by Corey Eridon
As an inbound marketer, you spend so much time writing amazing blog content -- you conceive an engaging topic, research the subject matter, pour your heart and soul into writing the post, and beam as you hit the publish button for all the world to see.
And then after a day or two, in the immortal words of Jay-Z, it's "on to the next."
So what happens to that awesome blog post you published a few days ago once the next one comes along? For most people, it just kind of ... disappears into the ether, getting buried by newer posts and disappearing from your blog's homepage. What a shame.
But it doesn't have to be that way! There are plenty of ways to resurface your best blog content so it gets more visibility than just a day or two on your blog's homepage. We know how much time and effort it takes to create content, so why not squeeze the most ROI out of your business blogging with these ideas to resurface your blog content?
1) Recommend Blog Posts About Similar Topics
If your reader was interested enough to click through to your blog post on, say, paid search for mobile (like I was on Search Engine Land's recent blog post on the subect), it stands to reason that your reader might like to read the other content you've written on the subject. That's why it's a great idea to include links to related blog posts you've written on the subject in the bottom of your blog posts, as Search Engine Land has done on its site.
You'll notice they not only include links to the titles of blog posts that relate to mobile marketing and search engine strategy, but they also link to their blog topic tags on paid search marketing, mobile marketing, and search marketing for those who might like to browse the entirety of their blog archives. You can make this related content module a feature of your blog design, or simply include it in plain text at the bottom of each blog post you write.
2) Republish Successful Blog Posts in Social Media
You may already use social media to achieve visibility for your blog posts when you first publish them -- so why not continue to promote them via your social media accounts well after their initial publish date, too? This is easy to do with automated social media publishing tools; if you're a HubSpot customer, you can make use of oursocial publishing tool that lets you schedule posts across all your social media accounts for pre-defined dates and times in the future.
3) Use Your Blog Posts as a Lead-Gen Offer
In a recent blog post about how to quickly create a lead-gen offer, we recommended creating a "blog bundle," or a compilation of your best blog posts on a particular subject. This tactic can be used for a quick lead generation offer and to gain more visibility for your best blog posts. Don't you just love repurposed content?
To get the most visibility for your blog posts using this method, include links throughout the offer that lead back to other blog posts. For example, if I were to create a blog bundle about SEO, it's possible I'd talk tangentially about paid search. While it wouldn't be relevant to go in-depth on paid search in a piece of content focused on SEO, it would be helpful to reference and link to other paid search blog posts within the blog bundle offer. You might say, "To learn more about how paid search can help your organic search strategy, read this blog post about integrating a paid and organic strategy," with a link back to that blog post.
This strategy not only lets you leverage your best blog content as a lead generation offer while simultaneously getting more eyes on those blog posts, but it also gives you ample opportunity to drive visitors back to your blog through relevant internal linking opportunities.
4) Grow Inbound and Internal Links for More Search Engine Visibility
The linking opportunities don't end with your lead generation offers; it's crucial to grow your inbound and internal links within blog posts to increase blog post visibility in search engines.
Think about how users find your blog -- it's not just through email alerts to subscribers and social media links. If you're optimizing your content, you'll get found in search engines for years to come! Increase that visibility by naturally acquiring inbound links for your most important blog posts -- through guest blogging opportunities, polite requests to industry connections, and graciously linking to other people's content. Then bolster the impact of those internal links by implementing a savvy internal linking strategy to help bolster organic visibility of important blog posts even further. If you're curious how to implement an internal linking strategy that will help your SEO, read our blog post that explains its importance and how to get started.
Aside from the SEO value you'll get from internal linking, continually referencing your old blog content within the context of new blog posts helps you continually drive new traffic to them. We make use of this tactic all the time in our blog posts (see the internal linking examples in the previous paragraph); instead of explaining a concept in its entirety in a blog post, we link to a past post that goes into far more detail. Not only is this more useful for the reader -- we don't derail the subject of the blog post to explain a tangential concept -- but it also helps us to drive more traffic to blog posts that have long since been archived.
5) Update & Republish Old Blog Posts
You now know -- from your social media republishing research in tip #2 -- which blog posts were the most successful. But are they all still up-to-date? If your best blog posts are months or years old, it's possible the information contained therein is outdated -- especially if you work in a fast-changing industry. So why not save yourself the time of writing a new post from scratch and get more leverage out of those evergreen blog posts by updating the content and republishing it to your blog?
The new version of the blog post offered an updated graph, more explanation to accompany the original video that was embedded in the post, and highlighted new product functionality that helps marketers keep track of lead generation progress that was not available when the post was originally published.
When updating and republishing blog content, rather than creating a new draft, just change the date from the original publish date to the current one so readers don't think they've stumbled across outdated content and so you aren't publishing what search engines consider duplicate content. Share the new post in social media, and if your blog comments automatically turn off after a certain timeframe, enable new comments again since you'll be getting new traffic to the blog post.
6) Recommend the Most Popular Blog Posts You're getting new, unique traffic to your blog every day. Don't you think those new visitors would like to read some of your blog's oldies but goodies? Make use of one of the simplest ways to resurface old blog content -- a blog post recommendation widget. These modules can be built into your blog's design, and automatically recommend the blog posts that were the most popular. Just be sure you're vigilant about updating old but popular blog content (refer to tip #5) so you don't drive visitors to pages with incorrect or outdated information!
7) Use Blog Content in Email Marketing Campaigns
One of the most common reasons marketers fail at lead nurturing is a lack of suitable content. Use your blog to simultaneously feed your lead nurturing content arsenal and generate more visibility for past blog posts. We're not talking emailing subscribers about a new blog post getting published -- that's not targeted lead nurturing. Rather, pick your best, most comprehensive blog posts that address your prospects' pain points, and include them in your lead nurturing content map. For example, a prospect in the top of your sales funnel that has viewed a lot of HubSpot's past Facebook content might be interested to receive our post about the most inspiring Facebook brand page designs. Just be sure to include calls-to-action in all of your posts so traffic that converts from the email can reconvert on the blog!
You don't need to be utilizing advanced lead nurturing tools to leverage your blog content in emails, though. Give your sales team an arsenal of evergreen, educational posts that address common pain points they hear when speaking to prospects. When they uncover a serious pain point, they're equipped to verbally explain the solution and send a personalized email with a link to the blog post that explains the solution in more detail.
8) Include Blog Posts in Your Resource CenterWe've written before on this blog about a resource center as an important place on your website to update content. But it can be daunting to continually come up with new content to include there -- and you want to update your site as much as possible for optimal search engine optimization, right? Kill two birds with one stone, and highlight your best blog posts in your resource center. We advise against including the entirety of your blog content in your resource center, since search engines might ding you for duplicate content. Instead, write an original abstract that explains what the post is about, and direct the reader to the full post on your blog.
9) Reference Your Blog Content in Q&A Forums
Just as your how-to and explanatory blog posts are useful content for your sales organization, they can be repurposed on Q&A forums and social networks like Quora or LinkedIn Answers where users crowdsource answers to industry questions.
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by Lauren Sorenson
Your brand’s strategy should be based on company goals. And just like James Bond wouldn't have gotten too far without a plan, your business will eventually hit a wall without a cohesive brand strategy. Sure, maybe you can finagle a big sale or trick a Russian spy or two, but one day you'll wake up and have no idea how your company got from A-to-Q -- it’s supposed to go from A-to-B, remember? And skipping steps is not how a great company that stands the test of time is built.
Brand strategy is the how, what, when, and to whom you plan on communicating your product or service. Having a clear and concise brand strategy leads to stronger overall brand equity -- how people feel about or perceive your product, and how much they are willing to pay for it.
It's the stuff that feels intangible, but it's that hard-to-pin-down feeling that separates powerhouse and mediocre brands from one another. So to help you rein in what many marketers consider more of an art and less of a science, we've broken down seven components of a comprehensive brand strategy that will help keep your company around for ages. So is your company's brand strategy smooth like Bond? Or will it leave your company shaken harder than Bond's martini?
Tie Your Brand to Your Business Model
Let's clear up the biggest misconception about brand strategy right now. Your brand is not your product, your logo, your website, or your name. It’s what your customers perceive about you, and how you make them feel. Chances are you're not the only company out there selling your product or service. Figure out what your company does best beyond what you sell, and make it a part of your brand strategy.
For example, Apple doesn’t just sell computers and music equipment; it sells well-designed products that are easy to use. Are they the best computers on the market? No. (Well, I guess that depends on what side of the Mac-PC debate you're on.) But Apple sells a lot of them at twice the price because of the way Apple positions its brand in the market. This goes beyond your product itself -- it's about selling the problem you are solving.
Don’t claim to solve generic problems; your customers have specific problems. Play the word game. Volvo = safe; Coke = refreshing; Disney = magic; HubSpot = All-in-One. What does your brand equal? You always knew Bond was going to get out of a pickle, but you wanted to see howbecause he did it with resourcefulness and flair. Decide which aspect is the most important about your product or service, and make it a part of every aspect of your brand communication.
Now that you have decided your key brand attributes, make sure it is clear and understood through all your communications -- especially inside your own company. Don’t talk about things that don’t relate to or enhance your brand. Added a new photo to Facebook? What does it mean for your company? Does it align with your message, or was it just something funny that would, frankly, confuse your audience? If it doesn’t tie back to your brand's message, you will have trouble differentiating yourself from competitors.
To reinforce the message, in your company meetings, over coffee or lunch, or just chatting at your desk, encourage the feelings you want your brand to evoke in customers and your employees. When employees start to talk the talk and walk the walk -- especially those on the front lines -- the messaging is consistently reinforced with leads and customers, too.
You might be thinking, “Volvo doesn’t say safety, safety, safety all the time, though.” But listen to how Volvo describes its cars and how long they last, as well as how it describes features. It all ties back to Volvo's underlying brand theme of safety, and customers know what they will get when they buy that product.
Customers can either think rationally about your product or service, or they can think emotionally about it. How else do you explain the person who paid thousands of dollars more for a Harley rather than buying another cheaper, equally well-made bike? There was an emotional voice in there somewhere, whispering “Buy a Harley…open road…tough.” It’s the way the brand makes you feel. You feel like you belong, like you're part of a larger group that's more tight-knit than just a bunch of motorcycle riders. Where do you think HOG came from? Harley Owners Group.
Find a way to connect to your customers on a deeper level. Do you give them peace of mind? Make them feel like part of the family? Do you make life easier? Connect with your customers on this point before and after a sale. Answer their questions and concerns on social media. A little goes a long way. Batman doesn’t have any real superpowers, but whenever that signal lights up the sky, people trust that he will be there -- because he always is.
Reward and Cultivate
If you already have people that love you, your company, and your brand, don’t just sit there! Reward them for that love. These customers have gone out their way to write about you, to tell their friends about you, and to act as your brand ambassadors.Cultivating loyalty from these people early on will yield more returning customers -- and more profit for your business.
Sometimes, just a thank you is all that's needed, but great brands also tend to give more than that. Write them a personalized letter. Do you have some extra special swag? Sent it to them. Ask them to write a review, and feature them prominently on your website. For example, Porsche reached 1 million Facebook fans quicker than any other automotive brand, so to thank its fans, Porsche made a wraparound for its GT3 Hybrid that included all 1 million names. No doubt the car company also received an extra bit of buzz for it. And showing how happy your current customers are with your product certainly helps your sales organization, too, because it shows the positive end result of becoming a customer.
Just because you come up with a campaign to reinforce your brand strategy, doesn’t mean it will work. There have been plenty of schemes and plans that have ended with our beloved heroes in the clutches of an evil foe. How the Penguin catches anyone, I don’t know, but if it can happen to Batman, it can happen to you. Watch your return on investment as you implement new campaigns to strengthen your brand. If your brand isn’t resonating with enough people through the campaign, you have not given them a good enough reason to love you.
At the start of each new campaign, check your marketing analytics for branded and organic search. If it goes up when you launch your campaign, it means people are hearing about your campaign and becoming interested in your brand. They are searching for you -- often by name -- because you have provided them with enough compelling content that they want to know more. Just don't get stuck on one tactic or campaign. By staying agile, you can better measure whether your tactics are aligning well with your overall brand strategy, and if they don't, you haven't invested so much that you can't re-evaluate.
Speaking of agile inbound marketing, in this fast-changing world, marketers must remain flexible to stay relevant. On the plus side, this frees you to be creative with your campaigns. Old Spice generated quite the buzz over the last few years because it took its old brand and made it relatable to a new generation. Old Spice still held true to its brand; they just did it in a different, buzz-worthy way that opened them to a new customer market. I’m still talking about them, and that horse left the barn over a year ago.
So if your old tactics aren’t working anymore, don’t be afraid to change them just because it worked in the past. Take the opportunity to engage your followers in fresh, new ways. Are there some out-of-the-box partnerships your brand can make? Are there attributes about your product you never highlighted? Use those to connect with new customers and remind your old ones why they love you.
Watch Out for Competitors...a Little
You know that part in the movies, just when you think you're safe? When Indiana Jones gets through all the booby traps only to discover an army of guards waiting there as he turns around? Your competitors are like that. Just as soon as you think you have them figured out, they throw a curve ball. This will never end. And it can seem disheartening until you realize it is helping you improve your brand in the process.
Take the competition as a challenge to improve your own strategy and create greater value in your overall brand. You are in the same business and going after the same customers, right? So watch what they do. Do some of their tactics succeed? Do some fail? Tailor your tactics based on their experience to better your brand and company. For too many years, American car companies ignored their foreign competitors. But they finally realized they needed to change their model for the changing times and tout a more fuel-efficient agenda to keep pace with foreign competitors.
That being said, don't let your competitors dictate each and every move. I started this blog post talking about why you're in business. Sure, you probably sell a similar product or service as many other companies. But you're in business because your brand is unique. By harping on every move your competitor makes, you lose that differentiation. And soon your customers won't be able to tell you apart, making it even easier for them to leave you. Keep your eye on your competitors when experimenting with your brand strategy -- just not a hawk's eye.
What are some ways you evaluate the effectiveness of your brand strategy?
It often seems as though every blogger, small business, and website manager is using social media these days in an effort to advertise and increase exposure for their product or service. They are turning to Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. They are posting tweets, providing status updates, and introducing new products via an image upload. And many of them are taking wide-ranging steps
to boost and sustain their number of Facebook “Likes.”
It is understandable that someone using social media will want consumers to view their Facebook page. But what added benefits are accrued from getting those consumers to take the extra step and clicking the “Like” button? If you’re using social media for your reputation management
, how can managing your “Likes” translate into greater exposure and success?Here’s how:Legitimacy
A big corporation with 10,000 Facebook “Likes” may not benefit a lot whole from working to increase that number to 12,000. But there is a very real difference between 50 “Likes” and 300 “Likes” when a smaller company is involved. At the low end, 50 “Likes” could simply mean that you got all your friends and relatives to follow your Facebook page. At the other end of the spectrum, 300 “Likes” and upwards can convey to a visitor that you page has a greater intrinsic popularity. This can, in short, confer a greater legitimacy upon your business.Maximize Exposure
A person who “Likes” a given Facebook page is more likely to view content from that page and return to it on a regular basis. Why is this? When someone “Likes” a business on Facebook, any images or status updates posted by that business can show up in the person’s news feed, meaning that they will see this information as soon as they log on to their account. Moreover, boosting your “Likes” can expand your exposure to the friends of the people who “Like” your page, since your profile will be linked to under the Information section of any follower’s account.Feedback
A Facebook page can serve as a free, real-time focus group
for the blogger or the online business. When you announce a new product or promotion, the number of people who “Like” that post and who respond favorably (or negatively) to it can be incredibly useful when determining future products and marketing strategies. In order to assemble that focus group, however, you need to insure that your most loyal and trustworthy customers are regularly appraised of the happenings on your Facebook page. This means boosting your “Likes” in an effort to encompass all of these more loyal followers.
These are the three main reasons why boosting Facebook “Likes” can be helpful for an online enterprise. While there are components of social media and online marketing that probably deserve a larger percentage of your time, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t take a few minutes here and there to try to increase your “Like” count.