Thinking blogging is just another “passé trend”? You might be leaving money on the table.
In this article, we examine why it’s smart to start or resume blogging as a way of leveraging your knowledge to get more clients.
It includes practical tips (in a bullet point manner) on how doing it right so that you can implement them immediately to see more clients coming through your “doors” and buy from you.
Let’s first look at some basics and history:
WHAT IS A BLOG?
Wikipedia says: “A blog is a discussion or informational website published on the World Wide Web consisting of discrete, often informal diary-style text entries (“posts”). Posts are typically displayed in reverse chronological order, so that the most recent post appears first, at the top of the web page.)”
Blogs first appeared in the late 90s, and then you had to know coding to be able to write blogs. With the development of CMS (Content Management Systems) like WordPress, blogs became more accessible to everyone.
Initially, they were used by individuals to express one’s thoughts, feelings, opinions and experiences about a certain topic or multiple topics as an online journal or diary.
Quickly marketers saw an opportunity for using blogs as a non-evasive marketing tool for businesses; a way of building trust, educating clients about products and services and by that a long-term strategy of building brand awareness and a tribe of followers.
For business, this becomes an extra work added to their daily operations and many ask is it all worth it – or even better does it still work now that anyone blogs or can blog?
WHY BLOGGING IS A GREAT IDEA:
The ultimate goal of marketing is to get more clients. Do you think that by positioning you and your brand as an authority in your field and with that building trust you will attract more qualified clients?
If that sounds great, read further:
1. YOU/YOUR BRAND BECOMES AN EXPERT IN A PARTICULAR FIELD
- By sharing your knowledge through a blog, you build trust and rapport with your readers. This gives them confidence that you are an expert in your field.
- Builds the connection with potential customers, who become your followers – your tribe.
- A blog is an excellent platform for educational marketing – here you can address your customers’ fears, positives and negatives of your products, explain industry standards, highlight your points of difference and offer selling propositions without being “salesy” or pushy.
- On a personal level – blogging makes you stay up to date with what’s new and the latest in your field, you become better at explaining things and anticipation of possible questions from your clients, which in turn helps you with selling your products.
Why this works – the formula is simple:
When you write helpful content you build trust. When you have trust, people want to buy from you rather than someone else.
Meaning your readers become your leads and more leads equals to more sales.
HELPFUL CONTENT = TRUST, TRUST = LEADS, LEADS = SALES, SALES = HAPPY TIMES.
2. CONTENT HELPS YOU QUALIFY PEOPLE
Through a well thought and strategically placed content, you can attract or repel customers that are a match for you or not.
Good marketers will tell you that we’re in the game of disqualifying not qualifying customers. In fact, this is a much easier job, then trying to qualify people.
This can be done very strategically through blogging by voicing your opinions, showing your personality/your brand’s personality – what you stand for.
Another great way is to address standard issues in your industry, possible misconduct by your competition and by that positioning yourself as better than those who “are not doing it right” – works like a charm without explicitly saying that you’re the best.
You can also address pricing, why your prices are higher or lower, and so on.
3. IMPROVES YOUR WEBSITE’S SEO
Search engines like Google and Bing, love websites that are relevant and current.
Simplified, they determine this by few things; such as relevance to the location, keywords to search that are related to topic of the page / website, new relevant content, engagement with the website – time spent on the website, interaction of users with that website (comments, backlinks) and how website connects to other authority websites on the World Wide Web.
By regular blogging:
- You are regularly adding new relevant content – search engines will love you and rank your website rank higher;
- Your new content brings people back to your website – better engagement;
- The good content, as well as the interlinked content, keep people longer on your website – helps with time spent on your website
- You are given an opportunity for people to engage with you via comments;
- You give people more opportunities to share it – in turn, you get the engagement as well as more brand recognition.
4. INCREASES TRAFFIC TO YOUR WEBSITE
By regular blogging, you always have something new you can share through social media, newsletters, ads, forums etc. When you share your content with a link back to your website, you are “driving traffic” to your website.
Not only you get more returning and new visitors, who can at any time turn into leads and customers – you also get good SEO value and better organic rankings.
5. THE ENGAGEMENT
We said before that Google, Bing and likes love engagement on your website and they reward you with higher search rankings.
But there are other benefits to this, some may include:
- You get to learn what your readers are interested in – The power of comments and discussion; you can get – ideas and suggestions about product/service improvements, insights into customer fears related to your business, what drives them to buy or not, you learn topics they like to discuss, etc. All these can be used to improve how you sell, your FAQ pages, your marketing as well as it gives you topics for future blogs, social media posts, brochures, newsletters, workshops… the list is endless…
- Engagement builds a community of individuals passionate about your brand and mission – they become your greatest advocates and do the selling for you.
- And much more…
The list of blogging benefits is endless, so consider also these:
- Possibilities of guest blogging…
- Speaking opportunities…
- Collaborations with other influencers in your industry…
- Brings back focus on your business…
- Providing value-added activities, not just sales…
- And you may not believe it – my best friend met her husband of now many years through his blog – how’s that for an incentive…
If I haven’t persuaded you up until now that blogging is a great idea, you can stop reading here.
But if I got you interested – you gotta read further.
Because, there’s blogging – and there BLOGGING.
And if you will do it, you gotta do it right, so that it’s not a waste of time, but a powerful marketing tool.
Let’s look at –
HOW TO DO IT RIGHT
I find that many of us consume content better when it’s in bullet points. So the next section will be divided into sections and written in bullet points style, some short, some longer with an aim to provide a list you can later refer to when needing a reminder.
What should I write about?
- Think VALUE, Think EDUCATION
- Always start by asking yourself what do I want to achieve with this post – the purpose of the article – the end goal.
- For example, you may want to address the misconceptions about a topic in your industry or expose male practices (Us vs. Them) or highlight industry standards that your competition is not talking about.
- Educate how to do something, step-by-step guide.
- Address questions your clients have before engaging your services or before they buy your products.
- This is an opportunity for educational marketing – without appearing to market or sell.
- Use magazines, your industry-specific or check “top dogs” social media accounts to get ideas what’s trending.
Importance of a good headline
- The headline needs to grab their intention and convince them to click through to your blog and to read further.
- Best headlines are benefit-driven headlines that evoke curiosity.
- “How to headlines” are easy to create and works like a magic (example: How to boil an egg without water, How to lose weight in 3 days without starving, etc.)
To sharpen your “headline-mind”, you can use these tools and tricks to get you started:
- http://www.aminstitute.com/headline/ (This is a headline checker, which copywriters use, that examines and evaluates your headline.)
- https://www.rd.com/ (Readers Digest – here you can check for headline ideas for your industry)
- Popular magazine in your industry – they invest a lot of money in great copywriters, researchers and they need to be relevant and interested to their readership to sell magazines – great source to pick up headline styles and topics that work real time in your industry.
Importance of the first paragraph
- If headline needs to persuade readers to click through to your article, the first paragraph needs to engage them to read further.
- It should give a proposition or a summary what your article is about and what’s in it for the reader.
- It can convey the benefit to the reader, or your “why” you wrote this, or expose a conflict, idea or your opinion.
- Never write just because you think you need to post something.
- Good quality articles that give readers a good value, will last for years, which means free traffic and better rankings for a long time.
- Write in-depth content, immerse yourself in the subject. You need to show you’re an authority on the topic, therefore write all that you think the reader needs to know to about the topic and to position yourself as the choice for them to engage, buy, follow etc.
- Articles should have at least 1000+ words – search engines love that.
- Never skip in good valuable content, just because you think the article is too long. If needed, separate it in various parts.
- Don’t write for search engines, write for people. What do we mean by that? Forget about keywords, forget about what’s good for SEO – good quality engaging content always is. Once your article is complete, look for opportunities to add keywords, but don’t overdo it, as this can be penalized.
What’s my style? How should I write? What’s the voice of my brand? – These are some of the questions most people ask when starting to blog.
Don’t complicate – and most certainly you don’t need a branding strategist to start blogging.
- Relax and just be you. Once you start writing your style will start showing. Don’t break your head because of it.
- Be a person, not a company – people want to connect and they will connect to you and your personality (you don’t make friends with companies – even though they try, they are quickly replaced by another company.) Think of how you make friends.
- Be yourself, but also think who is your target for the article.
E.g. If you’re an osteopath and you’re writing an article for your fellow professionals, your language should be professional and you will use industry terminology. But if you are writing for the end user, your clients, your language should be adjusted for a lay person. (If they can’t understand what you are saying, they can’t connect with you)
- In other words: Use simple language that people can understand, and when needed explain technical terms. If they don’t understand – they will run away – time lost – and time is money.
- Use daily-life metaphors to explain your points.
- Keep it curious – don’t tell them all the secrets. Make them want more. Keep open loops so they have a reason to call you, opt-in for further information or simply read more articles on a similar topic
- Common mistake – people give away too much information so there is no reason for a reader to want more. They think he/she can do it themselves and doesn’t need you. You want to show them that you know the topic and with information provided you enhanced the knowledge of the topic… yet you leave enough curiosity to want more from you.
Call to action:
- Your articles should end with calls to action as well they can be placed throughout the content.
- This can be an invitation to comment, to read a related article, call for more information, to download an e-book, to get a discount, etc.
- Which calls to action to use links back to the start, when you determined, what’s the purpose of the article.
“A picture is worth a thousand words”. We live in a very visual world and by default, we’re drawn to the pictures first.
Nowadays pictures are as important as the content of the article.
Even Twitter introduced images many moons ago because of this.
Think of this: If the headline is important to get a person to click through to the article, then the image is there to create curiosity and get a person to read the headline.
- Choose images that quickly tell a story what your article is about.
- Use images that stand out.
- They can be provocative where there is room for that.
- Use consistent branding so people recognize your content miles away.
- But there is a catch: Branding vs. Standing out – while many branding specialists won’t agree with me, standing out is a preferred choice – why – because if you can’t get attention, how will you tell them what it is all about – or why you are better than your competition.
- Where to find photos: Google, paid, social media, your own
- And just because something is widely published on the Internet, it doesn’t mean it’s not copyrighted. Be mindful of infringing other people’s right and when I doubt always buy images.
- Canva.com (easy to use graphic design tool to make your flyers, photos, brochures etc.)
- Picmonkey.com (photo editing tool)
- Creativemarket.com (branding templates and images)
- Shutterstock.com (paid images and vectors)
- 123rf.com (paid images and vectors – $1 plus)
FREE photo sources:
You wrote an amazing article with eye-catching photo and the best headline – but you don’t have much traffic to your website. What do you do now?
- Always share your articles on all social media accounts. Include Image, headline, excerpt (where possible) and a link.
- The power of Facebook friendship! Once posted on your page, share it on your wall and tag friends that you know may be interested in the topic, and are likely to share or comment. Or they will do so just because they love and support you.
- Share in Facebook groups – where allowed. A good value educational content will mostly be allowed.
- Power of paid promotion. Facebook loves boosted posts, and also ads that promote content, rather just selling, therefore your ads will cost less.
- Interlink your articles on your blog – This makes readers stay on your blog longer and read more. Builds more trust and gives you SEO value.
- Use tags, categories and archives for better searchability of your content and user-friendly blog.
4. RE-PURPOSE YOUR CONTENT
You wrote an amazing article, but this isn’t where it stops. This article can be turned into a video, Infographics, use excerpts/main points from the article as social media posts, podcast.
And just because you published your article in the past, there is no reason why you wouldn’t promote it again later in time. Good quality content is always welcome.
If you have stuck with me until now, you probably saw that you too can benefit from blogging, if you do it right. You’ve got some great ideas and are probably eager to get started.
And the last thing that can be on your mind, does it really work?
What do you think? You’re reading this article, right?
You either came to this place through the Google search, social media ad, our newsletter or any of our social accounts.
It’s a proof or what?
Now go and write some cool sh**t…
[If you find yourself struggling to get people back to your website to read your blog – give us a shout and we’ll show you a few simple technics – completely free, no sales pitch and strings attached]