Shhh…Try This Secret Content Blogging Experiment

New to content blogging? Experiments can teach you what works best for your blog.

Think you know what your audience wants from you? If you’ve done your research, chances are you’ve included what your customers want to read. Do you have a public relations, marketing, and analytics team? Even better! You may be on the right track for relevant content blogging. There is a high chance that with research and guidance, your post will be a hit with your readers.

But what if your post doesn’t get the traction you thought it would?

It’s hard to know why some blog posts go viral and others barely get views, especially if you optimize your posts and share it on social media. Even with the best research, you may not post what your readers are looking for at that time. Don’t despair, though. If you write evergreen content, your posts will always live on. If one post doesn’t immediately do what you hoped it would, it may outperform your expectations later on.

When we discuss analytics with our clients, some get confused. They asked us how we knew what we were doing. They can’t seem to understand how we can strategize and optimize our posts while still writing fresh and lively content. The truth is simple: We believe in research, experience, and experimentation.

When you are researching blog posts, there are many things to consider

First, what are your potential clients really looking for? The only way to find out is to start your research.

If you have done your keyword research, you should have a long list of topics that you want to convey to your audience. Don’t be tempted to forgo this list and write down a topic you think they would like to learn about or that you’re particularly interested in. Think of your keywords as scientific evidence of what people want to know. That’s your job as blog expert to present interesting answers or material to a curious public.

Another way to approach research is to comb through your analytics. What posts get the highest hits? Where did you get the reference from? What pages and posts on your website are viewed after the entry page? The answers to these questions will give you more insight into your audience.

Lastly, make sure you research your content. Fact checking is important for your reputation and that of your blog readers. If you want to be recognized as an expert on your topic, be sure to provide the best and most researched material. My recommendation – never publish something you can’t maintain 100%. If you don’t know whether something is factual or not, you need to go a step further to make sure you know it.

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Experience is also important for optimizing your content. As you grow as a writer and editor, you’ll gain the experience that professionals have built over years. The more you learn about your audience (by creating and if necessary redesigning persona), the more suitable you are to talk to them. But keep in mind, no one – not even experienced content managers – is a mind reader, which is why research should always lead to experimentation.

Experimentation is the key to sustainable blog growth

In fact, experimentation is a big part of the reason we know what works and what doesn’t for online writing. Because you don’t always understand what your audience wants from you, we recommend varying content for all levels of readers. There needs to be a good mix of content that will speak to your first-time readers and repeat customers. While you might think all readers are completely educated about your product, don’t forget new readers who found their way to your site with optimized keywords, but know nothing about your product or industry. This reader will need a few simple posts to digest. But we also don’t recommend that you write just for them. If you have a loyal customer base, you also need to talk directly to them. They will need more detail or maybe a longer post to keep their interest. It’s never good to assume your readers understand too much or too little.

Better yet, switch post type up to keep your readers on the edge of their seats. Do you regularly write very short posts? Mix it up by posting a lengthy interview. Maybe you can even include video or audio in the post. Do you regularly share how-to? Perhaps instead you could write a longer, more detailed post. Do you usually use the same blog template? Mix up the formats and try different headings or lists or paragraph lengths.

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Often, this is where we see people stop their experiments.

We beg to be different.

There are so many different things your company can try.

Have you tested headlines? If you only spend a few moments thinking about your title before publishing it, you are setting yourself up for failure. The most successful content marketers write anywhere between five and sometimes twenty-five titles before deciding on the best to use. We recommend writing five to ten headlines and then testing them through your social posts to see which ones get the best traction. You may find the original headline you selected is weaker than the other you just tweeted. If so, change the title, but remember to keep the optimized keyword in the headlines at all times. If you need help learning how to write great headlines, check out this post by CoSchedule. Bonus: Not only will it teach you how to write good headlines, it’ll also show them how to experiment with headlines – just like we did.

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Maybe you need to change your call to action. The call to action (CTA) is one of the most important parts that you will write in a blog post. If you’re blogging for a business, you want to convert readers into customers, and you do that with a well-written CTA. Every blog post should have one, which gives you plenty of opportunities to test how well it works for you. Experiment with word choice, color, and size until you find the best combination to convert your readers.

When HubSpot changes color their CTA button, they saw a 34% change in conversion rate. And that’s just by changing the color, guys. Say that doesn’t motivate you to go and start changing your blog. Before you do, we recommend that you keep reading. You don’t want to change everything at once, or you’ll never know what worked and what didn’t!

Use your analytics to help you figure out the best days and times to post. One way to experiment with content blogging is to share your posts at different times as well as on different days until you find what works for you. Another way to find this answer without jumbling up your posts is to check your analytics. Find out what time your blog has the highest traffic. Check and see if there are consistent days of people reading what you write. If so, maximize your potential by posting on those days and within that timeframe.

And whatever you do, don’t stop there

Once you’ve experimented with your blog posts, you should immediately return to step one: research. Experimenting will do nothing for your blog if you don’t check the analytics. Which posts are the best fit for your company? Is it a post with different content than what you normally share? Is it a post in a different blog style than what you normally share? Maybe you’ve stepped up your main game and are now writing a more interesting title. Either way, take all the research you’ve gathered from your testing and make incremental changes to reflect your new content blogging best practices.

What happens if after experimenting you notice that some of your posts never take off? Don’t worry, you can reuse your content. Make sure you’ve given it enough time to grow organically first. If nothing seems to have happened from time to time, repost. You already have content, but maybe you need to find better optimized keywords. Maybe the content is good, but it could be better shared in a different format with new keywords and up-to-date examples.

The bottom line is you won’t learn about what’s best for your blog until you try new things. Do the unexpected. Keep people guessing.

If you’re willing to take the plunge with your content blogging efforts but don’t know where to start, contact us today!

business blogging advice you should ignore

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