Blogging has become an important tactic for businesses that want to connect their brand with their target audience — yes, even in the senior living industry. By blogging consistently, you can attract traffic to your website and convert that traffic into leads.
But maintaining a blog can be difficult if you don’t develop a framework for consistent output of content. By following these steps, you’ll discover that blogging for your community can be an enjoyable activity instead of a chore.
1. Form a Blog Team
Even if you’re the one running point for your community’s blog, it helps to have a few teammates to pass the ball to so that the team can achieve its blogging goals.
Find a small group of people to support the blog in areas where you may be overextended. This could include research, writing, editing, adding in multimedia elements and preparing posts for publication. Your team can consist of internal colleagues and/or creative agency partners who can help you publish consistently and build momentum for your blog.
As your blog becomes more established, you can even reach out to guest bloggers for occasional posts in order to give yourself a break from grinding out content every week, and possibly increase exposure for your blog.
2. Develop a Content Calendar and Stick to It
Maintaining (and updating) a content calendar can help ensure consistency with pre-planning your blog topics and posting at your desired frequency (at least once a week, twice in order to retain a following).
Blogging takes time and can be hard to do in one sitting considering some of the other tasks you may have to carry out around your community. But once you’ve come up with a topic to write about that offers value to prospects, you’ve already won half the battle.
Here’s a tip: consider having a brainstorming session at the end of each month where you decide all the blog topics for the next month and who on the team will write about what (assuming there are multiple writers).
3. Populate Your Content Calendar
When adding to your blog calendar, make sure that the content you want to write about offers value to your audience and helps them solve a problem. Think about some of the questions prospects ask during visits to your community and write blog posts that answer these questions. For example, are numerous prospects asking you to expand upon how the various types of contracts differ from one another? Why not write a post breaking down what’s included in Lifecare Type A, B and C contracts?
You can use several tools to help identify potential blog topics should the well run dry, so having nothing to write about is no longer an excuse for not publishing new posts consistently.
Next, decide which days you want to publish each post. Having a set day (or days) when new posts are published will not only condition your audience to visit your blog at a certain time every week, it also serves as a way to hold yourself and the rest of the team accountable for making sure new content is published on time every week. Failing to publish on a consistent basis could mean losing your reader base over time.
From experience, members of the Creating Results team agree that a content calendar is a necessary tool for anyone who is serious about blogging. It helps to keep the entire team organized and can even help you get ahead in your blog writing!
4. Make Your Blog Easy to Read and Engage With
Having a topic to write about is great. But, you also need to present your content in a way that will attract readers and make it easy for them to consume information. Below, you’ll find guidelines for making your blog easy to read and share for your audience:
Write compelling headlines: the headline is the first impression your audience will have of your blog post. Whether asking a question or catering to the curiosity of your audience, there are several different types of headlines you can use to attract readers. Determine which one is the most appropriate for the post you’re writing and make the first impression of your post one that your audience will remember.
Include supporting images and/or videos: images and videos are yet another way you can engage your audience with your post. They serve as a break from the text and can even explain certain concepts to readers better than words can in some cases.
There are several types of visual content that you can add to your blog posts, including:
- Infographics, graphs and charts
- Stock imagery related to the post
- Embedded social media posts
- How-to videos
Images and videos are your friend when it comes to blogging, but be sure not to get overzealous about adding them to your posts. The commonly agreed upon best practice is to include one image for every 150 words in your blog post, but remember that this is a suggestion and not an ironclad rule.
Keep it concise: no one wants to read a blog post that’s one long wall of text. Break up your post into short sections that are easy to consume. When writing your post, ask yourself whether there is a simpler way to get the point you’re trying to make across. If the answer is yes, then go with the simpler option. This will make your writing easier to read and keep your sentences short and sweet.
Your sentences should be short, and so should your paragraphs. Use no more than two to four sentences per paragraph to ensure that your post doesn’t become the great wall of text.
Include a call to action or a takeaway for the reader: what’s the next step that you want your readers to take after reading your blog? Subscribing to your email list? Downloading an eBrochure? Whatever the desired next action is, you’ll want to specify it at the end of your post.
Also be sure to enable social sharing on your blog posts so that readers can share them with their networks, thus expanding your blog’s reach.
5. Share Your Blog
“If you build it, they will come,” they say. But that’s not the case with blogging. Don’t be shy about sharing your blog posts across all your owned media (think Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, email, etc.).
If you don’t share your blog on your social channels, you’ll have to rely heavily on people stumbling upon your blog through search or by some other means. Unless search engines already recognize your site as a subject matter authority in the senior living industry, this method alone is not as effective as it could be if you were sharing your posts directly with your audience.
Be sure the posts you create to promote your blog are optimized for the platform on which you’re sharing them. For example, if you want to promote your blog post on Twitter, you might use short teaser text, a relevant hashtag, an image related to the content and the link to your blog post.
6. Analyze and Adapt
Analytics should be a part of any content creator’s toolbox. They allow you to review metrics on how many people your content is reaching, which types of posts receive the most views, the effectiveness of your calls to action in converting readers and more.
These insights will help you determine what changes, if any, need to be made to your blog content moving forward. For example, if your analytics reports show that reader engagement is particularly high around a certain topic, consider developing additional related content.
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