5 Points For Better Blogging

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Content Marketing

One of marketing automation’s big wins is the ability to help you target audience segments down to personae by role, interest, and behavior. Sometimes when you’re crafting content to meet an audience’s need, that means you shouldn’t use the creative you’ve fallen in love with.

Missed targetCase in point: Recently Inc. ran a great story by Jeff Haden, 10 Things Extraordinary Bosses Give Employees, and since it had to do with working and workers, we planned to curate the piece as a Labor Day post. Finally we realized that the Inc. story was written for the CXO who wants to be a better boss. Our Marketing Action readers tend to be marketing directors who are hands-on, who do the day-to-day work of marketing as well as manage the rest of the team. You’ve told us that what you expect to read here are articles that help you become better marketers. That means a piece written for the CXO, no matter how well written, probably wouldn’t have spoken to you. We’d have missed the target.

Missing the target is a cardinal sin in marketing. In the old days, a lot of marketing was just broadcasting your message out to everyone. (Junk mail, anyone?) We missed a lot of marks that way, but it was the best method for reaching people at the time. Today, we can use online marketing and automation to foster interaction and engagement, so you can continue learning about your prospective customer. The more you know about them, the more you can tailor your messaging to hit the target.

We came close to blowing it in this blog post, so let’s take a look at how to apply certain principles to blogging so you can meet your audience’s needs and expectations…and hit that target.

1. Know your audience.

It’s the number-one piece of advice Act-On gives to marketers, and it applies to every facet of online marketing. This knowledge underlies everything else and gives meaning to your marketing efforts. Do your best to map everything you do and every piece of content you create to your audience’s key characteristics and interests.

2. Value your audience’s time.

People are really, really, really busy these days. If you ask them to pay attention to your messages (in any channel), you have to make it worth their while. Here again your blog has to follow the same rules as all the rest of your content. Your posts must have meaning – value – for your audience/buyers/customers.

3. Make it easy to read.

Jane Root was an amazing mentor who taught writers how to create materials for low-literacy readers. The point she stressed was that clear-and-simple reading materials were also best for busy people. “It’s not literature,” she said. “It’s information.” Making your pieces easy to follow (and short) increases the odds your post will be read, and lowers the odds that your information will be misunderstood or misapplied.

bad photo of kitten4. Remember to add visual appeal.

A picture is still worth a thousand words, and is a great way to pull someone’s attention into your post. A really good picture that augments the text is worth even more. A word of caution: An irrelevant image is worse than no image; it’s patronizing.

5. Have multiple authors.

There are different perspectives on authorship; none are wrong, but (like any marketing plan) your company needs to have a clear strategic goal and a plan for how to reach it. Most corporate blogs that post daily or more often have multiple authors. This expands the number of voices and topics, and offers your audience a less homogenous, more interesting reading experience. For additional authors, look for people inside your company with unique knowledge and the ability to write about it, and/or seek out guest bloggers, or hire freelancers. You can also curate great posts from other sites, being careful to give credit, add links to the original site, and use a rel=canonical link so Google knows which page to credit for the content.

There’s plenty more to say about blogging, but we’d just as soon listen as talk. What success tactics would you like to share? What knowledge would you like to gain? What do you think?