Here are the 3 major challenges bloggers face in 2014 in their efforts to achieve a breakthrough year.
- Every firm, large and small, is producing content marketing.
- Social media is less effective as a free content distribution channel in light of changing algorithms and platforms’ need to generate revenue.
- People’s attention is spread across a wider array of connected devices.
As a blogger, you must recognize that your audience’s time, attention and focus is how you’re compensated for creating great content. To this end, here are the 3 keys to blog success in 2014 and actionable marketing tactics to achieve each of them.
1. Provide content of high value to your audience.
While content quality is the 2014 mantra of many marketing experts, this often leads to high priced, expensive content – but this misses a key point. Your audience doesn’t care about how much it cost to create the content; rather, they care about its ability to solve their problems. Offer the following types of information on your blog to meet your audience’s needs:
2. Entertain your audience.
- Supply product information. Give your potential customers the information they seek. Take a lesson from Marcus Sheridan who answered all of his prospects’ questions and matched his products to their requirements on his swimming pools site.
- Answer customer questions. This is a no brainer. Just get the questions that people ask your sales and customer service teams. It has the side benefit of not having to answer the same question over and over again.
- Show customers how to use your products. Think fun education and how-to’s. Extend this to offering patterns and recipes. Include great photos that show each step.
- Explain how to style your products, if appropriate. This is particularly important for clothing and interior design type offerings. Show prospects and customers how to use your product in their context. This means show how to accessorize your offering. Target does a great job with this on Tumblr.
- Furnish customer ratings and reviews. While many companies get nervous at the idea of people posting their impressions of their business, the reality is that customers want to see what others say about your firm. If you don’t supply this information, they’ll find it elsewhere which means they may buy elsewhere. Test customer interviews and photographs as an alternative. But don’t push people to give positive feedback since this can backfire.
People want to be amused. Recognize that everyday life and work can get pretty boring and dull. We need a break from our daily routines that makes us laugh or cheers us up. Just because your product or business focuses on a boring topic doesn’t mean that your content has to be dull. Here are 3 ways to lighten your content offering.
3. Present a mix of different types of content.
- Tell stories. People are programmed to listen to and remember stories. The benefit of incorporating stories into your blog posts makes them memorable. Get stories from your employees and customers.
- Use an element of surprise. People are always on the lookout for new information and enjoy getting surprised. What can you offer that’s unique or special on your blog?
- Show your fun side. Take a page from high profile sites like BuzzFeed. Add content such as GIFs, memes and/or photobombs to engage your audience. For example, Marketo tested this on their blog and it attracted a lot of attention.
Most people can’t live on a diet of the same meal day after day without change unless they have very restrictive health issues. The same goes for your blog offering. You must serve up a variety of content to keep your readers interested.
- Discuss an array of topics. Cover a variety of different subjects. Ideally, these should relate to your editorial calendar and your blog categories as well as your list of keywords.
- Use diverse article types. While it’s easy to produce the same type of blog post on a regular basis once you have a set format, it can get old for your readers. Add some spice to your offering by including news round ups, interviews; curate the best articles in your niche, review new products and offer recipes or patterns. For example, Ian Clearly’s Razor Social blog focuses on reviewing the latest tools and gadgets related to social media.
- Provide different content formats. Mix up your content offering. Test new ways and channels to reach your audience. Remember people take in information in different ways. Add a video or podcast to your blog. Mike Stelzner has a weekly podcast interview every Friday on Social Media Examiner and Jon Loomer has been testing weekly webinars.
- Invite other writers to join you. Ask others in your category to share an article of interest to your readers. Understand that having guest blog posts requires strong editing.
Tags: audience, blog posts, bloggers, blogging, content formats, customers, writers