Marketers who decide to use blogs to generate leads will have a multipurpose tool in their hands.
Once they understand the ins and outs of blogging, it’s time to sit down and consider what the meat of this delicious sandwich will be – the kinds of content that will fill the site’s pages, keep readers engaged and, hopefully, guide leads to the desired goal. Here are some sage words of advice from experts on the types of content marketers should use for their blogs.
Resources for ideas
Coming up with ideas for blog posts might be easy in the beginning, but there will be many times where inspiration is needed. Lorrie Thomas Ross, CEO and “marketing therapist” for full-service marketing agency Web Marketing Therapy, and author of “The McGraw-Hill 36-Hour Course: Online Marketing,” shares a few resources for content ideas:
- Assets you already have: press releases, education content, newsletter, common customer service questions, articles you’ve written for other sites, etc.
- Free tools like Google Alerts
- Create weekly “rituals” for your content (e.g., “Friday Funny”)
- User-generated content
- Themes that are bigger than your organization
Marika Francisco, director of SEO and content for the senior-living referral service A Place for Mom, adds that including other staff members in brainstorming sessions can generate good ideas. She says that guest posts are another way her company finds ideas for relevant content for its audience.
“Also, mining our internal site search data for interesting trends is always worthwhile,” Francisco says. “We’ve done several posts using exact query strings our visitors were using. We did a post on ‘Alzheimer’s Myths’ based on oddball search query strings from our paid search and display network campaigns, phrases that don’t show up in Google Suggest or Google AdWords Keyword Tool.”
Types of content
Pawan Deshpande, founder and CEO of content curation and online marketing solutions company Curata also suggests these forms of content:
- Curated content: “To start, you can write a short excerpt to a blog post and include your own commentary. Make sure to always curate in an ethical manner by linking back to the original source. It’s almost important not to share the full text of the original article without permission from the author.”
- Contributions from others: Reach out to co-workers and experts for guest posts. “Many people are willing to do so, as it puts them in front of a new audience and gives them an opportunity to link back to their own site.”
- Poll the audience: “Essentially, you author a blog post discussing a controversial topic and ask your readers for their responses. This drives meaningful engagement and you get two pieces of content because after you receive responses, you can craft a post about the overall findings.”
Michael Harbron, sales and marketing director of Internet marketing company SEOhaus, reminds marketers that text isn’t the only form of communication you can put on a blog. “If you can create a smashing infographic or insert a really cool interesting image, then you’ll keep your audience’s eyes peeled for longer.”
“Incorporating visual elements, whether they’re videos or photos, into your story is essential for appealing to the decision-making part of the brain, or the ‘old brain’,” says Tim Riesterer, chief strategy and marketing officer, Corporate Visions Inc.
Riesterer notes that research shows that after hearing or reading a story, people tend to remember 70 percent of the content from the beginning, 20 percent from the middle and 100 percent from the end. He calls this “the hammock” and warns marketers to avoid it by creating a “bed of nails” to keep audiences engaged throughout your blog posts by incorporating these elements:
- Grabbers: “What if” questions, numbers and personal stories “create impact and keep your reader engaged from the beginning to end, with attention spikes along the way.”
- Big picture: Simple visuals should be used to simplify complex ideas and make abstract concepts more actionable.
- Metaphors and analogies: “Use examples that put your solutions in a familiar light to help your prospects connect your story with familiar, positive, successful decisions they’ve made in the past.”
By Jason Hahn