Outbrain recently published The State of Content Marketing 2012. The report revealed that 82% of brand and agency marketers plan to increase their content marketing efforts this year, with their main goals being to increase brand awareness and target early-stage leads.
The report also revealed that social media is the most popular way to drive traffic to content, with 96% of respondents currently utilizing social media.
Since a blog can be the center of your social media strategy, I’d like to suggest some ways that you can use a blog to increase your brand awareness and drive more people to your content:
Keep Your Audience Top-of-Mind
One of the challenges of blogging is ensuring that every post is relevant to your audience. Before you blog, you should create a profile of your ideal reader. The profile can include their role, organization and key concerns. Give all of your blog’s contributors a copy of this profile, so they can keep your ideal reader top-of-mind as they write.
Develop Content Themes
Creating themes for your blog can make it easier for your writers to come up with topics. Themes also allow you to develop related content that you can repackage. For example, you can take a series of blog posts about the same topic and turn them into a webinar or white paper.
Advertise Your Premium Content
Although the purpose of content marketing is to provide your audience with free educational content, you still need to encourage leads to take the next step in your sales cycle. That’s why you can apply a 90/10 rule to your blog. Ninety percent of your blog’s content should be educational, while 10% can focus on the call to action. For example, you can place ads throughout your blog that encourage readers to visit other pages on your website or opt in for your premium content. This technique allows you to be seen as a trusted resource while you fulfill your marketing goals.
You’ll also want to share all of your blog posts with your social communities. The easiest way to do this is to use tools or plug-ins that automatically publish your latest posts to LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. This will ensure that you never forget to share a post with one of your social networks. However, you can’t just “set it and forget it.” You’ll still need to be present on social media every day to respond to comments and engage in conversations.
What About You?
Do you find blogs to be a valuable content marketing tool? If so, what blog strategies have worked for you? Feel free to share your thoughts and comments below.