It is a familiar story: you’ve invested money and time creating what you thought would be a popular and profitable business blog, only to see virtual tumbleweeds roll by, and hear virtual crickets chirp in the distance. What’s the deal?
Well for starters, you aren’t alone. Many business blogs aren’t firing on all cylinders, and a few are in desperate need of a re-build (or maybe one of those charity programs that will tow it away in return for a tax credit). That’s the bad news.
The good news is that dialing up the activity on your stale blog — or bringing it back to life and out of the ICU if things are bit worse than that — isn’t prohibitively costly or excessively time consuming.
Here are five proven tips that can turn tumbleweeds and crickets, into traffic and conversions:
- Publish for search.
Google and Bing (and we can stop the list there, really) don’t just like blog posts: they love them. Why? Because search engines are all about relevance, and for a lot of searchers the goal isn’t necessarily to find a service provider or vendor: it’s to get answers. That’s where blog posts enter the picture, and it’s why they tend to do very well in search results. To that end, make sure your posts use a single, well-chosen keyword in the title (closer to the beginning is better if possible), and the density rate doesn’t exceed 3 percent — otherwise your posts may get whacked with the Keyword Stuffing Stick, and they’ll not only get de-listed, but will lower your website’s overall rankings in the process. Also get the keyword in the URL, and have 1-2 backlinks to relevant internal or external websites.
- Relevance and frequency go together.
Some business blogs have great, relevant and original content — but the only post a few times a month on average. Other business blogs have so-so (or sometimes lousy) content, but they post a few times a week, or sometimes daily. What you want to do is tick both of these boxes: relevant content and frequent posting. Aim for three to five posts a week, and obsessively ask the question “why should my target audience care about this content?” before hitting the publish button. Also keep in mind that you should mix up your content so there’s a balance of text articles, Infographics, and occasionally hand-selected curated content from (obviously non-competitor) third parties.
- Think outside the blog box.
While Google and Bing are working to drive traffic to your blog through search, you should be doing some heavy lifting as well by promoting your blog everywhere you go: workshops, conferences, training sessions, and more. You can also borrow a smart tactic from tax attorney Jeffrey B. Kahn’s playbook. He hosts an ESPN radio show on tax and financial issues, and posts both the audio podcast and a transcript on his blog. It’s a great way to cross-promote (blog readers learn about his radio show and vice versa), plus it’s excellent, relevant content. You can see how Kahn does this by visiting his website at www.kahntaxlaw.com.
- Integrate your blog with inbound marketing campaigns.
If you’ve wisely boarded the inbound marketing bus and are using this approach to connect with leads, then ensure that your blog posts link (where applicable) to gated assets in your inventory. In somewhat simpler terms for those who haven’t passed their Marketing Jargon 101 course yet: gated assets are ebooks, white papers, checklists, and any other pieces of content that are behind a form (i.e. a “gate”), that website visitors must fill out in order to download (usually all they need to put in is their name and email). For example, if you’re in the network security space and have created an ebook entitled “10 Mistakes Business Make About Malware Protection,” then any blog posts that touch upon this topic should link at the end to the ebook’s landing page.
- Bring on the guest posts.
If you’re a fan of late-night talk shows (or if you’re just an insomniac and listening to Jimmy Kimmel is better than the sound of your eyes blinking), then you can put yourself in the rotation by bringing on the guest posts. Just make sure that the content you allow is relevant for your target audience, and that it’s educational rather than an advertorial.
The Bottom Line
The term “blog” dates back to the days when the blogosphere was ruled by Trekkies debating the finer points of who’s the better captain: Picard or Kirk. But these days, blogs are legitimate and some might argue essential business assets. The tips above will help ensure that your blog does its part to help you connect with existing and future customers, expand your brand visibility, and make your website a popular destination rather than a virtual ghost town.