It’s a fact of marketing life that blogging remains one of the most effective ways to get through to your customer. Its one-to-one nature and easy distribution make it a quick and cost-effective way to get your brand messages on the right screens at the right time. Make it even more effective with this guide.

1. Blog often
According to HubSpot’s The State of Inbound Marketing in 2012 study, 56% of sites that blog once per month have acquired a customer through their blog. Pretty impressive, but that figure rises to 78% for sites that blog daily and 92% that blog more than once daily. It’s clear that raising the frequency of your blogs will have a positive and direct effect on your brand, so set in place a plan to blog as often as you can.

2. Make it entertaining
People don’t read blogs for information – you should already have a website that delivers everything a customer needs to know about your products or brand. What they read blogs for is news, insight and opinion they wouldn’t get anywhere else, as well as a damn good read. Get your personality onto the screen and make a connection by speaking to your customer as if you were face to face with them – friendly, open and honest. And, as with any form of creativity – and blogging should definitely be creative – entertain your reader and they will want to come back for more.

3. Read, read, read
Great journalists and authors learn from reading other great journalists and authors, so read as many others blogs as you can. Find out what works in a blog and what doesn’t, what tone to adopt, what level of expertise to pitch it to, how much humour to use and, most importantly, what keeps you hooked until the last line. If you’re entertained and enthralled by a certain style of blogging, chances are thousands of your customers will be too.

4. Know your target market
When creating content to engage, inspire and drive sales, it’s vital to know everything about its intended target – and blogs are no different. Are you trying to connect with existing customers or trying to get new ones? Are you pushing a certain product or simply raising awareness of your brand? You need to be clear about the intended outcome before you start writing, otherwise you’ll be chasing the wrong stick.

5. Plan your blogs in advance
Half the battle with writing effective blogs is knowing what to write about in the first place; then, once you’ve decided the subject, making sure you or no one in your team has blogged about it before. So sit down together and plan out the next few months-worth of blogs, ticking off all major events, product launches and marketing campaigns. Of course, blogs thrive on being topical but it’s always worth having a ‘blog bank’ to draw upon when you need to retain your customers’ attention but inspiration has dried up.

6. Get it out there
Now you’ve written your blog, you need to distribute it through as many channels as possible – especially social media. And give some thought as to the best time of day to send, update or Tweet, since different targets will be more receptive and likely to read your blog depending on when they’re made aware of it. Also, if you’re making several great points or revealing a number of results in your blog, don’t release them all at once. Tweet each one separately or keep updating your Facebook page with different content over the course of a few days to keep the hits coming.

7. If in doubt, outsource
Blogging for a brand is now a complex task and many companies employ content marketing agencies to do the job for them. You need to have just the right mix of journalistic expertise, discipline and customer knowledge – and your agency is often best placed to provide that.

Sam Upton