You may feel you have a good handle on who your customers are, what they think about before going to sleep at night, and where they hang out on social media.
Second-guessing which blog posts they are going to enjoy most is notoriously difficult, however. Even if you feel you know your customer, you also need to know how to keep them entertained.
When you want someone to take the time to read something you've written, it's worth remembering to at least make it interesting.
It's also crucial to reach out to people who already have an interest in what you have to say. Marketing strategy involves identifying your community. Who is your target audience? And who else is out there in your sector?
Once you have established the answers to these questions, you can really start to drill down in terms of content and blog formats.
Your Own News
The first rule of broadcasting your own news is 'Will people outside my organisation find this interesting?'
Try to move away from award ceremonies and cheque presentations. What goes on behind the scenes at your place? Would it make a good blog post? Tap into your organisation's expertise and find out who has a passion for what. Use images to increase repins on Pinterest and Twitter sharing. With a good social media strategy, you can be blogging all the best insights and developments without sending your customers to sleep.
What's hot in your sector at the moment? What are the issues being debated? What gets people talking online? Make sure you set up an RSS feed aggregator to pull in all that top content. Then write about it and share it!
You may have been keeping an eye on your competitors, but in addition to this you'll need to find the influencers. Who are the people who carry respect? Who has a massive social media following? Would they be willing to guest blog or complete a quick Q&A?
Here's how to approach an influencer:
- Email, tweet or Facebook them
- Ask them if they'd like to be interviewed
- Point out your blog gets great traffic
- Tell them you have five questions you can send over
- Prepare the questions
- Send them over and give them an editorial deadline
- Make this date a week before publication
A post with a number in the title will often be shared more than one without. Enter the listicle, or put more simply, the list.
Seven Ways To, Five Tips On, Ten Reasons You Should... the list, ha ha, is endless. Topic potential is great, too. But choose your subject carefully.
And find an original title - one that stands out:
'Spain on a Budget: Seven Travel Tips' is boring.
'Seven Ways I Avoided Starving to Death on a Budget in Andalusia' is better.
Many potential blog posts can be turned into lists, breaking up the copy into easy-to-manage chunks. Picture insertion is a bonus, as each item on the list can be illustrated as you move down the page.
Aim for a brief intro, followed by short list entries, and then a concluding paragraph at the end. You'll have noticed how listicles often come in at Five, Seven, or Ten. This is because the optimum blog post length ranges from 500-1000 words. I would say 1000 words is too long for a list. Aim to come in at no more than 700 words.
These are best done weekly or monthly, and can be a good way to get curated content into a blog post. If you are keeping track of industry news via an RSS feed or Twitter, it's not so hard to compile a post featuring the top articles or tweets of the week or month. The bonus here is that you can give all the organisations and people you feature a heads-up on social media, increasing shareability.
Be wary of jumping on trends as they won't always be suitable or relevant to your business. But they can make very good breakout posts with high traffic potential, and are ideal when inspiration is running dry. Track trends on Twitter and Pinterest, or look at what's trending on Google. If you feel it will make a relevant post for your business, hop on! But be quick!