In topics: Email Marketing
I recently ran across a great blog post by Lindsey Kirchoff that reminded me of how important the blog is to our business. After all, it’s the heart of our content engine and the most important credibility builder and SEO tool we have. So it’s critical that we keep it optimized for our business goals.
Lindsey created a blog optimization check list that breaks down the key focus areas into four sections:
- Blog Structure
- Blog SEO
- Calls-To-Actions (CTAS)
Let’s start with structure. Some of the key elements that make up any successful blog are: navigation that is intuitive and quickly gets visitors to get to the content they are looking for as well as the content you want to share; content grouping by topic and type; easy search – another much-used and important form of secondary navigation; subscription options to build your audience, your reach, and your brand; images to maintain interest and readability; and calls-to-action (CTAS) to make it easy to engage and move to the next step, and immediately obvious how!
Aside from optimizing your blog for business, you need to optimize it for the search engines. Here are a few main points to keep in mind regarding SEO: host your blog as a subfolder in your primary domain if you can; craft a keyword-rich title tag for every page; add strong meta descriptions that will highlight your listing in the search engines’ search results pages; optimize posts for keywords people are actually searching on; and include internal links to related posts elsewhere in your site.
Next on the list is improving your calls-to-action, or CTAs. Forgetting the CTA is a common error of omission – especially on blogs. You only get a few seconds of a reader’s attention in which to make absolutely clear what you want them to do next, AND what’s in it for them. Lead readers to effective landing pages, relevant to the content they were reading!
But why spend much time on a CTA — isn’t it really just a button? Yes, it can be, or a form, for example, but the last thing you’d want to do is lose valuable conversion opportunities to something as trivial as button misplacement, poor coloring or copy.
There are many ways to optimize your CTAs-in fact, we’ve complied an entire blog post about it.: Click Here! 7 Tips for Call-to-Action Conversions. Here are the highlights: update older content with current CTAs, include CTA in your copy as internal links and A/B test everything.
So once you have all this well structured and optimized business content, how do you share it? Here’s how to optimize your blog for social media: Include obvious social subscription options; use icons to enable one-click social sharing; clearly differentiate between follow buttons and share icons; find ways to engage your readers and show them all the ways your discussion board are abuzz with activity (show share counts, for ex). No one wants to be the first one in an empty restaurant.
The toughest challenge in maintaining a blog and email marketing campaign is content, but take a strategic approach and think about them together: write it once and get two channels for the price of one!
Your blog can include current news, case studies, tips and best practices, industry updates, video testimonials or tutorials, and should entice readers to engage, comment and share. These same types of content are ideal for your newsletter. Why not use the newsletter as a roundup of various monthly blog posts where the newsletter has a few teaser articles with click-thrus to read more?
Once you have your to-do list, we’d be happy to help you implement.