August 26, 2015
Do you have a blog? If you do, how seriously are you taking your blogging efforts?
Here are some interesting stats on what blogging means for online businesses:
- According to a Hubspot survey of 4,000 customers, customers with blogs gathered 68 percent more leads than customers without blogs.
- According to data from Ignitespot, small businesses with blogs generate 126 percent more leads.
- 81 percent of U.S. consumers trust advice and information from blogs.
- 61 percent of U.S. consumers have made a purchase based on a blog post.
- 37 percent of marketers believe blogs are the most important type of content marketing.
- 70 percent of consumers learn about a company through articles rather than ads.
According Hubspot’s State of Inbound, 2014, businesses that blog are 13 times more likely to enjoy positive ROI compared to businesses that do not blog. Now, that’s massive ROI.
Also, blogging isn’t by any means difficult or expensive — you can start blogging for free, and there are dozens of free guides on how to start blogging. A good start is this comprehensive guide by Start Blogging Online.
Many more interesting things have been said about blogging, but does that mean you’ll automatically experience a boost in leads to your business if you start a blog?
With nearly 200 million blogs in various niches online, you’re competing for the attention of your audience against an ever-growing stream of blogs. While most of these blogs will be eventually abandoned, it is important that you take steps to ensure your blog remains profitable.
Here are five ways to generate leads from your blog:
1. Niche it Down
The No. 1 thing you can do to position your blog to generate leads for your business is to focus on a niche; unless you already have a pretty strong reputation as a generalist, and unless you have fans lining up to read your random ramblings, the reality is that nobody wants to read a blog from a generalist.
Contrary to what most people believe, blogging about every topic you can think of will not help you build an audience, nor will it make your blog popular; a jack of all trades is a master of none, and, when it comes to blogging, people only want to listen to a master of his or her field.
Getting results from blogging centers around understanding a key pain your audience experiences, letting them know you’re a master at helping them solve this pain, and proving that with the articles you write on your blog.
To get more leads from your blog, the first step is to be specific. Focus on one key niche, target a specific section of your audience, and craft a solid USP that differentiates your blog from the other blogs in your niche.
2. Create Your Offer, and Make it Clear
I regularly get e-mails from bloggers asking me to review their blog to determine why they aren’t getting results when they’ve been doing everything the experts suggest — or that’s what they think.
However, based on a quick review of most of these blogs, the No. 1 thing they all have in common is that it isn’t evident what they have to offer.
If you’re selling a product, nobody will buy from you if they have no idea that you are selling something.
If you’re a freelancer or consultant, you won’t get leads from your blog unless you showcase your services.
If you’re trying to build your e-mail list, nobody will subscribe without knowing your offer.
Make sure you create a page dedicated to explaining your offer, and feature that page prominently on your blog so that anybody who visits your blog can see it.
3. Constantly Reference Your Offer in Your Articles
Even after creating your offer and featuring it prominently on your blog, it is important to realize that that will do little to generate leads for you.
When it comes to getting leads from your blog, it is important to realize that relevancy matters; every article you publish can influence your readers in one way or the other, and if your article is relevant to your offer, and your readers enjoy it, the best time to remind them about your offer is right after they have read your article.
A great way to do this is by constantly referencing your offer in your blog posts; update old, key posts to reference your offer, and occasionally mention it in new posts until every reader of your blog knows about it.
4. Publish the Right Kind of Content
The Ignitespot data I referenced earlier also revealed that interesting content is one of the top three reasons people follow brands on social media.
If your content isn’t interesting enough, it will be difficult getting people to read it, and, as a result, it will also be difficult generating leads from your blog.
So, how do you publish interesting content that is different from that of thousands of other blogs in your niche? Here are some tips:
- Publish a resource post: If everybody else is sharing tips with their readers, you can publish a post on your blog that features resources that help your readers actually implement these tips.
- Write an ultimate guide: If everybody else in your niche is focusing on writing 500-word posts that they can spread over a few weeks or months, you can invest your effort into writing an ultimate guide to a particular subject.
- Publish case studies: Case studies show your readers that you know what you are doing, and that you are qualified to teach them. By analyzing your approach to solving a particular problem for yourself or your clients, you can use case studies to convince more people to check out your offer.
5. Don’t Ignore the Long-tail
For a very long time, bloggers have tried to separate blogging from SEO; everybody desperately wants to believe SEO doesn’t matter.
The truth you might not like; SEO matters!
Data has shown that organic search drives five times more traffic than all of social media combined and that SEO has the best lead-to-customer rate of all inbound marketing channels, yet a lot of businesses ignore SEO because they want to believe it doesn’t matter.
If you’re afraid that SEO is too complicated, you don’t have to worry; SEO doesn’t have to be complicated. By writing the right posts, ensuring you use terms people in your niche are actually searching for, and by building relevant links by contributing guest posts to authority blogs in your niche, you are doing SEO in the most basic way possible. This can yield surprisingly great results, resulting in more leads for your offer.