I recently had the pleasure of speaking at Go Inbound Marketing 2014, the biggest Inbound Marketing event in the Midwest.
It was a great event with lots of excellent speakers. My presentation was "Why Nobody Reads Your Corporate Blog" and I had a great experience sharing my presentation with the audience.
Below is the video of my presentation followed by the transcript. I hope it helps you optimize and improve your business blog. Enjoy!
Good morning! Really happy to be here. I'm Michael Reynolds with SpinWeb. We're talking about blogging, I'm not going to give you a whole big spiel about my company, because you can find us online, and our website does all that for us pretty well, so look us up.
You can grab this slide deck anytime you want, now if you want or whenever, at spinweb.net/goinbound. You can download it there, it works fine on mobile. So, just grab the slide deck there if you want to do it later. So, little bit about me, I appreciate the kind words Jeremy.
Those who know me, know I love sushi a lot, like a lot. So, anybody sushi lovers in here? Miyagi's in Indianapolis is my favorite. 96th Street. If you're not from Indy, go check it out if you get time, it's amazing get the Diablo roll, it's fantastic. I also play the cello, I play tennis, obviously a marketing/tech nerd, and again our website is there.
We do inbound marketing website and app development. So, we're talking about blogging, specifically why nobody reads your blog. Now if you have an awesome blog, and none of these takeaways apply to you, great. You can rest assure that your blog is fantastic, you're doing great, good to go, that's awesome. However I'm hoping that some of you will have at least two or three takeaways that you can use as kind of a tune up to your business blog.
So, the thought of this, is really a tune up to make sure that you can kinda move the knob, move the needle, turn the volume on a couple of things and really optimize your blog to be more effective for you. So, that's about tells us, so I'm good in metrics, good stats that business blogging works.
It make sense, it leaves to more website traffic, more leads. How many of you here are with companies that publish a business blog on a regular basis, by show of hands. Not as many as I would hope, okay. How many of you are tired of marketing people telling you're supposed to blog. There we go.
Thanks yeah. Sorry it works, we're gonna keep telling you to blog. You don't have to, there's others things you can do. But when it comes to inbound marketing, there's a lot of tactics involved from a ... When you're putting a strategy together, so and blogging is a really good foundation for all of it.
It's a really good, common foundation that kind of ties the pieces together, that really builds a good content foundation and generate leads, and generate business. And we have proof, Hubspot has tons of case studies but here are own, these are our leads from our own blog, actual sales from our blog.
We have metric showing us stuff works, that we actually have business from our blog. So, it works. It may not work for everybody, but if work for us, it works for a lot of people we work with, so I really believe in him. So how many of you here have tried blogging, but, it didn't work so you gave up, by show of hands. A few, this is great thank you for being honest, if you're lying you're not raising your hand, that's okay.
I see this a lot, people say "Oh well these marketing people shouted me to blog all the time, they say I was supposed to blog, and write articles once a week, and this will magically bring the inbound marketing fairies to my doorstep and I'll make a bunch of money right?"
You blog for maybe couple of months try it out, and you throw up your hands and say, "Well it didn't work." I didn't get leads, I didn't get website traffic, nobody is reading it. So there may be some reasons for that, and hopefully some of these things may ring through, and you may be able to have some takeaways here, that can help your blog to be more effective and perform better, so hopefully that's the case here.
So why is nobody reading it? One your blog is boring, don't be offended, some of us have boring blog post sometimes, even us. I see a lot of blog post written from the standpoint of a highly technical really smart person writing content that is meant to teach, it's meant to educate.
But it's written in such a way that it's so thick, and so technical, and so formal and it goes through five layers of approval and the committee has to approve it, or the board has to approve. And by the time it gets out there, it just so boring, nobody wants to read it right?
The tone I recommend taking with your business blog is think of yourself, sitting down, with a friend over dinner, explaining a complex concept. You would use super formal language, you wouldn't use, really thick complex terminology. You would just speak like a human right? That's the tone you want to take on your blog.
That is why it gets people to actually want to read it and digest the information. So, don't make it boring, think about talking to your best friend over dinner, that's really the tone, tone to take. Next, your blog is a secret, nobody knows about it. Obviously I think most of us know that it's good to show your blog post on social media.
A lot of time I see organizations that, post the blog and maybe it's automatically post to the Twitter and Facebook, and LinkedIn and they just kind of say well, I have done my job it's out there. That's it right? No, share it multiple times, put it in your editorial calendar, go back to previous blog post they get a lot of attention and maybe are great topics.
Bring them back so often to show them over and over again. Not too much, but put them on your schedule. E-mail them to clients, this is big. I see a lot of organizations that may have decent content that no one in the company is sharing it. No one in the company cares. They're showing a social media, but there sales people out there trying to make sales and trying to engage with prospects that are not sharing blog post with prospects.
Prospects ask tons of questions, those all made great topics for your business blog, so why not take previous articles, apply that to your sales process. The sales people can have this huge library of blog post, they can then share with prospects to answer questions and demonstrate expertise and thought leadership.
Make sure your customer service people use them. Customer service people have to answer the same question all the time right? Write a blog post, answer the question, put that in your library, put that in your customer support system they can just send a link very quickly, save them time, make your customer service process more efficient.
So make sure people know about it, don't keep it a secret, there's a lots of avenues beyond just social media, you can use to share a blog post. You don't do keyword research, this is not well, let me take that back. I think it's fun because I'm a nerd, awesome part of our team back there has been well also, things just fine because we're nerds.
But it's not fun for everybody, but it's pretty important because this keeps your blog tuned in the right direction. If you're doing keyword research, you're going to find, search terms, and phrases that your target market based on persona is are searching on. And that gives you really good information to decide what topics to write about.
If you haven't done keyword research, there's some really nice tools to help you, uh there's a free one that Google ask called keyword tool. So if you Google keyword tool, you'll find it, use that. Übersuggest if you've never used it, go at bookmark Ubersuggest like right now, it's amazing. You can type in like one or two word phrases, that apply to what your target audience searches on.
It will bring back sometimes hundreds of variations and you can then plug those into your keyword tool like we use Hubspot for example. And you can get all sorts of data on what the most popular terms are, and that's the kind of stuff you want to go after. This is what helps you allowing your blog content with search and gets found on, on search.
Those graphs I showed you at the beginning, where we're showing leads and sales coming from a blog, they usually finds us on search, because we align our blog post with the right keywords. Maybe your blog lacks imagery, maybe it has good content, and good text but there's never any photos.
When you share your blog post on social media, and there's no photo or imagery there, it's kind of blend. Nobody wants to click because they just kind of competing with everything else in Facebook which includes pictures of kittens, and all sorts of fun things and your blog post has no imagery.
So also applies to rich media, embed videos, embed media that goes with it, that context. One of my favorites, your authors are not people. What I mean by this, well, some people they get really hang up on hiding behind their company name on their blog. They post an article and it says, hey blah blah blah, here's the title, author Acme Corporation.
Right? Who is that? Your blog should be written by a real person, by the way Google agrees. Google agrees because they want you to tie authorship from your blog post to your Google+ account. So if you're not publishing your articles as real people, make sure the by lines says Bob Smith or whatever the name is there as a real person.
Links to their profile and in your Google+ profile make sure that that person is correctly linking themselves as a contributor to your website if you have Google+, that way, Google knows where the authorship is.
And then when you get it found on search, you got a nice little headshot next to the post as well, makes it look nice in results, higher click through rates, so make sure your author is a people and also humanizes it, so people actually feel like they're talking to a real person, that's important.
Maybe you're telling too many campfire stories. Campfire stories are posts that are, when I was a kid or once upon a time I did this or here's a story about a thing one time and they just drawn on and on about the story. And they might get to a point eventually but you might not get there because you're so tired of hearing this drawn out campfire story.
Sometimes that will work but I caution against doing this as the theme of your blog, you want to start post with things like how to, or the best way to, or is it bad to or why it does, you want to teach, don't reminisce, teach. The most effective blog post in general that I've seen, always with exception but in general with our clients are ones that teach a concept a very specific concept that solves a problem.
Look for those problems, like your prospects are trying to get answers to, zone in on that answer that question and teach in that post. Maybe your titles are vague. Maybe if Seth Godin, you can get away with the vague title all day long because you're Seth Godin, am I right?
But I'm not Seth Godin, most of us aren't, we need to be very specific and very descriptive. So you know, industrial stuff or business stuff or here's just kind of a topic out there as the title. That's not really going to get much attention. Now I don't recommend selling your soul and doing up wording style titles, like this three year old started signing in public. And you'll never believe what the crowd did next.
That's kind of selling your soul, I wouldn't go that far, but I would try to be very descriptive and very specific. You know, how to do a thing by doing something else or the secret to or why a thing or getting the most out of something. Be very specific and tell people exactly what they're getting.
People don't like to be surprised or they don't like to be you know, kind of think of well it's big I'm not sure what I'm going to get if I click on that so I'm not going to spend the effort. Tell them what they're going to get, be specific.
Maybe post once every three months. How many, let me get some hands up again, how many of you manage your or with a company that publishes a blog and you publish it once a week or more, okay good quite a few. So a few less hands while some of you are more sporadic. So that's good, you're publishing at least once a week or more.
Now again there's always exceptions, Jeremy touched on some of this, when it's not always about quantity, it's about quality as well, there's different variations but in general if you're running a successful inbound marketing program, you want consistency. And publishing on a consistent basis will help that and helps spot again has data proving that blogging frequency does affect customer acquisition.
That's what's crazy, I blog like multiple times a day, it blows my mind. So, it does help. Maybe make it hard to subscribe. I see a lot of great business blogs, they have some good content. But I go to put in my email address to subscribe and I can't find it. I'm like well all right I guess I don't know when they're going to put the next one out.
A lot of people subscribe via email, via RSS, via email, your social media, or yeah, email and email. Right. And I harp on this because it's such an after-thought sometimes for so many companies, they don't have a way to subscribe via email.
By the way this doesn't just apply to your blog itself, it applies to other parts of your website. For example, every time someone downloads an e-book or a form or fills out some form on your website, have a little check box in there that says, would you like to subscribe to our blog? Yeah. Check. Not everyone will check it but we find that over half of the people do check it when they download something from us.
And we get a lot of subscribers to our blog that way just because it's an impulse buy kind of thing. That's why you buy that candy bar to check that line that's right there in front of you. Why not, right? So, allow people to impulse opt in to your blog. It'll really grow your readership from every landing page, every form you have.
You're selling too much. Maybe you're this guy. You don't want to sell in your blog. You want to occasionally link to things that help your company but in general you want to teach, you want to be very authentic and solve the problem. Don't sell, there's other places and times to sell in the process in inbound marketing.
Blog is typically not your touch point to sell on. Maybe you don't exchange guest posts, again Jeremy touched on this a little bit. In terms of reaching out to influencers. It's really good to reach out to influencers, partner with them, have them write for you, you write for them.
It's not an SEO trick, Google's clamped down on that for SEO tricks but it's good for amplifying your audience. Getting their audience to show your stuff. You show their stuff. It's a win-win. So find influencers to partner with.
Maybe you're not spending any money on it. Maybe you're this guy and you say well, my blog should be good enough on its own. Well, as again Jeremy talked about this before. Facebook is really clamped down on organic reach. Other social properties are probably not far behind. So take advantage of services like Outbrain, like promoted posts, like Twitter audiences.
Go ahead and spend a few bucks and distribute your blog on paid media source as well. Outbrain is great because you can plug your RSS feed into Outbrain it'll just automatically just find readers for you in different media sites and you can bring in some traffic that way and really kind of boost and accelerate your readership.
Now all these things are, things you could do today to fix. very inexpensively usually with an exception of this one, if your website is ugly, that's going to take a little bit of investment. I always like pictures of puppies and they tend to play a lot of people. But if your website is ugly, this is going to play a part.
If you have a website that is not mobile, not responsive, not mobile-optimized, it is ugly, not working. there's plenty of studies out there that have data showing that this affects conversion rates, it affects how people interact with their website. If your website is ugly, you've got to fix it. Otherwise you're not going to gain trust.
People are not going to subscribe, you're not going to gain readership. So, so, I promised Jeremy I'd speed up a little bit and be quicker because we're close to break and I do not want to keep your from break.
So with that, I hope that's given you some takeaways, I hope it really helps you kind of tune up. your business blog and really help to kind of fixed a few things that might be going wrong. Hopefully it helps you optimize and really broaden your readership, help your blog be more effective and hopefully it's useful to you.
So again you can grab the slide deck online, it's SpinWeb.net/goinbound. it's a short form, it'll work on mobile, grab it there. always happy to follow up later, so, thanks so much, appreciate your time. Thank you.