Content Marketing 101 – Attracting Eager Customers with Your Blog
By now you are probably aware of what a blog is, and that fresh content plays an important role in your rankings and visibility online. But in this article we’ll tell you WHY your business’s blog is such a powerful marketing tool and how you can create great content your visitors will love.
Consider your blog a direct communication tool to bridge your business with the public and we’re going to cover five characteristics of a blog and why it is essential for your business:
1.Adding New Content is EASY
For many people editing their website is quite difficult. Websites are seen as being very technical and the average business owner is generally afraid to go on to the site to make any changes in case they mess it up.
Blogs have changed all of that. They provide a content publishing system that is so easy to use that the average web user and small business owner can become a blogger and add new content with ease. The technical barriers were removed allowing millions of small business owners to create blogs relating to their business.
2. Blog Posts are Listed Chronologically
This is the most consistent element of almost every blog out there. Articles are listed with a title followed by the body content, starting at the top of the page with the most recently published article followed by the next most recent and so on.
This format was chosen back in the early days of blogging when it was mainly journalists who used blogs. The term blog is derived from ‘weblog’, which essentially means an online diary or journal. Diaries have entries made by date and that is how blogs work too.
Although the format is traditionally the same, the role of the blog is not really used as an online diary these days. Most business owners use it as a way to keep their clients and customers informed of what is happening within their business and niche. They are very powerful marketing tools.
3. People Can Share Their Comments on Blogs
This is one of the most valuable features of a blog. Below every blog post is a comments box that allows any person from the public to leave a comment on the article.
This enhancement turned websites from one-way broadcasting devices, to two-way communication tools. Readers can directly communicate with you, the author of the content, carry on the conversation started by the article and essentially turn a blog into a community.
This last point is more powerful than you think and this is the reason why:
4. Content is Consistently Updated
Another major problem that plagues many traditional websites is that they remain static and stale. Most websites never change and you can come back to the same pages with the same content. A lot of business owners either don’t realize that they need to update their website often, or they don’t have the technical skills or resources to get it changed.
Blogging changed that, so even a person with minimal technical skills can easily log into their blog and add fresh new content.
This has helped them to have terrific results in the search engines, especially on sites like Google. Google rewards sites that publish valuable content on a consistent basis. Blogs, by their very nature, do this, assuming motivated bloggers are running them and are consistently adding new content. As a result, business owners see their sites rise high up in the search engines bringing new traffic and most importantly, new customers.
5. Blogging is a Conversation, and People Respond Better vs. Normal Websites.
If you combine all of the elements above, the personal style of writing, the ease of adding content leading to frequent updates, and the ability to interact with your readers, you have the winning formula for a very natural communication tool.
Blogs, by their very nature, are considered trusted sources of information and the blogger is generally perceived as a respected expert, whether they are or not, purely on the back of their successful blogs.
Again, this subtle element is significant and distinguishes blogs from normal websites. If people trust the words written on a blog, if they like and identify with the person writing the blog, then you have all of the elements necessary to create a popular community focused around your business.
That is why any small business can become extremely successful with a blog. They can quickly build a loyal audience, keep people coming back and ultimately monetize that traffic.
How to Attract Attention to Your Blog?
The first way to attract attention (traffic) to your blog is to write good content. This is the foundation that your blog needs to be built upon.
The other key ingredient is marketing. You need to be able to set up a professional marketing campaign so that people can find your content.
First let us deal with the content side of things and then we will discuss the marketing aspect.
How to Write a Killer Blog Post
Once your blog is set up, it is time to get going on your first killer blog post. It needs to be an article that your readers will really respond to. If you post a fantastic and compelling blog article, it usually means more traffic, more comments, more pins on Pinterest, more tweets, and more Facebook shares, all of which will help grow your blog. But what makes a killer blog post?
A killer blog post:
Is easy to read. Blog posts should be clear and concise. Statistics show that blog readers tend to skim articles, especially if they appear long. So use short paragraphs, headers, and bullet points. Make sure that you write in a conversational manner, but proper grammar and spelling is essential. Readers won’t forgive sloppy writing and grammatical mistakes.
Makes a clear point. A killer blog post always has a clear and concise message that can be boiled down to one short sentence. If you, the author, aren’t able to summarize your point, how will the reader be expected to follow your logic? Always write with the point in mind. If you have multiple points it would be better to split the article into two posts.
Empowers the reader. A killer blog post isn’t about YOU or what you’ve done or created or cooked. Yes, you may be sharing something you’ve done, but the best blog posts do it only in a way that makes the reader feel that THEY could do it too, offering clear tips and helpful instruction. They want to come away from your blog informed and feeling that they have learnt something new.
Provokes an emotional response. The posts that people remember (and share) are the ones that make them feel a certain way, whether that be happy or angry or encouraged or inspired. This means they usually take a stand one way or another. Neutral might seem safe, but it is boring and forgettable. Your aim is to make people think and react. You want to provoke some kind of response from them.
Teaches a simple lesson. Whether your post is a DIY tutorial showing how to make something, a recipe, or some other helpful tip, the best blog posts stick to one clear and easy-to-follow lesson. This is not to say you can’t do complicated projects or recipes, but in general, the projects with the best response will be the simplest of the bunch. These tend to get shared more on social media too.
Creates controversy. Killer blog posts don’t sit on the fence. They take a stand and force the reader to react one way or another. The stronger the stance, the more intense the reaction will be. Of course don’t be controversial just for the sake of stirring up controversy! Readers can sniff inauthenticity a mile away. If there is a particular topic you truly feel strongly about, don’t try to come off as neutral. Neutral is boring. Just be prepared for people to disagree with you. You will find that your community will come alive and more people will visit your site when they see people commenting on your site.
Is visually appealing. Killer blog posts have killer images to go with them. This is not only important for recipes and DIY, but with the advent of Pinterest, for ALL articles. You might have written a fantastic article but if you don’t have images your readers won’t be able to ‘pin’ anything. You need to make it as easy as possible to be able to share your content, especially on social media.
Is not overly complicated. Don’t use large words or pad it with a 100 words when only one simple word will do. Nobody is going to be impressed if you are using big words just to look clever. Write in layman terms. Make sure that everybody who visits your blog knows exactly what you are talking about.
Makes you say WOW. This is the awesome factor again. Whatever you share, whether it is a recipe, a party, an idea, or a project, should be so compelling that your reader can’t help but stop whatever they are doing and pay attention. If it’s not great, don’t bother. You are better off sharing one WOW post a month than twenty forgettable ones. Again, the more impressed people are with your blog post, the more they will want to share it on social media.
Keep in mind that not all of these tips must or even should be used in one post, but generally the more of them that you can hit, the better off you will be. So now that we have discussed how to create great content, lets discuss marketing.
Marketing your blog
Once you have your content in place and you have plans to release a continuous flow of content, the next step is to attract people to your blog so that you can show them how amazing it is. This is where marketing is crucial.
You could try and do it yourself, but if you are already running a busy offline business, you will probably find the whole process of online marketing daunting.
This is where we can help you. Not only will we be able to drive traffic to your blog with a tailored marketing campaign, but we can even create the content that will keep customers and visitors coming back for more.
We are excited to show you how we can help your business set up a very powerful marketing tool such as a blog and then drive targeted traffic directly to your website, resulting in more sales and leads for your business. Contact us today for a FREE strategy session and learn how we can help you drive high quality targeted traffic and revenue to your business.
How to Write Amazing Blog Content (That Keeps People Coming Back)
By now, you’ve probably heard the phrase that “Content is King” right? Throughout all of the algorithm updates Google has releases over the last six years – one thing has never changed. Google loves to index fresh content.
Content Marketing is an amazing strategy to find and engage with loyal customers – and it’s only increasing in popularity because 90% of customers prefer to learn about a brand through content vs ads.
But simply knowing that you need excellent content is one thing – actually creating it is a whole other thing altogether.
Just recently, Google made an appeal to website owners regarding their use of SEO techniques. What the search engine giant essentially said was that these techniques are not the most important considerations for ranking highly in the search results.
The most important factor is that website owners offer relevant and quality info to their readers. If you do that, Google will reward you with better rankings in their search engine.
This has given rise to the term content marketing, which is simply a new name for a very old concept. By publishing interesting and engaging content for your website visitors, which converts a percentage of them into regular visitors while at the same time, attracting new ones too.
The ultimate purpose of content marketing is to get your visitors to do something that you want them to do. Such as to sign up for your newsletter or visit your brick and mortar location, and buy your products & services.
But that begs the question: what is “interesting” content?
A lot of people get it all wrong when it comes to blog content. Too much self-promotion is the fastest way to get a reader to click the back button so what should you feature instead?
Choose Topics That Interest Your Readers
What you post all depends on your business industry. Ask yourself what your website is about. And then put yourself in your reader’s shoes. What content would they find useful?
Here are some suggestions for your topics:
1.“How to” articles. If you sell products, you can write articles on how to use these products, or how to take care of them.
If you offer services of some kind, you could write about how to get the most out of the service you provide or preventative maintenance to avoid it from happening again
Another idea is to create a buying guide. These are practical tips that many consumers and customers will find useful. And they also establish your authority in your industry.
2.List-type articles. Most people love lists. Publishing articles like “the top 3 most energy efficient double pane windows” or “most popular hair styles of the season for women in their 20’s” etc. You can also publish the top ten worst lists, just to give you some ideas.
Check out many of the list-type articles online, and you’ll notice that they also generate a lot of comments. Some comments may offer suggestions as to which items were left out from the list,(which gives you valuable insight) while others agree with your choices. What’s undeniable is that these lists can attract a lot of active interest – which is a good thing.
3. Head-to-head comparisons. A lot of car magazines pit one car against another car in its comparison reviews, and you can do the same thing with your own products or services. This offers a tangible demonstration of how your business is better than your competitors.
The trick here is to pick a suitable match for your comparison, and then emphasize the ways in which your business is better.
4. Answer Common FAQs – Do you find that customers ask the same question over and over? Then it makes sense to create a blog that answers it.
Instead of repeatedly having to explain it, you can post a link to your blog post on your social networks and direct customers there for other great information too.
5. Video Posts, also referred to as “vlogs”– Do you own a smartphone or video camera? Consider starting your own “how to” series on topics in your industry. Post your videos to a dedicated YouTube channel, add them to your written blog posts, and promote them through your social media channels.
Know Your Audience
The best way to engage your audience to know who your audience is and what type of profile they have. By knowing their profile and having an idea of who your visitors are in your head, you can create content that they would find interesting even if the topic isn’t directly linked to your products or services.
The tone of your blog content matters too. It’s not just what you say… It’s how you say it. For some businesses, like a landscaping service for example – a casual “write as you speak” tone might work best. Giving tips on how to get a greener lawn should probably be written in a more “neighborly advice” tone.
But for other industries like legal services a more professional tone will likely be more appropriate – but again it all depends on your audience.
There’s an exception to this rule, however. For many smaller businesses, where you are the “face” of your own business it’s also important that your readers get a sense of who you are.
In this circumstance you’re aiming for a more “intimate” relationship with your blog so people can identify with you easier – which will help to build your personal brand.
Blog articles are not purely words. Graphics and images will help illustrate your message better. Also, consistency is critical. Updating your blog regularly has a multitude of benefits – including better SEO rankings.
Don’t be afraid to delegate – you don’t have to write ALL of your content yourself. Guest bloggers or even your employees can contribute articles. A blog that is not updated often will eventually lose its readership.
There’s many ingredients to creating amazing content for your blog. Hopefully by implementing some of these suggestions you can create a content recipe for a successful blog that has your visitors coming back for more!