By Dr Thomas Brown | November 03 2016
Discover the five-step process we use when creating and publishing our articles to ensure they're speaking to the right people and actually perform as we want them to.
So you’ve written a brand new article brimming with valuable, educational content that your target audience loves. Great — but you’ve only done 20% of the work needed if you want it to perform well and actually deliver on the goals you've set out for it in your content marketing strategy.
Now for the other 80%. You've probably heard of the Pareto Principle. Here’s a practical example of how it applies when creating and publishing an article:
You’ve scheduled in five hours to write your article and promote it. From that five hours, 20% (one hour) should be spent drafting the copy and the other 80% (four hours) should be spent refining, hacking, and promoting your content.
Sounds like a lot? Yes, it is. You’re probably wondering how to spend four hours tweaking and promoting one article.
To explain, I'll set out the five-step process we use. This will make sure you're doing as much as you can to ensure your article gets the audience it deserves — and continues to be a hit for a long time.
There are two types of people in this world: the SEO gurus and everyone else.
I'm not here to bore you with technical details in this post. Quite the opposite, in fact: I am inviting you to think about SEO a little differently.
Before you get down to your topic clusters and keyword research, jump into your buyer's shoes. Ask yourself: 'what will my ideal customer search for?'
Understanding how your customers are thinking when they pull out their phone to search can help you to come at your cluster and keyword research from the right perspective and ensure the content that you produce off the back of it is telling the right stories or answering the right questions.
Despite that, here are some helpful (metric ridden) tips for SEO:
Make sure your primary keyword appears in your title
Always write a keyword-optimised meta description
Don't forget to optimise your images — alt-tags matter too
Google considers mobile optimisation a key part of every website's rankings. So do your buyers
Using these tips (in accordance with the mindset change you should be adopting right now) will help your SEO, which in turn will make your blog a legitimate killer.
You can write a Shakespeare-esque article that rolls off the tongue and is a joy to read, but without a conversion point, then ‘nothing will come of nothing’. (King Lear, Act 1, Scene 1, Page 4.)
This is why it’s incredibly important to have a CTA within your blog post. Now, you can’t just bung in any old CTA and expect to get conversions; you need to be intelligent and make sure your CTA’s are relevant.
These tips may help you with that:
Get creative — use visually striking CTAs. They are a lot more likely to gain attention
Use actionable words — people prefer to be taking action, so use words like ‘download’ or ‘join us’. Also, stay away from ‘submit’—most people don’t like to submit
Don’t lie — CTAs set expectations. Don’t say someone will get a free ebook and not follow through
So you now have your SEO and CTAs sorted, what else can there be to do? Well, tweaking is your next step.
It can be tedious to have to change your articles, especially when it's small tweaks like a sentence here or a paragraph there. How much of a difference will it really make anyway? Well, tweaking is the epitome of the 80/20 rule.
If your article isn't converting, something may be wrong — but it may not be as drastic as you think. Don’t delete the article, play around with it.
Make a couple of changes and incorporate these three elements:
A catchy title — how good is your title? Is it interesting? Does it stand out? If you have no idea how to answer these questions, there is help at hand: use the Headline Analyzer to assess your articles' titles . 60+ is a good score
Inbound links — a great way to keep people on your website is to link them to another piece of content that is relevant. The important word here is relevant. Don’t go linking every page on your website in an article if you want anyone to actually read it
Outbound links — don’t scream. Linking to another website that isn’t your own is a great way to get involved in the community. Also, it sets you out as a collaborator, which in business is a valuable asset. It may seem asinine to take traffic away from your website but it is effective in the long run
One of the biggest mistake marketers make before publishing their blog is they get caught up in using ‘business-speak’. Instead of creating a vision or a voice for their company they just write like a faceless, big organisation. It doesn’t work.
Read through your post again. Does it sound like it was written by a wonderful, expressive person who you’d actually like to talk to, or by a faceless computer-automated business? It is important to tell your company's story, but that only comes across if you write as a person.
Some more tips below:
Take care to talk like your customer. Use their words and their language, and they're more likely to understand your concepts
Follow your brand's tone of voice guidelines. Try and keep this consistent across all articles. Admittedly, with numerous authors this can be difficult, but therein lies the challenge
Be original. Just because everyone else blogs in a certain manner doesn’t mean you should. Find a niche. There's so much content out there now that telling unique stories and finding interesting angles is essential
Every article is an opportunity: an opportunity to lead and an opportunity to win. However, you can’t win without playing the game. In the blogosphere, the game is promotion. You can write the best article in the world, but if no one reads it then you’ve wasted everyone's time and budget.
When you’ve written your value-loaded blog, here are some tips to get the promotion ramped up:
Leverage your network. One of the best ways to promote your article is through your network. The golden rule here is that you must be adding value. Don’t send your article about PPC (Pay Per Click) to a prospect who needs help on SEO. That's spam. Be helpful, only send value-loaded content to those who need it
Don’t forget social. Social media has become an awfully benign term. Everyone now does it and so called ‘experts’ will tell you the correct way to do social media. However, the important thing is doing it the right way for your business. Explore your current social media strategy; is it complementing your articles? If not, change
Engage in your community. Whichever sector you're in, there will be a large website for sharing ideas/tips as is now vogue. The community should be the bedrock of your promotion. Again though, before you do anything, think ‘value’. Get a Post-It note and write the word VALUE in capital letters and stick it on your desk
Promote your content thoughtfully. When working with your community, don’t cram your content down people's throats. Instead, respond to another post with a comment like this: ‘Thanks for this, Paul, It’s a really interesting idea that you mention, I have a different view that I’ve written about here. Be interested to know what you think.’ You’ll get much more engagement with the latter than with the former
The benefits of blogging are well established. From framing you as a thought-leader, to building relationships with your community by providing them with value-loaded content, blogging is undoubtedly a key part of every salesperson and marketer's toolkit.
The Pareto Principle is a great way to make sure that you’re going about this process efficiently, effectively, and strategically. Whether you’re the one who put the effort in to write a value loaded article, or it's your team investing time and budget into content creation, make sure you do the work justice by promoting it correctly.
For a more in-depth look at your content strategy, including how to plan and implement it across your business, download our free guide below.
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Head of Content at BabelQuest responsible for steering and implementing the content roadmap. PhD Creative Writing at the University of Southampton and novelist with Sparkling Books.
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