Weekly Roundup: Do Blogs Still Work? Benefits of Simple Content? Can Storytelling Boost Business?

Each week, we’ll share a roundup of interesting news, stories, campaigns, articles and insights from the world of copywriting, content marketing, social media, influencer marketing and branding.


This week we’ll look at:


  • Neil Patel’s Take on Whether Blogging Still Works in 2019

  • Insight from HubSpot on How Writing at Lower Reading Levels Makes for Better Content

  • Why Storytelling Can Help Your Business’ Bottom Line, According to Duct Tape Marketing


Neil Patel’s Take on Whether Blogging Still Works in 2019


Online marketing guru Neil Patel recently released a video on YouTube discussing whether blogging still works in 2019. The short answer is yes, it absolutely does. But it’s not like it used to be. Gone are the days of writing content on just about anything, getting traffic and ranking.


These days, it takes a lot more than that. A successful blog incorporates a combination of tactics and approaches.


Here are his 6 tips to running a successful blog in 2019:


1. Focus on quality over quantity

There are more than 1 billion blogs out there. That’s right. With a B. This means that there’s approximately one piece of content for every seven people in the world. The world is saturated by content, meaning yours is statistically unlikely to be read.


The key to a great blog is to write new and unique content. The web is craving for information. Great content means you’re more likely to get back-links and social shares and to rank higher on Google.


2. Respond to comments and engagements

Your blog is a communication channel, and you need to treat it accordingly. Imagine if your friend asked you a question and you simply ignored it. That would be rude! Your blog is no different. Engage with your followers and let them know you’re there.


3. Use the words “you” and “I”

Make your blog conversational. It will go a long way in engaging people. Use the words “you” and “I” to connect more directly with your readers. The more conversational the content, the more likely you are to get comments and engagements.


4. Add a call to action

People often wonder why they’re getting eyeballs on their blog posts, but none of those eyeballs are converting to sales. And often, it’s because the posts lack a call to action.


But as Neil says, it’s OK to promote your business and your services. Add that call to action. Because it’s the only way to get leads and sales from your blog.


5. Collect email addresses

Neil shares a saying: “the money’s in the list.” And if there’s one thing he wants you to take from his video, it’s to collect email addresses. There are simple tools, like HelloBar, where you can create a lead magnet by offering things like a free e-book. Doing simple things like this will capture you way more emails, and ultimately fill your business’ funnel.


6. Start collecting push notifications

Similar to email, push notifications are an easy way to get people back to your site. Using tools like Subscribers is an easy way to notify people when you’re added a new blog post. And it’s also a great way to promote your products and your services.



Insight from HubSpot on How Writing at Lower Reading Levels Makes for Better Content


Here’s an interesting fact: when Ernest Hemingway wrote The Old Man and the Sea, he famously said his novel was “the best I can write ever for all of my life.” He ultimately won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1953. But what’s really interesting about this is that he wrote the novel at a fourth-grade reading level.


But as HubSpot points out, the best writing and storytelling allows you to easily breeze through the page and easily comprehend the material.


This same principle applies to copywriting. It’s important for writers to develop clear and concise copy because that’s what’s shown to be most effective.


Enter: the Flesch Reading Ease Test. This test is based on a formula that measures the readability of your writing and assigns it a score ranging from zero to 100. And while the Flesch Reading Ease Test is a manual calculation, there are amazing free tools, like the free Hemingway app, that make it easy to get a gauge on the readability of your article.


The highest possible score for content according to the Flesch test represents content written at a fifth-grade reading level. Hemingway app pegs the ideal reading level at tenth grade since that’s the level at which most people read. In any case, that’s a compelling case for creating clear, concise content.


Because in the content marketing industry, you must capture people’s attention, but you must hold it as well. And the best way to do that is to cut the fluff, cut to the chase, and make it understandable.



Why Storytelling Can Help Your Business’ Bottom Line, According to Duct Tape Marketing


Well, if this one doesn’t resonate with me on a fundamental level, I don’t know what will! According to Duct Tape Marketing (and we couldn’t agree more!), storytelling is a great way to build a personal connection with your consumers, which is the differentiator that will keep them coming back to you.


Here’s why:


Storytelling establishes a human connection

In the digital age, you can be a long-time customer of a business and never interact with a real, live person at the company. But that doesn’t work for small businesses. You need to find another way to stand out. And a human connection is the key. It’s what compels people to buy from a local business rather than a faceless corporation.


Embracing storytelling shows your company’s personality, highlights team members and makes consumers feel like they know the business – and the people behind it.


It helps you stand out on social media

Social media revolves around telling stories. And it’s often times your brand’s most direct connection to its customers. When people come across your brand on social media and are always met with the same voice and point of view, it establishes your brand as trustworthy and authoritative. It also allows you to engage directly with them.


A good impression on social media helps drive people to your website where you can hit them with the comprehensive storytelling designed to move them through the customer journey.


It guides them through their journey

Brand storytelling on your website can help simplify the process of clearing a path from a customer’s first interaction with your brand through to repeat business and referrals. It’s the one online asset you have complete control over.


Create a homepage that immediately addresses the concerns of your prospects, tells them who you are and shows them how you can help.


From there, structure your website in a logical way that moves customers through the stages of their journey, using storytelling as the guide.


The end of the story is where a prospect reaches out to learn more and become a customer.


Storytelling drives conversions

The sale isn’t the only conversion. There are multiple conversions along the customer journey. If a first-time visitor to your website comes back again several days later, that is a conversion.


If that person then requests a white paper on a topic of interest, that’s a conversion, too.

Using smart storytelling that’s targeted at prospects and customers based on where they are in their journey, is a great way to drive those conversions.


Driving conversions is about greeting different people with different stories, depending where they are in the customer journey.


Storytelling is at the heart of any strong marketing strategy. Knowing what your business does best and sharing why you’re passionate about your work is the way to win trust (and customers). Effective storytelling will keep your bottom line healthy and your customers coming back for more.

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