If you think blog marketing has fallen by the wayside, think again. More than half of marketers still make it their top priority and it’s no secret why:

• Almost 50 percent of buyers read three to five pieces of content before they reach out via phone or contact forms to find out more about your services.

• Sites with blogs have more indexed pages—over 400 percent more, in fact. That creates a much greater chance that you’ll show up for relevant searches.

• Making blogging one of your marketing priorities can result in a 13x increase in ROI.

• Blogging is a way to generate SEO leads, which have higher conversion rates than outbound marketing efforts such as print ads or direct mail. Inbound leads close at around a 14 percent rate on average while outbound leads close at an average rate closer to 2 percent.

But tossing blog words at the wall like spaghetti and waiting to see which ones will stick, isn’t the best way to leverage this powerful funeral home marketing tool. Here are five tips for powering up your death care blog:

1. Understand the Purpose Behind Every Post
Why do you have a blog on your site in the first place? Are you using it to build authority for your funeral home, extend your marketing reach, foster links, or push traffic to your website?

Whatever the case, take time to determine those goals and create a blog editorial calendar around them. You might decide you want 20 percent of your blog content to be sales-related, which means the posts would feature services you provide.

Another 60 percent of your content might position you as an expert on death care matters, with blogs that explain certain aspects of the business or educate consumers about options such as preplanning or cremation. You might create the other 20 percent of your blog posts with the intent of drawing links. Relevant top 10 lists, local content, or a unique take on a news story (related to your niche) are all ways to do this.

Once you develop an editorial calendar and start working from it, don’t sit on your laurels. Keep an eye on traffic and conversions to determine what content your audience is most likely to engage with and update your goals and editorial calendar going forward. Blog content should be an ever-evolving endeavor.

And yes, a funeral home can be a great business from which to create a blog, just like any other industry. Granted, you must be sure the subject matter is thoughtful and reverent, but there’s plenty of room in there to be creative.

2. Write with Authority and Quality
Whatever you decide to publish on your blog, ensure that it’s of high quality and that you’re writing (or publishing) with authority. Google and other search engines demand it.

Well-written, grammatical posts that say something of relevance or importance are obvious markers of quality, but here are some other aspects to consider if you want to rank high in the search results:

• Display authorship: Consider connecting bylines and bios with your blog posts. If your funeral director has 30 years of experience, that lends credibility to a blog post published under his name. The same is true of a customer service rep who works daily with clientele or an urn vendor with guest post privileges. Tell people why these voices should matter to them.

• Site credible sources: Google likes to see a few authoritative outbound links in your content and so do readers. It shows you did the work to back up your points with research or data. Consider links from sites such as major news organizations or magazines, funeral and death care industry associations, .edu or .gov sites, or local sites. Avoid links from competitors, sites that looks spammy, or low-quality personal blogs.

• Encourage people to link to or share your content: When other people link to you, the search engines take it as a sign that you did something right. Back links are one factor in the algorithms, which decide where your page appears in the search results.

3. Look for Fresh Ways to Cover Topics
Your blog posts perform better when people spend the time to read them entirely, get enough benefit from them that they click through to other pages on your site, and share them. But to garner these benefits, you need to stand out from an increasingly growing crowd of business bloggers. Look for ways to present information from new perspectives or use a unique voice to make the content more interesting.

4. Write Long Form Content (Sometimes)
As of 2019, analytics from a wide variety of SEO organizations indicate that pages with 2,000 or more words are more likely to find themselves at home in the top search engine results. So long-form content is good, and you should be including it on your blog.

But there’s a caveat: Before you write 2,000 words, know for sure that you really have 2,000 words to say! Don’t take a blog post that should be 400 or 600 words and fluff it up. It’s okay to have posts of differing lengths, and you should always look at your own metrics to see what types of lengths perform best for your audience.

5. Don’t Tie Yourself to Text Alone
The length of your text isn’t the only thing that matters. Cut up text blocks with formatting (such as subheadings and bulleted lists) and integrate images, graphics, videos, and other content types. This lets you create a more visually pleasing page, ensures you don’t overwhelm readers with imposing walls of text, and helps you connect with people who prefer audio, image, or video content.

When your blog content is of high quality, you’re more likely to experience positive trends in behavior metrics such as time on page. And those metrics have direct correlations to important factors such as conversion rates and performance in the search engines. FBA

Welton Hong is the founder and marketing director of Ring Ring Marketing (FuneralHomeProfits.com), which specializes in helping funeral homes convert leads from online directly to the phone line. Welton also is a speaker at funeral home conferences and the author of Making Your Phone Ring with Internet Marketing for Funeral Homes. Reach him by email at [email protected] or call toll-free at 888.383-2848.