Blog Post by Sarah Malcolm, Chief Digital Strategist at The News Funnel
Thomas Edison famously said, “I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.” But when you’re investing dollars and hours into a content marketing strategy like a blog, failure is not an option. Despite our intentions, sometimes the tactics we’re using–or not using–doom our efforts. Is your blog producing the results you want? If not, pinpoint what’s killing your blog.
Advertise to Advertise
Amongst new bloggers is a misconception that hitting “publish” is the only step writers need to pave the way to blogging success. Actual results require more than writing and publishing. Distribute content to gain an initial audience bump. Promote on owned channels, find redistribution networks like The News Funnel, and include recent posts in newsletters. Keep pushing evergreen content as your audience network grows.
Love Thyself, But Not in a Blog
No one really likes blatant sales pitches. How often have you cringed at an Oxyclean infomercial? An article blatantly self-promoting products or services turns off readers. Focus on helpful content and highlighting your expertise through experience. Readers are smart and can judge from your content if you fit their needs.
Who Writes Like a 4th Grader?
Who knew your fourth-grade teacher was right about grammar matters? No one will abandon a blog for occasional typos, but even in an era where we text, “How r u?” consistent errors in style and spelling are unforgivable offenses. Edit for better blogs. First, leave time between your initial drafting, revising, and publishing. A revisiting a draft after break time allows you read with fresh eyes. Popular content management systems include spell and grammar check. Use them. Keep track of your common errors, like if you confuse a particular homonym (there/their). Invest in software that runs advanced grammar and spelling checks.
Writing a great title is an art form. The right title can boost the number of clickthroughs and reads. Do your blog titles leads to content that delivers on the initial promise? The title must reflect the article content. After that, it’s a matter of using the right strategies to craft a clever headline to entice clicks.
Forgot About SEO
Even the most casual, conversational blogs have search engine optimization best practices in the back of their mind when crafted. SEO goes beyond keyword placement in text, and not all SEO strategies are apparent on the page. Readers don’t always see the meta description, page title, alt tags on images. Brush up your SEO and study your blogs to see if it needs tweaking.
Posting Once in a Blue Moon
A post here and there won’t drive traffic. Readers–and search engine spiders–crave consistent, regularly published content. Get on a content schedule and stick with it. Find a balance between your schedule and topic ideas to decide if you need to post bi-weekly, weekly, or several times a week.
Outbound links are just as important as inbound links. If the blog includes data from another website or blog, link to it. Quote another blogger and give them the credit. Besides good manners and proper etiquette, outbound links provide bloggers the opportunity to build their audience and drive traffic back to their website.
A social media audit will help identify your blog’s weak points. Fixing SEO and adding links are easy fixes, and topics can be revised to cut any blatant self-promotion. Other areas bloggers often need fine-tuning is identifying their niche or improving their calls to action.