Winning the Blog Race: It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint

Is our blog getting better since we revamped it? You decide!

 

Sometimes, you have to admit you’re doing it wrong. That’s exactly what we did a few months ago when we wrote a post called, “Our Blog Stinks — Now What.” Even though we counsel clients on how important a blog can be to driving web traffic to your site and increasing the SEO optimization, we weren’t taking our own advice. We didn’t post very often, and when we did post, we weren’t following a set plan. So we vowed to do better, and we’ve spent the past few months doing just that.

We realized that building a better blog is more a marathon than a sprint. We’re trying to reach new readers, build a consistent audience, and to really use our blog as a marketing tool — all that takes time. Sometimes we’ve stumbled along the way. Sometimes we had gaps in our blog schedule, and we’ve had some blogs that performed better (or worse) than others. But, just like anyone who’s slapped that 26.2 sticker on the back of the car will tell you, training is as much about learning from your mistakes as it is avoiding them. It’s about getting back up when you fall, and pushing forward even when the goal seems far away. And that’s what we’ve been doing with our blog.

We haven’t hit our finish line, but things are looking much better than they did back in June when we wrote about our wake-up call. Our page views are higher, our bounce rate is lower, and our social shares have increased. We have farther to go, but here’s what we’ve done right so far:

Set a Pace

One of our toughest battles was consistency, simply making sure we had blog content on a regular basis. When you have a company like ours, where everyone is busy working for clients, how do you encourage people to take time out to blog? First, we set a schedule. In our initial post, we’d only planned to blog once a week, but we found we could handle two posts each week, so we stepped it up a little. Then, we put one person in charge of managing the blog schedule — one person makes sure we have content scheduled and is responsible for giving each blog a light edit (including adding links and art when it’s missing), and then for posting and promoting. That way, the person who’s writing that day’s blog doesn’t have to deal with every single detail along the way.

Evaluate and Adjust for Performance

We’ve realized that a blog is always evolving, and it’s important to keep asking ourselves what’s working and what isn’t, and to change the things that aren’t going as planned. Sometimes we post things we’re excited about that just don’t resonate with our audience, and in those cases we have to decide either to drop the subject altogether, or to regroup and present it in a different way that’s more engaging. We wrote in our first post that we were being too sales-focused in our writing, so we’ve changed that voice to better address reader interest. We use client feedback as well as Analytics and post engagement to let us know what’s working and what we need to reevaluate.

Work as a Team

Once every couple of weeks, we bring the marketing team together for a meeting for what we’ll write about in upcoming blogs. But it’s not just the marketing team who gives feedback — everyone in the company is invited to give advice and to post about what they think matters to our clients. We’ve also made a bigger effort to be sure everyone in the company knows when we post a blog by sending a company email about it. And we encourage our staff to engage with our posts on social media to increase the likelihood of more page views.

Become Cheerleaders

Everyone who’s run a race or played a sport knows that it helps to have a little encouragement. We’ve made it a point to try to spotlight successful projects that we admire and great things happening around Birmingham that might be interesting to our clients even when they aren’t directly connected to Infomedia. This helps us reach the goal we blogged about in June about being less sales-focused in our writing, and it’s working for us: Now, our audience knows that we’re committed to bringing them news related to our field, even when we’re not getting anything out of it — that helps them trust our blog (and our company) even more. Anything we can do to put our clients in touch with new ideas and new learning opportunities ultimately helps us all, so we’re happy to promote other Birminghamians doing great things. And sharing has also helped us grow our social networks, which in turn help promote the blog.

Where do we go from here?

We’re proud of how far we’ve come in the months since we wrote “Our Blog Stinks,” but we know we’re not at the finish line yet. There’s still more work to do, and plenty of places to improve. That leads us to a new question: What do you think? Do you find yourself visiting our blog more often, and enjoying the posts you read? Where do you think we could get better, and what should we do to change? We’re listening, Coach, and we’re ready to work — where should we go from here?

woman laughs while looking off camera for Infomedia

Carrie has been copyediting and writing for fifteen years. Her skills were forged in the newsroom at The Birmingham Post-Herald and she’s a huge book nerd (she moonlights as Southern Living’s book reviewer), but a love of paper and ink hasn’t stopped her from mastering the digital world as well: She’s had a blog pretty much since they existed, and she’s run social media for companies big and small. Carrie’s always ready to take on a new communication challenge, lecture us about the proper use of semicolons, or defend the fact that her Instagram account is filled with selfies.


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