Every day we hear about brands and businesses investing hundreds of hours per month creating content for their blog and receiving virtually nothing in return. There’s a simple reason for that, too.
Content marketing is much more than just writing blogs. You can’t just hammer out some copy, toss in some images, upload the whole thing to your blog and expect leads to come flooding in. That’s not how it works.
Generating a positive ROI requires a lot of effort on your part — and effort invested in the places, too. In this blog, I’m going to share three awesome tips to show you how to effectively optimise your blog for inbound leads. So get comfy and get ready to revolutionise your blog.
Have a clear conversion strategy
A blog is so much more than a little pocket of knowledge for your readers to consume. It’s the start of a user journey that — ideally — ends with someone completing a goal.
Every piece of content should target a particular point in the conversion funnel and have a clearly defined path for users to follow.
Richard LeCount manages the content marketing strategy behind USB Makers. He’s well aware that without an effective strategy, marketers can find their writing meandering.
Without a defined strategy you can easily write sporadically about topics that aren’t as relevant as they should be. Your blog is perfect for picking up traffic form long tail search terms on Google, as you can answer questions and give information that answers users search queries. Long term keyword searches have proved far more effective; short term have a higher search volume but long tail have better conversion rates. By factoring these questions in to our content strategy to make sure your blog is as relevant as possible.
Jessica Elle is a digital marketer at Louisville-based Forest Giant. Here are the key questions she uses to target content.
What stage in the funnel do your customers become leads? Would reading your blog post advance them to a conversion, or are you targeting a topic that’s too early in the funnel? Hone your topic until it fits your funnel strategy.
Before you creating content, you should think about what your ultimate goal for your readers is and work out how you’re going to get them there.
- Are you going to try and sign them up to your newsletter then give them the soft sell via email marketing?
- Are you going to push your content asset throughout the blog? Then follow up via email?
- Are you going to try and drive engagement on your social channels?
A blog should never be the end of a journey. It should always lead somewhere and that somewhere should be defined by you.
Design friction-free conversion
When we started our creating content, we were all about the highly designed graphical banner calls-to-action — just like this one.
We thought it showed we were fancy design folk and knew exactly what we were doing.
Well, no one clicked them.
Thousands of people read our blogs but almost no one clicked the CTAs. And that meant no one went to our landing pages and no one took advantage of our offers.
After some digging, I found out why.
With so much extraneous rubbish littering the web, users have developed a filter to separate the spam and leave the good stuff behind.
Since the web is packed with dodgy banner ads, even the most beautifully designed banner CTAs gets caught and filtered out.
When HubSpot investigated their own blog, they found end-of-post banner CTA contributed an unimpressive 6 percent of any posts total leads.
Six percent — that’s really not a lot.
So where do leads typically come from in blogs? Anchor text CTAs like this one.
During HubSpot’s investigation, they discovered between 47 and 93 percent of an average post’s leads came from anchor text CTAs alone.
Anchor-text CTAs work because they look like just another piece of content and not a spammy banner advert. So drop the flashy sales stuff and watch as your conversions skyrocket.
Make your blog findable
Imagine you spend hours researching, writing and editing a blog post. It’s an amazing piece of content. When people read it they gasp and say things like: This is a paradigm-shifting piece of work!
Now, imagine taking that world-class blog and locking it away in a safe so no one can find it.
That is exactly what you’re doing when you don’t optimise your blog posts for search engines. Poor search engine optimisation makes the best pieces of content worthless because new users simply can’t find it.
So, how do you tweak your blog in the right way and maximise your organic exposure? You play by Google’s rules.
Here are the key points you’ve got to hit to get your blog posts ready for life on the web:
- Design SEO-friendly URLs
- Start your title tag with your keyword
- Ensure your title is in <h1> tags
- Use rich media
- Use your keyword in the first 100 words
- Scatter outbound and inbound links
- Sprinkle LSI keywords
- Write lengthy content
Ticking off those points structures your blog post way that search engines can read and understand.
If your keyword is in your title tag, content and part of a simple URL, Google’s going to know what your blog post is about — and that makes it far more likely to rank for searches around that term.
Take your content to new audiences
If you want to develop your traffic beyond the limits of organic search, you’ve got to find additional traffic sources and build new entry points to your website.
And that means finding influencers, communities and additional platforms willing to distribute your content.
Search for guest posting opportunities, share-happy influencers and online communities related to your niche and start networking with them. Pitch a reciprocal content sharing relationship or some joint content work.
Don’t just spam them with content and expect them to share it with their audience. Build genuine relationships and your reach will balloon.
Charlie Marchant heads up digital PR and content marketing at Exposure Ninja and regularly uses guest posting to take her message to new audiences.
An effective guest post outreach strategy lets you drive relevant, well-targeted traffic to your blog — when done right. Find out which other websites, blogs and online publications your target customers are reading and pitch them a guest post on a really interesting topic.
If they accept your guest post, then you’ve got a direct ticket to the audience you want — now you just want to get them to your blog. Embed a relevant link in the article to one of your most awesome (and highly converting) blog posts to encourage readers to click through.
Even if you don’t get direct traffic coming through from the guest post, building links to your blog posts will be beneficial for your website’s SEO and will help linked to blog post pages to rank for your target keywords.
Finally, don’t get too wrapped up in the race for conversion — content marketing isn’t about the hard sell. Use your content to prompt conversation and engage your audience. Here’s content marketing executive Amy Bull on the importance of reader-centric content.
A well written informative blog is a catalyst for a conversation, whether that’s as comments on the blog, reaching out to industry influencers via social media, or as ongoing marketing and PR fodder. In my opinion, it also keeps your customers at the heart of your business; its critical to think about who your target audience are and what they would want to know about your offerings and your analytics will provide you with valuable audience insights.