With an inbound marketing strategy, your business is going to spend a lot of time, money, and energy publishing blog posts. However, well-written copy is not enough. Inbound marketing has value by attracting a relevant audience and increasing website traffic. Consequently, your blogging must be both linkable and socially shareable. If you are serious about building an audience and increasing traffic, your content must inspire human behaviour. Consequently, content distribution via social users and third-party links is vital to inbound marketing success.
Your content is the indispensable factor which strengthens your online presence. If it is not worth sharing, you will have a very hard time building an audience, increasing traffic, and guiding users to conversion events. Nevertheless, there are many companies who are publishing blog articles that are well-written and of high-quality, yet they get almost no traction. This is because the ideas of being well-written and of high-quality are extremely subjective. Above all else, you must publish the blog articles that people actually want to read.
What Does Your Target Want to Read?
While this does come across as overly simplistic, the first step toward building an audience and increasing traffic is identifying what your target wants to read. When a business is centrally focused on search marketing, they will identify topics based on the top performing keywords for their industry. With this method, you are creating content primarily based on a search user's intent. Yet, keywords have very little significance when it comes to attracting social media click-throughs, building an audience, and keeping their attention. With inbound marketing, you will need to discover topics that address your ideal customer's needs, wants, interests, goals, and values.
It is important to put your audience first when blogging. People are attracted to things that they find useful, entertaining, or otherwise worthwhile. Your blog post must provide a clear benefit beyond self-promotion. Shareable content will either provide a valuable bit of information, help reinforce a user's personal identity, has the user feeling valued, connects them with a larger community, or helps them to express a deeply held belief or support a cause. As a result, it is vital to know your target audience and ideal customers. Generic blog topics will never catch anyone's attention.
Types of Blog Posts that Builds an Audience and Increases Traffic
If your blogging efforts have failed to produce a good return on investment, the first half of today's article likely explains why. There is nothing more disappointing than writing informative blogs, only to have them fall flat. How can you attract readers, inspire link sharing, and keep visitors coming back for more? In many instances, the answer is with a variety of blog types that will appeal to a your visitors. It is only by using a variety that you can actually hit each of the triggers that will build an audience and increase traffic.
1. Tutorials and How-to Articles - The most popular and powerful blog types are those that provide users with step-by-step instructions on how to solve a problem. In today's world, whenever a person has an issue, they will use the internet to find a solution. Many business owners fear that giving DIYers information will negatively impact their business. But, in actuality, it is a way to show off your expertise and credibility.
2. Top 10, 20, or More Lists - There is something a bit cliché about online lists. As a result, because they seem so overdone, many businesses will avoid publishing lists. That said, they are commonplace because they are effective. Additionally, the topic possibilities are almost limitless. A fitness centre can create a list of the top 10 protein powders. A plumber can publish a list of the best water heater brands. And, a cosmetic surgeon can list the top aesthetic procedures.
3. Product and Service Reviews - These are so successful that many independent bloggers have built an entire business writing review articles. Regardless, review articles can help attract either industry or location specific traffic. You can also use reciprocal reviews as a form of cross-promotion with business partners. Since online reviews have become part of the consumer decision-making process, they can potentially drive a lot of traffic to your website.
4. Political and Social Causes - A controversial blog post can stimulate a significant amount of website traffic and audience engagement. The key here is picking topics that are in line with your company's core values and the values of your ideal customers. There are many companies that take a stand on political or social causes. These types of blogs can link your brand identity to a user's personal identity, and sharing can help a visitor to express their beliefs or support a cause.
5. Video Content - It is not just on YouTube anymore. Based on current user trends, there are some experts predicting that video content will represent more than 80 percent of all internet traffic by 2020. Moreover, online video watching is increasing across all platforms. Embedding videos into your blog posts can provide big rewards. The video can contribute additional contextual information or your blog can be a transcript of the video. In any event, video can help build an audience and keep their attention.
6. Content Outside Your Niche - Blogging is a great way to increase your visibility and brand identity. You absolutely want to work at owning and dominating topics surrounding your business, industry, and location (if applicable). However, there comes a point when these topics can become overwritten and a bit boring. If this happens, consider adding topics that are slightly outside of your core niche. Moreover, adding topics that are of interest beyond a small segment of the population can help expose you to a larger audience.
Are There More Blog Types?
There is a long list of other blog types which include things like market research, newsjacking, storytelling, interviews, and more. And, within each blog type are several subcategories. For instance, "Tutorials and How-to" articles will include checklists, to-do's, hacks, and cheat sheets. Regardless, the big takeaway here is that variety is the key to building an audience and increase traffic.
With help on further developing your blogging and inbound marketing strategy, be sure to download our Inbound Marketing workbook: