You started a blog. Every digital marketer you’ve been following suggests that you blog to acquire more leads. But why aren’t you getting any leads?
There’s a difference between traditional blogging and business blogging, you see. Your sister can blog about anything under the sun, with no care for whether someone would read what she just wrote, let alone share it. Business blogging, however, can’t afford the same laidback approach. It’s a strategy-driven procedure that follows certain fundamentals, particularly if you’re blogging for leads.
Let’s tackle five of those fundamentals.
#1. Nurture your audience.
Whether it’s online, when they watch TV, or at the train station, people get bombarded with marketing messages all the time. They’ve learned to tune these out somehow, and the last thing you must do is make them feel like living, breathing sales targets.
So your reader feels valued, remember the following:
- Don’t talk about your products or services ad nauseam. Benjamin Franklin’s Poor Richard Almanack was first published in December 1732 to promote his printing business. While this wasn’t blogging per se (because blogging was yet to be discovered during Mr. Franklin’s time), it showcased the power of good, helpful content. You don’t necessarily have to talk about what you offer to make people buy.
- Create content that addresses your readers’ pain points and offers solutions to their problems. Start by asking them how you can help. Restaurants had very little to do with tires, but tire company Michelin’s guide to restaurants helped promote automobile travel.
- Aim to build trust and authority through content that’s relevant, informative, timely, and actionable. If you need inspiration, look no further than the content put out by Pat Flynn and Neil Patel.
#2. Be consistent.
Game of Thrones enjoys a huge following because of a gripping storyline and a regular broadcast schedule. Followers rearrange their calendars to not miss an episode, and if they can’t make it in front of their TV sets in time, they record the show for later viewing or download them on iTunes.
High-quality content grows your audience and builds reader loyalty, and just as important is consistency. These two together and you double your chances of increasing website traffic, ranking well in the search engines, and garnering more shares on social media.
Then, there’s brand value. Lifehacker has consistently published articles about life hacks since its launch in 2005. When someone needs a general life hack or two, or perhaps more specific tips on how to use filters on video, Lifehacker is a place to go.
#3. Create catchy headlines.
How do you cut through the clutter?
Unless your headline grabs the reader’s attention right off the bat, they will skip your content and search elsewhere. Headlines make or break your copy, so squeeze the most value out of every blog post with these headline tips:
- Use action words and adjectives
- Money Journal’s “Identify Your Target Market’s Needs With These 2 Audience Research Tactics”
- Search Engine Journal’s “A Quick 15-Minute SEO Audit: Back to Search School”
- Add numbers to lists
- Fast Company’s “15 Habits That Will Totally Transform Your Productivity”
- WordStream’s “19 Headline Writing Tips for More Clickable, Shareable Blog Posts”
- Cite a problem and offer a solution
- HBR’s “To Fix a Chronic Problem, Try Winging It”
- Aljazeera’s “Cambodia: New Snack Aims to Prevent Child Malnutrition”
- Create a sense of urgency
- Forbes’ “Buy These 4 Stocks Before Their Dividends Double (Again)”
- SFWA’s “Humble Bundle Deal Ends Soon: Don’t Miss Out”
- State how, who, what, when, where, or why
- Moz’s “Why SEO Is Important – The Beginner’s Guide to SEO”
- Financial Times’ “How to Cope When Robots Take Your Job”
- Avoid clickbait
No matter how tempting, don’t go the clickbait route. Clickbaits entice readers to click because of humans’ inherently curious nature, but they leave many readers frustrated. Clicks and pageviews are empty metrics. Attention and engagement matter more.
#4. Optimize your blog posts for search.
A few things to keep in mind to make your blog posts searchable:
- SEO. Include keywords in the post’s headline and subheadings. Avoid stop words in your URL slugs. Use online readability calculators to measure and improve your copy’s readability level.
- Links. Link to relevant internal web pages, link to authority sites, provide links to your references. You can’t know everything, and linking to credible sources where it makes sense establishes your credibility as well.
- Sharing buttons. You want your content shared on social media, so don’t make your readers jump through hoops with buttons that don’t work.
#5. Make your calls-to-action (CTAs) pop.
Quality content and back-breaking consistency won’t matter much for lead generation without effective CTAs. What must your readers do while on the page? Download a free ebook? Join a newsletter? Register for a webinar?
As they say, ask and you shall receive.
Next, design CTA buttons that are hard to miss or resist.
- Text. Use action words such as “try,” “download,” or “reserve.” “Submit” and “enter” are far too common they no longer pop. As for the text’s length, anything over 15 words is too long.
- Colors. Some CROs say orange works best, others say red, and some others say green. It boils down to site design and which colors perform best in your experiments.
- Shapes. Just like with colors, conduct A/B tests to definitively say whether rounded buttons perform better than the square ones.
- Placement. Position CTA buttons where they naturally flow with the page’s content – at the end of blog posts, the sidebar, or in popups. “Never force users to backtrack to click a button,” says WordStream. Bottom line, user experience should be top of mind when deciding where to place your CTA buttons.
- Click triggers. Click triggers are nudges to get a reader to perform an action. Examples include phrases like “no credit card required,” data points or statistics, and customer testimonials.
Here are CTA examples from HubSpot.
Valuable, high-quality content published consistently can attract and engage visitors, and convert them into leads. Make it a point to include a strategy-packed business blogging plan into your lead generation strategies.
* All images from Pixabay.