Blogging and writing educational content for a website is often looked at as a dreaded task. It's on par with many people's excitement to go for a run after work! The problem is, much like the run, you know you should be doing it, but you still don't. If there's one thing that will truly help you start and continue blogging on a regular basis, it's having clear outcomes you are trying to achieve from blogging. I don't mean the general outcome of more website traffic. I mean specific outcomes.
Notice I said outcomeS, plural. Increasing website traffic might be one of your outcomes, but you should be more specific than that. When it comes to website traffic, your outcome should be more along the lines of increasing organic search traffic from Google, for a specific list of keywords, by a specific percentage, over a specific period of time. If your outcome is to get more website traffic, you've succeeded if you get 1 more visitor than you did last month. That's not success.
Defining Clear Blogging Outcomes Makes Blogging Easy
There are several outcomes any business should be aiming for when they start using blogging in their marketing mix. Your outcomes need to have some specifics attached to them, if possible, to give you a clear understanding of what you need to do to improve your efforts and what content areas to focus on. Here're some considerations for setting clear outcomes to achieve while blogging.
How Do You Want To Be Perceived?
Have you clearly defined how you want your company, products and services to be perceived? The perception you give to visitors of your site may be one of the hardest outcomes to measure, but it is definitely measurable. Let me clarify for a moment what I mean by how you are perceived.
Do you want be looked at as:
- The expert
- The premium option
- The best value option
- The cheapest option
- The most credible
- The most respected
- The funnest
- The most down to earth
- The easiest to work with
This is a small list of all of the options. Knowing which combination of these you want to achieve should directly contribute to your blogging topics. For example, let's say you are looking to be perceived as The Expert, The Premium Option, The Most Respected and The Easiest To Work With. Your content should have blog topics that provide massive education that makes your readers think of aspects of your solution they haven't in the past. It should focus on setting the buying criteria away from price by explaining the risks of under investing. It should include some real stories about your clients' success stories with testimonials. It should share achievements you have reached that are considerable for your industry.
One way to evaluate your success is to look at the keywords and phrases that people are finding your content with and see if they give hints at how you are perceived. Are people finding your content by searching 'cheapest widget manufacturer' or 'best widget manufacturer'? Additionally, when you qualify leads, what are they saying to sales when the lead was generated through your content?
What Social Media Interaction Do You Want?
If you are blogging and don't use social media to distribute your content, you are missing out on a huge opportunity. Your blog content makes for perfect social media post topics. Not just once, but repeatedly. When you use social media to distribute your blog content, you are not only increasing your SEO, but also helping to multiply the number of people exposed to your message. One of the most exciting aspects of getting started with regular blogging and distribution with social media is when any volume of people begin sharing your content, referencing your content, or favoriting/liking your content. All of these things will increase the number of social followers you attract.
So the question then becomes, what percentage of your blog posts-related social posts were:
- Commented on
Additionally, how many new followers were generated in each social channel versus the previous time period and how did the results compare to the goals you set for each of these categories?
What Keywords And Phrases Are You Trying To Improve Search Ranking For?
This is one of the most important and common areas of emphasis for a blogging strategy. Ranking well for certain keywords in your industry and completely change your business. You can go from a local manufacturer of metal parts to a national or international company in a very short period of time if you rank well for the right keywords. The key is to start by identifying the keywords you are almost ranking well for and start there. For example, you may rank on page 3 of Google search results for "metal widget manufacturer". Page 3 is much closer to page 1 than page 10, obviously. This keyword, if it is determined to be something that would benefit your business, should be an area of emphasis in your blogging topics.
You can apply this thinking to several keywords you are trying to rank well for. This should produce a slew of topics that you can write about, while focusing on these keywords. Setting some clear outcomes will make it even easier. You may rank 25th (page 3, listing 5) for your desired keyword. Your realistic short term outcome may be to rank 18th in the next period of measurement. That gives you a clear objective to focus on achieving.
How Many Leads/Sales Are You Trying To Generate?
This is the core of most business' objectives. Get more highly qualified leads that convert to sales. This should be one of your specific, measurable outcomes. When visitors land on your blog posts, what percentage become leads? How does that compare to your goals? How does that compare to the previous period?
Additionally, how many leads are you converting to sales? What percentage of these sales are the type of sale you prefer to make? Meaning how many are ideal purchases?
Measurement And Evaluation
If you've established some realistic and measurable outcomes, you are well on your way to blogging with much more frequency and impact. It's important to recognize though, that you have to actually measure these outcomes and goals at regular intervals to actually see what's working. This ensures you aren't blindly blogging. You will need to be able to quickly get the data to evaluate how you're doing with your outcomes and make adjustments if need be.
This is an area that can be really helpful to have a firm like ours help with. We know what realistic goals look like. We know how to regularly measure these goals and provide feedback/recommendations on continuing to improve.