Tag Archives: content marketing

The “Grumpy” Poet – Blog Frequently or Don’t Blog at All!

the_grumpy_poet

The “Grumpy” poet has once again moved to a new spot from Monday to Wednesday to make room for our new weekly feature the “Silicon Valley – Weekly TV Show Commentary“.

This column started on Wednesday, so it only makes sense to move it back, and besides hump day is the best day to be grumpy!

This move gives me the opportunity to discuss another subject that really makes my blood curdle – inconsistent blogging!

Here on Keep Marketing Fun we manage to post daily, well 5 times a week Mon-Fri. It is very important for us to develop a frequent and consistent blogging schedule. Since we began this blog just over a year ago, we have reaped the benefits of staying on schedule. Our search ranking and traffic has steadily increased, our followers continue to grow, shares, comments, and likes are up and most importantly we have reached prospects and converted them into clients.

We all know “Content is King” but I’d rather not debate that, personally I think the phrase is exhausted and oversimplifies the issue at hand. Do you want to build a community? Do you want to be seen as an expert in your field? Do you want to attract leads? Etc. Then producing quality content is key and doing it once a quarter just doesn’t cut it!

If you’re running a business and you have a blog you need to actually use it. Don’t blog once a day for 4 weeks then pause for 6 weeks. That kind of inconsistency kills traffic and deters repeat readers. You need to sit down with your team, put together a schedule, and stick to it.

If I come across a post I like, I’ll revisit that site. If after a few times I realize there is no new content, I get bored! I won’t sign up to your newsletter and I’ll forget that your blog exists. You’ve lost me as a reader and any potential that I might share it with my network. Why should I or anyone waste time checking a stagnant blog?

Frequency vs Consistency

I’ve been throwing the words consistency and frequency around a lot. Let’s quickly discuss the differences between them and how they add up to good blogging.

Frequency is the rate at which you publish new content. Get a schedule together and have your team stick to it. 1 post a week, bi-weekly downloads, monthly case study, etc. Whatever the frequency you can manage.

Consistency is about sticking to the strategy you have mapped out. Again, don’t publish once a day for 4 weeks and pause for 6 weeks. Stick to your schedule. Both visitors and search engines will notice the inconsistency.

Still not drinking my Kool-Aid?

Here are a few more reasons why I’ll-blog-when-I have-time won’t work:

  • Google looks for fresh content. If you’re publishing frequently your blog will be crawled and indexed frequently.
  • The better your content and the more frequently you publish it, the more important Google considers your blog, hence better rankings and traffic – see last point.
  • Frequent content leads to repeat traffic/readers. You’re creating anticipation. Readers will come back more often and share your content with their networks.
  • The more content you produce the more inbound links you get. With frequent content you’re giving other blogs and websites a reason to link back to you – Google likes this.
  • More traffic means more opportunity to capture leads: get newsletter subscriptions, blog subscriptions, Facebook page likes, Twitter followers, etc.
  • You can nurture leads and qualify them. With a dedicated following you or your sales team can reach out to prospects. Respond to comments on your blog or comments on inbound links.

Put yourself in the readers’ shoes. Think about the blogs you regularly follow and why you follow them and why you signed up for their newsletter? Chances are they publish often.

Case in point

Last summer we started aggressively blogging. We began receiving both emails and phone calls from potential clients. When asked “how did you find us?” we were surprised at the answer “I just finished reading your blog post on…”.  Traffic was up on Keep Marketing Fun (in fact it was higher, and continues to remain higher than our corporate portal), we were getting more social juice and linkbacks. All was good in the world of words.

With this sudden influx of work, we started getting lazy with the blog. Well, to be honest we didn’t have the bandwidth, but that should not have been an excuse, especially when the blog proved to be a major sales channel. Blogging became less frequent and both traffic and leads dropped.

From that point on we made the decision to blog 5 days a week no matter what. We created a basic content calendar to start and strategized on content verticals. Since then we have not seen a drop, only a lift.

You’re a Content Marketer and the Internet Hates You

The last couple weeks haven’t been kind to content marketers. First, Google’s very own anti-spam enforcer, Matt Cutts, went after guest posting. Then Downworthy (a browser plugin that rewrites sensation headlines) declared war on clickbait. And finally, the Boing Boing editor, partner and tech culture journalist, Xeni Jardin, sounded a call-to-arms to reclaim the internet form the so-called “viral mills” of the internet marketing world (the irony of which was not lost on the Boing Boing community).

An Ironic Call to Arms (Source: BoingBoing.net)

An Ironic Call to Arms (Source: BoingBoing.net)

So what’s a marketer to do? Do we have to start worrying about the day where users rise against the machines in some sort of Skynet reversal scenario? Probably not…

This happened, for realz...

This happened, for realz…

Truth be told, all this hype is, ironically, the same kind of sensational hyperbole that it’s targeting in the first place. What’s really at issue, here, is that there’s a little bit more buzz than usual about how users (i.e. human beings) hate douche bags, so as long as you’re not a douche bag, or don’t let any douche bags infect your marketing, you should be fine.

That, of course, doesn’t mean that just ’cause you’re not a douche bag users are spontaneously going to find you. You still have some marketing to do. The real question is “How to go about it?”

Create useful & meaningful content…

In a sense, all marketing assets are content. From billboard and print spreads, to banners and PPC ads, almost everything you use to communicate a value proposition or unique selling proposition is something that engages users (or consumers) on some visual and cognitive level.

What do you think?

What do you think?

The thing about users (or consumers), though, is that they’re human beings. They’re human beings with limited bandwidth and attention span, and if you’re hoping to capture any of it and hold it, then you have to respect that by being mindful of their needs and how you can cater to them.

This is kinda Marketing 101 stuff. Just because someone is a human being, it doesn’t mean that they’re a potential buyer or targeted lead. And that’s what you’re supposed to be after as a marketer: targeted leads.

So when you’re creating content, focus on (1) who your target marketing is, (2) what you can do for them, and (3) how you can help them understand just what exactly it is that you can do for them. In other words, your content shouldn’t be focused so much on generating a sale (or click) directly, but on engaging human beings by helping them solve some problem or fill some need. If you can do that, your brand will be top of mind the next time they set out to make a purchasing decision.

and not just for SEO…

Another upside of this is that guest blogging is not actually dead. Instead, it’s getting back to what it was originally meant for: reaching out to a pre-existing community, engaging it, and giving them something it can use and appreciate and benefit from.

If you’re creating meaningful and useful content, you have every reason to take it out to the communities that are already out there that can benefit from it. ‘Cause, you know, we have another word for communities in the world of marketing: a target market.

So don’t be afraid to guest blog. But when you do so, do it for the right reasons — which do not include the linkjuice you’re going to get out of it. Rather, guest blog because you’ve found a community out there (i.e. target market) that can relate to you because you can relate to them.

and then build community…

True story...

True story…

Going out to the community is nice enough, and it’s a good start, but as a marketer, it won’t completely solve your problem of how to acquire and retain new customers (because let’s face it, that’s what marketers should be out to do). So you’re going to build a community around your brand, and that means making and maintaining a content footprint that’s not easily forgotten.

This might sound like a big, long-term, ongoing commitment, but that’s ’cause it is. And, of course, it’s not gonna be cheap, but you get what you pay for because content is a lot like tattoos: good ones aren’t cheap, and cheap ones aren’t good.