HOW TO START A SUCCESSFUL BLOG IN A FEW SIMPLE STEPS?
Many people associate “blogging” with personal blogs from the early 2000s, such as an ardent baker sharing recipes or a personal trainer chronicling their fitness journey. Personal blogs are still quite popular, but blogs have evolved into a strong commercial tool.
With half of B2B researchers being millennials and 90% of them utilizing the internet to collect information before making a purchase decision, it's more important than ever to make sure your firm appears in these searches and outranks rivals. Blogging is a low-cost marketing approach that allows you to engage with your audience and deliver relevant information while also keeping your company at the forefront of their minds.
We'll teach you the tools and methods you need to launch a successful blog in this tutorial, including:
** Identifying the people you want to reach
** Goal-setting for your blog
** Developing methods to leverage your blog as a tool for attracting and retaining customers
** Content strategy and planning
** Blog post writing and formatting
** Setting up your blog and selecting a content management system
** Getting your blog noticed
** Metrics and critical data from your blog to track and understand
** Making money from your blog
Identifying the Purpose of Your Blog
Many professional bloggers have a fictitious portrayal of their target persona in mind when they sit down to compose a blog article.
They could even have a tangible photo of this imaginary person taped to their desk to help them concentrate. Making a buyer persona is an excellent approach to figure out how you'll use your blog. What exactly is this ideal buyer looking for on the internet? What sources do they use for their data?
Assume you operate a meal-delivery business. Your ideal customer is a busy professional between the ages of 25 and 40 who leads a healthy lifestyle and earns a middle-class wage. This is referred to as a buyer persona in the business world. Buyer personas are fictionalized versions of your ideal consumer based on data and market research.
Methods for identifying buyer personas in the context of blogging
** Look for trends in your data by digging through it.
• Are the majority of your best clients of a specific age?
• Do they reside in a certain area?
** To collect relevant data, use forms on your website.
• Inquire about the size of the firm, the title of the CEO, and other details that may assist you in identifying your target market.
** Find out what your top customers have in common by polling your sales staff.
** Customers and prospects should be interviewed. Inquire about how they learned about your product or service, why they enjoy it, and who they may refer it to.
Your blog’s purpose
Now that you know who you want to reach, think about what you hope to gain from them discovering and reading your blog. Blogs may be used for a variety of purposes in your business. At their most basic level, blogs serve as a platform for sharing content, engaging with your audience, and converting prospects into leads. Blogs have even been ranked as the sixth most reliable source of correct information on the internet.
As a firm marketer, though, you need your blog to perform some work for you. The only real cost is your time, and blogging is one of the most cost-effective methods to get your business out there and in front of new audiences.
The most common reasons for starting and maintaining a company blog are to increase traffic, improve search engine rankings, and raise brand recognition. Conversions, product launches or feature releases, educational or step-by-step instructional content, or offering templates or tools for your audience are all examples of secondary causes.
Blogging has an exponential long-term impact and can generate traffic for months or even years after it is published. You create clicks to your articles when you produce high-quality, relevant material, which subsequently ascend to the top of the search engine results page. You establish your website as a resource and expert, gather and convert leads, and produce high-value real estate that can be used as a business tool.
A blog increases the number of links to a company's website by 97 percent.
Marketers who prioritize their blogs are 13 times more likely to receive a favorable return on their investment.
Blogs generate 67 percent more leads for B2B marketers than those who don't.
Blog-based websites have 434 percent more indexed pages (hint: this is crucial for SEO).
Now you must choose which of these blogging advantages is most significant to your organization at this time.
What is the relationship between your firm and your blog?
Consider how your blog relates to your business.
It may stand alone or be integrated into your existing website and brand. Our blogs are part of HubSpot's core brand and are hosted on the subdomain blog.hubspot.com, which can be found in the main menu under “Resources.”
This helps your firm gain authority for your major domain while keeping your brand for SEO objectives.
In some business settings, such as when three comparable organizations launch a blog under one name, having a distinct domain for your blog may make sense.
Maintaining your blog as a subdomain or page on your main website, which is connected with your brand identity, can assist your company's rank and authority.
Choosing Your Blog's Objectives and Goals
As previously said, blogs may be utilized for a variety of purposes, resulting in varying aims depending on the application. Start with your purpose while deciding on your blog's objectives.
• What is the purpose of this blog?
• What do you want your blog's readers to do with it?
• How will success appear in three months?
Is it really 6 months? Three years?
Because blogs are a long-term content strategy, you'll need to set objectives and milestones to keep track of your progress and determine which articles, times, lengths, and keywords work best. We'll get to analytics later, but for now, let's look at several blog goals and their benefits and drawbacks.
1- Increase the flow of traffic
The key purpose of your blog for this goal is to attract more visitors to your website or product pages. Keyword research, regular writing, and link-building attempts would be your major actions to reach this aim.
** BENEFITS: Cost-effective
** CONS: It takes time, it's not a quick fix, and there's a lot of competition for keywords.
2- Convert leads.
You may use slide-in, pop-up, or in-text CTAs (calls-to-action) on your blog to expand your subscriber base by asking for an email address and providing value to your visitors. Here are a few choices for clickable CTAs.
** BENEFITS: It's a nice method to draw people into your ecosystem without having to ask for too much information.
** Cons: Limited real estate, setup time, email nurturing required, long-term impacts
3- Lead conversion
If you want to utilize your blog to convert existing traffic or prospects into leads, you may publish material tailored to individuals in the consideration stage of the buyer's journey. To elicit additional information from prospects, provide product demos, premium content, and other incentives.
** BENEFITS: Aids sales efforts, provides a fantastic opportunity to reuse content, organic leads are more likely to be qualified and convert into customers.
** Cons: This might be a disadvantage for readers who are unfamiliar with your firm; it works best for people who are already familiar with your brand.
4- Customer retention and conversion
Blogs may be a wonderful way to keep your audience up to speed on product changes, explore novel or industry-specific ways to utilize your service or tool, or spotlight customers who are doing an excellent job with your product. After all, it's simpler to sell to existing clients than it is to recruit new ones.
** BENEFITS: It is less expensive than generating new prospects, it converts consumers into promoters and brand evangelists, and success stories help convert others.
** Cons: It is more timely to gather information and collaborate with partners/product teams to develop content rather than simply creating evergreen or topic-based content.
5- Brand recognition
The level to which people are aware of your firm is known as brand awareness. You can help expand your brand identity and reach by sharing your knowledge and creating a voice and direct communication with your audience. Try guest blog pieces and collaborations, as well as frequent social media posting, to raise brand recognition.
** BENEFITS: Establishes you as an authority in your field and helps you to drive the conversation around your company
** Cons: Social media activities are difficult to assess, time intensive to publish and analyze, and results take time to observe.
Content Mapping and Scheduling
Creating and posting a blog with a certain objective in mind is a smart step that necessitates study and strategy.
You may research the most popular terms in your sector or specialty, as well as how people search for your company, and then customize your content and marketing efforts appropriately. We'll concentrate on Google's algorithm when it comes to ranking because it is the most popular search engine in the world, with 70% of the market share.
When it comes to keywords, Google's algorithm examines a lot more than just the blog post itself when exposing material. To set yourself up for future success, you'll need a detailed blog strategy and a committed crew.
** you should Consider the following:
-How often can you produce content?
-What kind of stuff will you share?
-Your blog's objectives
-What role will social media play?
The first step in SEO (search engine optimization) is to rank for keywords that your target audience is looking for. The easiest strategy to rank for keywords is to write blog entries that are focused on the phrases you want to rank for. Begin by conducting keyword research, then brainstorming and tailoring your content around those keywords.
Tips for Keyword Research
-Make a list of subjects and terms that are related to your business or product.
-Make 5-10 primary subject categories.
-Make a list of as many keywords or search queries as you believe your buyer persona might use.
-Using an SEO tool like Google's webmaster tools, determine the monthly search volume for each keyword and related keywords.
– During your investigation, you'll undoubtedly find that certain keywords have a lot of search traffic but also a lot of competition. This makes them extremely tough to rank for for any fresh publication straight away. To begin, look for long-tail, specialty keywords with low competition. It's possible that you won't get a lot of traffic right immediately, but the more niche your keywords are, the more qualified your visitors will be.
Topic clusters and pillar pages
The latest and greatest in search engine algorithm modifications are topic clusters. Essentially, the algorithm considers not just the content of a specific website or subject, but also how it ties to other topics inside the same “umbrella” or pillar.
The major subject, the pillar page, is at the middle of this diagram. This ought to be a big topic.
Let's return to our buyer persona example of a food delivery business. Let's say the pillar content is on wine and food pairings. How to pair red wines with meals, create a wine tasting event, or use wine in the kitchen are some examples of cluster content ideas. You'd use the same anchor text in each of these subject cluster blog entries to link back to the main pillar page, such as “pairing wine with food.”
You may utilize part of your keyword research to build out your own pillar pages and map out your subject clusters. Begin by making a list of your broadest search phrases. Make a list of 5-10 pillar pages.
Then, for each pillar page, come up with 15-20 content clusters. Make sure the topic clusters have specific, long-tail keywords.
Pillar pages should be long-form blog posts that include everything a visitor would want to know about the main topic. You may include sections on kinds of white wines, types of red wines, frequent taste palettes in each, pairing wines with meals, how to set up a wine tasting, and more on “Pairing Wine with Food” as a pillar page.
How frequently and when you publish will be determined primarily by what your company does, the size of your organization, and the size of the audience you hope to attract. Having said that, the more you blog, the more traffic you'll get over time.
More traffic equals more leads and customers. It is your responsibility as a team to determine how much time you are willing to devote to your blog.
However, as a general guideline, once a day or a few times a week is an excellent place to start.
Prior to launch, you may create a bank of evergreen content (material that is always relevant and isn't related to anything time-based), which will allow you enough time to set up a team or process to keep up with your publication cadence.
Try a CMS (content management system) like WordPress, which allows you to arrange and prepare material for the future as drafts or scheduled articles.
Balancing content types
Blogs are incredibly diverse when it comes to content and post style. You may share infographics, how-tos, lists, newsjacking pieces, slideshares, and editorials, among other things. Posts that are constantly relevant are referred to as evergreen content. These sorts of postings are beneficial for development, but if you publish too many of them, people will believe your material is being published by a robot. Topical postings, newsjacking articles (jumping on a news trend and rapidly linking it to your sector), and announcements should all be included. The 80/20 guideline, according to the Flying Hippo team, is the optimal breakdown: 80% evergreen content and 20% topical/editorial/time-sensitive material.
Both sorts of posts are valuable to your company. Evergreen content builds traction over time and might become a top article on a certain subject. Editorial or newsjacking postings have a tendency to do well at first but then fade away after a few weeks. Your site will develop and continue to expand as a result of the combination of these sorts of postings.
Analyze which formats perform best over time to adjust your content approach to your target audience. The more formats you check out right away, the more accurate your data will be.
Set Up Your Blog
Gather a few tools and helpful partners to get your blog up and going. You'll need to select who will write, edit, post, and promote your blog, as well as who will be in charge of analytics and data/metrics, and who will design a blog style guide. You'll also need to pick a content management system (CMS), preferably one that is user-friendly for non-technical people.
Assigning roles on the blog team
You'll need to give responsibilities to everyone who will be contributing to the process now that you're ready to start developing and publishing content. This is a crucial stage in the process of building a successful blog. When there is a disagreement on cadence, tone, CTA usage, and other topics, if you don't decide who will have the last say, mayhem will result.
Individuals can work in many roles on a team, but make sure the writer and editor roles are separated to provide a fresh set of eyes for typos, links, and preserving your brand voice.
** Set Blog team roles and responsibilities
Writer: creates material with SEO in mind.
Editor/SEO Optimization/CTAs: revises material, optimizes it for search engines, and incorporates CTAs.
Publisher: creates and distributes material, as well as maintaining a content schedule.
Analyst: monitors analytics, manages CTA monitoring, and gives frequent updates to the team on the most effective content.
Developer: From a technological sense, the developer/IT owns the blog and troubleshoots it.
Choose a CMS for your blog
You'll need an effective content management system (CMS)—a digital system that allows you to host digital information—to effectively create and maintain a blog. While defining your target persona and developing content ideas is the strategic aspect of starting a blog, you must now consider the equally crucial technical aspect.
What to look for in a CMS
Choose a CMS that is simple to use if you don't have a lot of technical help at your organization. Most content management systems come with templates or support to assist you in designing it, so make sure you pick one that will work for your team's talents.
2- KEY METRICS TO KEEP AN EYE ON
Is it possible to measure data like conversion rates, page visits, and the source of your traffic using the CMS?
After the launch, analyzing the performance of your blog will be crucial, so be sure your CMS allows you to easily track the results of your efforts.
Mobile searches account for 60% of all Google searches, thus it's critical that your blog is optimized for whatever device that your users use to access information. In today's mobile and tablet era, marketers need a CMS that automatically adapts their content to the device type.
Setting up tracking and analytics
You can update your post after it's been published for the first time, but you'll lose data from before the modification if you haven't set up tracking properly. You can use a tool like Google Analytics or HubSpot's blog tools in the CMS to set up blog analytics.
The majority of CMSs come with built-in blog page analytics. You can find out how many people visited a specific page on your blog from there, as well as information like what devices they're using, where they're located, bounce rate, and duration on page. Install the Google Analytics code on your blog if you prefer Google Analytics for tracking (usually in the header.)
When it comes to posting blog entries on social media,
If you're planning a campaign to promote your blog, be sure to include the following:
UTM codes should be added at the end of your blog sharing URLs.
Campaigns, sources, and mediums may all be tracked via UTM codes.
words and pieces of content
Designing Your Blog
After you've decided on a CMS, you'll need to design your blog and optimize it for search engines and lead generation, which will help you convert visitors into prospects and, eventually, customers.
To do so, you'll need a blog design that's simple to navigate and share.
If your team lacks design knowledge, most content management systems will provide you with free templates that you may customize and utilize. Do you need some design ideas for your blog? Check out these awesome examples.
What to consider when designing your blog
1- THE PRIMARY BLOG PAGE (Home page )
The main page should introduce your blog to visitors and give links to the most recent entries. Include a search function and/or an archive of your previous postings so that readers may access both fresh and old content.
2- COLOR PLAN
Choose a color scheme and stick with it throughout all of your pages to make your blog's design seem cohesive.
Use your brand colors as a foundation and add a few accent colors to connect the entire design together.
Make sure the style of your blog matches the rest of your website's branding. While it's crucial to differentiate your blog's appearance from that of other pages on your site, your visitors should still feel like they're on a connected page.
4- TEMPLATES FOR BLOG POSTS
Each blog post should follow the same overall layout to ensure that visitors enjoy a similar experience across all pages.
A easy approach to accomplish this is to create or use a prepared template for each new blog post!
5- ACTION INSTRUCTIONS (CTAS)
Because a blog is a tool for converting visitors, prospects, and customers, it is critical to connect to material that will nurture your readers.
Making CTAs and conversion points
Consider your top-performing blog material to be real estate. You're receiving a lot of traffic through this one central area, and the traffic is made up of folks who are at least vaguely interested in what you have to offer. CTAs are a great method to identify people who could be interested in you and give them something more.
CTAs on blogs can take numerous forms. Pop-ups, header bars, slide-ins, in-text CTAs, buttons, picture CTAs, and other similar elements are examples. You may also include links or buttons that allow you to share stories on social media, forward the link to a friend, or save the item to your reading list.
Consider if this piece of content would attract a visitor/prospect or a lead/existing customer when deciding which action you want your reader to take. Offer a relevant piece of material, a downloadable template, or an infographic to prospects. Offer a course or access to a tailored demo of your product or service in exchange for leads.
Working with developers
When working with developers to establish your first successful blog, be sure you involve them as early as possible in the planning phase.
Your WordPress developer buddy could warn you ahead of time that it might not be compatible with your CMS or tracking. If your team had already agreed on features, templates, or styles, you'd have to start all over again with your developer's CMS recommendation.
Allow plenty of time for development, as well as a safety net in case of unexpected technical challenges.
Give your developer a vision for the blog and be specific about the features you'll require. Make a list of requests such as:
CTAs that slide in
The ability to assign tags to postings
Each post has a featured image.
A list of recent blog postings
Each post has a certain number of social shares.
Use project management software or another method to structure your blog launch strategy, and make sure it's obvious who will be in charge of the blog in the future. Work with your developer(s) to make sure that everyone understands how to update the blog, modify and publish entries, and who should be taught on how to handle the backend or any templates.
Create Your First Blog Posts
After you've decided on keywords, it's time to SEO-optimize each blog article. Make sure your meta description, page title, keywords, URLs, and other elements are optimized for the keywords you're attempting to rank for.
It's time to get down to business and start writing.
As writing a blog post, remember your keywords or topic, pillar page or umbrella category, and buyer persona or audience when you sit down to write. Use these blog post templates for specialized forms including list-based articles, newsjacking pieces, infographics, pillar pages, and “How To” style blog posts to help you get into the habit of creating them.
** WHAT TO INCLUDE IN AN IDEAL BLOG POST
Date of publish/updates
Helpful tips, terms, or information
Promote Your Blog
To increase your SEO efforts and reach a broader audience, distribute your posts to audiences (your buyer personas) that are interested in and will share your material.
1- SOCIAL MEDIA
Work with your social media teams to determine how to best utilize Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube. Make your own images to distribute on social media, and remember to constantly test—see where and how your blog articles perform best. You may also discover best practices across various channels by taking General Assembly's free social media class.
2- Public relations (PR)
Your public relations staff may be able to offer industry magazines cutting-edge, relevant content from your blog. Popular magazines and other blogs may send a lot of attention to your blog and website. Pitch to Forbes, Harvard Business Review, and TechCrunch, for example.
3- MARKETING WITH PARTNERS/COMMARKETING
You may ensure another audience's worth of eyeballs on the piece by having people publish material for your site. Work out a content sharing agreement with any partners your organization has.
In exchange for their doing the same, feature a comarketing partner CTA or shared comarketing offer on a blog post for comarketing.
4- GUEST BLOGGERS/INFLUENCERS
Having guest bloggers on your site provides free material and helps you to reach out to a new audience. You might try content swapping, which entails exchanging a guest article for another. You may either pay for your material to be shared by influencers or make a contract with them in which you include them as an exchange.
5- COMMISSIONED ADVERTISING
Paying for search and social media advertisements may seem contradictory for organic content, but it may help your piece gain traction and reach a larger audience. Retarget your prospects or subscribers with blog articles and similar content by enhancing pieces that are currently performing well. To supplement your keyword efforts, you may utilize Google AdWords.
Analyzing and Optimizing Blog Performance
You've written your first blog entries, you've planned everything out, and you've put your blog up for success.
It's now time to figure out how you'll assess your success. Because blogging is both a short and long-term strategy, it's critical to set up and monitor essential blogging metrics over time.
To begin, think about the objectives you've set for yourself.
Are you seeking to increase brand exposure, attract traffic, produce subscribers, convert leads, retain or convert consumers, or convert leads?
Important blogging metrics
You must now establish realistic, SMART goals based on the following metrics:
** PAGE VIEWS
Tracking the number of page views generated by each article is the most common approach to determine how much traffic your blog receives. In other words, how many people are visiting and reading your posts?
** CLICK-THROUGH RATE (CTR)
The click-through rate of each of your postings is an important factor in increasing SEO juice. Are visitors visiting your blog and then clicking on links inside the article? The more people that click through and stay on your site, the higher your blog's total authority will be.
** SOURCES OF TRAFFIC
One essential metric to examine is the source of your traffic.
Are your marketing efforts yielding results? What are the major factors that influence the majority of your blog's traffic? Make sure you're measuring which channels provide the most traffic, whether it's through social media, emails, or sponsored ads. This data will aid you in fine-tuning your content strategy over time.
** LEADS AND CUSTOMERS GAINED FROM YOUR BLOG OVER TIME
It's entirely up to you how you keep track of this number. Some businesses track blog leads on a monthly basis, while others do so every quarter. So, how do you keep track of this information? Most content management systems make it simple to measure these metrics, so familiarize yourself with how to do so before going live.
Now that you know what metrics to watch and how to track them, it's time to define short- and long-term post-launch goals for your team. Set objectives for page views and click-through rates within the first month, six months, and year following launch in a planning meeting with your team.
Use analytics to inform future decisions
Reevaluate your content strategy and lay out your material based on the data once you've studied how specific sorts of posts, themes, and keywords fared. Blogging that is data-driven is effective.
HubSpot's blogging team discovered that 90 percent of monthly leads came from articles written months to years before. They changed their approach to focus on upgrading older blog entries and improving CTAs on those sites.
Don't get too worked up if you don't get high metrics immediately away. Blogging may help you expand exponentially – the longer you blog, the more authority you'll get. There is no such thing as a viral blog. Begin small and create achievable goals for the future. If you don't achieve your objectives right away, go back and review your measurements.
Are your marketing efforts yielding results? If not, repeat the process as many times as necessary until they do.
Monetizing Your Blog
In the long run, traffic and conversions will bring your organization money, but there are other things you can do to ensure your blog's success and best earning potential.
Content marketing generates three times as many leads as paid search advertising, so you'll be off to a good start with the tools offered.
Some of the tactics outlined to the right will take time to implement, but if you have a consistent list of subscribers, your list may become a useful and marketable commodity to other marketers.
Strategies to monetize your blog
1- FOR SUBSCRIBERS, CREATE AN RSS FEED
Most blog software has an RSS feed (very basic syndication) option, which is a simple method to ensure that your readers don't miss any new information. You may utilize an RSS feed to syndicate your material and drive traffic to your website, earning roughly $1 per month per subscriber. Here's how to use RSS feeds to simply enhance your promotion efforts.
2- NURTURE STREAM DEVELOPMENT
After you've gathered email addresses from your blog's readers, give them relevant or related information as well as other beneficial offers like courses, demos, or the chance to speak with a member of your staff. Here's a fast tutorial to lead nurturing and how to use nurturing tactics to increase sales by 50% at a lesser cost.
3- COLLABORATE WITH SALES AND SALES ENABLEMENT
Sales and sales enablement are your direct lines of communication with prospects and customers, and they may collaborate with you on blog strategy. Write convincing articles centered on your prospective clients' most pressing issues, then provide them to your sales enablement team for use in lead nurturing activities.
You'll help them close more business, and they'll be able to provide you insights into themes about which you should write more.
4- MAKE CONTENT OFFERS FOR HIGHLY RATED BLOG POSTS.
Bloggers can observe which posts receive the most traffic, allowing you to dominate interest in a specific issue. Create a related content offer to your high-performing blog pieces, then connect it with a CTA on the blog post. You may then turn your blog followers into tool users or qualified leads.
You now have the resources to launch a successful blog that will help your company in every area. Interview your local barista to learn about the most popular coffee drinks, or develop a Christmas gift guide based on recommendations from friends and family. Perhaps one of them will be your most successful post! Blogs are a low-cost method that any business, as long as it has a computer and access to the internet, can utilize to develop tremendously. Because Google's algorithm is a tremendous equalizer, everyone, Fortune 500 firm or not, has the chance to generate outstanding content and reap the advantages of ranking #1. Use these tools to quickly create a blog, and use the checklist below to keep track of your progress.