With the rise of social media, live video, podcasting, and other digital marketing trends, it’s easy to feel like blogging is lagging behind. But even in a world where there are “sexier” options, blogging still has its place on the table.
The benefits of blogging
Blogs have been around since the dawn of the Internet. And although it has seen some evolution over the years, it has largely remained the same. Other trends have come and gone, but the blog has continued to serve as the backbone of any legitimate digital content strategy. Even in 2021, when there are many more ways to create content, there are still many benefits to blogging. This includes:
- SEO. Most business websites have no chance of ranking on the first page of Google for key search terms. And in 9 out of 10 situations, it’s because they don’t have content. They have a home page, an about us page, a contact page and possibly a few product pages – that’s it! By creating a blog where you regularly post rich content filled with natural keywords and languages that your customers use, your website instantly becomes stickier to search algorithms and increases your chances of ranking.
- Client education. A blog gives you the opportunity to educate your clients on complex topics, technical components or major issues that arise in their life and / or in your industry. It’s a simple, organic way to educate without pretension.
- Lead generation. A blog is a great lead generation tool. You can use this as an entry point to the website and then get people to sign up through a subscription form that’s connected to a main magnet.
- Monetization. While this doesn’t happen immediately, you may actually reach a point where you are able to monetize your blog through advertisements. You probably won’t get rich, but you could potentially earn enough from your blog to offset the costs of creating content.
- Authority. A blog is a great authority builder. Despite the ease of starting a blog, people see it as a status symbol. Much like starting a book or podcast, writing for a blog gives you that level of authority that people respect.
- Competence development. To start, manage and grow your blog, you will need to wear multiple hats (at least at the start). And through this process, you will acquire and refine a number of valuable skills that can be leveraged in other areas of marketing and business. This includes things like keyword research, basic SEO, WordPress, conversion writing, and funnels.
- Discipline. Blogs don’t generate results overnight. It is something that you must adhere to for several months and years. And in a world that is defined and ruled by instant gratification, there is something to be said for cultivating discipline.
When you add all of these benefits together, the power of blogging becomes clear. Regardless of the year on the calendar, blogging will continue to yield significant benefits for those who commit to doing it the right way.
How to start a blog (successful)
Start a blog is not as difficult as some claim. All it takes is planning, discipline, and consistency. Here are some other helpful tips:
1. Don’t get bogged down
Most people come up with the idea of starting a blog and then get bogged down in the details before turning their dream into reality. While it is true that there are a number of steps involved in creating and starting a successful blog, you shouldn’t get so attached to the details that you forget the big picture.
Your blog name, CMS, blog hosting, and theme are all important. However, you don’t need to spend weeks hammering out these details. Once you’re at 80 percent, take action. You can always come back and fill in the gaps later. It is much more important that you put yourself forward. The sooner you do it, the better. Progress is far more important than perfection.
2. Use a basic strategy
There are dozens of popular blogging strategies out there, but the basic approach is one of the best options if you’re just getting started.
With the basic strategy, you create three or four very high quality pieces of content that provide an overview of the main topics / pain points in your niche. (These are often referred to as cornerstone posts or pillar posts.) These will be the stickiest pieces of content on your site. Everything revolves around these posts (including your SEO and backlink strategies.)
Once your centerpieces are established, you’ll want to expand and create related topics that focus on each centerpiece. For example, if your main topic is about buying a home, your blog posts (which are shorter) will focus on topics like how to find a real estate agent, what to look for in an inspection , packing tips, the best things to do before closing, etc. Each of these posts is then linked to the centerpiece, fueling SEO juice and traffic to the most important posts.
3. Understand your audience
Every successful blog on the Internet is reader-centric. And you can’t develop high quality content if you don’t understand who your audience is. So, before you create a single piece of content, you need to take the time to understand who your reader is at a micro level.
The best way to understand your reader is to develop reader personas. They are basically one-page documents that explain who the customer is on an intimate level. It deals with demographic information, financial information, shopping behavior, hobbies, interests, background, family life, etc.
Most blogs will have between two and five characters from different readers. Be as thorough as possible with each one. When you start to write a new post, make sure you know which characters you are writing to.
4. Make it visual
People are visual learners. The brain is much more proficient at processing visual content than text. So, if you want your blog to be as engaging and memorable as possible, you need to look for ways to make each post as aesthetically appealing as possible.
There are many easy options for creating visual content. This includes charts, tables, images, memes, gifs, infographics, and videos. And thanks to the user-friendliness tools like Canva, anyone can develop rich blog visuals without much experience.
5. Divide your content
Anyone who tells you that you can think, write, and post great content in under an hour is lying to you. It takes a long time to produce good content. So once it finally goes live, you need to be as resourceful as possible with it. This is where the concept of bursting comes in.
Content splitting is where you take a blog post and reformat it into other pieces of content that can be shared across different mediums. For example, a 1,500 word blog post could theoretically be turned into a dozen social media posts, a handful of graphics, a Facebook Live video, a podcast episode, and an email sequence. And because you’ve already written the content, it won’t take very long to produce those chunky pieces.
6. Study and iterate
Keep your head down for the first 120 days. Produce as much quality content as possible and don’t search for a second. Then, over the next 120 days, start studying what works, what doesn’t, and where you can improve. Then, for the next 120 days, apply what you’ve learned and let your blog evolve.
If you take this one-year roadmap, you’ll search in 365 days and your blog will be better than most of your peers.
Buckle Up And Get A Blog
Blogging is not going to provide the short burst of engagement that a viral social media post could offer. And it probably won’t generate any income for you in the short term like a PPC advertising strategy would.
However, when you zoom out and look at it for the long haul, blogging has the potential to produce a better ROI than the two combined. As long as you maintain the right perspective and commit to consistency, good things will happen.