We recently posted a blog about GDPR, and how the new regulations are going to affect how you contact your most loyal customers and your potential leads. But GDPR is going to change a lot more than that, it’s going to change how people interact with marketing content, how they come across it and in turn engage with your brand.

Because we all can’t spam our contact list anymore we need to rethink how we interact with and interest our audiences in what we do. A great (and compliant) way to do that is to use your blog to its full extent. If you don’t have one, put it on your to-do list, because having a blog on your website can create some seriously good results for your business.

Have I got news for you

Blogs are a great way to drive traffic to your website because your news and posts have lots of useful words that fly into Google and get picked up by anyone typing queries that match your content.

Say for example you own a restaurant and your write a blog about the best cake recipes of the season, someone might be searching for a birthday cake with trendy flavours, come across your website, look at the menu, like it and book a table for their birthday bash.

Google also enjoys a good blog because it loves nothing better than good quality content, so the clever little Google algorithms will favour your website above others on search rankings because you are writing relevant information that Google knows people want to find. Your content is like a magic door for Google, you help their bots link their users to the information they are looking for.

It makes sense really because if Google is sending people to the wrong sites and those sites start to generate eye-popping bounce rates, Google users are more likely to use another search engine that guides them to the right information.

You are basically doing Google a huge favour when you write up a blog and post regularly, it knows your website is active and that you have enough keywords to interest the person looking for your exact topic, so it lifts you right up the search chain and attract website visitors who aren’t necessarily looking for your brand but would be interested in what you do. An online SEO tango and a match made in heaven.

But be careful, writing keywords just for Google is a big no-no, and Google is training its bots to spot blogs or websites that are just trying to drive traffic. It also doesn’t create the best relationship with your customers. The digitally savvy Joe Bloggs knows what you are up to and will make you seem conceited and only interested in bringing them to your site. It’s actually a mutual respect thing, if you show that you value what your customers care about they will in turn value what you do.

1 in a million

You also set the tone for your brand when you concentrate on your blog. It’s not a coincidence that the blog or news section often has high web traffic. People want to understand your backstory and what you are about and want to know if you have the same beliefs and values as them. The blog should always be part of your whole brand image and provide a holistic view of who you are, with the ultimate goal of encouraging engagement and loyalty from your audience.

Say you are an organic cheesemaker and want to attract the more alternative people your area, writing blogs about the environment, local collectives and social cooperatives will not only ensure your star cheddar flies off the shelves but also matches your brand voice to your audience, heightening awareness in the local area as you go.

It’s also important to not just make up an image to attract a certain type of person. People are very content savvy nowadays, they’ve been around the digital block and know a red herring blog when they see one. If you are a cooperate money making machine and need to attract millennials, writing about how much you hate plastic and love a good recycle will look like a cheap tactic to clean up your image just to attract the Facebook generation, and definitely won’t look like your writing and business values are sincere.

Most businesses also have a list of competitors as long as their arm. Having a refreshing and insightful blog will often distinguish your brand from the other 10 web designers, law firms or café owners in the area. It will also ensure that the people who see your website and then contact you, connect with who you are and will mean you are more likely to build a quality relationship.

The royal treatment

Quality really is the watchword as we move into the bright and shiny new GDPR world. The whole point of the regulations is to protect people from unsolicited and irrelevant content, as well as their undeniable right to know what is happening with their personal data.

The point of quality content is to generate not just a quality image but to also nurture important customers or people who are highly likely to become customers. Marketers are harping on about engagement and not growing because the nuggets of gold are actually within a much smaller circle than you think. Getting your core audience to interact with you is when you are much more likely to get brand loyalty and increase your sales.

So Instead of just throwing out a net out to see how much you can get, concentrate on the people that are already interested. Spending time understanding those people more will help to drive a stronger and more targeted marketing plan across your business and will ensure that you attract more of your core audience without jamming email campaigns down their throat.

Basically, instead of throwing out the net, create an oasis so the fish come to you.

And part of that content oasis is a regular blog, which is shared on social media and which tackles what the people in your industry are most interested in without directly selling anything.

Are you listening?

I go on about this a lot in my blogs, but using analytics really is key to understanding your audience. If you don’t have a look at what is happening behind the scenes you can’t know if your dastardly content plan is working.

I’ve lost count of the number of blogs I thought were lukewarm on the relevance scale but actually generated the most page hits, engagement and longest page duration times. These are kernels of information that you can use to improve and hone your content so that you hit that bullseye every time you write and keep on interesting your audience.

In the end, content marketing is a long road paved with potholes, and you won’t get results straight away. But is it the sort of slow burner that is worth the time invested. Knowing what your audience wants to read means you know that your brand is relevant, and you understand who you are to your customers, which is half the battle to winning over their hearts.

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