How do you get customers to seek out your business? That is both the defining notion and the ongoing challenge of an inbound marketing strategy.
In traditional advertising, for example, you might describe your vision and your capabilities and all of the ways you can help solve your prospective customers’ problems – and you’d be right to do so. But inbound turns traditional advertising on its head.
After all, your customers aren’t looking for vision. They’re looking for specific solutions to their problems. Inbound focuses your efforts on loading up your site with plenty of rich, rewarding content that speaks directly to these wants and needs.
In other words, a dynamic, well-executed blog is the cornerstone to inbound marketing.
Why a Blog?
Blogging can provide a number of valuable benefits for your business:
- Every blog post creates a new, unique page on your website. Every new page on your site is a new opportunity to appear in the search engines.
- Blog topics are natural lead-ins to promote deeper-dive content offers, such as whitepapers and ebooks, that visitors can download in exchange for their email address. And once you have their email addresses, you can continue the conversation long after they've left your website.
- Well-researched and well-written blog posts provide the opportunity to build a reptuation in your industry as an expert on the topics your visitors care about.
Before you rush out to write that first blog post, however, there a few important things to keep in mind.
Top 5 Blogging Best Practices
One blog post, one topic, one focus keyword. Resist the urge to make each blog post try to accomplish too much.
2. Add value.
Visitors want information, not a sales pitch. You have to help them first before they'll help you.
3. Write often.
Give readers a reason to come back. Few things will kill your reputation more quickly than a visitor coming to your site and finding the most recent post is several years old.
4. Looks matter.
Always include an image with your posts to add visual interest. Use subheads and short paragraphs to make your posts easier to read. Get creative with different formats, including video posts, infographics, SlideShares and more.
5. Promote your blog.
This is not Field of Dreams; you can’t assume that just because you build it, they will come. A great rule of thumb is to spend as much time distributing your blog posts as you do writing them.
Blogging can be big responsibility, so know this before you jump in with both feet: A poorly executed blog can be as damaging as a good one can be enriching. Your blog represents your company image; if it’s a spotty or sloppy effort, you’ll end turning visitors off your brand forever.
That may sound scary, yes. But the upside of a blog is so compelling that it’s a must-have for any smart inbound marketing team.
What other tips should we add to this list? Let us know!