For this entire series I’ve been sharing tricks to up the value of your blog, both for your readers and your company. Tricks 1 – 20 can be found in Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4. Along with providing these tricks, I’ve been trying to convey, too, the importance of your company’s blog to its marketing efforts. 43% of companies are using blogs a serious part of their marketing strategy.
Time to bring this series home.
21. Incentivize Engagement
Does your company have a sample product or perhaps a book? These are good items to use as simple giveaway offers to incentivize engagement. For example: “Leave your most successful closing technique in the comments below. Our panel of 3 sales professionals will decide on the best one, and the winner will receive our book…” Couple things here: keep the equitable value low dollar (there are legal issues, $50 max is safe), make the qualification criteria objective if possible, or if subjective, use a panel or third party. Also, use an incentive that ties to your company—some people have used gift cards, but there’s a high chance people will take the money and run.
22. Visual Appeal
You know what they say about first impressions. You may have the best content in the world, but if the overall visual appeal looks amateurish, then a reader’s initial thought could be that the content will be too. The same could be true if it looks too gaudy. And by the way, Google will penalize your site if you have too many product ads. (A personal suggestion: If possible, keep your blog’s graphic elements brand consistent, but use a layout that differentiates your blog from the company website. This makes the blog feel less sales-oriented and lets readers know they are at the right place.)
23. Social Elements
Social Media and blogging go hand-in-hand. If your content is great, readers are more likely to share it, especially if it’s made easy for them. There are at least two sets of social buttons you should have: large icons that encourage readers to follow you on your social media profiles, and “chicklets” that encourage readers to share each of your posts. The large icons should be prominent and above the fold. The chicklets should be in between the comments and the post. Include calls to action for both sets (“Follow Our Networks & Get More” and “If you liked this post please share it.”) Huge item here: Google is starting to rank content that’s shared higher than content that’s purely optimized. Get people to share your superb content.
24. Plugins and Widgets
These are handy tools for your blog, and they serve a variety of functions. Focus on the ones that foster engagement, help grow your social media reach, and are visually appealing. Facebook and Twitter offer some good options. Others that work well are those that feature “Most Popular Posts,” “Most Commented on Posts,” and “Most Frequent Commenters” Your blogging platform may offer a menu of widgets and plugins that are easy to incorporate onto your site.
25. Scan Ready
Like bolding key text, the overall look of an actual blog post influences a reader’s decision to read the content. Big blocks of words can look like it will take a lot of time to get through a post. Short, spaced out paragraphs that are 2 to 3 sentences long are inviting. So are bullet points.
I hope this series of posts has been helpful. In the world of social media, content is king if you want your company to get noticed. Ultimately, the question you need to ask yourself is, does this blog post provide value to readers? If not, you’re blog’s not adding any value to your online marketing efforts either. Thanks for following along during this series. Have tips of your own? Please share them in the comments. We would all be glad to hear them.
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