December 6, 2018
Benefits of blogging for businesses
Blogging helps you drive new traffic, convert that traffic into leads, turn those leads into customers and build a community of raving fans. The secret isn’t in the tactic itself. But in creating valuable content that meets your audience’s needs and earns their trust over time.
Why blogging is important for your marketing
Companies that blog regularly generate 126% more leads and build a community of raving fans. With that in mind, the point of blogging is not blogging. It’s to grow your business by getting found online and establishing a brand narrative.
The key benefits of blogging include:
- Increasing brand awareness
- Improving search visibility and keyword rankings
- Driving new leads to your website
- Establishing your credibility as a domain expert
- Educating potential customers who want to learn more (and will buy later)
- Creating a content treasure trove that can be repurposed into nurture emails, social posts, sales engagements, employee training, newsletters, and more
Great blog posts can also fuel the growth of an email list, and are often the first touchpoint in a customer’s journey as they get to know your brand.
Contrary to more interruptive forms of marketing like commercials and popup ads, research shows that 81% of U.S. online consumers trust information and advice from blogs (Writtent).
Marketer Scott Stratten puts it like this:
"I call it 'pull and stay' marketing instead of 'push and pray' marketing. 'Push and pray' marketing is the old-fashioned mindset of pushing messages and praying that somebody’s going to buy from you eventually. 'Pull and stay\'” is when you pull people toward you and stay in front on them, whether it’s via a newsletter, blog, or Twitter."
If it’s not already, blogging should be a core strategy for growing your business. Essential to a successful blog strategy is a consistent, methodical approach that you hone over time. At a basic level, start by doing keyword research, focus on optimizing page titles and post content, and commit to a regular posting cadence that resonates with humans and search engines alike.
How to come up with article ideas that get found online
Consistently coming up with post ideas is a challenge. However, there are a number of ways to listen to your customers and generate concepts. Here are a handful of strategies you can implement today.
Search key phrases in Google’s Keyword Planner
This tool gives you the volume of searches for keywords and phrases, and will help you nail down the terms you want to optimize for. Look for the right mix of volume, competition, and relevancy as you build your keyword universe.
Blog posts with the target keyword “wine country” could include “The Essential Guide to Wine Country” or “Wine Country for Travelers.” Assuming they are written well with helpful and relevant content, both have a chance to rank organically on the first page of results.
Pay special attention to keywords with a low competition rating — you’ll have a better chance of showing up in the top results even if you’re still building up your domain authority.
Send a survey
Surveys are an opportunity to ask open-ended questions to get better insight into your audience’s struggles and curiosities. Here’s a list of example questions to include:
- “What’s your biggest struggle with [insert topic here]?”
- “What would you like to learn about [insert your expertise here]?”
- “What are 2-3 questions you’ve typed into Google recently about [insert your topic here]?”
- “What post on our blog has been the most helpful for you? Why?”
Make time to brainstorm ideas for posts after you hear back from readers. For the technology piece; Autopilot Forms, Typeform, and Google Forms are all effective tools you can use.
Ask customers for a 15-minute phone interview
Hopping on the phone with customers provides an opportunity to go deeper and uncover insights that might not surface from written communication or a survey response
To set up a quick call, use this email script as is or modify it however you’d like:
Hi [insert name here],
I’m [your name] and I’m on the marketing team at [company name]. I’m doing research for our blog by interviewing our customers, and trying to figure out what blog topics would be helpful for our readers.
Could you help me out? I’d love to interview you sometime next week to learn how you’re approaching [insert topic here] and things you’re curious to learn about. It should take no longer than 15 minutes.
I know that you’re busy running [insert their company here], so if now is not a good time that’s no problem at all. Just let me know either way.
[Insert your name here]
Document autosuggest results in Google
Open an “incognito window” in your web browser to search for keywords of topics you’d like to teach. Before you even push enter to conduct the search, Google will automatically suggest frequently searched queries.
This’ll give you an idea of what topics people are already looking for, and help you choose keywords that meet existing demand.
The actual autosuggest results you get if you start typing "how to wine taste" in Google
In the example above, the keyword "How to wine taste like a pro" or “How to wine taste in Napa” could become the title of a blog post that has the potential to rank highly and drive traffic. See what phrases come up for your own keywords that you could spin into blog posts.
The key takeaway
The underlying principle is to write content optimized for what people are already searching for. Or as Robert Collier would say, to “enter the conversation already taking place in the customer’s mind.”