"As they always have and always will, people seek brands that will help them survive, help them succeed, and help them take care of their own. They want brands that will help them be loved and admired and that will, in some way, enrich or improve their lives." Keith Reinhard, chairman emeritus of DDB Worldwide and the advertiser responsible for "Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun?"
Before we can boost your blog marketing, we have to ask ourselves one important question: Are your blogs worth marketing? Is your content helping people survive, succeed, and take care of their families? Is your blog giving people practical ways to enrich their lives? Is what you're writing making people wealthier, healthier, happier, wiser, more fulfilled? Is your blog telling them something they don't already know? If the answer is no, start over.
Pam Hendrickson, author of The Art of Impact, says "“We are drowning in information while starving for wisdom. “The world will be run by synthesizers, people able to put together the right information, at the right time, think critically about it, and make important choices wisely.”
Here are 35 tips for writing better blogs and marketing those blogs.
Write better blog content
- Write a better headline:
• Include your topic keywords. A cute headline won't get clicks if people don't know what the topic is.
• Include a verb in your headline! No more noun-only headlines, please. For example, use: "Grow bluer rocks with rotation" instead of "Blue Rocks" (and yes, that's a silly, made-up headline, but you get the point).
• Keep it short (6 to 8 words).
• If appropriate, include a number
• Use sentence case.
• Invoke positive, happy emotions vs. guilt or fear.
- Length matters. Aim for 600-1,250 words to gain more reader shares; up to 2,500 words gains you higher SEO with Google.
- Give advice that’s easy to understand and simple to accomplish. For example, say "Recycle plastic bottles" instead of "Protect the environment." Simple and achievable is your goal if you want people to answer your calls to action.
- Back up your words with trusted research and include those sources in your blog.
- Ask readers what they need and write about that. Use data to inform future content. Know what information people are searching for; review trending topics at Google Trends.
- Include a "Meet the Author" section at the bottom of your blog which includes your short bio.
- Repurpose and update successful blogs by adding links to new content and more recent blogs.
- Link your content to existing content on our site. Help readers find related content and stay on our site. If University of Illinois Extension doesn't have a tip sheet on that topic, write one! When possible, don't direct readers to competing websites.
- Be consistent in your blog content. Readers come to you because they want to learn more about a specific topic. You'll lose subscribers if you go off-topic.
- Use H2 and H3 headlines, bullets, and numbered lists to help readers navigate the blog and find important content easier.
Market your blog effectively
- Build an email marketing list using Illinois' Webtools Groups Manager
- Only ask for the information you need. If you just need their email address, then don’t ask for more.
- Market your subscription group.
- Add your subscription link to your unit newsletters.
- Ask partner organization to add your subscription link in their newsletters
- Add subscription link to your unit website.
- Add subscription link to webinar registrations.
- Add subscription link to end of webinar presentations.
- Add a subscription link to your staff bio.
- Add a subscription link to your email signature.
- Add a subscription link at the end of each newspaper column.
- Include a subscription link at the bottom of each blog you post.
- Add a call to join the list at the end of each radio programs.
- Offer a gift (PDF of information) for subscribing.
- Acknowledge each new subscriber with a gift (another PDF of information).
- Send an email notification to your subscription list when a new blog is posted.
- Add your blog link to your social media profile bio.
- Add a subscription button in your email newsletter; write that call to action button in first person.
- Change the color of your call to action button; blue conveys trust.
- Buy targeted social media ads aimed at the readers you want to get.
- Ask people to help you be successful by sharing your blog with their friends.
- Have iPads/tablets at events for easy sign ups.
- Get endorsements from organizations influencers, collaborators, with similar content.
- Print bookmarks, business cards, refrigerator magnets, etc.
- Turn your blog into a podcast. Many people consume content while they're multitasking (running, cleaning, driving, working, exercising). Same words, different medium.
This information is supported by expert research from:
- Build a Storybrand, Donald Miller
- The Art of Impact, Pam Hendrickson
- Adweek, Keith Reinhard, DDB Worldwide
- 16 Ridiculously simple ways to get more email subscribers in less than 5 minutes, Opt In Monster
- 9 steps to grow your blog, Opt In Monster
- How to promote your blog, CoSchedule
- The Psychology of Color, QuickSprout
- 6 Proven Ways to Boost the Conversion Rates of Your Call-to-Action Buttons, Copy Blogger