MM bannerLast Friday at 3PM UK time, Meltwater hosted the #MarketingMinds chat which saw bloggers and content marketers alike gather to discuss this week’s topic- blog strategy.

Q1 How important is content marketing and blogging for your brand?

@QuestPR stated that blogging is extremely important for companies, as it reinforces expertise in the field and helps to position our brand as a thought leader. In addition, blogging is a persuasive means of portraying how valuable a tool or company is, thus establishing the brand as a resource within the industry. @mattfraserlong expressed that content marketing is essential for all clients, but that blogging shouldn’t be considered a solution to all problems; although he felt PR agencies are one vertical where blogging is pretty much mandatory.

When asked about the topics of blogs that are regularly shared, @QuestPR explained that those blogs that feature “top tips” or provide answers to questions are the most popular with the audience. In addition to this, posts that predict market trends and shed light on best practices and successes are also highly viewed and shared. But as @Anastasiuhh rightfully said, blogs are only valuable if they include keywords, authority and valuable content.

Q2 What’s your blog strategy? (Content, author, timing, promotion etc.)?

@sameerjawle expressed different brands and authors have different criteria for content, but as @DirectMailPros suggested one common factor that is consistent among PR and marketing blog strategy is to include relevant and newsworthy content. Listen to the audience and consider what they need. We must aim to answer audience’s queries or needs with expert insights on the subjects in question to provide real value. Audience led strategies are essential when creating content and writing blogs.

A successful blog strategy is one that is proactive and presents up-to-date content. Having a number of content writers and knowledgeable guest bloggers contribute to our blogs was thought to be  a great way of ensuring fresh content and different perspectives. With reference to blog post frequency and how often should we be posting, participants felt that the sky is the limit only when content is informative, high quality and not simply published for the sake of writing.  The key? Only writing when we have something valuable to say to avoid diluting our brand.

Finally, social media channels were discussed as great promotional tools due to their vast number of recipients. Including relevant hashtags when promoting posts can act as social discovery mechanisms, meaning the audience can easily find targeted content by filtering out the noise. Although, participants suggested limiting the amount of hashtags used to 2-3, any more and tweets can feel like spam.

Q3 How do you measure the success of your blog strategy?

Participants offered various ways to analyse whether blog strategy has been a hit or a miss. Google Analytics can be used to measure conversion and bounce rates. Social media monitoring tools such as Meltwater Buzz can help us gage the audience reach, engagement and share of voice. @Tomorrow_People expressed how lead generation is our ultimate aim, therefore should also be acknowledged as a metric of success.

Qualitative measurement is equally as important as quantitative. As @k_rystal_clear expressed, quality trumps quantity in terms of feedback. For example, a handful of meaningful responses, such as being invited to become a guest blogger, is worth far more than hundreds of likes. It’s important to include feedback into our blog strategy and constantly encourage the use of comment boxes and engagement, especially if the readers are industry influencers. Ask them questions about the post. Do they agree and if so, why? Is there anything they would add or suggest?

Q4. What are your top tips to increase traffic to your blog?

@mattfraserlong suggests we search for hot hang outs among our target audience and promote our content there. We are able to do just that using Meltwater Buzz through filtering conversation by channel. That way, we can save time by avoiding focusing our efforts on channels with low ROI. @bestcapetownSA suggested building influencer relationships to increase visibility of our post by piggybacking on their following. Influencers are an industry voice of reason, and therefore can act as a great word of mouth tool!

As mentioned above, posting engaging content that creates a discussion is a great way to increase traffic to our blogs. Content should be centred on sparking a two-way conversation rather than a one way monologue. People will come back to see the conversation if they are involved, especially if it’s heated and causes a divide in opinions! And finally, blogs must be SEO friendly in order to fully maximise their success.

Q5. There are 2 million blog articles posted each day, how do you ensure yours stands out?

Variety, great images and the option of interactivity is key to blog strategy success. Moreover, @RFL reinforced the need to offer meaningful, interesting content that is relevant to what is going on in our industry. @sameerjawle suggested researching similar blogs before writing as this provides insight on what is already available and encourages us to think outside of the box by adding our own personal spin to the topic.  @helenflannery_ felt it is best to pick a niche or focused area to avoid losing the audience.

Unique and local examples are another way we can ensure our blog stands out from the crowd. In addition to this, humour can set our blog apart from the rest, as @simonlp said, people will forget what you say, but remember how you make them feel.