It’s easy to believe that blogging has lagged behind the rise of social media, live video, podcasting, and other digital marketing trends. But, even in a world where there are “sexier” alternatives, blogging has a place at the table.
The Advantages of Blogging
Blogging has existed since the inception of the internet. And, while it has changed slightly over the years, it has largely remained the same. Other trends have come and gone, but the blog has remained the pillar of any legitimate digital content strategy. Even in 2021, when there are numerous other ways to generate content, blogging continues to provide numerous advantages. This includes the following:
- SEO. Most business websites have no chance of ranking on Google’s first page for key search terms. And in 9 out of 10 cases, it’s due to a lack of content. They only have a home page, a about us page, a contact page, and possibly a couple of product pages. By creating a blog where you regularly publish rich content full of natural keywords and language that your customers use, you instantly make your website stickier for search algorithms and increase your chances of ranking.
- Customer education is essential. A blog allows you to educate your customers on complex topics, technical components, or major issues that are affecting their lives and/or your industry. It’s a natural and unpretentious way to educate.
- Creating new leads. A blog is an excellent tool for generating leads. You can use it as a gateway to your website and then entice people to opt-in via a subscription form linked to a lead magnet.
- Monetization. While it will not happen overnight, you can eventually monetize your blog through advertisements. You’re unlikely to become wealthy, but your blog may eventually generate enough revenue to cover the costs of content creation.
- Authority. A blog is an excellent way to establish authority. Despite how simple it is to start a blog, people regard it as a status symbol. Writing for a blog, like authoring a book or podcast, gives you this level of authority that people respect.
- Improvement of abilities. Starting, managing, and growing a blog will require you to wear a variety of hats (at least initially). And, as a result of this process, you will learn and hone a variety of valuable skills that you can apply in other areas of marketing and business. Keyword research, basic SEO, WordPress, conversion copywriting, and lead funnels are all examples of this.
- Discipline. Blogging does not produce immediate results. It’s something you’ll have to stick with for months or years. And, in a world dominated by instant gratification, there’s something to be said for cultivating discipline.
- When all of these advantages are considered together, the power of blogging becomes clear. No matter what year it is, blogging will continue to provide significant benefits to those who commit to doing it correctly.
How to Start a (Successful) Blog
Starting a blog isn’t as difficult as some claim. All it takes is a little forethought, discipline, and consistency. Here are a few more useful hints:
1. Don’t Get Bogged Down
Most people have the idea to start a blog, but then get bogged down in the details before making their dream a reality. While it is true that a number of steps are required to successfully build and launch a blog, you should not become so engrossed in the details that you lose sight of the big picture.
The importance of your blog’s name, CMS, blog hosting, and theme cannot be overstated. However, you do not need to spend weeks ironing out these details. Take action once you’ve reached 80% of your goal. You can always return and fill in the blanks later. It is far more critical that you put yourself out there. The sooner you get started, the better. Perfection is far less important than progress.
2. Use a Cornerstone Strategy
There are numerous popular blogging strategies, but the cornerstone approach is one of the best options if you’re just starting out.
The cornerstone strategy entails producing three or four extremely high-quality pieces of content that provide a high-level overview of major topics/pain points in your niche. (These are also known as cornerstone posts or pillar posts.) These will be the most enduring pieces of content on your website. Everything revolves around these posts (including your SEO and backlink strategies) (including your SEO and backlink strategies.)
Once you’ve established your cornerstone pieces, you’ll want to spread out and create related topics that center on each cornerstone piece. For example, if your main topic is buying a house, your blog posts (which are shorter) would cover topics such as how to find a real estate agent, what to look for in an inspection, packing tips, top things to do before closing, and so on. Each of these posts then links back to the cornerstone piece, supplying SEO juice and traffic to the most important posts.
3. Understand Your Audience
Every successful blog on the internet is centered on the reader. You can’t create high-quality content if you don’t know who your audience is. So, before you create a single piece of content, you should spend some time getting to know your reader on a personal level.
Creating reader personas is the best way to understand your reader. These are one-page documents that explain who the customer is on a personal level. It covers demographics, finances, purchasing habits, hobbies, interests, background, family life, and so on.
Most blogs will have between two and five distinct reader personas. Be as thorough as possible with each of them. Make sure you know which personas you’re writing to before you start writing a new post.
4. Make it Visual
People learn visually. The brain is much better at processing visual content than it is at processing text. As a result, if you want your blog to be as engaging and memorable as possible, you should try to make each post as visually stimulating as possible.
There are numerous simple options for creating visual content. Graphs, charts, images, memes, gifs, infographics, and videos are all examples. And, thanks to user-friendly tools like Canva, anyone with little to no experience can create rich blog visuals.
5. Splinter Your Content
Anyone who claims to be able to brainstorm, write, and publish a high-quality piece of content in under an hour is deceiving you. A good piece of content takes a long time to create. So, when it finally goes live, you must be as resourceful as possible with it. This is where the splintering concept comes into play.
Content splintering is the process of reformatting a blog post into different pieces of content that can be shared across multiple platforms. A 1,500-word blog post, for example, could theoretically be converted into a dozen social media posts, a few graphics, a Facebook Live video, a podcast episode, and an email sequence. And because you already have the content written down, producing these splintered pieces won’t take long.
6. Study and Iterate
For the first 120 days, keep your head down. Produce as much high-quality content as possible while not looking up for a second. Then, over the next 120 days, begin researching what works, what doesn’t, and where you can improve. Then, for the next 120 days, put what you’ve learned into practice and let your blog evolve.
If you follow this one-year plan, you’ll be looking up in 365 days, and your blog will be head and shoulders above the majority of your competitors.
Buckle Up and Get Blogging
Blogging will not provide the quick burst of engagement that a viral social media post may. And, unlike a PPC ad strategy, it is unlikely to generate revenue for you in the short term.
However, when viewed in the long term, blogging has the potential to produce a higher ROI than both of them combined. Good things will happen if you keep the right perspective and commit to consistency.