Teach your old blog some new tricks

April 8, 2016 -  By

iS27265514computer-typeWe’ve all heard the statistics that support the business benefits of having a blog on your website. According to a study by Content Crossroads, small businesses with blogs generate 126 percent more leads. Here I’ll break down why blogs work so well and provide ideas for taking the hard work out of this marketing method.

Why do blogs work?

Some of you may be asking why your blog doesn’t work for your business. We’ll get back to that later. The idea that supports writing more blog articles is simple. As you write more posts, the number of pages on your site increases, meaning it’s more likely to be found by customers using Google to search for solutions you offer.

But back to that earlier question: You’ve been blogging and it’s just not equaling more leads or traffic. What gives? Well, you’re probably blogging about things you care about—not what your customers care about or are looking for.

Ideas for blog topics

Now that we’ve established that blogging is important, and blogging about the right things is even more important, how do you know what to blog about? The simple answer is, “What your customers ask and say.” Here are some tips for collecting that information:

  • Have your customer service reps keep note pads near them to write down customer questions. It’s a great way to come up with topics to write about, in your consumer’s own words. Reward your staff for the number of questions they come up with.
  • Use tools such as the Google Adwords Keyword Planner to find popular Google searches when it comes to your industry. This is a great way to create content that people are looking for in searches on Google.
  • Use Google Forms to create quick customer surveys. The results allow you to gather data and ideas for future blog articles.
  • Compliments from customers can be turned into easy articles for your blog. Best yet, consumers who are reviewing which company they should work with for their projects love these articles.

Ideas for post types

Now that you know the topics you need to write about, the hard part is finding time to sit down and write the actual article. Well, you don’t have to be Ernest Hemingway to quickly create good blog articles. The best blog posts are around 600 words and can be consumed in bite-size pieces. Don’t write a novel; get to the point and be entertaining. Here are four blog post styles that are easy to produce and quick to write.

  • FAQ and react. FAQ posts are very easy to produce. Take your most asked questions and answer them in a post.
  • Q&A interviews. Kind words from customers are great to receive. They’re even better to show to other consumers. Develop five or six questions to ask people who call in to share their delight about your service, and have them respond. What drove them to give your company a try? What was dealing with your employees like? What was the outcome of your work? These types of questions make for a great article, and they’re a highly searched for topic on the Internet.
  • Curation. Curation is perhaps the easiest blog type to write. It’s the “movie review” format that people often use in their blog article. Here’s how you do it: First, find a piece of information on the web you agree or disagree with. Then summarize it in no more than 80 words and provide a hyperlink to the original article. Finally, provide your feedback on this article and why you agree with it or not. The best curation articles often revolve around relevant topics that are being talked about at the present moment. Tools like BuzzSumo.com can help you find the most popular topics and articles.
  • Infographics. These colorful, image-centric blog posts can help you explain difficult or boring subjects in a fun way. Infographics may seem tough to produce; however, free tools, like one from Hubspot show you how to create infographics in PowerPoint.

While a blog may seem like a difficult proposition, when done correctly, the benefits are tremendous. Unlike traditional advertising methods such as direct mail, your blog posts will be sought out and found for years to come on the web. It’s the direct mail piece that’s always in your prospect’s mailbox, just waiting to be found.

Photo: ©istock.com/PeopleImages

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About the Author:

Kanary is Director of Demand Generation for Kuno Creative, a digital marketing agency. A member of the green industry for the past 20 years, he has consulted with green industry companies throughout the U.S. and gives marketing lectures at several industry conferences every year. Kanary is also an adjunct professor of marketing at Baldwin Wallace University and a Certified Google Adwords and Analytics Individual.

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