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How to Create an Efficient Blog Strategy: Steps, Tricks, and Tools

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How to Create an Efficient Blog Strategy: Steps, Tricks, and Tools

Whether you are a product owner, an entrepreneur, or just a tech enthusiast interested in writing, launching a blog has certainly crossed your mind once or twice. A well-organized blog can lay the foundation for marketing campaigns and help get your brand noticed on the web. It can also become a funny way to promote your product while getting your creative juices flowing.

But in fact, blogging isn’t just about writing. There are many steps to launching a knowledge base which may seem overwhelming at first. Luckily, we have created a step-by-step guide along with actionable tips on creating and maintaining a successful blog.

Without any further ado, let’s get started.

7 Essential Steps to Launch a Blog from Scratch

Step 1. Plan and visualize your target audience (TA)

Before launching a blog, you must first understand why you need it on the whole and who your readers will be. Thus, the planning stage should include goal setting and a general research of your target audience.

When you have clear objectives in mind and can visualize your potential readers, creating relevant content will become that much easier.

Pro tip: create some buyer personas for your different types of readers using specialized templates, such as ones from HubSpot. Provide such basic information as users’ gender, age range, career, hobbies, and other important characteristics.

Once you have created a few reader profiles, it’s time for extensive research. Analyze statistics and customer sentiment to figure out what type of content these people like to read. This will help you come up with a list of topics that may gain traction on your blog.

Having finished your planning work, you are ready to move on to the technical blog implementation.

Step 2. Prepare blog design, domain, and hosting

When the overall blogging strategy is developed, you’re good to start working on technical aspects of launching a blog. The core operations include the creation of the blog design, selection of the domain name, and hosting.

Just as above, this step also requires some research on your end, as the options for domain and web hosting are endless. We recommend that all beginners use WordPress because this platform is highly user-friendly. Your chosen hosting option should ideally be compatible with WordPress and offer a free registered domain, high bandwidth, and an SSL certificate.

If you have chosen a WordPress-optimized host, then you will most likely get started with an easy installation of WordPress with a single click. After this, everything is as simple as putting two and two together.

WordPress is also a perfect solution for creating an appealing blog design. Its easy-to-use functionality allows you to play around with various themes without any required programming or web design skills. Then, you can start customizing the chosen blog theme with plugins to create your dream website.

There are a lot of tutorials and resources to help you find your way around blog design on WordPress.

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Pro tip: If you put a blog on a separate domain outside your corporate site, keep in mind that users must be able to easily search for and remember your domain name. We recommend keeping the name simple, catchy, and evoking some vivid associations. Avoid using any special characters and difficult-to-spell words.

Step 3. Craft a content strategy

Now that the website is ready to use, it’s time to outline a general content strategy. Bring out the broad topic list you created in the first step and make it more detailed. Here you should competently combine search engine optimization tendencies and readers’ intent.

If you choose topics that are too broad, there will be too much competition, and your blog is likely to drown in the search results. Otherwise, if you select a too-narrow niche, you won’t be able to reach a wide audience.

So how do you create a well-balanced content strategy? Conduct market research. In this way, you’ll understand whether the topics you have selected are profitable and interesting enough.

Pro tip: Start by searching up the general topics on Google Trends to see what the trends in your industry are and how many people actually Google these topics. You will notice a graph that will demonstrate how interest in your chosen topic has fluctuated or been maintained over time. If the graph is steady or climbing, this means you have found a topic with an audience that will surely bring traffic.

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Next, do a general search for the phrase on Google. Right above the provided links, you will notice the number of page results. With simple phrases like “cooking” or “financial consulting,” it can be difficult to beat out the established big websites.

Here is why you should try searching for alternative and more niche topics to see which have less competition. At the bottom of the results page, you will notice more specific related topics which you can focus on. You can also take a look at the ‘People Also Ask’ boxes for some not-so-obvious keyword ideas.

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You can also use Google keyword planner to analyze different queries to see the average number of searches per month and get a scope of your competition.

Step 4. Do some SEO magic

SEO is an extensive topic which we couldn’t possibly cover in one post. And that’s not our core topic. So, let’s just touch on the most basic SEO guidelines that are absolutely necessary for an efficient blog.

This step mostly involves searching for and selecting strategic keywords for blog content that will help you rank high in search results. Start by discovering quick-win phrases in a keyword research tool such as Ahrefs, Moz, or another. There, you’ll be able to find out their monthly search volumes showing how popular they are among your TA, competition difficulty, and other essential SEO parameters.

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Keyword tools will also recommend similar terms that you can insert into your content to reinforce the primary keyword.

Pro tip: Use a mix of both high and low competition keywords in the beginning. This will help you cover the popular topics through the phrases with accessible keyword difficulty.

Another important part of SEO work is the tech site audit. This is basically a ‘doctor’s checkup for your website’s health’ which must be regularly performed. The factors to check for are mobile-friendliness, speed, on-page optimization (content quality, metadata), quality of internal and external links, and so on.

We won’t dive too deeply into how to perform an audit as it is mostly essential once the blog is up and running, but there are many resources and tools on the Internet which can help you in this process.

Step 5. Form a blogging calendar

The times of chaotic writing and publishing have passed. Now, a blogging calendar is one of the most important items in a blogger’s toolbox.

There are many reasons why it is important to schedule your content. First and foremost, it keeps you organized. Jotting down ideas and research of random post-it notes and stray notebook pages means these are never going to be used. A content calendar will help organize your blog neatly. It is also going to help you always have an idea of what you are writing next, so you are never overwhelmed at the prospect of a deadline.

Not only will it make you stay consistent, but finding holes and faults in your content strategy will also become that much easier.

A blogging calendar is an all-in-one tool to help outline your future strategies and plans. Some suggestions for possible calendar sections include topics, headlines, ideas, research, keywords, sources for images, first edit, and publishing date.

Of course, this calendar is made to be followed, and tracking the work progress of your team’s content creators is just as important as creating the calendar. Here, you can use a progress tracking app to keep the process organized and boost your team’s performance.

Step 6. Write content

Every blog is unique, and the content is what makes it so. This is why we can’t provide any strict guidelines when it comes time to finally write the blog articles. All we can do is provide a few tips to help you get started with efficient copywriting.

Remember, you are writing for an audience of real people. You must always make sure your content is dynamic and engaging so as not to bore the reader and make them click off. Try to imagine the reader sitting in front of you and speak to the reader.

Whenever you can, include facts and statistics in your articles. This is going to build the reader’s trust in you and solidify everything you are saying.

Lastly, always keep it short and sweet. Don’t forget that you are writing an article for the average person and not an academic book. Keep your sentences short, simple, and understandable, just like we have been doing in this article!

Step 7. Publish and distribute

Once you have your website up and your blog articles are being published, you have to ensure that they reach your target audience. That’s when you have to put some effort into link building and outreach marketing.

Try to find other blogs that may be interested in your material and negotiate with their editors on publication. Another technique is preparing top-notch infographics depicting the content of your post and pitching it to other reputable sites with the aim of getting a backlink to your original article.

There are many methods of outreach marketing that you can read about online and easily apply. Regardless of the tactics you choose, we want to encourage you with a piece of valuable advice —never let rejection affect you; keep reaching out as you don’t know where great opportunities await you!
 

Wrapping Up

Well, all words are said, so it’s high time to get started working on that blog you have been meaning to create! As you can see, it really isn’t all too difficult once you get down to the details. With a little research and patience, we promise you will see growth in no time. We wish you all the luck in your blogging endeavors!


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Why We Are Always ‘Clicking to Buy’, According to Psychologists

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Why We Are Always 'Clicking to Buy', According to Psychologists

Amazon pillows.

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

Salesforce launched a collection of new, generative AI-related products at Connections in Chicago this week. They included new Einstein Copilots for marketers and merchants and Einstein Personalization.

To better understand, not only the potential impact of the new products, but the evolving Salesforce architecture, we sat down with Bobby Jania, CMO, Marketing Cloud.

Dig deeper: Salesforce piles on the Einstein Copilots

Salesforce’s evolving architecture

It’s hard to deny that Salesforce likes coming up with new names for platforms and products (what happened to Customer 360?) and this can sometimes make the observer wonder if something is brand new, or old but with a brand new name. In particular, what exactly is Einstein 1 and how is it related to Salesforce Data Cloud?

“Data Cloud is built on the Einstein 1 platform,” Jania explained. “The Einstein 1 platform is our entire Salesforce platform and that includes products like Sales Cloud, Service Cloud — that it includes the original idea of Salesforce not just being in the cloud, but being multi-tenancy.”

Data Cloud — not an acquisition, of course — was built natively on that platform. It was the first product built on Hyperforce, Salesforce’s new cloud infrastructure architecture. “Since Data Cloud was on what we now call the Einstein 1 platform from Day One, it has always natively connected to, and been able to read anything in Sales Cloud, Service Cloud [and so on]. On top of that, we can now bring in, not only structured but unstructured data.”

That’s a significant progression from the position, several years ago, when Salesforce had stitched together a platform around various acquisitions (ExactTarget, for example) that didn’t necessarily talk to each other.

“At times, what we would do is have a kind of behind-the-scenes flow where data from one product could be moved into another product,” said Jania, “but in many of those cases the data would then be in both, whereas now the data is in Data Cloud. Tableau will run natively off Data Cloud; Commerce Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud — they’re all going to the same operational customer profile.” They’re not copying the data from Data Cloud, Jania confirmed.

Another thing to know is tit’s possible for Salesforce customers to import their own datasets into Data Cloud. “We wanted to create a federated data model,” said Jania. “If you’re using Snowflake, for example, we more or less virtually sit on your data lake. The value we add is that we will look at all your data and help you form these operational customer profiles.”

Let’s learn more about Einstein Copilot

“Copilot means that I have an assistant with me in the tool where I need to be working that contextually knows what I am trying to do and helps me at every step of the process,” Jania said.

For marketers, this might begin with a campaign brief developed with Copilot’s assistance, the identification of an audience based on the brief, and then the development of email or other content. “What’s really cool is the idea of Einstein Studio where our customers will create actions [for Copilot] that we hadn’t even thought about.”

Here’s a key insight (back to nomenclature). We reported on Copilot for markets, Copilot for merchants, Copilot for shoppers. It turns out, however, that there is just one Copilot, Einstein Copilot, and these are use cases. “There’s just one Copilot, we just add these for a little clarity; we’re going to talk about marketing use cases, about shoppers’ use cases. These are actions for the marketing use cases we built out of the box; you can build your own.”

It’s surely going to take a little time for marketers to learn to work easily with Copilot. “There’s always time for adoption,” Jania agreed. “What is directly connected with this is, this is my ninth Connections and this one has the most hands-on training that I’ve seen since 2014 — and a lot of that is getting people using Data Cloud, using these tools rather than just being given a demo.”

What’s new about Einstein Personalization

Salesforce Einstein has been around since 2016 and many of the use cases seem to have involved personalization in various forms. What’s new?

“Einstein Personalization is a real-time decision engine and it’s going to choose next-best-action, next-best-offer. What is new is that it’s a service now that runs natively on top of Data Cloud.” A lot of real-time decision engines need their own set of data that might actually be a subset of data. “Einstein Personalization is going to look holistically at a customer and recommend a next-best-action that could be natively surfaced in Service Cloud, Sales Cloud or Marketing Cloud.”

Finally, trust

One feature of the presentations at Connections was the reassurance that, although public LLMs like ChatGPT could be selected for application to customer data, none of that data would be retained by the LLMs. Is this just a matter of written agreements? No, not just that, said Jania.

“In the Einstein Trust Layer, all of the data, when it connects to an LLM, runs through our gateway. If there was a prompt that had personally identifiable information — a credit card number, an email address — at a mimum, all that is stripped out. The LLMs do not store the output; we store the output for auditing back in Salesforce. Any output that comes back through our gateway is logged in our system; it runs through a toxicity model; and only at the end do we put PII data back into the answer. There are real pieces beyond a handshake that this data is safe.”

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Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads (And How To Fix It)

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Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads (And How To Fix It)

Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To

You ask the head of marketing how the team is doing and get a giant thumbs up. 👍

“Our MQLs are up!”

“Website conversion rates are at an all-time high!”

“Email click rates have never been this good!”

But when you ask the head of sales the same question, you get the response that echoes across sales desks worldwide — the leads from marketing suck. 

If you’re in this boat, you’re not alone. The issue of “leads from marketing suck” is a common situation in most organizations. In a HubSpot survey, only 9.1% of salespeople said leads they received from marketing were of very high quality.

Why do sales teams hate marketing-generated leads? And how can marketers help their sales peers fall in love with their leads? 

Let’s dive into the answers to these questions. Then, I’ll give you my secret lead gen kung-fu to ensure your sales team loves their marketing leads. 

Marketers Must Take Ownership

“I’ve hit the lead goal. If sales can’t close them, it’s their problem.”

How many times have you heard one of your marketers say something like this? When your teams are heavily siloed, it’s not hard to see how they get to this mindset — after all, if your marketing metrics look strong, they’ve done their part, right?

Not necessarily. 

The job of a marketer is not to drive traffic or even leads. The job of the marketer is to create messaging and offers that lead to revenue. Marketing is not a 100-meter sprint — it’s a relay race. The marketing team runs the first leg and hands the baton to sales to sprint to the finish.

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To make leads valuable beyond the vanity metric of watching your MQLs tick up, you need to segment and nurture them. Screen the leads to see if they meet the parameters of your ideal customer profile. If yes, nurture them to find out how close their intent is to a sale. Only then should you pass the leads to sales. 

Lead Quality Control is a Bitter Pill that Works

Tighter quality control might reduce your overall MQLs. Still, it will ensure only the relevant leads go to sales, which is a win for your team and your organization.

This shift will require a mindset shift for your marketing team: instead of living and dying by the sheer number of MQLs, you need to create a collaborative culture between sales and marketing. Reinforce that “strong” marketing metrics that result in poor leads going to sales aren’t really strong at all.  

When you foster this culture of collaboration and accountability, it will be easier for the marketing team to receive feedback from sales about lead quality without getting defensive. 

Remember, the sales team is only holding marketing accountable so the entire organization can achieve the right results. It’s not sales vs marketing — it’s sales and marketing working together to get a great result. Nothing more, nothing less. 

We’ve identified the problem and where we need to go. So, how you do you get there?

Fix #1: Focus On High ROI Marketing Activities First

What is more valuable to you:

  • One more blog post for a few more views? 
  • One great review that prospective buyers strongly relate to?

Hopefully, you’ll choose the latter. After all, talking to customers and getting a solid testimonial can help your sales team close leads today.  Current customers talking about their previous issues, the other solutions they tried, why they chose you, and the results you helped them achieve is marketing gold.

On the other hand, even the best blog content will take months to gain enough traction to impact your revenue.

Still, many marketers who say they want to prioritize customer reviews focus all their efforts on blog content and other “top of the funnel” (Awareness, Acquisition, and Activation) efforts. 

The bottom half of the growth marketing funnel (Retention, Reputation, and Revenue) often gets ignored, even though it’s where you’ll find some of the highest ROI activities.

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Most marketers know retaining a customer is easier than acquiring a new one. But knowing this and working with sales on retention and account expansion are two different things. 

When you start focusing on retention, upselling, and expansion, your entire organization will feel it, from sales to customer success. These happier customers will increase your average account value and drive awareness through strong word of mouth, giving you one heck of a win/win.

Winning the Retention, Reputation, and Referral game also helps feed your Awareness, Acquisition, and Activation activities:

  • Increasing customer retention means more dollars stay within your organization to help achieve revenue goals and fund lead gen initiatives.
  • A fully functioning referral system lowers your customer acquisition cost (CAC) because these leads are already warm coming in the door.
  • Case studies and reviews are powerful marketing assets for lead gen and nurture activities as they demonstrate how you’ve solved identical issues for other companies.

Remember that the bottom half of your marketing and sales funnel is just as important as the top half. After all, there’s no point pouring leads into a leaky funnel. Instead, you want to build a frictionless, powerful growth engine that brings in the right leads, nurtures them into customers, and then delights those customers to the point that they can’t help but rave about you.

So, build a strong foundation and start from the bottom up. You’ll find a better return on your investment. 

Fix #2: Join Sales Calls to Better Understand Your Target Audience

You can’t market well what you don’t know how to sell.

Your sales team speaks directly to customers, understands their pain points, and knows the language they use to talk about those pains. Your marketing team needs this information to craft the perfect marketing messaging your target audience will identify with.

When marketers join sales calls or speak to existing customers, they get firsthand introductions to these pain points. Often, marketers realize that customers’ pain points and reservations are very different from those they address in their messaging. 

Once you understand your ideal customers’ objections, anxieties, and pressing questions, you can create content and messaging to remove some of these reservations before the sales call. This effort removes a barrier for your sales team, resulting in more SQLs.

Fix #3: Create Collateral That Closes Deals

One-pagers, landing pages, PDFs, decks — sales collateral could be anything that helps increase the chance of closing a deal. Let me share an example from Lean Labs. 

Our webinar page has a CTA form that allows visitors to talk to our team. Instead of a simple “get in touch” form, we created a drop-down segmentation based on the user’s challenge and need. This step helps the reader feel seen, gives them hope that they’ll receive real value from the interaction, and provides unique content to users based on their selection.

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So, if they select I need help with crushing it on HubSpot, they’ll get a landing page with HubSpot-specific content (including a video) and a meeting scheduler. 

Speaking directly to your audience’s needs and pain points through these steps dramatically increases the chances of them booking a call. Why? Because instead of trusting that a generic “expert” will be able to help them with their highly specific problem, they can see through our content and our form design that Lean Labs can solve their most pressing pain point. 

Fix #4: Focus On Reviews and Create an Impact Loop

A lot of people think good marketing is expensive. You know what’s even more expensive? Bad marketing

To get the best ROI on your marketing efforts, you need to create a marketing machine that pays for itself. When you create this machine, you need to think about two loops: the growth loop and the impact loop.

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  • Growth loop — Awareness ➡ Acquisition ➡ Activation ➡ Revenue ➡ Awareness: This is where most marketers start. 
  • Impact loop — Results ➡ Reviews ➡ Retention ➡ Referrals ➡ Results: This is where great marketers start. 

Most marketers start with their growth loop and then hope that traction feeds into their impact loop. However, the reality is that starting with your impact loop is going to be far more likely to set your marketing engine up for success

Let me share a client story to show you what this looks like in real life.

Client Story: 4X Website Leads In A Single Quarter

We partnered with a health tech startup looking to grow their website leads. One way to grow website leads is to boost organic traffic, of course, but any organic play is going to take time. If you’re playing the SEO game alone, quadrupling conversions can take up to a year or longer.

But we did it in a single quarter. Here’s how.

We realized that the startup’s demos were converting lower than industry standards. A little more digging showed us why: our client was new enough to the market that the average person didn’t trust them enough yet to want to invest in checking out a demo. So, what did we do?

We prioritized the last part of the funnel: reputation.

We ran a 5-star reputation campaign to collect reviews. Once we had the reviews we needed, we showcased them at critical parts of the website and then made sure those same reviews were posted and shown on other third-party review platforms. 

Remember that reputation plays are vital, and they’re one of the plays startups often neglect at best and ignore at worst. What others say about your business is ten times more important than what you say about yourself

By providing customer validation at critical points in the buyer journey, we were able to 4X the website leads in a single quarter!

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So, when you talk to customers, always look for opportunities to drive review/referral conversations and use them in marketing collateral throughout the buyer journey. 

Fix #5: Launch Phantom Offers for Higher Quality Leads 

You may be reading this post thinking, okay, my lead magnets and offers might be way off the mark, but how will I get the budget to create a new one that might not even work?

It’s an age-old issue: marketing teams invest way too much time and resources into creating lead magnets that fail to generate quality leads

One way to improve your chances of success, remain nimble, and stay aligned with your audience without breaking the bank is to create phantom offers, i.e., gauge the audience interest in your lead magnet before you create them.

For example, if you want to create a “World Security Report” for Chief Security Officers, don’t do all the research and complete the report as Step One. Instead, tease the offer to your audience before you spend time making it. Put an offer on your site asking visitors to join the waitlist for this report. Then wait and see how that phantom offer converts. 

This is precisely what we did for a report by Allied Universal that ended up generating 80 conversions before its release.

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The best thing about a phantom offer is that it’s a win/win scenario: 

  • Best case: You get conversions even before you create your lead magnet.
  • Worst case: You save resources by not creating a lead magnet no one wants.  

Remember, You’re On The Same Team 

We’ve talked a lot about the reasons your marketing leads might suck. However, remember that it’s not all on marketers, either. At the end of the day, marketing and sales professionals are on the same team. They are not in competition with each other. They are allies working together toward a common goal. 

Smaller companies — or anyone under $10M in net new revenue — shouldn’t even separate sales and marketing into different departments. These teams need to be so in sync with one another that your best bet is to align them into a single growth team, one cohesive front with a single goal: profitable customer acquisition.

Interested in learning more about the growth marketing mindset? Check out the Lean Labs Growth Playbook that’s helped 25+ B2B SaaS marketing teams plan, budget, and accelerate growth.


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