Editor’s note: This post was written by Charlotte Park, the PR Lead for ClearVoice, a content marketing platform that empowers writers and businesses to connect and collaborate in a world-class content workflow environment. She graduated from Arizona State University with a degree in communications, and has since spent her time working alongside PR and social media moguls to learn the tricks of the trade.
It’s easy to have a love-hate relationship with blogging. You might have the passion and motivation to execute the perfect blog where readers can engage in conversations and build relationships. However, without the right tools and strategies, a blog can quickly dissolve into a wasteland of the massive amount of content that’s produced each day. Whether you are blogging for personal gain or for business, your content should engage readers, create conversations and eventually develop long-lasting relationships.
Accelerate your blog strategy with these four lessons.
Know your audience
Can you confidently say you know who you are writing to? You’re probably aware that your readers are your blog’s life source. If you neglect your readers’ needs, it won’t be long until you’re writing your blog’s eulogy.
To gain insight into your target audience, find relevant Twitter chats, LinkedIn groups and Google+ communities that you can join. With some basic market research, you can uncover your audience demographics such as age range, gender, professional and educational status, interests and income range. From here, you can define custom audience personas to help you to understand their journey, their pain points and interests.
Google Analytics’ Audience is a great tool to help you get to the core of your current readers. Based on who is interacting on your page, the audience report provides you with an understanding of your reader demographics, their behavior and what technology they use to consume your content.
Make a positive first impression
An eye-tracking study conducted by Missouri S&T found that the moment someone clicks on your blog, you have about three seconds to make an impression. The results revealed that users spent on average 5.25 to 6.48 seconds focused on the logo, content, main site images and social sharing. Referred to as the handshake moment, this is a short period of time where making a good impression should be your top priority.
It’s crucial for you to take a step back from your blog and ask yourself:
- Is your content visually appealing?
- Does the content flow and is it easy to read?
- Does the user have to figure out how to navigate through your blog?
This quick exercise will help you see what the viewer sees. Be brutally honest with yourself when answering these questions.
Stay consistent and relevant
If you have successfully passed that awkward first handshake, congratulations. From here, your viewers are now potential long-term readers. But to keep them interested you have to provide them with a continuous stream of unique content. So, how do you scale your content marketing efforts? Start with a content strategy plan. Start with your goals and objectives. Then with your researched custom audience personas, decide the niche market you want to target.
Create content ideas based on the conversations, needs and pain points discussed among your target audience. We don’t want to just grab the readers attention, we want to earn and hold it.
Include these elements in every piece of content you produce:
- Make it meaningful and relevant to you readers.
- Include a call to action. What do you want your readers to do?
- Use social media as a leverage. All your pieces should be easily sharable.
- Use SEO best practices so your content is easy to find. Take time to learn about SEO and blog metadata.
- Make it scannable. Busy people don’t have the time to read the whole piece, so use short paragraphs or bullet points to break up your content.
- Maintain consistency across all channels you are using.
Scale your content
If you are part of a blogging team, you’ll want to have some level of transparency among the other contributors. Producing creative content at scale is one of the main struggles content creators face. Without a content plan, this would be near to impossible to execute. If you’re looking to step up your content game, here are some tools and tips you should use to scale your content.
Editorial calendars: A shared editorial calendar that your entire team can view and contribute to is key. Your calendar can be as simple as a shared Google calendar. Tools like CoSchedule are great for blog managers. It works within WordPress to create blog and social posts, however it isn’t necessarily a collaborative tool. For larger teams, consider platforms like ClearVoice, which allows communication across teams, automation of content into production, and color coded campaigns for an organized visual overview.
Here’s an extensive list of editorial calendar tools for you to check out.
Get rid of ad-hoc tools: Reevaluate your current workflow process. Are you using spreadsheets to organize your hectic content plan? Or, are you attempting to use tools that aren’t initially intended for workflow tools? If so, you are probably struggling to keep your strategy afloat.
Workflow tools: Scaling content requires a steady stream of content that’s usually produced by a number of external and internal contributors. You’ll want to automate this workflow process. This gives you the power to create templates for tasks and approvals for every content type and campaign and ultimately, saving time and boosting team productivity. When looking for content workflow tools, ask yourself the following questions:
- Does the tool support my organization’s unique content needs?
- Can I manage both internal and external writers?
- Does the workflow tool have real-time collaboration and editing options?
- Does the workflow integrate with other existing content tools?
- Does it offer built-in editorial calendars?
- Does it allow for multiple collaborators?
- Can it assist with content strategy?
- Does it streamline my content marketing production process?
Communicate clearly and often: Take an organized approach to communicating across your content team. Find a content platform that allows you to create assignments, request revisions, approve and share content in real time. Also, never neglect the power of face-to-face brainstorms.