There’s a reason I’m so romantic about blogging – it works. I’ve seen it for myself and I’ve seen it for my clients.
For instance, I have a client that has only been blogging for a few months. Just last week, they received a lead from their website for a service that they had just blogged about a few days before.
Just a coincidence?
I think not.
If someone you looking for a solution and you find a website with a blog post that addresses that particular issue you have questions about, wouldn’t that make you more likely to buy from them?
I know I would.
That’s what makes blogging and content marketing is so darn powerful.
The challenge is coming up with the content that makes sense for your business (and finding the to create it).
To get started, I strongly recommend creating a content plan for your blog. As you build the topics you’re going to write about, it helps to think about how you’re going to present the information.
Here are the five types of content you should be including in your blog:
1. Educational Posts
Educational content should be the backbone of your content marketing efforts. These posts come in the form of how-to guides and answers to questions your clients and prospects commonly face.
Think about the questions you get from your clients on a regular basis. Chances are good that your prospects have these questions too.
The goal here is to sell through education. You do that by helping make your prospect’s life a little bit easier.
Here are some ideas:
- Help readers break down complex issues in a way that’s easy to understand
- Explain recent changes in your industry (i.e. healthcare reform, law changes, tax updates, etc.)
- Offer up tools or resources that can be useful to your prospects
- Provide a step-by-step guide for solving a common problem
- Show unique ways your product or service could be used
Anything you can do to help people better understand your industry and the work you do will be extremely valuable to you.
2. Thought Leadership Posts.
A blog full of opinionated posts and Monday morning quarterbacking is not the way to go. However, taking a stand on an issue can help differentiate you from your competitors and others talking about the same topic.
In these posts, you can show how and why you approach things differently at your company. Or, you can call attention to problems in your industry and what you’re doing to help solve them.
These kinds of posts should be written somewhat sparingly, but they are an important component to successful blogging – especially if you want to position yourself as a thought leader and a go-to resource for your topic.
3. Humanizing Posts.
Because blogging can help readers better connect with you and your company, you should make a conscious effort to weave in some posts that help humanize your brand. You could either dedicate content around this idea or make sure to weave storytelling and personality into everything you do.
There are so many ways you could do this. Here are just a few ideas:
- Create regular videos to introduce key members of your team.
- Show photos of your employees having fun together – at events or on a day-to-day basis.
- You could share the community involvement of your staff member or encourage people to join in your company’s fundraising efforts.
- Tell a story of someone who was impacted by the work you do.
Don’t be afraid to let your hair down and let your true colors, or “killer swag” shine through. Doing this will help people get to know you better and make them much more likely to want to work with you.
4. Buying Decision Posts.
Because your blog is supposed to help you drive leads and business, you need to also write content that will help readers make the decision to buy. For example, comparing your services with that of a competitor can help readers make an educated decision about the work you do. Or, you could write about when it makes sense to look for a solution.
For instance, I wrote about when it makes sense to outsource your social media efforts. This is an example of helping people better understand why and how to hire someone. This helps educate people during the buying process.
Another way to do this is to talk about pricing. People are searching for this information and if you can be the one to provide it, they will be more likely to buy from you. Not to mention, this could decrease the sales cycle by weeding out unqualified leads.
5. Case Studies and Examples.
One of the best way you can sell the work you do is by showcasing the results you’re able to help generate for others. Case studies are a great way to do just that.
This is a great way to sell your services by letting someone else to the talking.
And, if you’re unable to get case studies and client stories (or you’re unable to do so for compliance reasons), you could always showcase examples of other people or businesses that are doing things right. People love to see how ideas or theories can be put to work and showing how others are applying those ideas can be super powerful – even if they’re not your own clients.
You need balance
The best way to be successful with your blog is to integrate all of these types of blog posts into your writing. Not only with the varied types of blog content appeal to different audiences, but it will also help readers who are at different stages of the buying process.
If you focus on writing these kinds of posts on your blog, you’ll be sure to see the benefits of it.
Are you writing these kind of blog posts? Which ones do you still need to add to the mix?
Don’t forget to come back tomorrow for the next post in our Compelling Content series. We’ll be talking about how to use video in your content marketing efforts.
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Image credit: Search Engine People Blog