One of the things I love about PR and marketing is how aware we have to be of consumer trends, and I’ve come to realise how differently consumers act in a social-media / technology-led era compared to the past. Engaging the crowd is now a more sophisticated affair and requires being fluent in the language of content marketing, SEO, web analytics and of course, blogging, among others.
There were one million blogs in 2004 and a whopping 152 million in 2013 – that’s one blog being created every half a second, according to a HubSpot webinar on blogging. Blogs are truly a phenomenal force and if well managed, can definitely help build a connection with the audience and generate leads.
Competition is stiff and you’ll need to be smart about your approach to stand out. Develop the habit of staying up-to-date on the blogosphere’s evolving trends to ensure you stay relevant and write interesting blog posts that gel with your ongoing marketing and PR efforts. HubSpot recently shared a few tips on successful blogging, which are bound to boost your blog readership and generate leads.
Long Tail Keywords.
Since the introduction of Google’s Hummingbird search algorithm, searches are now more effective with additional keywords and more context. For instance, Google “coffee shops” and you’ll get more results that you can handle – looking for that good ol’ cuppa joe is not so simple anymore. Being more specific and typing “coffee shop Singapore”, “coffee roasted beans Singapore” or “chill café Singapore” will yield more favourable and useful results.
Instead of specific, singular keywords, the focus has shifted to long tail keywords, phrases that are a combination of keywords to deliver targeted results (think Chinatown chicken rice stall or Tuas chemical factory, for instance) and keep in mind that the longer, more specific keywords are less common, individually, but add up to account for the majority of search-driven traffic.
So start brainstorming long-tail keywords that can help people find your business and include them in your blog posts.
Your blog content needs to be accessible. People enjoy sharing news through social media – be it Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or Google+ – and news feeds are broadsides of the digital sphere. Social media and content depend on one another, and content that is enjoyable, shareable and insightful – and better still if it’s viral – results in higher visibility as it makes its way around the Internet.
The comment box used to be spam bait, but is now regarded as an important tool to help foster relationships and stimulate discussion. If you haven’t already, set up a comment box and get readers involved. Encourage them to voice their thoughts, listen to their suggestions and complaints, and respond diligently. Always remember, it’s a two-way communication.
Guest bloggers with wide appeal might seem like a great idea but approach this with caution. Yes, the links can increase your SEO rankings and visibility but only if the blog post is unique. Duplicating posts from your own site could actually drop your own search ranking if Google reads you as having copied from another more popular site.
Topical vs Evergreen content.
Topical posts are trendy, time-sensitive content that include press releases, announcements, and lighthearted photos or memes on social media. While it helps to spike page views, you will need to push content regularly to maintain the numbers.
Evergreen content is relevant today, tomorrow and for a long time to come. This relevance ensures a steady stream of readers who can always refer to the content for insights, regardless of how long the article has been published. Writing tips, advice on changing engine oil in an automobile, or suggestions for a personal savings plan all fall under that category. For a healthy balance, it’s advised that 80% of blog content should be evergreen, and 20% topical.
Plan what topics you’re crafting and when you’ll be putting up your blog posts. We find this easiest with a spreadsheet clearly defining the topics, targeted upload date, listing specific owners and deadlines. Ensure that you’re uploading content at least once every week for the next six months.
Whether it’s a blog, a Facebook status update, Tweet, or thoughts regarding a news article shared on LinkedIn – make sure you use a common voice that applies across all platforms. The audience will grow to relate to and trust this voice and more importantly, start connecting with you.
All this seems like a long list, but will soon come as second nature with practice. I find it helpful to go through these points as you review your newly written blog posts. You’ll optimise your content by heaps and ensure your brand is associated with quality by every reader and potential lead.
If you’d like to discuss your blogging / content marketing strategy, or if you’d like help crafting riveting blog posts, get in touch with us at [email protected].