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Whether you’re just starting out with inbound or have been doing it for a while, content production and promotion can sometimes feel like a long slog which isn’t driving much return. After all, researching, writing and promoting blog content is a time-consuming process, and that’s not to mention all the meticulous planning that goes into your content funnels and calendars. So it can feel incredibly disheartening when your new, highly on-topic, carefully crafted blog post isn’t driving the influx of leads you expected. You’re firing out blog posts, you’re building your social media following, you might have a handful of subscribers. But you’re just not getting any solid leads. And you’ve reached the point where you feel there’s nowhere else to go.

But, don’t give up the ghost just yet. Content and inbound marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. Your strategy should be tried, tested and refined until it’s delivering the results you want. There are plenty of ways to refine your efforts, build on your solid foundations and start seeing real results.

Here are 4 common mistakes that you could be making when it comes to “convertible” blog content, and how to put them right.

No follow up

Keeping your blog updated is all very well and good. It brings people back to site, keeps them interested and can help you establish a position as a thought-leader in your industry. But, blog posts alone are unlikely to mean an uplift in leads. You need to think about next steps.

It’s important here to think about the buyer’s journey. The buyer’s journey is central to the inbound methodology. There are three key stages: awareness, consideration and decision. Awareness is the point at which the potential customer is aware of a problem they’re having and trying to put a name to it. At the consideration stage they are learning about potential solutions to their problem. And at the decision stage – you guessed it – they’re preparing to make a decision about which company or particular service to solve their problem.

Blog posts make great awareness content. They allow you to get the attention of your potential customers at the point where they’re just scoping out their challenges and requirements. So that’s great, you’ve written a blog post that speaks to a specific challenge you think your target market might be having, and it’s getting a decent amount of traffic. But what next?

It’s vital when planning content to think about the next steps. Once your visitors have got to the end of your blog post, what do you want them to do? You should be aiming to use your blog post to attract visitors, and then convert them to contacts by giving them something of value as a next step. This could be a related whitepaper, buyers guide or an expanded version of the blog post in a downloadable format. It could even be a webinar or a video to help them learn more about the topic. The possibilities are endless.

Your content is about you, not your audience

It can be so tempting to spin a blog post into a straight promotional piece, particularly if it’s about a topic close to your business and its services. It can start off as a list of the top 10 best holiday destinations, and with insert of a couple of “we fly heres” and “we can offer package theres” can quickly turn into a hard-sell piece on your holiday website.

Blog/awareness content as part of the inbound funnel is designed to help and inform your potential customers on the challenges they might be having, in their role or as a consumer.

So in the example above, if you were running a booking website for holiday destinations – start by thinking about what challenges your potential customers might be facing. Are they on a budget? Do they need somewhere kid-friendly? Are they thrill-seekers looking for adventure? This approach allows you to develop content that answers your audience’s questions, and guides them through their decision making process. Producing informative and helpful content which focuses on their needs will entice them in and keep them coming back. And as discussed above – once they’re engaged with you and your services, you can ease them through the funnel with valuable content offers.

Your blog posts aren’t optimised for search engines

No blog post is going to convert effectively if nobody’s reading it. And how are new potential customers going to know it’s there? They search for something, using a query related to their need or challenge, and your blog post (hopefully) appears on the first page, they see that it’s relevant to what they just searched, and they click on it.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t happen automatically. You need to give Google and the like a helping hand to let them know what your blog post is about and why it’s relevant to a particular search query.

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is a dark art and I couldn’t possibly cover off all the tactics and strategies in one blog post, but here’s a few quick pointers on making sure your blog is primed for some sweet organic traffic:

  • Make sure your targeted keyword appears in the meta title of your post. The meta title usually be edited in your admin console if you’re using a CMS, through plugins such as Yoast SEO.
  • Write an enticing meta description. Although meta descriptions are not a direct ranking factor, click through rate is, and a decent meta description is more likely to get you a click.
  • Use the keyword and synonyms throughout the post. Google in particular thrives on semantically related topics. Including variations and synonyms of your keyword in your blog post will not only help you rank for your targeted keyword, but also for related keywords. For example, if your post is about bathroom decorating tips, try to include references to “tiling”, “painting” and maybe even “kitchen decorating”.

You’re not spending enough time on content promotion

The content marketing journey doesn’t end when you press “publish”. Sure, you might get some traction from organic traffic (see above) and perhaps a bit of social, but there’s so much more juice to squeeze out of your content, particularly if it’s genuinely useful to your market and offers something that people can’t get elsewhere.

Much like SEO, content promotion is a broad topic which I won’t cover all of in this already lengthy post. There are many ways to make sure your content is getting out there and in front of the eyes of the right people. Here are couple of potentially quick wins to get you started:

  • Reach out to people you’ve mentioned – if you’ve mentioned other websites, products, tools or industry figures in your post, let them know! Chances are they’ll be more than happen to link to your article and promote it via their social channels.
  • Build an influencer network – you can use tools like BuzzSumo and FollowerWonk to find key influencers in your space. Invest time in building relationships with them, demonstrating the value of your content, and they’ll be more likely to share with their (hopefully large) audience base.

There we have some classic rookie errors when it comes to driving leads through your blog. Address one or all of these and you won’t be far wrong. And remember the mantra – inbound marketing is a marathon, not a sprint.