Much of the discussion around marketing blogs or business blogs centers on how to use blogs to drive traffic and convert leads. And it should be, because that is the ultimate goal of all inbound marketing, and a business blog is an essential tool in the inbound marketer’s arsenal.
But it is also important to consider how you can make each individual tool in that arsenal more powerful. How can you increase your blog’s effectiveness, reach, and performance?
In other words, how do you to take your blog to the next level? By changing your perspective.
A Marketing Blog vs. Blog Marketing
Marketing blog. Blog marketing. They may sound the same, but there is a big difference.
In the first, the blog is a tool for promoting a product, service or brand. As I mentioned above, it is one of several tools, including social media, email, SEO and landing pages for marketing offers that all orbit around your business, which is at the center of your universe.
But when you shift the wording to “blog marketing”, the blog is the product you are seeking to promote. It becomes the central figure, with those other tools orbiting around your blog to attract readers.
Why Put Your Blog at The Center?
It may seem counter-intuitive to put your focus and energy on promoting your blog — after all, in the past, you viewed it as a tool, no more, no less — but when you realize that it is at the center of your content marketing efforts, you will understand. Your blog should be the center of your marketing universe.
When your blog grows, it’s impact and performance can also grow, meaning more traffic, more leads, and stronger conversion rates that lead to more customers.
As you know, it takes a lot of work just maintaining a blog filled with the needed quantity of high-quality content, so think of it this way: What if that same work in writing and maintaining a blog could attract twice as many readers? That is economy of scale, and that is why it is time to focus on marketing, growing and scaling your business blog for bigger impact on your business’s lead generation and sales goals.
The Blog Marketing Cycle
Blog marketing involves three steps, which work as a continuous cycle, spiraling your blog to new heights.
Get your blog discovered. This means attracting new readers and traffic to your blog.
Convert visitors into subscribers. You want not one-time readers, but subscribers who stick around and come back, again and again.
Leverage evangelists. Engage your blog’s biggest fans — customers, employees, vendors — and to tap into the networks of your subscribers and others who believe in your business to share content with a whole new audience.
Which brings us back to the beginning. Continue that cycle, and your blog will continue to grow in reach and influence. That, in turn, increases its ability to do its most important job: generate leads and sales for your business.
How To Promote — aka Market — Your Business Blog
Failing to promote your business blog is a huge mistake, because you essentially negate all the work you put into creating that content if you aren’t working to get it in front of prospects and readers. (Download our Blog Promotion Problem/Solution Sheet for a blueprint to promoting your blog here.)
Here are six ways you can ensure your business blog is reaching more people and growing, which in turn should grow your overall inbound marketing ROI.
1. Integrate your business blog with your company’s website (not hosted in a separate location) and make it easy to find. If you were an early adopter of blogging, you may have created a blog on a separate hosting site, but that doesn’t work well when you want website visitors to read your blog, or blog readers to visit other places on your website.
2. Create a specific plan and strategy for promoting your blog through social media, email or other marketing channels. This means documenting how many times you will share each blog post on your social media accounts and how much time will pass between those shares; how often you will offer email deliveries of new blog posts (e.g. with every new post, or as a daily or weekly digest); and how to integrate new blog posts into other marketing channels such as encouraging customer service or sales team members to send them to their clients who could benefit from the information included. You can also plan to repurpose blog posts to be published in another format, such as a LinkedIn article, with links included back to other posts on the actual blog, expanding the reach while bringing readers back to your blog and company website for additional information.
3. Include links to the blog in email signatures, on all pages of the company website, and in downloadable content offers. Your business blog is (or should be) a treasure trove of useful information for your customers and prospects. Make it easy for them to seek it out when looking for the information they need.
4. Each blog post should include, somewhere on the page, a call-to-action to subscribe to the blog via email. As with any relationship, the more time a reader spends with your blog, the better they get to know your company. When they receive each new post delivered directly to their inbox, they are more likely to come back and read more.
5. Seek guest bloggers and guest blogging opportunities, which expand your blog’s reach to a new audience. Carefully vet those opportunities or guest blogs you are offered to be sure they match your target audience, target message AND the quality of content you are committed to creating, but when done well, the potential to expand your audience can be worth the extra effort.
6. Encourage interaction with your blog and the associated social media posts by asking questions and responding to comments. And don’t forget to ask readers to share the blog with their colleagues and others. Sometimes it just takes that specific request to spur a satisfied reader to take the next action.
Growing your blog — both its library of useful content and its reach through social media, email subscriptions, and SEO — is an important part of growing your overall inbound marketing strategy. When you focus on bringing more visitors to your website, you increase the opportunities to convert visitors into leads and provide greater reasons for leads to convert into customers.
Find the tools you need to build a better business blog in our Complete Business Blog Tool Kit, including a calendar template, templates for writing five different types of posts, and a 20-point checklist for optimizing SEO and lead generation.
And then consider how that blog fits into your overall inbound marketing strategy (plus find tips for getting extra mileage out of the same basic content with thought leadership articles, downloadable offers, videos and more) with the real-life examples in Creating A Winning Inbound Marketing Program.