Does the idea of writing a blog post make your palms sweat and heart race? Generally speaking, I think we all can overcomplicate blog post creation. While conversational writing, keyword research, AI tools, internal and external linking, etc. are all important, they can distract from the most important thing. And it’s fairly simple: Your goal with crafting any blog content is to be helpful. Your blog posts should provide useful information to your audience – answering their questions and concerns – and thereby establish your company as the best guide available on their quest to solve whatever problem they have that your product, service, etc. solves. So, how do you create blog posts that help your audience? In three key ways:
- Understand where your blog fits into your marketing funnel
- Practice strategic blog post creation
- Hone your content writing skills
Blog Post Creation in the Marketing Funnel
Blog posts providing helpful information to your audience play a valuable role in your marketing funnel. You should include blogs in your marketing if you want to offer your leads and customers added value, if you want to establish yourself as an authority in your field, or if your customers have questions about your area that you can answer. If you’re not sure what a marketing funnel is or how to create one, read our two-part series on marketing funnels: What is a Digital Marketing Funnel Marketing Funnel Examples and Troubleshooting
Is NOT a Lead Generation Tool
For most small businesses, blog post creation generally does not fall into the lead generation part of the funnel. Here’s why: It is hard and expensive to win the SEO game. It requires generating a huge amount of content which requires a considerable investment in time and money – especially when avoiding SEO lead scams. SEO-focused lead-generation strategies are expensive. Period. Now, if you’re extremely niche or super lucky, you might be the exception to this rule. But probably not.
IS a Lead Nurturing Tool
However, blogging is a GREAT lead nurturing tool. As a lead explores your business, your blog provides them with helpful information – thereby confirming that you understand your lead’s problem and offer a solution. It’s a value add for your leads with a Call to Action at the end and helps educate clients and leads. And you can cross-share it on other lead-generating tools.
Strategic Blog Post Creation
Next, you want to blog strategically so your content helps you help your customers and leads. The top rule for strategic blogging is: never blog just for the sake of having a blog. This can lead to three outcomes: sporadic content creation, no content creation, and a negative perception of you from your leads. Don’t follow Creed Bratton’s (from The Office) example: A blog is never just a random compilation of your thoughts. Instead, you need to consider three things: your overall marketing goals, your personas, and your CTA. Here’s what that can look like: Are you aiming to increase sales of a particular product? Blog all around that product. Research the types of questions your audience is asking (cue keyword research) about that product so you’re writing about things they want to know. Then use the buyer personas you’ve developed to write blog posts using language that is meaningful and persuasive to them. Incorporate the keywords that your audience is using so that, when they ask their questions in Google, they can find your answers – so you’re helping them with your content because they can find it. Then craft a CTA that’s winsome, clear, and compelling. (Oops, you haven’t developed buyer personas yet? Check out this Hubspot article on how to do it). All this effort ensures that your content helps your audience by answering their actual questions (keyword research) in a winsome manner (buyer personas). Then you help them find your answers by incorporating those keywords in your blog posts. For more info on using keywords and general best blog SEO practices, check out another helpful article from Hubspot.
Craft Quality Blog Post Content
Writing a good blog comes down to the nitty-gritty of writing well. And it’s more than I can address in a single blog post. But writing well is key to helping your audience because a poorly written blog post will go unread and, honestly, raise red flags about the quality of products and services your business offers.
Start with creating a content calendar that includes several in-advance ideas for blog post topics. This doesn’t mean you can’t deviate from the content plan. But it does mean your ideas are pre-thought-out, often related, and consistent.
Then before typing anything, research your blog post topic. This not only provides you with the external links you need for SEO purposes. It also helps you think creatively about your topic, provide information you hadn’t considered before, and generally write a meaty, meaningful blog post that doesn’t leave your audience feeling like you wasted their time. And it doesn’t have to be daunting: aim for at least 3 articles from reputable sources.
Practice Writing Well
Finally, simply practice writing well. And it does take practice. Tom Clancy is known for saying, “You] learn to write the same way you learn to play golf. You do it, and keep doing it until you get it right.” Good writers are often good readers. The type of written content you consume will influence the way you write. For me, I have enjoyed Ann Handley’s newsletter “Total Annarchy”: She’s pithy, she’s funny, she tells a good story, and I always learn something. Then practice good writing 101: avoid bad grammar, common punctuation mistakes, etc. Read your blogs to yourself out loud and backward. Use a tool like Grammarly. Have a friend do a quick copy edit for you. Whatever you have to do to avoid common writing pitfalls. I also highly recommend reading Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style. I prefer the illustrated version. Then show your readers how awesome your product or service is – don’t tell them. Don’t simply provide a list of facts. Tell a story about a customer you helped (with their permission, of course). Give your audience personal examples. Help them experience your product or services before they commit one dime to it. Then write as concisely as you can while maintaining the appropriate conversational style for your audience (e.g. a blog about diaper warmers from a baby product company can be more casual in tone than a blog about 401(k)s from a financial consulting firm). Now some of this falls into personal taste and style (I’m more of a Hemmingway/Steinbeck fan than a Dickens girl myself), but generally avoid waxing eloquent about nothing in particular just to hear your keys click and delight your audience with your witty prose (see what I did there?). Your audience will thank you for not wasting their time. They also probably won’t get bored and click away. Mark Twain once said, “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.” It takes time to write good content. But I think Mark Twain would agree that it’s worth it.
A Final Thought
Good blogging takes time and effort. Be honest with yourself. If you want your business to have a blog but you or your staff don’t have the time to write well, consider outsourcing this task to a marketing firm like Ingenium. From keyword research to the final CTA, your primary goal with a blog post is to help your audience. And it’s our goal too. We have a team of talented copywriters who can help you in every stage of writing a blog from creating the content calendar to posting it to your website. Sound like a good idea to you? Let’s talk.