Does your blog squirt or erupt?
I got some inspiration from an unlikely place for my column on content marketing: the American Museum of Natural History in New York.
I was drawn there because I thought they were having an exhibit all about me. It turns out that the exhibit was called “Introducing the Brain,” not “Introducing Brian.” The exhibit did not have anything to say on what part of the brain causes dyslexia.
But, scientists love museums, and so I looked around. There was an entire room dedicated to the earth, from it’s heat-formed rocks to it’s carbon-choked atmosphere.
My next thought was “this is just like content marketing.” I’m sure you would have had the same thought. If you didn’t, you’ll soon understand.
Read my complete thoughts on the matter over at ClickZ to understand how a blog-cano can generate copious amounts of search, social media and email goodness for your business.
What does a geologist know about online marketing? Probably not much, but a geologist can give us a handy model for a content marketing strategy that is easy to implement and potentially explosive.
How a Blog Is Like a Volcano
At the most basic level, a blog spews content like a volcano spews lava. The content typically emerges in pyroclastic flows fed from a content magma chamber deep inside.
It is the release of this magma – the content – that determines the pace at which the mountain grows. A mountain with a large magma chamber can be expected to erupt more frequently and more violently.
Like a blog, our volcanic mountain becomes more visible as it rises higher and higher into the top levels of the atmosphere. It can become visible very quickly to nearby villages, executive offices in neighboring cities…and to search engines.
Clearly, we can learn a few lessons from our geological friends. My question is, “How can we get our blog-cano to erupt more frequently and spread our content as far as possible?”
Have a Big Magma Chamber
You’ve got to have a plan for a steady flow of content. Your blog-cano is the heart of your content marketing strategy and can power your social marketing strategy, lead generation strategy, and search engine optimization.
The beauty of blogging is that it’s a more casual medium. Your blog content doesn’t have to be bibliographed articles. It doesn’t require your subject matter experts to be writing constantly. In fact, blog content can come from many sources: presentations, case studies, and even geology textbooks. Much blogging is simply commenting on others’ writing, which we call “curating content” for your audience.
I’m not saying that your posts don’t have to be valuable. Lava must be hot to flow. But, it must flow constantly or your blog-cano won’t grow fast enough and you won’t be able to implement some of the more explosive strategies I discuss here.
Bringing Tourists to the Slope of Mount Blogitubo
All a blog is really going to get you is an RSS feed. While your RSS feed is going to power some very helpful strategies, there aren’t going to be a lot of people reading your posts via feed reader.
Search engines, however, love blogs.
With a little geologic surveying, we can help the search engines find our naturally keyword-rich content. They will, in turn, send us tourists.
Choose a blogging platform that is search-engine friendly. Don’t just use the content management system that your corporate site is built on. Definitely put your blog on the same domain as your corporate website so both benefit from the search engine “juice” you create.
If you have the resources, you can identify your most valuable keywords and purposefully incorporate them into your blog posts and titles. Search ClickZ for search engine optimization best practices.
Eruptions Are Worth Spreading
With a little technology, you can rain content down on people far and wide. Your Mount Blogsuveous is capable of powering engaging social media outreach, drawing qualified traffic, and growing your social networks. This can be largely automated with services like Ping.fm and Twitterfeed. Tools like HootSuite and Spredfast will help you share your content on the most popular social networks. (Disclosure: Spredfast provides its service to the author at no charge.)
Because these posts, tweets, and status updates contain a link back to your content, you can actually measure the clicks and conversions generated by your social media outreach, and this can justify production of more magma.
Spreading the Explosive Energy of Your Blogatoa
Tourists coming from social media and search are nice, but they always go back home. What if they could take a piece of the mountain home with them?
It turns out that well-qualified tourists will want to continue to receive your blava (blog-lava) and you can easily deliver that with e-mail. Ask visitors to give you an e-mail address and you can automatically power an e-mail newsletter with remarkable frequency.
Here is where your RSS feed really comes in handy. There are services that will monitor your blog for the new posts arising from your blogma (blog-magma) chamber. On a set schedule, these services will pull the content from the feed, wrap it in a nice template, and send it to your list by e-mail.
Ask your e-mail service provider (ESP) if they have an RSS-to-e-mail service. MailChimp andAWeber provide such a service. Consider FeedBurner or FeedBlitz if your ESP can’t help.
This strategy is great for considered purchases or any product or service in which the need is unpredictable. It keeps you front-and-center when it’s time for the tourists to pick their next destination.
Flow Over to Your Corporate Website
The final place on which you can rain your explosive content is on the corporate website. These sites are typically designed like a brochure, written in a “me,” “we,” and “us” style.
Blava content is generally more educational, informational, and entertaining. It’s created for the reader, and will really grab the attention of someone who is early in their decision-making process.
There are a variety of widgets available to display blog titles on your corporate site, and visitors will find this content more compelling than your recent press releases. Make sure that your blog gives them an obvious way to get back to the corporate site.
The Center of a Hub
Once these parts are in place, our blog-cano has become the center of a powerful, largely automated hub of influence. However, the system is only as powerful as our blog content. Post frequency is the best predictor of blog readership growth that I’ve seen. You should post at least once per week, in my opinion.
Remember that your editorial calendar is your magma chamber, the source of all blog-cano power. Find the resources to post helpful content frequently and you will empower search, social media, and e-mail to drive more business to your door.