The blog is the veteran player on your content marketing team – yet it remains a powerful engagement tool for businesses across industries.
While the rules are similar, the game is a little different when you’re blogging about blogging. Here are the winning elements of a successful content marketing blog, plus a scoreboard of the top ones you should be reading:
Strong bones for a stellar content marketing blog
The key to a successful content marketing blog is a strong content creation strategy. That includes a plan for all of the written and visual content you will create and call entirely your own. A comprehensive blogging strategy offers clear answers to questions such as:
- Who is the content for?
- What differentiates this blog from others?
- What kind of content will you share?
- How will you schedule and manage creation and publication?
- How will you measure success?
Content marketing blogs with stellar strategies develop and share content with purpose and consistency. It’s important that the strategy includes ways to define and measure personal success with engagement objectives relevant to the blog’s purpose. For some it may be the number of shares, for others it may be views.
Regardless of their targeted purpose, the top content marketing bloggers reached their status because every piece of content they publish is relevant and helps their audience reach their goals.
Readers should get something out of every post, whether it’s a groundbreaking insight or simply a good laugh. This makes it a worthwhile experience for the viewers, giving them plenty of reason to return to the blog. Keep impressing these loyal followers and you’ll find yourself among the trusted thought leaders in the content marketing space.
How do you make a name for yourself in the blogging world? It’s all in the quality of your content.
Share your knowledge generously and accurately. Utilize primary research, offering readers insights that are entirely your own. That means conducting in-house experiments, surveys and data analyses to add meaningful numbers to the conversation.
Paint your picture as a confident industry leader with expert opinion and thought pieces. Cite relevant experiences and data to boost credibility. Before you know it, readers will visit your blog as a valuable resource because they trust what you’re saying.
Finding a good influence
Remember that you’re writing for people and how they respond to different titles. That means you can lean on other voices of authority before you’ve established your own.
Influencers are the early adopters, gurus and established voices who you’ll want to get to know. Influencer marketing allows you to create highly relevant content, earn credibility and piggy-back off their far-reaching networks for a mega boost in exposure.
A successful influencer marketing strategy makes the relationship beneficial for the influencers as well. You can engage them with compensation or valuable experiences. Invite them to speak at an upcoming event, record an interview or conduct a product review. Of course the content has to be relevant for their audience, as those loyal viewers will have their eyes and ears glued to anything the influencers do and say.
You heard it here marketers: Don’t be afraid to keep it casual on the blog.
While you want to educate and establish credibility, it’s also important to create a worthwhile conversation with your readers. Reading your blog should be an enjoyable experience.
Use contractions. Make a joke. Add a GIF.
If you read your content out loud, would it put everyone in the room to sleep or would it sound like you were leading an engaging conversation? We’ll cross our fingers for the latter.
Reaching the right audience
You need to know who you’re talking to in order to have the right conversation. Cool, you knew that already. What’s new here?
You want to target personas rather than demographics. Give your personas names, occupations, interests and any kind of back story that will help you create content that speaks clearly to those viewers.
Once you choose a target persona for a piece of content, you can assume they have basic knowledge of the topic. Use specialized language and reference familiar concepts. They’ll be more engaged, and you won’t accidentally insult their intelligence by defining a basic idea.
You can use your personas for help with topic generation, too. Do your research and find out what they’re reading and what they want to learn. Identify pain points, then address them in your next post.
Creating interesting content
Your audience knows what good content looks like. Don’t give them any reason to believe you don’t!
Illustrate your points with thoughtful visuals, including videos, infographics and high-resolution imagery. Format images to share your posts via social media like the marketing guru you are.
Remember when your English teacher told you to “write as much as much as you think you need to” rather than specifying a word count? While frustrating at the time, this teaches us a valuable lesson: Cut out the fluff. Be a digital storyteller, and always go for quality over quantity.
Engaging with other blogs
Look for all of these qualities in the blogs you choose to follow yourself.
If you’re running your own content marketing blog, there’s the competitive angle: Make sure you’re providing the same caliber of content – if not higher.
Then there’s a personal bonus for any and all marketing professionals: There’s always a chance to learn something new when you read content marketing blogs on the reg.
Some brilliant examples to follow:
Whether you’re looking to start your own content marketing blog or searching for insightful resources, keep these top bloggers on your radar.
This blog is a central hub for all things content marketing, covering topics like visual content and design, social media, SEO, audience, strategy, content creation, industry news, measurement and ROI, terms and process and content distribution.
The secret sauce for success? The CMI bloggers are all relevant and experienced marketing professionals, meaning each piece is written by an expert on that particular topic. Plus, they practice what they preach. CMI never posts an article without embedded visuals and the blog features a variety of content for optimal engagement.
The numbers speak for themselves: CMI has over 200,000 subscribers.
With such a huge following, guest bloggers have plenty of reason to share their insights on CMI’s platform. They gain valuable exposure, plus there’s potential to make new connections and find job opportunities. It’s the ultimate win-win: CMI gets engaging content and authors benefit from CMI’s powerful reach in return.
Head to the Moz blog for the industry’s top SEO and online marketing insights. The blog offers advice, research and how-tos to enhance their audience’s skills and knowledge.
Moz checks quite a few of the boxes. They’re generous with their knowledge, generating targeted content that speaks specifically to marketers who focus on SEO strategy and keep up with search engine algorithm updates. Some content is written by experts in the field, bringing in the influencer aspect. With embedded visuals, custom graphics and catchy headlines, Moz certainly serves up some creative, interesting content.
Moz is also a star of the video marketing scene with the Whiteboard Friday series. Each video offers a crash course that discusses a specific online marketing issue and offers solutions for marketers.
Another differentiating factor: They engage their community of writers with MozPoints. Each tier of points comes with a flashy title: contributor, specialist, authority, expert and oracle. Not only does this encourage marketing professionals to continue sharing their insights on the Moz blog, but it also gives readers confidence in the writer’s expertise.
As a leader in inbound marketing and sales software, it’s a no brainer that HubSpot’s blog is an extremely credible resource for digital marketers.
The blog covers everything you need to know about digital marketing – from video metrics to emojis. It’s separated into three categories: marketing, sales and services. This way, HubSpot creates content for a wide audience, but presents it in a targeted, direct manner for each persona.
The topics are fun, relevant and now. If anything, they’ll give you a great conversation starter at lunch. More importantly, you’ll walk away with new ideas to apply to your own strategies.
If you’re a numbers person, you’ll fall in love with this blog. Kissmetrics has all the golden nuggets of information you need to know about analytics, marketing and testing.
Kissmetrics creates especially helpful content because it’s a one-stop shop. Step-by-step guides – illustrated with visuals, of course – give marketers the actionable items they need to put the theory into practice. Every post focuses on data, making it a leading analytics resource for using results to enhance marketing strategies.
We also have a soft spot for…
We recommend bookmarking these blogs as well:
- Search Engine Land for search engine, SEO and SEM news and updates.
- Search Engine Journal for marketing news, guides and how-tos.
- Copyblogger for writing wisdom.
- Digiday for critical discussions on all things digital marketing.
- Think with Google for the search engine’s top trends, data and insights.
- Quick Sprout for insights from marketing guru and influencer Neil Patel.
- G2 Crowd for marketing topics related to sales, productivity, design and more.
Keep doing you – with a little insight from these content marketing leaders. Be mindful of the makings of a successful content marketing blog when managing your own, and you may even make the list of valuable resources for your digital marketing peers.