Blending Smart Design and Great Writing to Build Best-in-Class Brand Publications

Many companies think blog publishing is just a means to boost search engine visibility — here’s why they may be missing out on a massive amount of potential revenue.

It blows my mind that in 2018, I’m still being inundated with emails, social media posts, “thought leadership” articles, and other content trying to convince me that “digital marketing is important.”I think it’s probably safe to assume that, at this point, anyone working for a company with an internet connection is well-aware of this fact.Did you know Google processes 300 gazillion searches per minute or that every customer every business has acquired in the past decade began their path to purchase on a search engine?I did, and so did you.Yes, online search is a big deal. Let’s move on to more constructive and up-to-date conversations.I could fill this article with stats that “prove” brand publishing is a winning strategy — I have plenty of them, trust me — but instead, I’m going to do something that’s arguably more useful: I’m going to explain how (and why) to build a brand publication correctly.

Why It’s Time to Refresh Your Definition of Brand Publishing

The fact that you’re reading an article on a creative agency’s blog is a good indication that you’re probably familiar with the basic concept of brand publishing from an SEO perspective, but here’s a quick refresher anyway.Unlike the core pages of your website, which are relatively static, your blog is an opportunity to build an ever-expanding network of pages containing keywords and phrases associated with your business’ offerings.In theory, the more posts you publish (and keywords you cover), the more authority and organic visibility your brand will eventually gain. The idea is that, over time, you’ll see an exponential increase in traffic to your site.What most people forget is that this is only half the battle!It’s always nice to see an uptick in monthly pageviews, but if there’s no corresponding uptick in conversions and new customers, you’re going to be facing some tough questions at the end of the quarter or year.If you want to start seeing real returns on your brand publishing strategy, I recommend sinking real time and resources into optimizing the things your prospects encounter after they’ve clicked through to your article — in particular, quality writing and design.

Your Blog is a Sales Tool, So Invest Accordingly

Brand publishing — and inbound marketing in general — is like fishing: the more lines you cast, the more opportunities you’ll have to reel in the big catch. That said, without a convincing lure, no respectable fish is ever going to take the bait.Imagine an IT Manager is experiencing network performance issues and looking for cost-effective solutions. After a bit of Googling, she comes across an article with the headline “3 Tricks for Improving Network Performance Without Breaking the Bank” — bingo!She clicks through and discovers that, in addition to being poorly written and riddled with typos, the article offers no useful information and contains blatant technical errors and improperly used terminology. What do you think the chances are that she’ll end up hiring the company behind it to manage her wireless infrastructure?Remember, your blog isn’t just an attention grabber — every post you publish should be thought of as a sales pitch, at least on some level.Investing in intelligent, well-researched, and relatable writing allows you to establish a personal connection with your readers and demonstrate your competency in an area that directly relates to one of their specific pain points or business objectives.When a blog post demonstrates your subject matter expertise and/or ability to execute a specific solution or strategy to achieve a desirable outcome, readers will (a) convert directly on your blog or (b) become motivated to seek out additional information that subsequently results in a conversion. Pretty cool, especially considering your blog won’t ask for a commission on the sale either.For an example of what this looks like in practice, check out the real, “ 3 Tricks for Improving Network Performance Without Breaking the Bank,” courtesy of Craig Badrick, CEO of Turn-key Technologies.Related: How to Build Best-in-Class Websites with an Editorial Ethos

Make Your Content Pop

Yes, great writing is at the core of any successful brand publishing strategy, but hey — great writing always looks better when it’s wearing a designer suit and fresh kicks.Across nearly every vertical, the level of competition for customers’ attentiononline is constantly increasing. You need to ensure that your blog does two key things:
  • Provides a seamless user experience
  • Make you stand out from the crowd
  • Invest the necessary time and resources to create compelling graphic content that brings your company’s value proposition and ideas to life. Develop catchy infographics that both engage audiences and communicate key concepts faster, or video blogs that help your stories resonate on an even deeper level.But don’t forget to make sure your beautiful content lives in a beautiful home. When your blog is built upon a foundation of solid UX and cutting-edge design, you’re encouraging people to stick around and peruse your extended library. With so many options so readily at their disposal, if your readers experience any undue friction or don’t like what they see, they’re probably not going to be readers for very long.Yes, executing a brand publishing strategy correctly requires a real commitment in terms of energy and time, but as you can see, the results are typically well worth the extra effort.building great brand publications

    What 4.5 years of brand publishing growth looks like.