How to Blog Harder and Smarter

Keltie Munro – One Comment

2013 has arrived, and with it comes new implications about content marketing strategy. We played the content marketing game in 2012, but do we really know all the rules and secrets of creating popular content? What are we to do in a world of changing SEO rules and expanding content to compete with? Lucky for us, as long as we all continue creating specified and quality content, the fruits of our labour should fall naturally into place.

In 2012, we saw that creating good, quality content reflected in SEO rankings. However, in 2013, this is even more important. Here are the reasons why quality content will pay off, SEO-wise, in 2013.

1. Search results are no longer monolithic.

You may have noticed that if you are signed in to your Google account while using the search engine, your search results will be personalized to you based on your search history and online activity. For content creators, this works both ways. If the content you create is not specific enough, it won’t rank high in personalized searches; but if it’s specific and catered to a certain audience, it will emerge sooner for your niche market searcher and find those with interest in your brand positioning.

2. There’s no such thing as a boring industry with nothing to write about.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a clothing retailer whose audience is made up of eager teenage girls, or if you’re a supplier of metal alloys: you have equal ability to create engaging content. That’s because any industry out there has at least a handful of other people in that industry; therefore, a niche market exists, often with limited sources of expertise to listen to and learn from. That’s where you fit in. If you operate in a smaller industry, your competition for online followers is much less than the competition for bigger industries. Make use of it and start putting out useful advice for your industry based on questions and prominent issues industry folks can relate to. Pretty soon, you will be engaging your audience and establishing a reputation for yourself as a thought leader, expanding your brand identity.

3. Blog posts attract social shares.

If you write good content, people will want to click on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest icons that accompany the story. This, in turn, improves your SEO ranking because social shares matter for SEO—not to mention the word-of-mouth you will get for your credibility and expertise in your field.

4. Blogging promotes engagement, on your terms.

Quality content gives you the opportunity to engage further with your target audience by inspiring dialogue around the specific issue you have written about. This puts a face to your brand identity and lets you get to know your audience and their needs better.

There are also specific things you should be doing to get the most you can out of writing quality content. Since you will be putting in the hours to write a post anyways, why not do the following little things to ensure you get the most ROI?

Build relationships for guest posting.
When you guest post on similar websites (or have guest posts on your site), you expand your outreach. This, in turn, attracts more people to your business and increases your chances of ROI. Begin to build new relationships by consistently linking to certain thought leaders within your posts, actively commenting on other thought leaders’ content, and posing questions for those thought leaders to answer.

Don’t forfeit the basics.
Even if your content is brilliant, if you are missing a catchy title, an easy-to-read format, and a call to action, you are not making the most of your potential. You should ask yourself the following about your title: Is it an engaging question? Is it a surprising fact? Does it make the post sound like it will reveal industry secrets? If any of these apply, you are on the right track. Are you breaking your posts up into easy-to-read sections, sparingly using eye-pleasing graphics, and using a simple and legible font? Necessary steps here, too. Finally, do you include a bold and visible call-to-action somewhere in your post? Remembering these three things is key for blog success.

Align your content with specific goals.
Even for something that seems as straightforward as blogging, it is a good idea to start with a content marketing mission statement for your whole team to follow to ensure that goals are being met with every post. Once that is in place, adjust the kind of content you are writing based on your monthly goals. If you are an architect about to unveil a public centre you have been working on, why not write a blog post about the history and growth of the specific community housing the centre to get people excited about visiting it?

Here are a few last things to keep in mind as you are creating your posts.

a) Mobile is more important than ever.

Statistics show that more and more often, people are accessing websites from their mobile devices. These people include your potential clients and audience, so make sure that the quality content you post—the very stuff that will convince them of your credibility as somebody to work with—is easily accessible from a phone during their daily commute.

b) The social web is just as visual as it is written.

Although recently downgraded in SEO rank, visuals still affect SEO ranking on their own. Also, engaging visuals have much more potential of being socially shared. So, do not forget to include a unique visual for every post. It’s a simple step that pays off.

c) Content distribution copyright exists, with implications.

Now that the publishing industry is facing so much competition from online publications and therefore facing shortages in revenue, publishers have no choice but to adapt to the conditions by catching the content that is being reproduced without permission online. If you are using outside sources as inspiration for your content, make sure to cite them correctly and admit that the ideas are not yours. Also, Google can detect when content is repurposed, which will only make your SEO ranking fall. Write as much of your own stuff as you can.

There you have it. Although these tips are just a head start, they’re at least enough to arm you with some basic knowledge you will need to blog smart and successfully in 2013.

Also feel free to contact us if you need help building a content strategy for your business. That’s part of what we do for our clients.