If you've been blogging for a while, it's easy to produce content on autopilot. And that's a surefire way to fall into a blogging rut.
It's also bad news for your business, because when your blog stalls you lose out on opportunities to grow your audience, build your brand, and attract new customers. That's why it's critical to turn off autopilot and continually engage in efforts to take your blog to the next level.
For the purposes of this post, I'll assume you're already dabbling in SEO and utilizing your blog to increase email sign-ups, drive social engagement, and maybe even boost sales. What follows is a list of strategies that can help you optimize your blog so it's positioned in better service to these goals.
Delegate writing and editing to professionals.
When you're in the early, bootstrapping stages of a business, there's a lot of pressure to take care of everything on your own. As you grow, it's time to start delegating--and this can be as true for blogging as it is for HR duties. You can go about delegating blog writing and editing in a number of ways: You could hire a full-time staffer or outsource to a variety of freelancers. While this will of course cost more than doing it all yourself, investing in professional content production can significantly elevate your blog (and your brand) and help you achieve your goals faster.
Create stellar imagery and videos.
Today's blog readers don't just expect quality written content--they also expect that content to be presented in a visually engaging way. Creating your own imagery is a great way to help your blog posts stand out and increase their shareability. Whether you're using GIFs, standalone images, or infographics, remember to include alt text on images for an added SEO boost. Take things up yet another notch by creating videos, which are particularly effective for capturing readers' attention.
You don't need to create infographics and videos for every post. If you're working with limited resources, focus on strategically developing these assets for the posts you most want to capture readers' attention.
Continually acquire new knowledge.
If you've been blogging for a while, then you know there are times at which the "idea generation" well invariably runs dry. While this is normal, the trouble is that posting redundant content (or simply not posting at all) can harm your relationship with regular readers.
The antidote to a stale blog is to continually acquire new knowledge. You want your brain to constantly have an influx of new information so you can regularly make new connections to your customers' needs and the topics about which you write. For inspiration, take a look at the blogs at QuickSprout, Brain Wiz, and Security Baron. Each of these brands does a stellar job of tackling their focus from a variety of angles so as to provide relevant content to their readers while keeping things fresh.
Update older articles.
No doubt the content you produce today is worlds beyond the blog posts you wrote a year or two ago (or even six months ago). But that old content is still sitting on the internet, and there's a chance it could be the first impression potential customers have of your brand. That's why it's so important to update older articles so they remain consistent with the branding, messaging, and quality your blog presents today. As an added bonus, updating old content gives you a chance to optimize it for SEO by linking old articles to newer posts.
Offer targeted recommendations.
A simple and effective way to encourage readers to stay on your site and engage with more of your content is to provide targeted recommendations. You can highlight these recommendations throughout your post (just don't overdo it) or at the bottom. The best part? Doing this is completely free.
A/B test your calls to action.
Odds are good that you're using your blog to achieve something beyond simply having people read your content, whether it's growing your email list or nudging people through your sales funnel toward a conversion. And that means some or all of your posts are likely to include a Call to Action (CTA). If that's the case, it's important to A/B test the living daylights out of any and all CTA buttons. Consider everything from the color, copy, design, and location of the CTA, and test a wide variety until you're confident that you've maximized each CTA's ROI.
While each of these strategies can help elevate your blog in its own right, it's not enough to implement them and simply call it a day. Instead, make sure you're employing analytics to track their ROI as much as possible. Every blog is different, and the way to continual optimization is through carefully tracked trial and error.