A Comprehensive Guide to Blogging for Content Marketing

Learn how a blog can help increase attention on your business. Everything you need to know about blog length, finding a niche and topic, and driving traffic to your blog.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
  1. What is blogging?
  2. What are the benefits a blog can bring to your business?
  3. What is the ideal length of a blog post?
  4. What do you need to know when you start blogging?
  5. How can you build traffic to your blog?
Table of contents
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
  1. What is blogging?
  2. What are the benefits a blog can bring to your business?
  3. What is the ideal length of a blog post?
  4. What do you need to know when you start blogging?
  5. How can you build traffic to your blog?

Even with the advent of video content, blogs remain alive and well today. In fact, many businesses have embraced blogs as a critical part of their content marketing strategy. In this comprehensive guide, you will learn a great deal about blogs and how you can use them as the centerpiece of your content marketing strategy.

What is blogging?

Blogging is ubiquitous because it doesn’t require extensive technical expertise. Image source

Written content remains important in the age of audio and video. What used to be newspapers, magazines, and letters are now available in what we now call blogs. According to Wikipedia

A blog is a discussion or informational website published on the World Wide Web consisting of discrete, often informal diary-style text entries (posts). Posts are typically displayed in reverse chronological order, so that the most recent post appears first, at the top of the web page.

Blogging has been around for more than two decades, and it serves as an online diary that can be read by anyone. Blogging became mainstream for the following reasons:

  • Inexpensive and easy to use - blogging has its own platform that does not require knowledge of HTML, which makes it much easier than maintaining traditional websites. These platforms are often free. One of the most popular blogging platforms is Wordpress. 
  • Flexible in the length of content that can be published - blogging platforms can easily handle short-form and long-form content.
  • Can include images and videos - blogs can include image and video attachments that can help enhance the content

The concept of blogging has been adopted by social media networks such as Facebook, proving that blogging is still popular, even in the age of social media.

What are the benefits a blog can bring to your business?

Blogging is a long-term content marketing strategy that consistently brings benefits. Image source

Blogging is already considered essential for any business because it brings several benefits. In this section we will talk about four of them:

Blogging drives traffic and generates leads

Blogging allows you to create diverse but related content that helps attract traffic to your website and generate leads. Content marketers know this, which explains why blogging serves as the foundation of their marketing strategy.

Blogging is versatile both in the type and the length of the possible contents, and blogging platforms have a built-in system to categorize posts depending on how you tag their contents, thus giving you flexibility to set the categories yourself. One way blogs can drive traffic and generate leads is by ranking high on popular search engines. This ensures that a website receives a significant slice of users from search engine searches.

What should you talk about to be able to attract as many readers as possible? It turns out that NOT promoting your brand is more effective than trying to promote it! We have already mentioned in one of our previous articles that trying too hard to promote your brand is a massive turn-off to the audience. 

Blogging helps you further promote your brand and influence your niche

A lot of brands use their blogs to publish articles not directly about their products but about information that is  relevant to their audience. Doing so helps establish your brand as an authentic information provider, rather than simply using your blogs to advertise your product. 

How can we do this? You need to have an intimate understanding of your target niche. A lot of successful companies are founded by people who are deeply passionate and knowledgeable about their subject. 

When you consistently write blog posts about your niche, you nurture  your brand to become one of the most visible ones online. This gives you an ability to influence your niche, further maintaining the primacy of your brand. 

Blogging helps you build a good content library for long-term presence

All good things start small. Your blog will only contain a few posts in the first few months. If you consistently write blog posts about your niche and your products and services, that small collection will eventually grow into an online library that future users can reference to read more. Older content may even last for years, especially if it remains  relevant and reliable. These old but reliable articles are called evergreen content, and they reliably pull traffic to your site through organic search.

Blogging brings transparency and updates

A blog can also be used to deliver updates and official statements from your business. For example, a cloud-based service business regularly rolls out updates, patches, and upgrades. This business can announce them through their blog, which gives regular content for your users to read. 

When a problem arises, blogs serve as a convenient way to address the issue at hand. As problems that arise may have legal consequences, blogs serve as the modern version of written communication. Blogs allow businesses to be more precise and explicit in their communications and to store content in a format that can easily be referenced.

Now that we have discussed the four main advantages of having a blog, let us now go to discussing two types of blog content: short-form and long-form text.

What is the ideal length of a blog post?

There is an ideal length for a blog post, but it is not a rule to follow. Image source

Different content marketing surveys (Content Marketing Institute, Hubspot, Pyxl, and Sprout Social) consistently place blog posts on the list of the top 3 most popular content forms used. Therefore, blog posts remain the most important type of short-form and long-form content. Businesses rarely put whole content into their social media accounts; they instead use it to drive traffic to their websites, which contain blogs and other information. 

What is the ideal length of a long-form blog post? According to Hubspot, the ideal length ranges from 2,100 to 2,400 words. This number was determined by the average length of the top 50 articles in terms of SEO visibility. The length also depends on the purpose of the blog post:

  • Pillar page: 4,000 words
  • Listicles: 2,300 to 2,600 words
  • How-to posts: 1,700 to 2,100 words
  • What-is posts: 1,300 to 1,700 words

In general, the longer the blog post, the better it will perform. Does this mean businesses should only post long blog posts? No! According to Hubspot, 16 out of their top 50 articles actually have word length of less than 1,500 words! Why? The simple reason is that these posts meet the needs of the audience. 

What do you need to know when you start blogging?

You need to prepare before you start blogging so you do not quickly lose your way. Image source

Let us now discuss some things that you need to know when you start blogging:

Identify your topics

What do you want to talk about? 

Are you knowledgeable enough about your topic to discuss it at length?Can you talk about it for years? 

Are you willing to dedicate time into learning more about your topic?

These are the most important questions that you need to answer when you decide to blog. If you are running a personal blog, you may decide to just talk about what is happening in your life. If you are planning to run a business blog as part of your content marketing, the answer is more straightforward: you should talk about topics revolving  around your products and services. These topics should help you establish your business as a reliable information leader. 

For example, if you are selling books, a weekly book review will help your readers see that you care about the topic rather than simply targeting an easy market.

If you are providing writing services, talking about writing tips is a good idea for  your blog.

If your business sells auto spare parts, you SHOULD be sharing best practices in taking care of your car!

Understand your audience

Your audience will be, of course, those interested in your products and services. Beyond their common interest, your audience can have distinct qualities that you may need to consider. 

What does your audience want to learn about?

What words and phrases do your readers use when they discuss their interest?

These are some of the questions you need to answer to understand your question. The most successful blog posts are those that discuss both what you want to talk about and what your audience wants to learn about.

Create an authentic writing personality

I am sure that you have a friend or two that you can easily recognize from the way they talk and write. As individuals, we have our own distinguishable personalities and manners of talking and writing. 

You should do the same when you start blogging. You should craft a writing personality that you can sustain through the years of writing in your blog. There is a tendency to mimic someone else’s writing personality when blogging because it works for them. To counter this, you can ask the following questions:

If you mimic someone else’s writing personality, how will you stand out?

Can you sustain that kind of writing personality?

Will that personality appeal to your audience?

This, however, is not an excuse to not improve your own writing. As you gain more writing experience, you will discover new ways to express ideas and adapt your style. Your writing personality can evolve over time, which leads to better results.

Choose a fitting theme and layout

This might appear to be a minor detail, but themes and layouts can impact the readability and appeal of your blog. Since you are running your blog as part of your content marketing strategy, you can ask the following questions:

Do the theme and layout make the content accessible and readable? Better yet, does it enhance accessibility and readability?

Do the theme and layout fit well with the theme and layout you use for your online store? Better yet, is it a variation of what you use for your online store?

Do the theme and layout fit well with the topics of your blog? 

A fitting theme and layout will serve to enhance the appeal of your blog. 

How can you build traffic to your blog?

Your blog needs goalposts across the web in order to point your readers to its content. Image source

Just churning out posts in your blog is NEVER enough! It will never build enough traffic to your website. You can do more! Fortunately, the tricks are not hidden in a mystical book in a secluded monastery built atop a mountain during the dark ages. Here are some tips in building traffic to your blog:

Prioritize quality over quantity

Since blogging is a long-term undertaking, racing to produce lots of content everyday can quickly drain you of future ideas. Additionally, if you try to churn out content in such a short amount of time, the quality will surely suffer. 

The process of producing a blog post does not involve simply writing it. You need to choose a topic or two, do research, outline your content, and also prepare images and videos if necessary. These take lots of time!

Instead, prioritize quality. At the start, choose a more feasible posting schedule such as once a week. You should stick to that schedule. Then, begin preparing for your blog post by doing what we have listed above:

  • Choosing a topic or two
  • Doing prior research
  • Outlining the subtopics
  • Preparing the images and videos that you plan to add

These steps will ensure that you write high-quality posts from the beginning!

Use social media to promote your blog

As your blog will serve as the foundation of your content marketing strategy, you need to use different channels besides organic search (via search engines) to increase traffic to your blog. To do so, you need to be creative in sharing the posts to your social media accounts and enlisting influencers.

Social media networks give you the ability to reach as many readers as possible in the shortest possible period of time. This requires you to be creative in posting a link to your blog and actually engaging your audience. Even if you are running a page, you can engage your audience by responding to comments.

You can also enlist influencers in your field to share your blog to others. Influencers have thousands, perhaps, even millions of followers who follow them for their content and opinions. An influencer’s promotion of your blog can drive lots of traffic to your website. You can also convert your regular followers to brand ambassadors. If your products and/or blog posts are good enough, you can convert them for free!

Maximize the power of SEO

Search engines, especially Google, regularly scour the web for new content.To make your content more visible to search engines and also achieve higher rankings in search results, preferably the FIRST result, bloggers harness what is called search engine optimization, or SEO. SEO is the term for streamlining your website so that it becomes more understandable to the search engines. For example, Google has its own algorithm for comparing content to determine which ones are of the highest quality. The best content is then featured on Google’s first page:

One of the Lido tutorials featured as the first result in Google search. You can read it here.

Google suggests the following questions to guide you in improving your SEO:

  • Is my website showing up on Google?
  • Do I serve high-quality content to users?
  • Is my local business showing up on Google?
  • Is my content fast and easy to access on all devices?
  • Is my website secure?

Add and get links

Another way you can improve your site’s visibility to search engines is through links. Search engines crawl through the web through the links found in the web pages they discover. Therefore, you should add links to your other related blog posts. These will tell the search engines that they are related and therefore easier to discover through a search. 

These links, especially those that point to other websites, serve as  proof that the webpage that is linked has some sort of credibility. To make the point clear, let us use this article as an example. At the end of this article, there is a list of references that I used. I chose these articles as references because I believe that their content is reliable. Thus, my links serve as proof that someone (in this case, me) found their content reliable. 

You could imagine that the most reliable content gets the most links from other websites. Therefore, you should also ensure  that people also start linking to your content, which is called backlinking. Other websites linking to your content serve as a proof that your content is reliable to them. More websites linking to your content will push your content further up the ranks of the search engine algorithms.!

How can you get other websites to link to your content? Even if you keep producing high-quality articles consistently, it can take a very long time for your content to be noticed. Here, you need to share your articles on other channels such as social media networks. Those who follow your social media are more likely to also be interested in your business blog. These will help increase the visibility of your content as soon as possible!

Build an email list

There is another way you can attract readers to your articles. It is through your email list! Surely you must have added an option for your customers to sign up for updates via email. You can use the resulting list as potential readers to your blog. Most of them will not bother to open the email and the link immediately, but you have achieved the first step of the marketing funnel, and that is awareness! Simply do it consistently, and some will open the emails and click the link to your blog in the future. Or perhaps, they may think of visiting your blog directly and read a few articles there. 

References

Blog

Blog Marketing: What Is It and How to Do It 

Marketing Social Media Marketing Actions to Avoid 

Definition + Ways to Find a Profitable eCommerce Niche 

What Is the Marketing Funnel and How Does It Work? 

Blogging: 15 Reasons Why You Need a Blog Content Strategy | StoryChief - Content Marketing Blog

Written Communication - Meaning, Advantages and Disadvantages 

How Long Should Blog Posts Be in 2021? [New Data]

B2C Content Marketers, Get Ready for More Responsibility in 2021 [New Research] 

State of Marketing Report | 2021 Marketing Trends

What's Next in Digital Marketing? 2021 Survey Report 

The Sprout Social Index, Edition XVII: Accelerate 

6 Data-Driven Tips to Increase Your Blog Engagement | AnthonyGaenzle.Com | Marketing for Small Businesses, Startups, and Individuals

45 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting a Blog That Gets 400,000 Visits/m

How to Write a Blog Post: A Step-by-Step Guide [+ Free Blog Post Templates]

ULTIMATE GUIDE TO BLOGGING

SEO Starter Guide: The Basics | Google Search Central 

How To Promote Your Blog: The Complete Beginner’s Guide

7 Tips For Creating A Conquering Small Business Blog

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SECTIONS
  1. What is blogging?
  2. What are the benefits a blog can bring to your business?
  3. What is the ideal length of a blog post?
  4. What do you need to know when you start blogging?
  5. How can you build traffic to your blog?