Blogging to win influence
What is a blog?
A blog is a piece of written content that serves a direct purpose to its audience. There are generally two categories a blog post falls under, those designed to inform and those designed to persuade. Both are useful tools when considering a comprehensive digital marketing strategy. An informative blog shares expertise and knowledge with others who are interested in gaining insight from your experience. Informative blog posts can be used as a way to share opinions and start conversations with others who have similar interests. Persuasive blog posts typically have more of a sales focus, attempting to pitch services to specific audiences by illustrating benefits and outcomes.
Why is influence important?
In terms of business, appearing influential to clients and prospects will help to establish your credentials. A great reputation signifies authority and makes an impact on those you may want to influence for the benefit of your brand. By doing this in a structured and authentic way, you’ll gain free advertisement of your services through positive word of mouth; clients essentially becoming advocates and ambassadors for your business or brand.
Know your audience
Before you can start putting together the perfect blog, you must consider the wants and needs of your audience. This is the most important factor in making blogs worthy of reading. Research is crucial, but you will have likely already identified your main audience when developing the company and related products or services. Knowing the objectives of your audience will help you to accumulate blog ideas and start planning the content you want to share with them. Consider creating a set of customer personas to help identify key customer demographics, interests and goals.
Tone of voice
Your tone of voice should always be consistent with your brands wider communication, including on social media and in your blog. There are countless variations you can use depending on what your audience will engage with best, from a chatty and informal tone that suggests friendly advice, to formal and authoritative language that resonates as expert guidance. Any tone has the ability to support influence over your audience, as long as it is appropriate it will help make your content worth reading.
By creating a consistent ‘personality’ you will attract users to search out more of your content and look forward to what else you have to offer. Distinctive traits and styles show your audience how you are different from other brands and companies, which will naturally build trust over time.
Imagery and video
Rich media, such as images and video, can add an important visual component to a blog and impact the levels of engagements your blog content receives. If you are showcasing something visual, including photos next to relevant text helps to create a better picture (quite literally) of what you are writing about. If you can invest in video marketing, combining video content within a blog can help to increase traffic volumes and blog readership. Consider experimenting with live social video content (i.e. Instagram stories) to promote click-throughs to your blog content and monitor traffic acquisition to your posts.
It is important to remember that if you are including photos or videos, they should always be high quality and adhere to your brand guidelines. Alternatively, infographics are a sophisticated way of turning stats and data into impressive visuals to support your blog.
You might write the most fantastic piece of content, but if it is presented in a jumbled or messy fashion, the reader will simply stop reading. Make sure the layout of your blog is clean, especially if you are including images and hyperlinks. Anything you put alongside content should be relevant and in a logical order. It is also key that you consider where your blogs are located on your site. Can you see them on your home page? Is your news/blog section easy to navigate and get to? If not – change it!
Once you have developed the skills to write an influential blog, it is imperative to remain constant and consistent. Putting together a blog content schedule and having a clear plan of when you are going to post (then sticking to it) will keep your readers interested as they will know when to expect new content from you.
Now you have created a fantastic blog, it is important to promote it! You can start to do this by sharing the link to your blog on social media, including popular hashtags that relate to the topics you cover. By devising social media posts that are persuasive and relevant, you will help direct an appropriate audience to read (and be influenced by) your blog post.