Grading yourself and your own work isn’t always a fun endeavor — if it were, we would look forward to the self-critique portion of the annual review with a boss, rather than dread it. But self-reflection IS key to improvement, because you can’t fix problems until you acknowledge they exist.
As marketers, our self-reflection and review need to include the marketing tactics and content we put into place, including business blogs. Taking a critical look at your business blog — both strategy and actual implementation — can help you find opportunities for improvement that may increase achievement of the goals set for inbound marketing.
Read the following statements and consider how well they match your business blog strategy and implementation. Give yourself a score for each one, on a scale of 1 to 5 (strongly disagree to strongly agree), then total up your points for suggestions on what comes next.
Our business blog’s messaging and visual elements match our overall brand identity.
We use comprehensive customer personas to guide our blog writing efforts.
The business blog is a key element in our marketing campaign planning, with blog posts developed to complement other elements or repurpose materials for greater ROI.
We publish at least 16 blog posts each month, with topics focused on both current and past campaigns.
We include visual content (videos and infographics) as a complement to more text-heavy blog materials.
We feel confident in the quality of our blog posts and the writers (in-house, agency and/or freelance) entrusted with the work.
All blog posts are promoted at least three times on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook, as well as on any other social media channels we use (Instagram, SnapChat, Pinterest, Google+).
Additional opportunities, both digital and offline, are sought to promote our business blog, such as inclusion in printed materials for industry events or in email signatures sent by company employees.
We have specific goals in place to measure against to gauge our business blog’s progress and success.
We consistently track and review both content-specific metrics (e.g. blog views) and performance-based metrics (e.g. CTA clicks and conversion rates) to determine the ROI of our blogging efforts and to secure needed budget and buy-in from the executive level.
So, how did you do? Remember that this quiz is more about finding opportunities to increase the effectiveness of your business blog than it is about finding fault. Let’s see what your next step should be.
25 or fewer points: It sounds like you might be just getting started, or have only posted to your business blog haphazardly for company announcements and the like. That means the potential is great for increasing your blog’s reach and engagement. Start at the beginning: Document goals and a plan — target audiences, target readership, campaigns and topics to be supported, and who will be responsible for writing, managing and measuring your business blog. Then put that plan into action. Some of the best practices outlined here may be tough to jump into at the beginning, such as posting 16 times a month, so draft a plan that starts with a manageable volume, then work to increase frequency while maintaining quality. Check out our Inbound Marketing Learning Library to find a huge array of resources, from ebooks about business blogging to templates for scheduling your blog calendar and writing five different styles of posts.
25-35 points: It sounds like you may have been blogging for a while, but haven’t hit your stride. Which questions scored lowest for your blog? If you had low scores on questions 1-3, it’s time to take a step back and spend time considering how your business blog meshes with the rest of your brand positioning and marketing strategy. All of your content should work together to present a cohesive message, which also improves your efficiency, as content is repurposed for use in a variety of channels. If you struggle with questions 4-6, you may need to find additional resources to meet content creation needs, understanding that quality is even more important than quantity. Questions 7 and 8 address blog promotion, which is essential in order to attract traffic so that your business blog can fulfill its mission of driving online lead generation. Finally, if you struggle with the final two questions, you probably don’t have a strong understanding of what works, what doesn’t, and how to put that knowledge to work. If you are using an inbound marketing solution such as HubSpot, there’s no reason not to take advantage of the detailed metrics offered.
35-45 points: You have most of your business blogging strategy and implementation under control and on a roll. It may take just a few tweaks here and there to optimize your approach and maximize results. Is it time to review brand messaging and customer personas, or to take a new approach to planning marketing campaigns that considers how the blog fits in from the beginning? Should you increase your publishing frequency or promotion efforts slightly? Is it time to find a designer or agency that can add visual content to your blog posts? Or would an independent marketing and messaging audit be useful to get a new perspective on your strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities? Pick one or two of your lower scoring categories and see if a few changes can increase your blog traffic, conversion rates or SEO.
45+ points: You are doing great! Probably because you are constantly reading helpful material and actively looking for ways to improve. Share in the comments the best advice you would give to a marketing director who is looking to turn around a struggling business blog and maximize its impact on inbound marketing results.
One of things everyone can do is to keep reading and learning. Here are additional posts from our blog that can help address each of the 10 points above:
Granted, this bit of self-realization may not have been as fun as a Buzzfeed quiz that tells you which dog breed you resemble most or what country you should move to (FWIW, Labradoodle and the Philippines … hmmm). But what you have learned is how to make your business blog more effective.
Want to take the same approach to your entire inbound marketing strategy? Download our Rate Your Inbound Marketing Scorecard to walk through six areas of inbound marketing and identify where you can make changes to improve lead generation and sales.