And the bad news? Blogging can be a lot of work. While creating content often involves very little monetary cost, it does take time. And when you're doing it right, it can take a lot of time.
So, how do you do it right? I could write pages and pages of blogging DOs and DON'Ts, but if your post meets these five criteria, you're on the right track.
1. Your post is helpful, not promotional
A blog post is not an ad.
Unless you're blogging for an investor community, or some other audience that actually wants to be sold on how great your business is, you're better off trying to help solve their problems than self-aggrandizing.
Key stat: 60% of consumers "turn down" content that sounds likes a sales pitch, while 75% of those same consumers look for content that provides "insights or ideas" related to their business. (source)
2. Your post is easily skimmable
Be honest. Have you read every word in this blog post? I didn't think so.
Including bullet points, large headings, videos and images lets readers pick out important bits from your blog post.
Do your readers a favor and make your blog post easy to digest.
Key stat: 43% of HubSpot customers said they are more likely to skim blog posts, compared to 29% that said they are more likely to consume them thoroughly. (source)
3. Your post includes data that backs up your points
Customers have an inherent distrust of businesses that are trying to sell something to them. Including data or facts from a reputable source can help earn back your customers' trust.
You can take this a step further by including the most interesting data in your blog post's headline. Even though most people won't read every word of your blog post, almost all of them will see the headline.
Key stat: Blog posts that feature graphs and charts are linked to by other websites 258% more than blog posts that include other types of images (source)
4. Your post contains images and/or video content
If you've ever seen someone share a link to an article that doesn't include a photo on Facebook, you know the power images can have on getting your attention.
Video can be even more powerful if properly harnessed. Remember the study I cited earlier showing only about a quarter of consumers prefer to "thoroughly consume" blog posts? That number jumps up to 55% if the content is delivered via video.
Key stat: Articles with images get 94% more views than those that do not. (source)
5. Your post includes a clear call-to-action
Maintaining a blog is a great way to get potential customers to your website and earn their trust. But on its own, a blog can't generate leads and sales for your business.
Blogging is just one part of what should be an integrated inbound marketing campaign, which you can learn more about by downloading our guide to close-looped marketing. Using a strong call-to-action reduces the possibility that you miss opportunities to convert readers into leads.
Key stat: When HubSpot added anchor text calls-to-action to a group of blog posts, the visit-to-lead conversion rate on those pages jumped by 121%. (source)
Blogging is great for your business, but only if it's done correctly. Make sure your blog posts:
help customers instead of advertise to them
can be easily skimmed
include supporting data
make use of visual media like photos or videos
include CTAs to help convert more readers to leads
Want to learn more about starting a successful content and blogging strategy for your business? Get in touch!