12 Things You Should Be Using Your Blog For (Besides Blogging)

    by Corey Eridon

    Date

    August 22, 2012 at 9:00 AM

    blogging for businessadvanced

    So you want your business blog to perform better. What do you do? Uhh ...

    Blog harder?

    Well yes, you could set to your keyboard and type away 'til your fingers bleed, or you could think of ways to get more out of your blog without just increasing content volume. After all, you only have so many hours in the day, and writing isn't exactly a quick task. So if you're looking to take it to the next level, here's what you should be doing with your business blog to get even more out of that seriously valuable asset.

    12 Ways to Get More Out of Your Blog Without Actually Blogging

    Before we get started, let's get one thing out of the way -- none of these tips are intended to be replacements for a consistent volume of high-quality blog content. These are things you can do to improve the performance of your business blog in addition to the work you're already doing to create and publish content. Sorry if that's a total bummer, but we're no magicians here.

    1) Solicit Content From High-Profile Sites

    If that caveat about still having to create blog content was, indeed, a total bummer, this tip should strike your fancy. Instead of writing content yourself, solicit it from big names and high profile sites. Would you rather hear me write about Facebook business pages, or get that info from someone at Facebook? Probably that Facebook rep, right? Soliciting content from the big guns helps you not only feed your site with content you didn't have to write (hooray!), but it also translates some of that guest blogger's authority right over to your site -- you're the business that got [insert important person in your industry's name here] to write for you!

    And not only does your blog's clout skyrocket, but it's also likely that your guest blogger will promote the post to their network, too. And if they're an industry big wig, they probably have a pretty hefty audience. This opens up your blog to a whole new host of readers it didn't have before that could increase your blog's reach by leaps and bounds.

    2) Work on Increasing Subscribers

    Speaking of your blog's reach, it may be worth your time to invest in increasing your blog's subscriber base. Go into your analytics and take a look at where your blog traffic comes from. Some of it's probably social media, some organic search, some direct traffic ... and I bet a ton of it is from email, right? Why might that be?

    Well, if you have a robust base of people subscribed to your blog via email, it makes total sense. Every time you publish a blog post, they get an email alert about it! That's an incredibly valuable reminder that helps bring readers back to your blog on a regular basis. So it's probably worth your time to figure out some ways to increase that number of blog subscribers. Here are a few ways:

    • Consider adding secondary CTAs to your blog -- both within the individual posts (scroll down!), and along the top or side of your blog (look to the right!). You can also create and add blog subscription CTAs to other pages of your website where appropriate.
    • Design a dedicated blog subscription landing page to periodically share with your social media networks. It'll also serve as the landing page for your blog subscription CTAs.
    • Include blog subscription as a call-to-action in some of your email sends. It doesn't necessarily have to be the primary CTA, but it can be included in a P.S. at the end of your email!

    3) Optimize Past Post Titles

    When you publish a new blog post, you want a catchy title; a hum-drum title doesn't exactly garner tons of clicks. But blog posts quickly get buried as you pump out new content, and eventually you have hundreds or thousands of posts that barely see the light of day. So they're totally useless.

    Ha, just kidding. Those buried posts are still driving a ton of organic value for your site -- remember that each individual post is its own page indexed in the SERPS -- and they could drive even more organic value if you optimized the titles for SEO, not for clicks. So if you're trying to rank for, say, gamification, go back and change your super clever and catchy blog post title, "How a Cosmo Quiz Saved My Business" to "Gamification: How to Gamify Marketing Content."

    4) Optimize Your Calls-to-Action

    You're not just blogging for the fun of it (though I'm sure you're having a total blast). You're trying to get traffic. Traffic you can convert into leads. And then customers. Powerful stuff.

    That's why you're adding all those calls-to-action in every blog post -- they lead to landing pages with offers that your visitors can convert on. So any time you can spend optimizing those CTAs is a worthwhile investment, since you want to be using the CTAs that will convert even more visitors into leads. Set up A/B testing for your blog's CTAs to see which variations of layout, color, and copy impact conversion rates. You should do this for both your in-post CTAs, as well as any CTAs you have on the top or side of your blog.

    CTA AB TEST

     

    5) Update the CTAs on Old Posts

    This idea combines the logic from tips 3 and 4. In tip #3, we recalled that old blog posts still get traffic in the SERPS (even more now that you've optimized their page titles). And in tip #4, we did some A/B testing on our calls-to-action to figure out which design generates the most leads. Combine the two, you savvy blogger you, and replace the CTAs on old blog posts with the new, high-performing CTAs. If you're short on time, start with the blog posts that get the most traffic, then work your way down the list.

    6) Update the Content of Popular Old Posts

    We're not done making it rain with old blog posts yet! Take a look at those old posts that performed really well -- you can go right into your blog analytics to check things like number of views and inbound links per post. Could any of those use an update? It might be high time you brush the dirt off of those oldies but goodies, give them a quick makeover, and re-debut them. It's quick work, and the topic has already proven to be a hit with your readers.

    There are a couple ways to do this. First, you could publish an entirely new post, and redirect the old link to the new blog post so you don't lose and SEO juice. Or, you could simply update the existing post with new content. Depending on the CMS and email system you're using, both have their pros and cons. In the first scenario, for example, you have to go through the hullabaloo of ensuring redirects work. In the second scenario, you don't have to get involved with that kind of SEO nitty gritty, but you do have to ensure your blog subscribers receive an email about the new post. Choose whichever method is easier for you.

    If you feel guilty doing this, don't. Here's three reasons why:

    • If the information is outdated, it's helpful to update it.
    • You've earned hordes of new readers since that post was originally published; they haven't read it yet.
    • Those who read it the first time around probably don't remember it. It's been a long time, and they've read a lot of content. Think of this as a greatest hits rotation.

    7) Conduct a Topic Analysis

    Since you're already knee deep in the blog post popularity contest, you could also conduct a more comprehensive analysis to determine which topics resonate most with your readers. A topic analysis will tell you what you should write about to meet various goals. Simply export your blog analytics into a spreadsheet, and begin sorting by topic categories (AKA the things you write about). Once you've sorted your blog posts into each topic category, you can sort by data like inbound link and number of post views to see which topics are the most popular, and which ones tend to fall flat. Now, just because certain topics aren't as popular as others doesn't mean you should remove them from your repertoire entirely -- you don't want to sacrifice a well-rounded blog for page views alone. But knowing what topics are most popular with readers can help you when you're in a traffic or leads pinch, and you're looking to your blog to help lift you out of it.

    8) Make it Social

    If you haven't already, spend some time optimizing your blog for social media; the success of your blog depends on it. Your blog should have social sharing buttons, as well as social follow buttons so you can simultaneously expand your social reach and the reach of your blog content. You can take it a step further, too, and include cool things like social recommendation widgets so your readers know what blog content is popular among their connections in social media, giving you a little boost by good old social proof.

    social recommendation widget

    9) Optimize the Pages Blog Visitors Click the Most

    As your blog grows, it will likely become more than just a rolling page of content. You might develop things like, ohhh I don't know, a navigation? A sidebar? A banner? A footer?

    Of those "other" places on your blog, you should consider where other people are going so you can optimize those locations once they click off your blog. If people are clicking on the links in your top navigation all the time, for example, spend some time optimizing the pages visitors land on once they click. You might even consider making some of those links landing pages! Where people go after they leave your blog is a juicy source of conversions that many blog marketers let slip between their fingers.10) Use Your Blog to Test New Offers

    Think of your email list as a delicate flower. You should be sprinkling it with water periodically, not blasting it with a fire hose.

    Turns out metaphors aren't my strong suit, but I think you get my point ... if you email your list too frequently, you'll see engagement take a nosedive and unsubscribes skyrocket. So use your business blog as a testing ground for your new offers -- before you send them to that precious email list of yours. Promote new lead generation offers on your blog, and send those that perform well to your email list. No use wearing out your list on offers your audience isn't interested in!

    11) Use Your Blog as a Source of Content

    Don't reinvent the wheel. Get more out of the content you've already created -- blog posts -- by repurposing them elsewhere in your marketing. Where can you repurpose blog content, you might ask? I might answer:

    • Content to feed your social media networks: Link to blog posts in social media to drive people in your network back to your blog.
    • Content to feed your email sends: You don't always have to send lead generation content in your dedicated email sends or lead nurturing campaigns; blog content is a nice reprieve, or perfect fodder for newsletters.
    • Content to feed your lead generation offers: Instead of creating an offer from scratch, round up all of the posts you've written on a particular subject and bundle the content into a new offer.
    • Content to feed your sales organization: As you create blog content around problems your prospects have, send them to your sales team to bookmark so they can gain credibility with leads.
    • Content to feed your website: If you're looking for the right words to explain a concept, product, or service elsewhere on your website, you might already have found the words ... in a past blog post!

    12) Leverage Your Blog as a Sales Tool

    Your business blog is one of the most valuable pieces of sales collateral you have, especially if you're writing posts that naturally incorporate your product or service in the content. Think about it -- you're writing blog posts that teach your leads how they can solve their problems, and how your product or service fits into that solution. What better way to help your sales team explain how your solution is, well, a solution to a lead's problem?

    What else can you do to make your blog perform better besides simply writing more blog content?

    Image credit: jmoneyyyyyyy

                                         

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