[Interview] Blogging up a storm: 8 must-know content marketing tips from John Paul Aguiar
Is your blog a guiding light in your industry, or is it still a flickering flame that’s struggling to be seen? B2B companies that blog are generating 67% more leads on average, and 73% of CMOs see custom content being the future of marketing. The potential to create a significant financial impact on your business is there but if the content plan and promotional strategy aren’t up to scratch then your efforts will be wasted. We look at some content marketing tips to help you use blogging, combined with social media, to start seeing positive results..
We’ve spoken to John Paul Aguiar who began his career as an online marketer in 2001. He’s gone on to help people build profitable blogs and was ranked #6 in Forbes’ Social Media Power Influencers list last year. His Money Dummy Blog aims to help bloggers, entrepreneurs, and small business owners get more traffic to their blog and learn to monetize it. We’ve used these tips, combined with his advice to help you get the most out of your blog, how to promote it effectively, and turn those words into gold:
1. To make your blog work, get a fool-proof plan
It’s not enough to set up a blog and expect it to generate flowing streams of inbound leads and income instantly. John tells us that “making a blog work today takes a lot more than ‘just’ writing content, know you will have to give a lot in the beginning BEFORE you start to receive.” You need to think about what you want your blog to do and how you’re going to make it do that. Why would people visit your blog instead of a competitor’s? What search keywords is your blog targeting? What’s the design going to be like? What social profiles will you share it through? Who would you like to be reading it and sharing it?
If all of these things are factored into your plan before you start pounding away at your keyboard, you’ll find yourself on the right track a lot faster than if you’d started with hazy guesswork.
[Tweet "“To make your blog successful, you need to know branding, social, content, relationships, SEO and more” @JohnAguiar"]
2. Think about the voice of your blog
Once you’ve set up your blog, you need to decide on the tone that you want your writing to take. When Aguiar set up his blog, his tonality goal was: “to share what I was doing in a simple to understand way and bring my personality through my writing as much as I could. I would rather write with feeling, personality, and emotion than to write stiff.” Yours will depend on the brand or company that you’re writing for. Is it one where humour will work, or does it need to be more formal? Are you blogging as you on the brand’s blog, or are you blogging as the brand? Is it for beginners, or can it be jargon heavy? Having these questions answered will keep your blogging consistent and help you to establish a style.
[Tweet "“When blogging, people will remember an impactful, personal, and unique writing style. So give them it.” @JohnAguiar"]
3. Expand the blog’s talking points on social media
Once you’re blogging, it’s no good spamming links everywhere and hoping for the best. You need to present the blog posts in an interesting manner and be ready to react to their reception on social media. On social media you can respond to replies and continue the discussion surrounding the piece. This could be by offering extra advice to curious readers or sharing great points from the blog comment section to drive further debate among your social community. Communicating with your readers like this on social media could even lead you onto more content ideas or help to source user-generated content. When sharing your posts, experiment by highlighting specific points that you think would be of interest to your followers.
[Tweet "“My key marketing principles on all social networks are: be real, be active, be available and be helpful” @JohnAguiar"]
4. Look further than shares
Getting a great number of people to share your blog is an important part of content marketing, and the traffic it can bring has many benefits. But it can’t come at the expense of your company’s brand and values. If you start regularly creating off-brand content purely to rack up shares and pick up traffic you’ll confuse your core audience and many of those new visitors may not be in your target audience. These long term risks will usually outweigh the short term benefits. By all means create sharable content, but make sure it ties in with your brand and that it makes sense in the wider context of your blog.
[Tweet "“A blog post does more than get shares, it’s a sales page, a press release, helps SEO and it's personal” @JohnAguiar"]
5. Experiment by sharing your blog posts at different times of the day
“So let's say you share at 9am every day, that's great, but...
What about the people that visit social media sites before work at 6am?
What about the people that visit at lunch time?
What about the people that visit after work?
What about the people that visit at the end of their day after 9 or 10pm?” - John Paul Aguiar
Finding out your best time to Tweet will help to inform when you should first share your content to make the biggest splash. But don’t neglect those users who check social media at other times, or are in other timezones. If you’re restricting your Tweeting to one window of time then you could be missing out on a large percentage of your followers. By sharing your content at different times on different days your blog will be far less likely to get missed by the nightowls and early birds in your community.
[Tweet "“Spread out your posts to take advantage of people visiting social sites at different times of the day.” @JohnAguiar"]
6. Use tools to save time with your sharing
“Tools will make your life much much easier when using social media. The best thing about using tools is it will free up your time. What used to take about 30 min can now be done in 10 min. If you can get more done faster and easier, it will make it more simple for you to maintain and expand your social media efforts as your blog grows. I use Hootsuite every day and all day to schedule my shares. Buffer is another scheduling tool I like. It does the same things Hootsuite does, but differently. SocialBro is my main tool for managing my following on Twitter, saving me time and making time-consuming tasks much easier to do on a regular basis.” - John Paul Aguiar
We’ve already established that you should be sharing your content at different times of the day. But what if you don’t fancy being awake at 3am every day to share with your followers on the other side of the planet? Perhaps you don’t want to be constantly Tweeting when you’re on a family vacation. Scheduling posts in advance means you can cover these bases but still have time for everything else in your job/life. Make sure you remember to check for responses and reply when you are back online. Analytical tools such as SocialBro can also save you time by giving you updates on your community, finding your most influential followers, and quickly telling you what your audience is Tweeting about. This can be used to determine what blog post topics are getting the most engagement with your community, which could help to inform your future content plans.
[Tweet "“Scheduling posts is fine as long as you can reply to those posts. Don't do it if you can’t do this!” @JohnAguiar"]
7. Build relationships
Getting the results from social media can partly depend on your ability to connect with other users. Building good relationships with influencers and key professionals in your industry can put you on the fast-track to increasing your traffic if they notice, enjoy and share your work. You don’t have to make a grand gesture of getting in contact, simply engage with them by replying to some of their posts with insights of your own or questions.
[Tweet "“Social media relationships are all about conversations. Don’t try to make it too complicated.” @JohnAguiar"]
8. Share plenty of good content
A key part of building a good social profile is being particular about what you’re sharing. Aguiar tells us that “if you’re sharing regularly on social media, then the majority of your shares may not be your content. As a result, you must share good quality, helpful, personal stuff.” Not only will it help to keep your feed interesting and useful for your followers, sharing good quality content will also give you a chance to connect with other bloggers and influencers whose content you share. This will increase the likelihood of them seeing your content and repaying the favour. Ensure that the content you are sharing is accurate and of a high standard, as it will reflect on your brand too.
[Tweet "“Sharing inaccurate or disrespectful content can make you come across as bad as the person who wrote it.” @JohnAguiar"]
If you want to learn more from John about blogging then he updates his blog regularly and tweets daily at @JohnAguiar. If you’re interested in reading more about content, then here’s our 8 vital ingredients for sharing it.
Want to learn more from leading industry professionals? Check out our social media interviews to hear exclusive insights from marketers at brands such as NASA, O2, FIFA, The United Nations, River Island, and more.