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Location is often an indication of clout. Advertising and public relations agencies wanting to reel in the big fish may covet a Madison Avenue location. College graduates seeking a career in finance may yearn for Wall Street. The “anyone who is anyone” mentality applies as much to location, as it does to attending a prestigious event.
The good news for small- to mid-sized businesses is that the Internet has become the great location equalizer. The “anyone who is anyone has a presence on the Internet” applies, but instead of writing a big rent check each month, companies — or their marketing agencies — need to know how to maximize that location to get more visitors.
Original content, particularly in the form of a blog, is a key tool for doing just that. Creating regular blog content is an important first step, but companies are wasting money if they stop at one online posting on their blog or corporate websites. The Internet is crowded, which is why the world uses Google and other search engines to assist in sorting through the fray. And to rank well in search, consistently published, high-quality blog posts are essential.
It’s more than social media
Obviously blog content should be shared on social media, but it’s not that simple. Here are basic online concepts marketing agencies need to consider when helping their clients gain the most from blog content:
• Social media audience. The blog writer was probably given direction on the target audience, but that needs to be applied to every social media platform. A largely millennial audience, for example, is drawn to images, so posting a link on Instagram is more likely to get their attention than Twitter. Carefully researching platform demographics is key to finding the audience you seek. It won’t hurt to share the blog on Facebook, but is Reddit the better choice?
• Relevant industry terms. Content that’s built around terms has the best chance of gaining inbound links to the blog pages. Keywords should be placed in both the headline and body copy. Performing periodic searches to see what comes up in the search engine results is a simple and proactive way to keep on top of what terms should be used in blogs.
• Visual and audio platforms. Reworking blog content into SlideShare, podcasts or video energizes it and allows it to gain more traction and audience views.
• Editorial calendar. Blog content should make sense and have a flow. Topics can coincide with industry events or seasons, but creating an editorial strategy is an important part of brand building in the target audience’s mind. It also ensures that regular and ever-changing content is being created.
• Current news and events. The editorial calendar is an important guide, but it’s not carved in stone. Agencies should always be scanning news, both inside and outside every client’s industry, to see if a current event can be tied to something relevant to the client’s target audiences. It can be a regulatory policy, or a crisis that’s made headlines. This can propel clients into a thought leadership category.
• Links in future blogs. This is another reason why a strategic editorial calendar is important; more recent blogs can link to previous blogs, giving them more eyeballs and keeping a flow of relevant content that makes sense for the company’s brand. For example, if last week’s blog refers to the first few steps of writing a business plan, linking to that blog in the next installment of plan writing makes sense to the reader while gaining more exposure for each previous blog.
• Guest blogs. Asking a a respected industry leader to write a guest viewpoint blog is a great way to potentially attract more readers and viewers — and can lead to reciprocal guest blog opportunities.
• Reciprocal linking. Bloggers abound on the Internet. Researching good bloggers with an attractive following can lead to mutually beneficial linking of content.
Good writing attracts more visitors
One last thing: Good writing is essential. That seems obvious, but is often overlooked. There’s nothing wrong with hiring a ghostwriter to write from the CEO’s perspective, and having a writer available to create regular, relevant content is worth the added expense. A good writer can transfer his or her services to varying industries as long as good direction is given and the target audience is defined. The main thing is that the content is easily digestible. (The same holds true for any visuals that are used — make use of a professional graphics designer if there is not one in-house.)
The digital age is exciting. It allows any size company to claim cyberspace real estate alongside behemoth competitors or peers. Companies don’t declare an online presence by virtue of their size; they claim it by making it as easy as possible for their audiences to find them, and keeping blog content constant and relevant.