We all know content marketing is a good idea. It’s the whole “making time for it” and “doing it right” that trips people up. But we’re lucky enough today to hear from Sarah von Bargen – blogger/writer/internet awesome-i-fier – with whom I have the privilege of working with often.
Sarah has 15 years of writing experience, an MA in Applied Linguistics that she doesn’t use, and a blog read daily by 10,000+ people. Also: she has a cat named after a Russian historical figure, which is cool. Sarah runs Yes and Yes and helps companies and individuals become (more) awesome on the internet. She personally, professionally, and literally believes that yes is more fun than no – and she helps clients get more of their audience to say “yes” which, hey, isn’t that what good branding is really all about?
Today, Sarah is sharing her tips on good content marketing, how to craft killer website copy that people will attract and the committment secret that she put into her now successful blog.
RS: Sarah, you’re a brilliant copywriter. When and how did you expand your offerings into content and blog strategy for clients?
SVB: Well, gosh! Thank you so much! I’ve actually been offering content and blog strategy all long – but that aspect of my business has just recently started to take off. While a clever, well-written About Page is super important, it needs to be part of an active website with regularly updated, useful content.
You know, like a blog.
I think a lot of people are finally realizing that they need to be more actively engaged with their readers and community – and I help them do that.
RS: It is kind of a “renaissance of customer engagement” we’re in, isn’t it? What is the biggest mistake people make with their blogs that is easily corrected?
SVB: Just talking about themselves and their products! That’s like a TV show with two minutes of sitcom and 28 minutes of ads. Create content that’s helpful to your target audience and engages them.
RS: Can you share your top 3 tips for how to attract more readers to your blog? Any specific advice on tags, titles or hyperlinking?
SVB: 1. Create good content
You’ve probably heard this before (uh, like in the above paragraph) but you need to write things that are helpful and informative. No amount of tagging and social media-ry is going to help if you’re just posting photo after photo of your own products.
2. Cross pollinate with other bloggers in your niche
Guest post on other blogs, host guest posts on your blog, interview people who have interesting, useful things to say, promote other bloggers’ posts that would be helpful to your readers. Other bloggers will return the favor.
3. Leave comments on other blogs
Helpful, real comments that contribute to the discussion – not just “Great post! Come check out my blog at [insert shameless link here].” People will follow your comments back and return the favor. For the first 2.5 years that I had my blog, I spent every lunch hour reading blogs and leaving comments. Five days a week, 45 minutes a day, 2.5 years. For real.
Net-net: Building an engaged community takes time. But content marketing helps you get there. Deliver value, be generous, provide opportunities for people to connect – and you will reap the rewards when it comes to converting those adoring community members into paying customers!