Blogs are an important part of an effective content marketing plan and fit into the broader revenue marketing strategy. By leveraging blog posts in your overall revenue marketing strategy, marketing teams are able to define their audience, generate target keywords to capture that audience, and build value that converts website traffic into revenue. In this post we will be reviewing all the necessary steps you will need to take to generate a revenue-producing blog.
The goal of your blog should be to provide valuable thought leadership, interesting insights, easy to consume guides, and anything else your target audience finds interesting.
How to Plan for your First Blog Post
Step 1: Define your target audience
The first step to virtually any marketing campaign is to define your target audience. This will allow you to write in the voice of the customer and tailor the messaging to be very relevant to their needs. You should be able to find a list of persona's in your "Ideal Customer Profile" (ICP.) Common elements of an ICP include (not an exhaustive list):
- Ideal Industries
- Industries that are not a good fit
- Company Size (employee or revenue size)
- Common customer pain points prior to purchase
- Reasons why your customers churn
Obviously, the more you understand your customers and potential prospects' role the more value you will be able to provide in a blog post. For example, if you are selling to operations managers in the trucking industry the content will be very different than trying to sell to marketing managers in the software industry.
Step 2: Define your keyword list
The easiest way to develop your keyword list is to start with one topic or feature that you think will help solve your buyer's biggest pain point. For example, many marketers struggle with marketing analytics so I can input that into a free tool, google keyword planner, to understand what types of topics are related to generate additional ideas for writing a blog post.
From one simple search of "marketing analytics," I find a common theme of keyword clusters that will be useful for writing a blog post. Pay attention to the competition, as well. While some keywords are high value and very relevant you may never be able to produce enough SEO juice on the first page. Low to Medium keywords may have less volume but ultimately may drive more clicks.
Take a look at the click-through rates from position 1 to position 10. Now, imagine how many clicks you are getting in position 75. I'll give you a hint, it is zero. Meaning, a keyword with 100 searches per month can be more valuable to you than a keyword with 10,000. It is all about where you rank, not how many organic impression you can capture.
In this example, I find the following related keywords:
- marketing attribution
- predictive marketing
- big data and marketing
- content marketing analytics
- salesforce and google analytics
- ppc analytics
There are 400 more additional recommended keywords but a blog post should not try and solve all pain points, you are just attempting to identify one and provide enough value to keep the audience engaged. There is no right or wrong answer to which keywords you select if you keep your target audience in mind during this exercise.
Step 3: Generate your Blog Post Title
This may feel unnatural to title your post prior to writing your blog but it will save you many hours of staring at a blank page trying to figure out what you want to write about. To get started leverage a free blog title generator like this, using the keywords you found in the previous step.
Once you have determined the perfect title for your blog post, use a free headline scoring tool like this to make any changes you see fit. Make any changes you see fit based on the feedback.
Writing your Blog Post
Step 1: Write your first draft
Writing a blog post should take between 1 - 2 hours for thought leadership but could be days or weeks for research-related posts. Either way, don't worry about perfection but do remember to properly insert the keywords you identified. When in doubt, just keep writing!
Here is a basic checklist for how your post should be structured (with examples from this post):
H1: Title of your blog post
Meta Description: Explanation of your blog post in less than 160 characters
H3 - H6: Sub-Sections, as needed
...Repeat, as necessary, but breaking up your content into 3, or more, sections will help with readability
Recommended Content: Find at least 3 relevant articles, posts, or product pages that your user will find relevant to the topic.
Step 2: Edit and Finalize your Blog Post
You are getting close! This is where your blog post comes together. You can check your blog for grammatical errors with free tools like this. Once you are comfortable with the blog post it is recommended to send it to a colleague for review. Oftentimes, you may now be close to it to find areas of improvement so this step will ultimately help the blog post perform.
Tips for a Revenue Producing Blog Post
Here are my top tips for writing a blog post that drives revenue:
- Long-form content is recommended for most scenarios, which means you will be writing 1,000 to 2,000-word blog posts (that's 4-8 pages in double-spacing papers).
- Use images to support your content and help the reader visualize the message (don't forget to label the images with alt text to help the search engines find your content relevance).
- Write the content in a natural voice that anyone can understand.
- Ensure you used all the keywords, but don't overuse them. Keyword stuffing will not work and will likely have an adverse effect on keyword rankings.
- Don't use acronyms unless you plan to explain what it is.
- Leave the direct sales pitch out of it. If you focus on solving the reader's main pain points and provide enough value the reader will naturally find buying opportunities.
- Carve out time on your calendar to write otherwise you will never finish the first blog post.
- Make sure your post is "scrollable", meaning a reader can skim through the sections and then go back and read.
Here are my top technical SEO tips for your blog posts:
- Use schema markup to help with your technical SEO
- Don't use a sub-domain to publish your blog
- Ensure your speed is fast using a free tool like this.
- Use backlinks (internal and external)
Here are my top conversion rate optimization (CRO) tips for your blog posts:
- Offer non-intrusive lead capture forms, such as signing up for an email newsletter
- Offer push notifications for buyers that want to stay up to date with new posts
- Offer a chat widget so readers can ask questions
- Track your user engagement with tools like hotjar or crazyegg to understand how they consume your content.
Activate your Blog Post beyond SEO
Remember, blog posts go beyond just SEO and website traffic. In order to maximize the results of your efforts you should activate the post in the following ways:
- Share on social media channels
- Send in an email newsletter to the audience you wrote the blog post for
- Promote your blog post on other relevant blog posts (recommended content)
- Offer it through your chat widget
This is the Start, Not the End
While writing your first blog post is hard it does get easier and easier each time.
This is not a one-and-done strategy. It takes a commitment to producing valuable and thought-provoking content in order to produce revenue results but once the results start coming you will be glad you made this commitment.
The benefit of this content strategy is all the clicks you generate are free (with the exception of the time it takes to write the content). Now, what are you doing still reading this blog post? Time to start writing...