Most companies start blogs in an effort to generate website traffic and start relationships with people (prospects) who are looking for answers.
I’ve reviewed multiple studies indicating buyers research for purchase decisions. Some state as little as 70%, according to Mintel’s American Lifestyles 2015 report, while according to Acuity Groups 2014 State of B2B Procurement Study as many as 94% of buyers research online prior to purchasing.
Regardless of the percentage it’s common knowledge: People look for answers throughout the buying process and after the sale.
By answering those questions through a blog you can position yourself as an industry expert and gain trust of potential buyers. Offering answers to popular questions you can also generate traffic to your website. Every business wants traffic – it’s directly tied to leads generated from your website. More leads equal more closed business.
Go full circle and you realize the first hurtle to generating more leads through your website is generating more traffic to the site. This goal can be accomplished in a number of ways. One of which is blogging.
That’s the question I hear most often. No one wants to invest their time writing blog posts that are never read.
To actually generate site visits by blogging you need to cover content appealing to your target market. Yes, I said target market because you don’t just need any old person coming to your site, you want qualified prospects visiting your site. So you need to talk to prospects about what they want to hear…again not just talking to everyone about everything. Here are a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing.
The activity of creating buyer personas tends to generate a mountain of blog post ideas. Buyer personas are a fictional representation of the members of your target market. Though the activity you’ll document each target market member’s concerns, goals, challenges and more. Take those concerns, goals and challenges and turn them into questions. Then answer those questions like you’re explaining it to the member of your target market. Wala! Quality blog posts.
When clients ask questions jot them down, this is the substance of a good blog post. Hopefully your clients are in your target market. And if the questions they’re asking are relevant to them, then those questions may be relevant to the rest of your target market as well.
Find a blog that you want to emulate, maybe one of the big dogs in your industry. Then follow their pattern. Do they post how-to’s or are they more into 5 ways to do whatever? Personally, I don’t have time to go out and check every blog I admire on a regular basis so I subscribe to their email newsletters. As the emails arrive I just skim the newsletters in my inbox to see if there’s a topic of interest to my audience. This is also a good way to keep up on industry trends and reports, when a subject is covered in multiple blogs it’s a good indication the topic is hot.
As new industry trends emerge report on them for your readers. Discuss each side of the story, explain the pros and cons. Representing both sides paints you as an objective professional, not a biased sales person. Review industry reports then dissect data and put it into terms your audience will understand and find value in. You may understand the data far better than your readers, make the data real to them through examples of how it may adjust their practices.
Speaking of data…review yours! Write more about what your audience likes. Identify traffic generating articles in your blog and try covering the same topic from another angle, possibly more in depth or take a step back and write about it for a newbie. Find a way to sort data to better review the actions of your target market. For example: review local data vs national data. If you only do business locally then, as fun as it is, the national data isn’t nearly as important as the local.
Dig deeper than just visits. Determining the quality of a blog post is about more than just the page views. Look at how long people stay on the page, if the article was shared and if visitors tend to exit the site from a post or stay on the site and visit more pages. Also note if visitors tend to take action from a particular post by contacting you or downloading content.
Actually tell people what they want to know, not just a watered down general answer but an honest to goodness truth filled, well researched response.
To beef up value consider offering detailed printable how-to guides, case studies or even group like blog posts together to easily present more in-depth coverage of a topic. These resources show you care about your readers and, better yet, allow you to ask for a small piece of information (like their email address) in return for your trusty guide. An email can turn into a lead with the right nurturing!
Unfortunately, blogging is a bit of a trial and error exercise at first. The most important thing in the equation is your target market! Your expertise and your interests will shine through in your answers. If you’re passionate about a topic give it a whirl. Then review the results to see if it interests others as well.