Blogs are a relatively new concept. The first “blog” was created in 1994 by Justin Hall, a student at Swathmore College. Obviously, the term blog hadn’t been coined yet, so Hall dubbed his URL, Links.net, as his personal homepage where he would share details of his life. Now, blogs have become so much more than an online diary. They’re an essential component of content marketing and online culture in general – which is why it’s so important to do them right.
Below, and as part of the Americaneagle.com 2021 Forum, our resident blog enthusiasts Wolfgang Gruener and Tyler Bachman take us through three blog myths to toss, three trends to recognize, and three opportunities to act on to turn your blog into a lead generation machine.
3 Myths to Toss
Myth #1: Build a Blog, and Readers Will Come
Building out a blog doesn’t mean readers are actually reading it. Consider this: there are a whopping 600,000,000+ blogs in existence and 200,000,000+ new blog posts are created daily. Blogs go to their audience, not the other away around. There is significant effort involved. How are you going to make your blog stand out among the crowd?
Myth #2: Blogging is Easy
Contrary to popular belief, blogging is not easy. It requires a lot of strategic planning, dedication, nurturing, testing, decluttering, and subject matter expertise. Two things to keep in mind when it comes to blogging: blogs are about the why and the how, not the what, and what a business needs is not automatically what an audience wants.
Myth #3: A Blog Solves All SEO Problems
Content does not necessarily equal SEO power. Blogs are not exempt from architecture and content SEO requirements. Successful blogs are embedded into channel optimization strategies and build SEO over time.
3 Trends to Recognize
Trend #1: Blogs are Strategic Business Investments
Determine the specific purpose of a blog in your content strategy. Well-planned and executed blogs are equipped with substantial resources, have executive buy-in, and extremely effective when they succeed.
Trend #2: Blogs Have Contextual Relevance
Blogs have become an integral part of channel optimization. Aimed at acquiring the very top of the funnel of a target audience, blogs can minimize required ad spend. Additionally, complementing effective blogs with down-funnel pay-per-click (PPC) strategies has become a common audience acquisition strategy. Lastly, blogs play in tandem with alliance marketing approaches such as content contributions and referral channels.
Trend #3: Blog Structure Matters
Blog readers have an extremely short attention span. The headline and first sentence of an introductory paragraph decide engagement success. Focus the body on answering one question and avoid overly long text bodies. Great blogs have an immediately visible call-to-action (CTA) structure and guiding conclusion. The average post should be about 500 words; no fewer than 300, no more than 800.
3 Opportunities to Act
Action #1: Interrupt Reading Flow Immediately
A powerful CTA structure should exist through the body of the content. List CTA where appropriate by headers and paragraphs, interrupting often. Conversion points should be mixed – transactional and informational. Conclude with a CTA that offers reassurance and showcases expertise; not just an offer to buy.
Action #2: Determine Relevant Foundational Content
Find out what is important to your audience, find a solution, and write about it. Understand search volumes, prioritize what’s important, and sync foundational content with conversion points. Don’t be too broad. Solve one problem at a time.
Action #3: Make Rich Content Readable
Create a digestible content structure. Be transparent and answer the “What?,” “Why?,” “How?” Don’t make it hard for users to read: use short sentences, few syllable counts, and bullet points. Content should be readable by humans and search engines (i.e. SEO-friendly content with keyword optimization, internal linking, structured data, etc.) For blogs, generally, the reading level should sit somewhere on between seventh and eighth grade on the Flesch Kincaid Index.
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