How the Blog Was Won and Where It Got Us – Content Side

By Duncan Hendy in Kentico
·6 min read

Some people believe content is king and start a relentless campaign of creation with little direction or purpose other than just getting it out there, and as quickly as possible. That’s why we wanted our blog to have the reader firmly in mind, rather than ranting and raving to nobody in particular. Let us give you a glimpse of how we set up and established our beautiful, reader-first blog.

Before we even started the blog, there were a few things we needed to get straight first. As any content strategist worth their weight in copy would tell you, to engage with your audience, you need to know who they are, what causes them pain, and how you can help them. Only after that can you start to put your editorial guidelines together so that they form a bible your writers can apply religiously. Having a consistent approach is essential for establishing the voice of your blog.

Four Rules to Rule Them All

And with this in mind, we established the four golden rules concerning the kind of content we would publish. We found ensuring that each blog post ticked at least one of these boxes would result in engaging and beneficial copy. These four types are:

  • Posts that explain what causes our audience's problems, and how to solve them
  • Posts explaining why our audience hasn't solved their problem, and what they can change/introduce
  • Posts identifying a problem our audience didn't know they had
  • Posts about someone else that has the audience's problem, and how they solved it

So we launched the blog on January 10 of last year as an MVP (minimal viable product) to see how well the audience would engage with it. And based on this, we developed it further. Our main KPI was the number of unique visitors, and we set our target accordingly. To herald the blog’s arrival, we announced it to our general newsletter subscribers. This became a tactic we continued with. In each general newsletter, we included at least one blog item because of the value it brought our readers, which helped raise the blog’s presence.

Get a Little Know-how

The next stage was to think how we could expand the blog to increase the number of postings, not affect the quality, and bring extra value. As the regular Tuesday postings were based on thought-leadership topics that affected our readers, we decided that we should also help digital marketers that already use our flagship product, Kentico EMS, not only to equip them better with the skills they need to create a powerful digital marketing strategy, but also inform them about some of the capabilities they might not be aware of. As this was a less vendor-agnostic approach, we decided to call these blogs “Kentico Know-how” and publish them on Thursdays so readers could come to know the different nature of both kinds of post.

Since we started publishing twice a week, we began to attract the attention of external writers. They liked the format and editorial style and freely approached us with ideas for topics that would complement those we had already covered. Plus, the SMEs (subject matter experts) within Kentico were now regularly contributing ideas too. Especially from our consultants, who had regular contact with our customers and knew the issues that were affecting them.

Read All About It!

So, now we had a healthy flow of visitors. And we were using growth hacking techniques such as inviting readers to subscribe to the blog newsletter, where we keep readers up to date with articles they might have missed, as well as offering them additional content such as whitepapers and webinars that would bring them extra value. We also include a list of upcoming articles, so the subscribers know what they can expect and that they want to keep visiting because the blog post subjects resonate with them and their pains.

Sunny and Share

We always try to encourage people to engage in discussion by inviting them to share their experience or opinions on the topics. But with the current trend in blogs, people join in discussions less and instead show their approval more by sharing. So, we made the share buttons a floating element that maintains its position as the reader scrolls, making it as easy as possible to post the story on social media. This, in turn, means that readers can improve the reach of the article, which results in greater visibility and an increase in the number of visitors coming to the blog.

Running Up a Topical Storm

What we like about the blog is the fact that we can use it to address hot topics in greater detail. This was the case with GDPR as it represents a major shakeup to the way most of our current and potential readers do their business, with expensive fines if they fail to comply. With this in mind, we felt it our duty to educate and supply our readers with the basic knowledge they needed to know to see whether and how it applied to their companies, and what they should consider in the immediate future, especially when it comes to responsibility and compliance.

What we did to tackle this was divide the content into two parts, firstly, theoretical—what it means, what are the necessary roles and steps, etc., and secondly, practical—how to use the then-upcoming Data Protection app in Kentico 11 to make GDPR compliance easier. This combination of the two different types of post meant we could apply a content strategy to turn the theme into a story. Because we knew that GDPR was especially relevant and that we had been developing the app in K11 EMS, it made sense to guide our readers, which in turn attracted more visitors to the blog. And as we saw the value in the content we produced, we compiled it into an eBook to make it easier for current readers and other CMS users to download it in one publication and learn the essentials and how to achieve them in practice. This eBook will be launched shortly.

I’ve Seen the Future…

So what are the plans for the future? Well, we know the importance of regular publishing, so that will remain unchanged. But as organic traffic is increasing the readership, we are looking at ways in which to broaden our writer pool and find other areas to write about. This is also the case for Kentico Know-how. We had predominantly concentrated on online marketing topics; we are now going to expand that to include e-commerce and other fields. We are also looking at ways in which to make the blog posts have other content types. We have already integrated video into our instructional posts, so we would like to see other ways in which these “additional values” can be utilized. I hate to use the cliché of “watch this space”, however…

And as the secret of launching a blog, is adjusting it as it develops, that means the KPIs must change too. Although the blog is aimed at thought leadership, primarily, it is still a top-of-the-sales-funnel activity and should serve as a springboard to the rest of the Kentico website. With this in mind, the ongoing KPI has been changed to getting visitors from the blog to the rest of the site. And this means changing the behavior of the reader. And how will we achieve this? We have some tricks up our sleeves, so we’ll keep you informed how they go ☺

As a reader of our blog, do you have any favorite types of blog post? Maybe you have a blog of your own. How did you develop it? Please feel free to leave your comments and feedback in the discussion below. And, don’t forget to share! The topic of GDPR is one that is dear to our hearts. Check out some of the critical points you should be addressing here.

By Duncan Hendy in Kentico
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