By Pam Dyer at Social Media Today:
Part of a good content marketing strategy, blogging helps you position yourself as an expert in your area.
Content marketing consists of producing and publishing information that builds trust and authority among your ideal customers. It is a way of creating relationships and community so people feel loyal to your brand, and it helps you become recognized as a thought leader in your industry. Successful blogs play a pivotal role in delivering your brand message, and help drive sales without using traditional hard-sell tactics. They don’t merely push out your sales pitch over and over — they offer insights, answer common questions, and help readers make better decisions.
5 steps for creating a successful blog
The key to successful blogging is creating content that your target audience wants to read. The steps below will help you create a content marketing strategy for your blog that ensures that you will reach your goals.
1. Understand your goals
It’s important to know what you want to accomplish and how you’ll measure your success. Do you want to promote new products and services? Are you trying to attract a particular target market? Would you like to create a community and foster engagement with your customers and prospects? Are you looking to improve your search ranking? Make sure you have a clear understanding of what you are trying to achieve before you start blogging, otherwise you risk disappointment.
2. Know your audience
Who are you trying to reach? Where do they spend time online? What do they want and need from a blog like yours? These data points should be the basis of your blogging strategy. All of your blog content should be written with your target audience in mind. If it isn’t, it can be detrimental — you run the risk of confusing your readers about your brand and breaking the trust they have in your ability to deliver articles they want to read consistently in the future.
3. Write with your readers in mind
Identify ways in which can add your unique voice to the discussion that already exists about your industry and brand. Determine your value proposition — a clear statement that explains how your product solves customers’ problems, delivers specific benefits, and communicates why people should buy from you instead of from your competition. Armed with this information, you can identify your niche and hype your differentiators by creating content around topics that offer special insights and and analysis not offered by other blogs.
4. Be consistent
Have you ever heard someone say, “If you don’t update your blog daily, there’s no reason for people to visit it”? Well, that’s not quite true. But it is important to post regularly so you can retain subscribers and attract new ones. When I started this blog, I posted 3 to 4 times a week because I had the time to do it. My current position at SolutionsIQ, a leading Agile services company, is a lot of fun but also very challenging, so my current cadence is one blog post a week. I’m thankful that I’ve been able to not only retain my audience, but grow it as well via social media and syndication. [Thanks for reading, everyone! :)] Being consistent helps you meet your audience’s expectations and create a place they trust and visit over and over. That consistency will reward you with reader loyalty.
5. Use marketing tactics to create visibility
“If you build it, they will come” isn’t a viable blog marketing strategy. Promoting your blog is an essential element of attracting interest for your content, and thus for your products and services. Make efforts to create visibility for your content. Examples include making it easy for your readers to share your content via social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn; using social bookmarking sites such as StumbleUpon and Digg; and syndicating your content through RSS (Real Simple Syndication).
The gigantic infographic below from Digital Philippines is a treasure trove of tools, strategies, and tactics that will help you achieve blogging success.