Having an active blog on your website is proven to be a highly effective lead generation strategy. According to a 2013 report from HubSpot, 80% of marketers whose companies are blogging reported ROI from their efforts. Statistics proving the value of blogging are everywhere, but how do you ensure that your company blog is effective? Here are five tips that will help you manage a successful blog campaign.

Create Personas

Crafting generic content just won’t cut it with your readers. Don’t just focus on the readers that you see as revenue sources. By focusing only on one segment of your audience, you will miss out on opportunities to generate engagement and get your content shared across the Internet.

In order to avoid this pitfall, create detailed personas for each segment that contain the following information:

  • Based on each audience segment, name the persona. For example, if you own a photography shop and one of your audiences is comprised of hobbyists, maybe you can develop a persona with a name like Heidi Hobbyist.
  • Write a demographic description for each persona. Heidi is a 35 year-old marketing director who dabbles in travel photography on the side and she resides in Fargo, North Dakota.
  • Add information about the day parts during which each persona is most active as a reader, as well as info about any other activities that would effect Heidi’s blog reading preferences.
  • Note the types of content that each persona is seeking. Are they seeking prices and camera models, photography tips and tricks, or articles about famous photographers?
  • You can add as much or as little info as you like, but the more you add, the more targeted your content will become.

The Newsroom

SharknadoRun your blog campaign like a newsroom. Form a small team with the objective of brainstorming for blog post ideas. Write down each reader persona on a board or a large piece of paper and then ask team members to contribute ideas for blog posts that would appeal to each segment.

It is important to craft content that fits the needs of each segment, as well as content that is timely. Your blog subscribers want to read material that adds value to their world specifically. They also want that material to be relevant. If you write an article about something that was “breaking news” two months ago, chances are no one cares anymore. Joey Hall’s article about Sharknado received rave reviews a few months ago, but if I wrote a follow-up now, there is a good chance no one would care because the hype is no longer there.

Take the best ideas and assign them to writers according to their strengths. You can assign a “beat” or particular subject matter to each team member. Craft targeted content and schedule it to go live at strategically determined dates and times based on each individual persona.

Editorial Calendar and Style Guide

Once you have your targets personified and you have jotted down topics and subject matter, it’s time to get organized. An editorial calendar can go a long way in keeping your blogging campaign on track.

There are a number of different ways to do this, so find out what format is best for you and set your editorial calendar up that way. I like to use a spreadsheet that notes the channel (blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc.), the topic, the audience, and the date, but it really is up to you to decide what fits best with your objectives. This is a good one from Pam Moore that you might want to try.

Along with the calendar, it’s smart to have a style guide. Create a detailed document that spells out best blog writing practices, as well as the standards that your organization has set for writing style, grammar, and other factors. Read more on Style Guides.

Analytics

Once you have the posts up and live you just sit back and hope for the best, right? Wrong! This is where the analytical side of things comes into play. Chances are you have Google Analytics or another program tied to your website. If not, I’ll wait while you go set it up…

Ok, time’s up.

Once you have it set up you can gather all kinds of useful information about the performance of your blog. Find out how many visits your content has received, what pages visitors navigate to after landing on your page, which posts are the most popular, demographic info about your readers, and much more.

Take the insights that you glean from your analytics efforts and use them to adjust your blogging strategy to be the most effective it can possibly be.

Monitor and Engage

Don’t forget to pay attention to what is being said about your posts. Once people start noticing your content, they will start to talk about it. This can come in many forms. Readers might comment directly on your blog, they might tweet about a particular article, or they might share it across their social channels.

Whatever way they choose to talk about your blog, make sure you have a strategy in place to engage and respond. Assign a well-trained team member with a knack for effective social media engagement and a strong ability to generate meaningful conversation via social media channels.

Armed with this diagram for managing a successful blog campaign, get your team together and start brainstorming. Don’t rush it. Take your time and make sure your strategy is well thought out. All the benefits of blogging will be lost if you rush in blindly, so have patience and be strategic. And let us know how your organization has had success with blogging.

Anthony GaenzleDirector of Marketing

 

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