Branding through Blogs: A blueprint for startups and entrepreneurs
A well designed and highly optimised website is a necessary component to do business in the age of smartphones and IoT. But, is it the only thing a brand could do to reach out to potential customers and hires? What do startups do? The answer, my friend, is blogging. Let me explain.
What’s the first thing you do when you come across a problem? You google for the solution. It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for a cure for haemorrhoids or just trying to find a way to catalogue millions of hours of content for your media company. This is also where things get interesting. Haven’t you ever been curious about how google sifts through millions of sites and come up with relevant results in just a few seconds? It’s a modern-day miracle and its the solution to creating a brand without the budget of a blue-chip company.
Google uses algorithms to rank pages (they’ve been named all sorts of things from penguins to hummingbirds). These algorithms employ bots that along with indexing scores of websites, also go through the content in each, picking up keywords and creating a virtual catalogue to help people find exactly what they need.
And yes, that explanation is an oversimplified version of a complex process that has transformed the internet from a chaotic warzone into a more civilized colosseum, with websites donning the hat of an armoured warrior and content as their miraculous superpower helping them pave their path to the top. Now, over the ages, there have been times when people have found ingenious (but unfair) means to push their websites to front, kinda like that rich guy’s kid you’ve always hated in school. There have been times when creators used techniques like keyword spamming or stuffing and link farms. But, Google has been updating its algorithms and blacklisting websites employing such techniques. you’d have a better chance of selling your products if you stay away from them.
The true path to google’s good books and to establishing a brand or company as an industry expert lies in content. But, before one moves onto creating the content, it would be better to start off with trying to understand the objectives one wishes to accomplish with the blog and find your niche target audience.
The First Step: Setting your objectives
The first step doing just about anything is to analyse the outcomes of the project that you wish to see. So, before you start churning out high-quality content to your niche audience, it would be good to examine the idea behind starting a blog and come to a concrete conclusion about your objectives.
Once you’ve zeroed in on the challenges you plan to tackle. Be it customer acquisition or making the right hire or creating a buzz around the services that you offer, go ahead and start creating action-driven content with a focussed message for your target audience. People will respond, slowly but surely pushing your brand’s identity up the food chain as an industry expert in your chosen niche. Unless you miss the most important detail of any blog.
Create Relevant Posts and Stick to your Schedule
Good content attracts good leads. It was true a decade ago, and it’s still a winning bet. It will also help your brand find it’s way to the first page of google results and nobody looks beyond page one.
But, most blogs tend to find themselves at crossroads while producing content. Some push out a lot of content in a single day and skip months altogether, while others prefer to publish without deadlines. Although, you may think a lot of content will eventually lead you to more customers. It may not end up being true. You will have way more success in keeping your audience if you schedule your posts and stick to a timeline with maybe four or six quality articles being published every month.
Content matters to your target audience. And in order to keep them engaged, you should ideally produce relevant content and try not to veer off-topic. Would you rather read about flowers in a gardening blog or would you steer clear if you saw there were more articles about some obscure topic instead of the one you were trying to find?
Driving Traffic to your Blog
Content is King, All hail the king! But the king is powerless without his minions singing praises about him across the land. One might think that creating a blog would be enough to build a reputation for your brand in your industry. But, you still have to take the leap since using good keywords and staying in google ‘good kid’ list alone would not be enough to bring in traffic to your website.
There are ways to push your blog into the limelight without losing a dime. One of them is using Guest posts — celebrities within your industry might be willing to write a well-worded endorsement for your brand and in return, you will have access to previously untapped audiences within the celebrity’s followers. You can also ask your clients for reviews, testimonials and articles on how your services and products fixed their problems.
Last But Not Least — Aligning Social Media and Content Marketing Strategies
You might probably manage a way to keep a tab on the budget and still make it big on social media. In such a case, it is necessary to understand all channels are linked to each other in some way or the other. After all, the main purpose of your core marketing strategy is the same — Generate leads, hire top talent and spread awareness about the brand in general.
On the surface, your social media marketing strategy and your content marketing venture might feel different, but they work best when brought together. There are a few ways to make them complement each other to maximise their impact. One may link the website and the blog to all social media networks to improve your customer outreach programs.
Another way to utilise your resources is to repurpose your content. Each of these mediums requires creating fresh content taking up a lot of time and effort. You may, simply put, use content from your blog and change the format to suit facebook or Instagram. One way to do this is to present the infographics from a blog post and redesign it for your Insta handle or take the gist of an article and spin it into a meme for a workplace post or tweet.
Content-based search engine optimization is usually hard work in the initial stages and slow to show results. It is likely, however, to give you the best and most stable long-term results. It’s not impossible to maintain a good reputation for your brand if you have your priorities right. Now that you’ve learnt how to make a good blog and use them to build your brand. Go ahead, hustle hard, convince and convert.