Is running a blog nonetheless value it?
With the advent of social media, live video, podcasting, and other digital marketing trends, it is easy to feel that blogging is lagging behind. But even in a world where there are “sexier” options, blogging still has a place at the table.
The benefits of blogging
Blogging has been around since the dawn of the internet. And while it has seen some development over the years, it has largely stayed the same. Other trends have come and gone, but the blog continues to serve as the backbone of any legitimate digital content strategy. Even in 2021, when there are plenty of other ways to create content, there are still plenty of benefits to blogging. This contains:
- SEO. Most business websites have no chance of ranking on the first page of Google for the most important search terms. And 9 out of 10 situations, it’s because they have no content. You have a homepage, a page about us, a contact page, and possibly a couple of product pages – that’s it! By creating a blog where you regularly post rich content that is full of natural keywords and language that your customers are using, your website will instantly become stickier to the search algorithms and increase your chances of ranking.
- Customer training. A blog offers you the opportunity to inform your customers about complex topics, technical components or major problems that arise in their life and / or your industry. It’s a simple and organic way of educating without pretense.
- Lead generation. A blog is a great lead generation tool. You can use it as an entry point into the website and then get people to sign up through a subscription form that is connected to a lead magnet.
- Monetization. While this doesn’t happen right away, you can actually get to a point where you can monetize your blog through ads. You probably won’t get rich, but you could eventually make enough from your blog to make up for the cost of content creation.
- Authority. A blog is an excellent authority building. As easy as it is to start a blog, it is still perceived as a status symbol. Much like writing a book or podcast, writing for a blog gives you that authority that people respect.
- Skill development. When you need to start, manage, and grow your blog, there are a number of different hats you need to wear (at least initially). Through this process, you will acquire and hone a number of valuable skills that you can use in other areas of marketing and business. This includes things like keyword research, basic SEO, WordPress, conversion copywriting, and lead funnels.
- Discipline. Blogging doesn’t generate results overnight. It’s something to hold onto for months and years. And in a world determined and guided 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. It doesn’t matter what year is on the calendar, blogging will continue to bring significant benefits to those who commit to getting it right.
How to start a (successful) blog
Starting a blog is not as difficult as some imagine it is. All it takes is some planning, discipline, and consistency. Here are a few more 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 they can ever achieve their dream. While it’s true that there are a number of steps it takes to successfully build and start your blog, you shouldn’t get so caught up in the details that you forget the big picture.
Your blog name, CMS, blog hosting, and topic are all important. You don’t have to spend weeks working these details out, however. Once you’ve hit 80 percent, take action. You can always come back and fill in the blanks later. It is much more important that you present yourself out there. The sooner you do this, the better. Progress is much more important than perfection.
2. Use a cornerstone strategy
There are dozens of popular blogging strategies out there, but the cornerstone approach is one of the best options when you’re just starting out.
With the Cornerstone strategy, you create three or four extremely high quality pieces of content that take a comprehensive look at the most important topics / pain points of your niche. (These are often called Cornerstone posts or Pillar posts.) This is the stickiest piece of content on your website. Everything revolves around these posts (including your SEO and backlink strategies).
Once your cornerstones are established, it is time to spread out and create related topics that revolve around each cornerstone. For example, if your cornerstone is buying a home, your blog posts (which are shorter) will focus on topics like Finding a Real Estate Agent, What to Look For During an Inspection, Packing Tips, Top Things to Do Before Closing, etc. Posts then link back to the cornerstone, directing 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 quality content if you don’t know who your audience is. So before ever creating any piece of content, take the time to understand who your reader is on the micro level.
The best way to understand your reader is to develop reader personas. These are basically one-page documents that explain who the customer is on an intimate level. It deals with demographic information, financial information, buying behavior, hobbies, interests, background, family life, etc.
Most blogs have between two to five different reader personalities. Treat each of them as thoroughly as possible. When you start writing a new post, make sure you know what personas you are writing to.
4. Make it visual
Humans are visual learners. The brain can process visual content much better than text. So, if you want your blog to be as engaging and memorable as possible, you should look for ways to make each post as aesthetically stimulating as possible.
There are many easy ways to create visual content. This includes graphics, charts, images, memes, gifs, infographics, and videos. And thanks to easy-to-use tools like Canva, anyone with little experience can create rich blog visuals.
5. Split up your content
Anyone who tells you you can create, brainstorm, write, and publish quality content in less than an hour is lying to you. It takes a long time to produce good content. So when it finally goes live, you’ll need to be as resourceful with it as possible. This is where the concept of splintering comes into play.
When splitting content, you take a blog post and format it into other content that can be shared on different media. For example, a 1,500-word blog post could theoretically turn 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 out the content, it doesn’t take long to produce these splinters.
6. Study and iterate
Keep your head down for the first 120 days. Produce as much quality content as you can and don’t look for a second. Then, over the next 120 days, start figuring out what works, what doesn’t, and where you can improve. Then apply what you’ve learned over the next 120 days and let your blog evolve.
If you adopt this year-long roadmap, you will be looking up in 365 days and your blog will be far better than most of your peers.
Buckle up and blog
Blogging won’t offer the brief engagement that a viral social media post could. And it is unlikely to generate any revenue for you in the short term like a PPC ad strategy would.
However, if you zoom out and look at it long term, blogging has the potential to produce better ROI than both combined. As long as you keep perspective and commit to persistence, good things will happen.