Blog marketing is the backbone of all great content marketing programs. And content marketing is one of the most effective lead generation tactics available to modern marketers. In fact, content marketing produces three times as many leads per-dollar spent when compared to other programs.

But, blog marketing is not effective in isolation. Only by pairing valuable blog assets with carefully constructed SEO, social media, and paid strategies can you be sure to generate high-value, high-intent organic leads.

The Pros and Cons of Blog Marketing

The Pros of blog marketing:

  1. It’s evergreen. Unlike other strategies that continually require resources and attention, blogs are basically a one time deal. Other than minor periodic updates, a single blog can bear lead-generation fruit for years.
  2. It’s effective. At Vendasta, the percentage of blog MQLs that have converted to SQLs is 88 percent. The result has been hundreds of closes.
  3. It’s a nurturing mechanism. When leads convert on longer-form content (like blogs), they’re a lot hotter than those that convert on an ad form. Blogs allow prospects to self-educate and become more well informed before they solicit a demo, sign-up, or take other action.
  4. It’s re-marketable. A blog is just the beginning in terms of the possibilities available to content marketers. Once it is published, a blog can be shared on social media, paired with ad strategy, posted on bookmarking sites, and republished on other sites. But we’ll get into that more below.

The Cons of blog marketing

  1. It’s time-consuming. Creating a blog requires much more time and effort than something like a social post. According to a survey by Orbit Media, a 1,000-word blog post takes an average of three hours and 16 minutes to complete. And longer, in-depth posts generate 9-times more lead-generation successes.
  2. SEO strategy dependence. Blogs are only as effective as the keyword strategy that they’re paired with. Without adequate keyword research, strong on-page optimizations, and off-page work, blog posts aren’t likely to succeed.
  3. They’re not all home runs. Depending on the audience you’re trying to reach, the topic you’re engaging with, and the associated keyword difficulty, blog success can vary. However, with a focussed keyword strategy and a talented team of writers, the opportunity is vast.
  4. It requires a medium- to large-sized team. If you truly want to achieve successes as we have seen and as other B2B companies have seen, then you’re going to need a team. It is unlikely that the lone startup marketer will not be able to achieve blog marketing success.

How to Build a Blog Marketing Strategy

  1. Start with keyword research

Publishing a blog without keyword targeting is like driving a car without a steering wheel. If you want to get to destination lead generation, then keyword research is a must. The objective of blog keyword research is to identify keywords that your prospects might be using for information or product based searches, then creating conversion-driving blogs with those keywords.

  1. Determine your primary CTA

Your CTA is everything. Getting traffic to your blog is only half the battle. Once there, readers need to be converted into leads through the acquisition of contact information or converted into users through a free sign-up or get started CTA (for freemium or product-led offerings). A CTA that’s designed to convert should appear both high up in your copy – perhaps no lower than the third paragraph – and at the conclusion. To ensure success, this CTA should directly correspond with the topic and primary message of the blog.

  1. Build an outline

Great blogs start with strong outlines. Heading structures and the usage of keywords in headings are powerful ranking signals for blog content. These outlines are generally based on a combination of style as well as SERP features of other ranking content.

Blog content can take a few different formats based on the keyword scope and outlines will vary depending on the target keyword. According to TrafficThinkTank, keywords can fall under any one of seven categories. Based on the category, you can then determine the best content format (listed left). Of these content formats, comparisons, listicles, alternatives, knowledgebase, and cancellations are all potential blog types. Product features and reviews should typically be reserved for product pages and review sites, but there are certain cases where blog content can be highly effective.

  1. Fill in the gaps

The actual writing of a blog is where you get to have a little fun and put pen to paper.

Keep the following items in mind as you begin crafting your content:

  • Forty-three percent of readers skim blog content
  • Long-form blog content performs better on search
  • Write in a conversational style.
  • Be clear and specific.
  • Use statistics.
  • Strategically insert keywords.
  • Be careful with links.
  1. Deploy a content syndication strategy

As I mentioned earlier, writing the content is only half of the battle. A blog marketing strategy is only as effective as the syndication tactics that are deployed to propel it.

Here are the essential blog syndication strategies:

  1. SEO
  2. Email marketing
  3. PPC/paid ad promotion

Conclusion

These five steps are the foundation for a great blog marketing strategy. But, to truly become the master of your own (lead generation) destiny, then you’re going to need more.

An integrated marketing communications strategy is the key to meeting your lead generation targets and driving overall business success. Integrated marketing strategies are achieved when you are deploying numerous marketing programs in a highly coordinated and collaborative manner. This corresponds with more leads, more touchpoints, faster sales cycles, and greater revenue potential.