendations. (HubSpot)
31.   67 percent MORE leads are generated via B2B marketers’ blogs. (HubSpot)
32.   60 percent of consumers have a more favorable outlook on a company after reading their blog. (Hubspot)

Obviously, blogging is important to content marketing and to any successful brand or business seeking to continue their success. Surprisingly, NAPW goes on to say, “one third of blogs are left inactive.”

Royal Pingdom published “Internet 2012 in numbers,” in January of 2013. While the 2013 version has yet to be compiled and published, we can glean some useful information from the 2012 statistics. When it came to blogs, in 2012 Royal Pingdom tallied the following:

    • 87.8 million Tumblr blogs
    • 59.4 million WordPress sites

We can extrapolate that out of approximately 147.2 MILLION blogs in 2012, one third (approximately 48.5 million), were left inactive. That’s 48.5 million blogs missing out on the statistics presented by HubSpot. The number of blogs likely grew in 2013, meaning the number of inactive grew as well. Is your company blog one of them? If so, it’s time to jump-start your way out of the negative inactive statistic. How?

 

Kick Starting Your Blog in 2014

 

Blogging is not for the faint of heart. It’s one of those things that if you half bake it, you’ll never reap all of the juicy benefits available. And as we’ve seen, blogs hold a ton of potential for generating web traffic, sales conversation and credibility. Luckily, NAPW gives us 10 awesome ways to blog and blog well:

  1. Listen and respond to your audience. When a client or prospective client asks a question on your blog, you are presented with a prime opportunity to show that you care about their questions, comments, and opinions. Use your blog to answer. Respond to comments, questions, and opinions. Encourage your readers to leave comments. If you leave the preverbal door open, someone is bound to walk in and strike up a conversation.
  2. Educate your audience. NAPW calls this “inform[ing] without the hard sell,” and says to, “Explain your product as it relates to your blog theme without blatantly ‘advertising’ your product.” Use your blog to produce educational, informative content about your product, service, or mindset. Don’t hard sell by being an annoying advertiser. Instead, slip in a reference to your specific offerings here and there. They trick is to keep it low key and relevant to your blog theme.
  3. Increase revenue through interaction. Encourage your readers to share feedback, whether good or bad. Start and promote an active dialogue that promotes interaction. Your credibility will increase and the interaction will create audience action. As the stats we covered earlier showed, people like custom content and are more likely to buy from companies that provide it. You can use social interaction as an unlimited breeding ground for new, in-demand custom content.
  4. Create a “culture club.” NAPW says to “think of your blog as a club [filled with] like-minded people.” Appeal to them to contribute, maybe even guest blog. You will be offering your readers varied styles and opinions. The more of a cultural melting pot you provide, the more of a diverse audience you will attract AND please.
  5. Use images. Enhance your posts with relevant, tasteful images. NAPW reports “blog posts receiving the most shares almost always combine images with text, with this trend expected to increase.” Whatever you do, don’t use images that feature inappropriate content, lack relevancy to the written post or overwhelm and overpower the post. Images are accents. Their purpose is to catch the eye, not anchor it. You can even use image tags to build in a little more search engine optimization.
  6. Don’t neglect the need to edit. It’s easy to write a longwinded blog because you have a lot to say. Write it all, but reread it and cut the fluff! It’s important to stay on topic. Be precise. Stay concise. And preserve your unique creativity. Also, format your posts so that they are easy for the eye to float over and scan. Most of your readers are busy bees. By giving them an easily scan-able piece, you’ll entice them to check back often and scan through more of your content.
  7. Consistency matters; don’t be part of “the one third.” This is where NAPW says it, “One third of blogs are left inactive.” Maintaining a steady stream of new blog content will make a good impression and increase your bottom line. Whatever you consistency timetable is (daily, weekly, bi-weekly), STICK TO IT through thick and thin, in sickness and in health. You’ll see monumental results.
  8. Ask for shares. It’s not rude! If you want your audience to share a blog, ask them. Promote shares of your posts by add social media buttons. This makes it wickedly convenient for your audience and servers as a secondary reminder to share and share alike!
  9. Promote you blog posts. Every time you publish a new blog, post it to your social media feeds. NAPW says to “entice readers to visit your blog with a catchy headline or teaser-style copy lines.” It doesn’t hurt to remind your audience to check your site often because “you are the ‘expert’ resource they need.” You can post little reminders via your social media channels, and slide in links on your promotional material.
  10. Establish your unique “voice.” Your blog gives you the opportunity to establish your “voice” and let it shine. Be entertaining and make an impact with your message. Avoid the stuffy, formal, lecture hall style of writing. Once you find your “voice,” avoid dramatically changing it down the road. You’ll risk losing your audience and depreciating your overall credibility, authority, and uniqueness. Consistency is key!

Low on topic ideas? Don’t worry. We’ve got your back! Learn how to make the most of your non-blog content in our blog about how to create blog content from webinars and more, or get a boost for your thinking cap with another of our blogs entitled, 20 Topic Ideas for a Steady Content Flow.