If you’re considering a blog redesign (like Marketo did this year), you’ve come to the right place.
Corporate blogs have become an increasingly important piece of the the digital marketer’s strategy, and rightly so. Blogs, when consistently updated with fresh and relevant content, get the job done. After all, the job of the modern marketer is to generate high-quality leads, increase revenue and understand what exactly is driving that revenue. And when wielded wisely, the blog supports those goals.
Of course, there’s a lot that goes into a marketing strategy. It’s as much an art as it is a science, and it’s not only blogging all the time. But as Buffer App shows, your corporate blog can have a huge impact on an organization. So if you haven’t already focused on your corporate blogging strategy, it’s time to revisit.
Let’s take a look at another example. According to CMO of HubSpot, Mike Volpe, 80% of the leads they generate are from inbound (owned or earned) media. And out of the thousands of leads HubSpot generates from their blog per month, 70% come from posts they didn’t write in the previous month.
What does that mean? A blog is a long-term investment. It’s an asset, and one that will continue to deliver long after you hit that publish button. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.
But in order for your blog to truly work for you organization, you have to make sure it’s designed to drive results.
Here are four steps to ensure your blog does exactly that.
1. Define Your Goals
As with, well, pretty much everything, if you don’t know where you’re heading, you’re going to have a hard time getting there. Successful content marketing requires clear goals, or as Richard Fouts of Gartner says, content marketing “happens best when based on a vision and a strategy.”
This is true for the actual content you’re producing, but also the format in which it is shared and distributed. With that in mind, make sure you understand the bigger vision. What are your goals for your blog? What is its purpose within the larger marketing strategy?
A few examples of goals could be: increased conversion rate from anonymous to known visitor, higher referral rate from blog to valuable webpages or content assets, increased subscribers, increased social activity and engagement, etc.
2. Do Your Research
Your blog can be a powerful lead driver, but only if you understand how it can work for you. Once you have your goals defined, start researching. Look at the companies with the best corporate blogs (these 50 brands are a great place to start), your competitors, and the places your target audience already consumes information.
Notice how their blogs or sites are designed. What are the main calls to action? Are they highly visual, or text-heavy? By taking a look at what other blogs and sites are doing successfully, you’ll be able to borrow ideas and improve upon them based on your needs and goals.
Make sure to keep your notes in a document that highlights the specific elements of each blog or site that you like. Write down, in bullet points, exactly why you think it’s effective and/or what you can do to build upon those designs. Eventually, you’ll share these points of inspiration with the design team and/or web developer responsible for redesigning your blog. Seeing what you like and understanding the context will contribute to a collaborative, more effective end result.
And don’t forget to take a look at what marketing thought leaders are saying. Check out the blogs from ion Interactive and KISSmetrics for fantastic tips on increasing conversions (and take note of how they set up their blogs for that same purpose).
3. Design According to Priorities
Now that you have your goals defined and know what you like, think through how design will help your organization meet those goals. Bring the designer in for this, and make sure they, too, see a clear list of your top goals (and in order). Together, you’ll be able to create a user experience that’s enjoyable, but also supports the needs of your organization.
For example, create a bold “Subscribe” button on the top right or left of the page if your goal is to build that list, or provide multiple ways to share content from the blog if you want to have more of an influential voice across social channels. You don’t want to overwhelm your readers with calls to action, so draw their eyes the most meaningful actions that will help you meet your goals.
4. Make It Easy
Don’t make your potential buyers jump through too many hoops to take an action that’s valuable to your organization. For example, a subscribe form should be simple, especially if it’s a pop-up. Email address and (maybe) name. If you want more social shares, put the share buttons somewhere obvious. If you want to draw more people to larger content assets, make those assets an important part of your post and page design.
By providing fewer barriers to action, more action will be taken. A simple concept. but an important one nonetheless.
So what’s the gist? A corporate blog can be a major player in your content marketing strategy. If you’re investing in fresh, well-produced content, make sure all that work is paying off. A blog redesign just might be the thing to make that happen.