Inbound marketing was founded on the basis of earning attention from your potential customers by letting them find you. Typical inbound marketing methods include:
- Social Media
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Across the board, to me, blogging is by far the most useful and powerful tool for inbound marketing. Some people wonder the difference between inbound and outbound marketing. It is simple- one is getting customers to come to you, and one is marketing to your customers outwardly. Outbound marketing consists of more traditional methods of marketing such as:
- Buying Leads
- Direct mail
The reason why I, and most professionals, lean towards inbound marketing is the return is much greater and usually at a lower price-point. Consider that 86% of people skip through television commercials now due to DVR’s, and 44% of direct mail doesn’t even get opened. In addition, companies that blog have 50% more website visitors than those who don’t.
The Basics of Blogging
Many people run their blogs differently. Some are more informal while others are all business. I personally like to find a place in the middle between the two. No matter the style or format, the basics of blogging are the same across the board.
I find it easier to break down blogging into basic fundamentals that follow:
1. Pick a schedule and stick with it – you want your followers to know when to expect more from you, when they can next read new information. It is important to keep your information updated, relevant and fresh. The more you do these simple things, the more followers you will end up having. People are predictable and do get in the habit of things, just like reading their morning newspaper or watching the news.
2. Develop a target audience – you don’t want your content to be all over the place. You will want to develop a content plan for the audience you wish to reach. Just like any other marketing content plan, you will need to research your audience and find out the things they want from you. There is no sense in marketing to people who never intend to buy your product or service.
3. Find your voice – a voice is an important step in the blogging process. Everyone’s writing style is different but you will need to figure out what yours is and stick with it for each post. Make sure you know the difference between a formal paper or business proposal and a blog. They are very different and must be treated so. Once you find your voice, run with it. Bloggers tend to respond better to a stronger, more developed voice.
4. Be conversational and inspire feedback – you want your blog to inspire a conversation. Readers should want to post a reply or share your blog with their friends and business associates. Grab the attention of your readers by invoking a response or asking for their feedback. It’s important to make your readers a part of the conversation, requiring them to come back time and time again.
Educate and Inform
By creating an online presence and developing your blog you are creating informational content that people will begin to depend on and require. There are many people out there that search online for opinions from others and their input provided in the form of a blogging website. A great way to educate and inform your readers is by providing them with plenty of resources that will additionally entertain.
Resources to Include:
- Guest Posts
- Social Media Links
We also have many great content marketing ideas to help you out when you are in a creative rut.
Choose Quality over Quantity
Even though it is important to keep new and fresh content on your blog, it is more important to make sure each post is of the highest quality. Some people get in a rush and post anything just to stick to their schedule. It is better to be a day late and have your post read and shared than not.
Part of your quality check is normal, basic things like grammar, spelling and overall content consistency.
Design an Inviting Theme
Presentation does matter. Your blog needs to be well designed and laid out so people can find and read the information they are looking for. The design of your blog can really speak to your readers about who you are, your voice and your overall personality. You want to take the time to decide how you want your viewers to see you. You want your readers to feel welcome and comfortable, just like they would if they were entering into your home. Be hospitable; offer them something that would make them want to come back again; like you would offer your guest a drink or a cup of coffee when they came into your home.
Don’t be basic and boring – develop a theme and design better than the average blogging site. Make your site stand out and have your readers coming back for more. Just like when you design your home, you want to introduce a conversational piece to your readers, one they will want to talk about.
“I sincerely believe blogging can save America.” – John Jay Hooker
Inbound marketing is a strategy to get customers coming to you. Blogging is only one method to do so, but an important one. Take a hard look at your overall inbound marketing strategy and find a way to incorporate blogging into it. As I mentioned before, businesses that have blogs on their site get more traffic than those who don’t.