by Donna Amos | Featured Contributor
Blogging is on fire! In fact, social media and SEO expert Neal Schaffer claims that, “Blogging is as effective a marketing tool as ever. In fact, it’s supercharged.”
A recent study by Data Box, entitled “The Shift in Your Content Marketing Mix: 25 Marketers On What’s Changed in 2 Years” showed that 68% of marketers find blogging more effective than they did only 2 years ago. And I believe the other 32% are likely doing it wrong!
The nature of blogging has changed, and so must your focus if you want blogging to remain an effective tool in your marketing arsenal. Follow these 7 tips that expert bloggers will be leveraging in 2020.
Expert bloggers are well-informed. They are voracious readers. They view reading as a part of blogging, a process of discovery through which they keep a steady finger on the pulse of their target audience. Here are some suggested reading materials:
- Read what your audience is reading. This takes some research, but learning their interests helps you better answer their questions in your writing, another tip we will examine below.
- Read what your competition is writing. If they are doing a good job of audience research, you can learn from them what others are reading. And, you can get some tips on how you can write better content than your competitors.
- Read what major influencers are writing about your niche. Influencers lead large audiences, so keeping up with what concerns them helps prepare you for relevant writing.
- Read the latest industry material concerning your business. Stay current with the latest news and developments in your field.
- Read for fun. Reading for enjoyment is a great source for illustrations and stories to use in your own writing.
A variation on reading is listening to podcasts or audiobooks. Too busy to read much? Leverage your time and listen to helpful podcasts or audiobooks while commuting, gardening, mowing, doing other chores, or just relaxing.
Engage the World
Very often, our best writing comes from our experiences. Sitting at a desk all day in isolation, week after week, doesn’t breed many interesting experiences. And it’s unhealthy. Get outside and engage with people. Have interesting conversations. Meet friends for coffee and discover what is going on in the lives of other people.
Travel as often as possible. You don’t have to go to Spain or Australia to have great experiences. Explore your hometown as if you were a tourist. Take a tour and see what you have missed. Go for a drive and take roads you have yet to travel. Take along a notebook or recorder and a camera (or at least your smartphone) and make notes about what you see and hear. A life lived well is the best fodder for writing.
Emphasize Quality Over Quantity
Each new Google algorithm that is introduced puts more emphasis on quality content than the last. That’s because Internet users are demanding better quality material. The Internet is filled with innumerable pages of information on every conceivable topic. That means to attract users, your material must be not just better than average, but better than 90%.
Long-form posts, “definitive guides,” and skyscraper content that provides tons of value is what Internet searchers are clicking on the most. ContentFly puts long-form (between 1,000 and 7,000 words) content of high quality as the most important successful blog writing trend for 2020.
Specialize in Your Favorite Topic
If the best way to grow your business is to find a specific niche, the same should apply to your blogging. While you may write about related topics, 80% of your blogs should focus directly on your niche topic. You should become known as THE specialist on that topic in your business. Your website needs to become THE place to go to get up-to-date, accurate, relevant, and helpful information about your niche.
That kind of specialization doesn’t come overnight. You may need to take a class, study more, engage in extensive research, or more to become THE answer guy or girl for your niche. But if you choose to focus on a specific topic relating to your business, no one should know more about it than you.
Answer Questions People Are Asking
Much of the information on the Internet is irrelevant because it doesn’t scratch where Internet users have an itch. It doesn’t answer the questions that people are asking. And if you don’t answer their question relating to your business or topic, they will quickly go somewhere else that does and bookmark that site to return later.
This involves research, but expert bloggers do what it takes to learn what people are asking within their own business niche. Why waste your limited time writing something that no one cares about? If your goal in blogging is to drive traffic to your business, relevancy should be at the top of why you write blog posts at all.
Pay Attention to SEO
Search engine optimization is more important than ever before. Blogging is no longer just about writing. Expert bloggers also engage in keyword research, creative writing, linking and backlinking, and page design in order to give their work every chance of being ranked highly by Google and other search engines.
And in our current society, that also means paying attention to local and voice search SEO, especially if your business has a physical location. Local and voice SEO can be the key to getting found and making a sale almost 60% of the time when a growing number of Internet searches use smartphones and/or digital assistants.
Get the Word Out
The best content available on any subject means nothing to you or anyone else if no one can find it. I’m amazed at bloggers who write and publish but never spread the word. There is no worldwide alert system that automatically shares with every Internet user that you just published a post. You have to get the word out yourself. Here are some popular and effective ways to do that.
- Social media – Post about new content on every social media channel you use. Post the link, but include relevant images, snippets of text, and even reader comments to entice users to click and read. Every piece of content you publish should enter a regular social media posting schedule for regular, recurring posting.
- Video – Creating a video that coincides with your blog posts is dynamite, and so is sharing that video link across your social media channels. You can also create brief promo videos for Facebook and Instagram and even YouTube that promote your latest content in different ways to attract audiences.
- Email – Your email newsletter should regularly contain a summary of your latest blog posts. You should also send a brief email to your mailing list to inform subscribers when you post new material.
Expert bloggers in 2020 will be going farther and working harder than ever before to ensure their material meets the needs of their target audience with high-value content. Will you be among them?
Donna Amos is passionate about helping Solopreneurs grow their business using everything digital and publishing. She has 30 years experience in sales and marketing for small business. She believes the best gift you can give another is a word of encouragement.