It’s the season of learning. Yes, it’s back-to-school time. And let’s face it, as content marketers, we are perpetual students in an ever-changing digital landscape. So there is no better time than back-to-school season to revisit your enterprise blogs and make sure they are A+ material. It’s time to sharpen your blogging skills and refine your results.
We’ll begin our re-education with some time-tested, industry-agnostic quick fixes that ensure your blog will be effective, lead-generating and representative of your brand. From establishing goals to optimizing subscribe forms, read on to learn the best ways to rehab your business blog this fall.
1. Establish Goals
According to a recent Marketo study, 22.5 percent of marketers don’t have goals. And of the marketers who do, only 16 percent of respondents said they actually meet their goals. Goals allow you to set a baseline, measure your success and improve your content’s engagement, reach and conversions.
Even though it is already mid-year, it’s never too late to establish goals. Focus on creating and establishing quarterly goals for Q3 and Q4. It’s easy. First, make sure your blog is set up with an analytics platform such as Google Analytics. Then, select a few key goals for your enterprise blog’s performance. Goals can be related to views (website traffic), engagement (social shares or time on page) or conversions (new subscribers or assisted leads). They should always tie back to key performance indicators. Set a baseline and then track your monthly progress.
2. Get Organized
Many content creators still use a dizzying array of Word documents and Excel spreadsheets. And, let’s not forget the separate PDF with editorial guidelines. If this sounds like you, you are making life hard. There are some awesome new-to-the-market tools where you can ideate, plan, create, collaborate, edit, approve and publish all under one hood, so you don’t have to juggle between documents and screens.
Point blank: Blog content management is overwhelming without the right tools.
3. Set a Schedule
If your content plan tends to be “shoot from the hip,” it is time to set editorial themes. Draw inspiration from other blogs or well-performing content on your own blog and create high-level themes. Schedule different content themes for each week, month or around specific holidays or events.
Remember to schedule content due dates and revision and editing turnaround times. Don’t just focus on the publication date; keep the whole time frame in mind and organized.
4. Lure Influential Contributors
Your content will sound and feel unoriginal if you don’t have fresh voices on your blog. Influencers offer a fresh perspective plus a huge social following to extend the reach of the content they produce.
Find influencers who have the right reach, resonance and content. Then, invite them to contribute. Create and share editorial guidelines to maintain a consistent voice.
5. Up Your Average Word Count
If you are in the content marketing field, you know a little something about Google search algorithms. Thanks to Google’s Panda and Penguin updates, the search engine loves in-depth content that supports long-tail semantic search results.
A study conducted by SerpIQ provides further proof that long-form content ranks better than thin, 400-word blog posts. In fact, the study shows that 10th-position search results have 400 fewer words on the page than those landing in first position.
Here is an excerpt from the findings:
“It’s evident that a fully fleshed out site with a lot of quality content is going to be favored by Google. In fact, the last two monthly updates from Google have shown that they’re actively working on improving their detection of poor quality content.”
6. Understand the Basics of Grammar
Whether you are constantly producing content or new to the game, we all make mistakes. It’s called being human. Still, grammatical errors are a poor reflection on a brand, and you must be proactive in stopping them.
First, make sure you have a dedicated editor to review all content. Writers should never edit their own work. Always define and stick to a clear process for content approvals before publication. Perform a final read before you hit “publish.” If the resources are available, have someone other than the creator or the editor do a final read-through just before publication. You’ll be amazed at how much an extra pair of eyes can help, especially when you are churning out large volumes of content.
If you want additional grammar tips, check out these articles: “Awkward But Common Grammar Mistakes List,” “5 of the Most Common Grammar Mistakes and How to Fix Them” and “3 Grammar Rules That No Longer Apply.”
7. Make It Easy to Subscribe
What lead forms currently exist on your blog, if any? Now is the perfect time to take inventory of how you gain blog subscribers. First, make sure forms properly track names and emails. Then, consider making changes to subscription forms and doing some A/B testing. Simple copy, color and formatting tweaks can garner hundreds or thousands more subscribers.
“Maybe your link says ‘RSS’ or ‘Subscribe.’ It’d be a good idea to look at it from a non-technical perspective and update it to be more meaningful. Something like ‘Subscribe to new posts’ or ‘Subscribe to updates.’ Not everyone knows what RSS is so we may need to be more specific.”
Business blogs have innumerable benefits, and they are worth prioritizing. In fact, HubSpot reports that businesses with blogs are 13 times more likely to enjoy positive ROI. So hit the digital books and let the fine-tuning begin.