About a month ago, a potential client reached out to the Impressa Solutions team because he needed some blog posts. To be frank, blog posts alone were not going to get this guy to his stated goals. He needed a content strategy, but when I told him this, I was met with resistance. He didn't want to be "upsold" on "extras," and he insisted that I describe what a successful blog post looks like--because that was what he wanted.
This conversation isn't a one-time occurrence. Often people want to know what kind of traffic they will start seeing if they begin blogging, or they ask about how many posts per month it will take for them to get the 30,000 unique monthly visitors their competitor pulls in. Many folks have trouble realizing that publishing blog posts are just part of the equation. To see a degree of success when blogging, there's just certain other stuff you should do too.
With that potential client from last month, I explained what makes successful blog posts will vary from blog to blog based on goals. For one blog, 200 more visitors in a month may constitute a 100% traffic increase, which could be a score for them. For another, 1,000 click-throughs to their content offer may be an indication that their posts were a smash hit, but another may be disappointed. However, I did manage to outline a few things that constitute a successful post. Here they are:
Above all else, a successful post is valuable to the reader. It's relevant and about something they should care about and maybe even want to tell others about. It's unique and not just a regurgitation of what folks could find quickly and easily in the first three links in a Google search.
It doesn't matter how great the blog posts are if some foundation work isn't done first. This includes defining ideal customer personas, knowing your brand, and outlining SMART goals to guide your content strategy. Otherwise you don't know who you are talking to, who you are, and what you want readers to do. If you are that clueless, it's really tough to resonate and be relevant.
I'm not talking about the post, but the blog overall. A site that is hard to navigate, dated, or otherwise provides a poor user experience undermines blog success. It doesn't matter how good the content is, as folks won't want to stick around to read it. Additionally, a site that's a mess on the back end will make it difficult for the site to be indexed properly by search engines, undermining any SEO aspirations.
Speaking of SEO, selecting the right keywords and using them appropriately is important. You don't have to overdo it, though.
Yep. The actual post needs to be polished. Not to say anything of the actual content, some of the things you should see include proper spelling, correct grammar, digestible text, fitting images, consistent formatting, and on-brand topics.
Posts are the most successful if there's a call to action, often for an offer. Otherwise you may get a lot of traffic, but it doesn't convert to sales, shares, or other actual benefit. You should have something that you want the readers to do, and they should be able to take their first steps to doing it on your post.
The most successful posts usually have varying degrees of promotion and outreach attached, so people know the post is out there. This includes email promotion, social media posts, and shares and mentions on other sites. Paid media and distribution count too! This needs to be a major part of your content strategy.
A successful post delivers the same brand voice, styling elements, and level of quality as previous posts. It's also released on a reliable schedule.
Well, there you have it! Those are eight pieces that make up a successful blog post, but that's only part of the big picture.
Yes, your blog needs to be part of a comprehensive marketing plan with a documented content strategy. Wondering what that means? Download our Content Strategy Checklist and wonder no more!