Blog marketing is the backbone of all great content marketing programs. And content marketing is one of the most effective lead generation tactics available to modern marketers. In fact, content marketing produces three times as many leads per dollar spent than other programs.
The Pros and Cons of Blog Marketing
The Pros of blog marketing
- It’s evergreen. Unlike other strategies that continually require resources and attention, blogs are basically a one time deal. Other than minor periodic updates, a single blog can bear lead-generation for years.
- It’s Effective. At Green Stick, the percentage of blog MQLs that have converted to SQLs is 88 percent. The result has been hundreds of closes.
- It’s a nurturing mechanism. When leads convert on longer-form content (like blogs), they’re a lot hotter than those converted on an ad form. Blogs allow prospects to self-educated and become more well informed before they solicit a demo, sign-up, or take other actions.
- It’s re-marketable. A blog is just the beginning in terms of the possibilities available to content marketers. Once it is published and republished on other sites, but we’ll get into that more below.
The Cons of blog marketing
- It’s time-consuming. Creating a blog requires much more time and effort than something like a social post. According to a survey by Orbit Media, a 1,000-word blog post takes an average of three hours and a half to complete. And longer, in-depth posts generate 9-times more lead-generation success.
- SEO strategy dependence. Blogs are only as effective as the keyword strategy that they’re paired with. Without adequate keyword research, strong on-page optimizations, and off-page work, blog posts aren’t likely to succeed.
- They’re not all home runs. Depending on the audience you’re trying to reach, the topic you’re engaging with, and the associated keyword difficulty, blog success can vary. However, with a focused keyword strategy and a talented team of writers, the opportunity is vast.
- It requires a medium- to the large-sized team. If you truly want to achieve successes as we have seen and as other business owners and marketers have seen, then you’re going to need a team. It is unlikely that the lone startup marketer will not be able to achieve blog marketing success.
How to Build a Blog Marketing Strategy
1: Begin with keyword research
Publishing a blog without keyword research is like driving a car without a steering wheel. If you want to get to destination lead generation, then research is a must. The objective of blog keyword research is to identify keywords that your prospects might be used for information or product based searches, then creating conversion-driving blogs with those keywords.
Here are a few steps to get you moving in the right direction:
- Leverage a tool like Ahrefs, SEMrush, or Bruce Clay’s SEOToolSet for accurate research and investigation
- Do consumer research (online research, surveying, etc.) and identify customer search patterns.
- Use your keyword research tool to identify top keyword opportunities.
- Identify ranking opportunities that align with customer intent.
- Terms that have a keyword difficulty (KD) of less than 10
- Terms with a high search volume (minimum 150/month)
- Terms with a high click percentage (greater than 50%)
- Terms with a low average backlink volume (less than 10)
- Terms that aren’t dominated by high authority sites (like Salesforce)
- Identify at least three keywords to target per blog, with a primary focus on the highest opportunity term (the “Having same terms” function on Ahrefs is a great way to discover similar keywords or keywords that share the same parent term).
2. Determine your primary CTA
Your call-to-action is EVERYTHING! Getting traffic to your blog is only half the battle. Once there, readers need to be converted into leads by acquiring contact information or converting it into users through a free sign-up or getting started CTA (for freemium or product-led growth offerings). A CTA designed to convert should appear both high up in your copy – perhaps no lower than the third paragraph–and at the conclusion. To ensure success, the CTA should directly correspond with the topic and primary message of the blog.
A few important CTA considerations include:
- Only direct one course of action, don’t muddy the waters with multiple CTAs.
- Don’t force the issue. CTAs should be included near the beginning of the blog and near the conclusion, but don’t overwhelm the reader with CTAs throughout the copy.
- Consider color and design. Contrasts demand attention, and different colors often suggest different things (ex. green might imply peace or signal environmental queues).
- Reduce text and make every word count.
3. Build an outline
Great blogs start with strong outlines. Heading structures and the usage of keywords in headings are powerful ranking signals for blog content. These outlines are generally based on a combination of style and SERP features of other ranking content.
Blog content can take a few different formats based on the keyword scope, and outlines will vary depending on the target keyword. According to TrafficThinkTank, keywords can fall under any of the seven categories. Based on the category, you can then determine the best content format. Of these content formats, comparisons, listicles, alternatives, knowledgebase, and cancellations are potential blog types. Product features and reviews should typically be reserved for product pages and review sites, but there are certain cases where blog content can be highly effective.
Once you have determined the keyword category, the general blog formats are as follows:
- Product breakdown
- Subsequent categories
- Product breakdown
- Necessary definitions
- A numbered list of products, services, etc
- A conclusion
- Introduction of the solution needing
- List of alternatives
- What is ___?
- Process for accomplishing task/objective
- Steps for how to cancel
- Product & Service Features
- Content to support or expand on a product page
- Product & Service Reviews
- List of product reviews, generally reserved for sites like G2.
4. Fill In The Gaps
The actual writing is where you get to have a little fun and put pen to paper.
Keep the following in mind as you begin crafting your content:
- Forty-three percent of readers skim blog content, using short paragraphs, graphics, headings, subheadings, and bold and italicized text formatting.
- Long-form blog content performs better on search. The average length of top-performing blogs on Google is 1,140-1285 words. Longer blog posts generate 9-times greater lead-generation success than short-form content.
- Write in a conversational style. Big words often muddle the message, so use words that readers readily understand.
- Be clear and specific. Even in a 2,000-word blog, you need to quickly get to the point so that you do not lose the reader’s interest.
- Use statistics. Credited citations add validity to your arguments, so use well-founded statistics in your content.
- Strategically insert keywords. Your core keywords should be used in your title, in your first paragraph, in a few of your headings/subheadings, in your URL, and should have a text density of at least 2 percent. Tools like the Yoast plugin for WordPress can be helpful in guiding you with in-text SEO optimizations.
- Be careful with links. It is good writing and SEO practice to include outbound links to other sites, especially those with already established high authority. But don’t link to competitor sites that redirect visitors and SEO juice to a site you might be trying to beat.
5. Deploy a content syndication strategy
Writing content is only half of the battle. A blog marketing strategy is only as effective as the syndication tacts that are deployed to propel it.
Here are the essential blog syndication strategies:
- SEO. One of the primary motivators behind creating blog content is to rank on search. However, achieving this outcome does not happen by chance but rather through a dedicated SEO strategy. Identifying focus keywords and optimizing your blog content to target those terms is critical. And, once you achieve rank, these blog assets will continue to generate website visits and leads for months (and possibly years) to come.
- Email Marketing. The first email mechanism that your blog site needs are a newsletter. This allows readers to subscribe to your blog so that you can provide weekly or biweekly updates on new content releases. The second mechanism is a post-conversion nurture campaign. When a lead is generated from your site, you need to have an email nurture automation created to continually feed value until they have reached a point where they might be ready to have a sales conversion.
- PPC/Paid Advertising Promotion. One of the most effective ways to drive traffic to your site while also enhancing paid metrics (like click-through) is by running paid promotion against your content. In doing this, you are focusing on delivering value to your audience, rather than asking for a conversion right away. Once clicks accumulate, you can then launch remarketing campaigns to drive your audience further down the sales funnel.
These five steps are the foundation for a great blog marketing strategy. But, to truly become a MASTER of your own lead generation destiny, then you’re going to need more. An integrated marketing communications strategy is the key to meeting your lead generation targets and driving overall business success. Integrated marketing strategies are achieved when deploying numerous marketing programs in a highly coordinated and collaborative manner. This corresponds with more leads, more touchpoints, faster sales cycles, and greater revenue potential. If you want to explore the top 39 modern lead generation tactics in EXTREME detail, complete with tactical implementation plans, sign up today to be the first to get our copy of The Fundamental Guide to Lead Generation today!