Let’s get down and dirty here and jump right into the different types of business blogging posts, and why you might choose to create them:
WE have several clients who like to use “optimization blog posts.” In fact, this article you’re reading right now is to some degree, an optimization post (nearly every post should be). Basically, these posts offer some level of value to your reader – informing them about a product, or answering a question. But, the real point is to get the keyword in the article and link it to either the home page or deep pages on a website. It’s a great way to take advantage of the Google Fresh Update by adding new content, while at the same time helping your website to climb up the SERPs for targeted keywords. It also engages visitors to your blog – 3 real nice benefits. Personally, we feel comfortable with 2 links in 500 words. From a writing perspective, any more than that makes the article sound awkward, lowering the chances that people who do read the article will be interested and continue browsing the website.
These posts work best for companies looking to become thought leaders in their vertical, and who have a very serious outlook on converting visitors into paying customers. Authority posts are just as they sound – lengthy, and in-depth. If you’re going the mammoth route, do the following:
Make the article at least 750 words Ensure the content is very specific Use pictures Cite outside authorities Make every word you use one that adds value Don’t worry about length – 2,000 – 3,000 words is okay Make sure the content is actionable – that readers can take a specific action and improve their businesses or lives somehow immediately after reading the content (think DIY-type sites for a great example)
As discussed before in the “Minimalist’s Guide” article, these business blogging posts run counter to conventional wisdom, which says short and sweet succeeds online. Short and sweet builds rank and traffic, but lengthy, thorough, and detailed converts. For a stellar example of Authority Posts in action, check out Quick Sprout run by Neil Patel, owner of a 7-figure SEO Agency.
These blog posts are exceptional sellers – perhaps even more so than Authority Posts. Basically, you outline what your client/customer’s situation was before using your product or service. Then, you discuss the solution you recommended. Finally, you analyze the results, showing how your product/service improved their lives.
Results are always the best form of selling – bar none, and no post demonstrates your ability to create results than a case study.
If you’re smart at content marketing, you can take this post, rewrite the idea and design a sexy PDF. Then, you offer that as a free download in return for someone’s contact information.
Gimmicks, guarantees, and promises all work in the short-term, but if you can show you know how to generate a specific outcome for a business or person, you can damn well bet you will find more than enough clients or customers to keep your business thriving for a long time.
One objection you might have in your mind is, “But if we tell my customers how we’m going to solve a problem for them, why would they purchase from me when they could just do it themselves?” No doubt, this will happen.
But, think about the situation from a commonsense standpoint: does the average person have, or want to spend, the time fixing a certain problem in their lives?
No, they don’t. They want a fast solution. In a case study, you don’t give away your trade secrets, but you stay as specific as possible because specificity shows you have the competence for solving the person’s problem.
Answering Common Customer Questions
If you have a high volume of customer inquiries, you can significantly cut down on the time and expense your customer service team experiences by answering the most common customer questions they receive in your blog. In addition to that, if you target that question using SEO, ensuring you use the specific words people type into Google, you also have a chance of attracting new customers by answering their questions.
WE don’t have much to say on this one other than make sure you answer the question in a clear, simple way. Don’t use technical language unless you have to, even if you have a technical audience. People want their answers, and they want them yesterday, so make it as easy possible for them to find their answer.
Have you ever visited a FAQ or tried to read a blog post with paragraphs using long lines of uninterrupted text? Frustrating!
Use short paragraphs (less than 7 MS Word lines), and numbered and pointed bullets. Don’t mess around – get straight to the point.
Your customers, and your bottom line, will thank you for it.
Sales, Special Offers, & Promotions
Is it okay to directly promote your company’s products and services on your blog? You bet it is! Just make sure you use about an 80/20 ratio – 80% of your posts should offer valuable information and mention virtually nothing about your company, while 20% can promote or discuss your company exclusively.
The key to succeeding with a sales post? Here are a few:
Promote it! Make sure it’s promoted across all your social networks, in your e-mail newsletter, and on your home-page. Release a press release announcing the sale (here’s a press release templatefor you to use)Killer headline – Make the headline specific. Announce the offer and how long it lasts – make it urgent. Example of a good headline: ”50% Off Red Widgets Until [date 30 days from now]“Lead with the main benefit – People only get to the end of posts if you make the beginning interesting. The first sentence, your “lead-in,” should offer more detail on your headline, getting people excited about the offer Offer a guarantee/refund – “If you’re not completely satisfied, contact us within 30 days, and we’ll give you a full refund.” From a business perspective, this is scary. What if everyone decides your product sucks and asks for a refund? Some might, but most won’t. Overall, you can count on making a profit. The purpose of this offer lies in reducing perceived risk by your customer – they’ll be more likely to buy. And, more than likely, they won’t ask for a refund.Close with a strong CTA – Your call-to-action at the end of the article should be very strong. A great way to end with it is by reminding people of how long your offer is good: ”Hurry, this offer lasts until [date 30 days from now]!”
Do all of these actions sound familiar? They should – you’ve seen them in infomercials many times! Why have infomercials remained basically unchanged since they’ve been created? Because they work.
Don’t try to reinvent the wheel – go with a known quantity.
Meet [Employee X]
Online, the sales process is all about the know/like/trust factor. Offline, people do business with people they know, like, and trust, and the same goes for the online word. A great way to get people to know, like, and trust your company is to have a “meet the employee” post.
Talk about the employee, his or her role in your business, and a few personal, but not too personal, details. You won’t make any sales now, but you will build relationships, leading to more sales in the long run.
Just make sure to keep this post inside of the 80/20 rule.
Did something exciting just happen at your business? Were you mentioned for an award? Was there a new hire? Did you do something charitable in your local community and get featured on TV for it?
Remind everyone who reads your blog this happened. It’s great for relationship-building. And “social proof” – that your company was mentioned by a 3rd party source in a positive way, goes a long way in building trust with your customers.
Again, make sure this post and others related to your company stay within the 80/20 rule!
Are major events happening in your industry? What are the thought leaders speculating? What do you think will happen? A great way to capitalize on industry news is to take a contrarian viewpoint to the conventional wisdom. That can make you controversial, in a good way.
These business blogging posts work well because Google gives preference to fresh content, and if you write about trending news, you give yourself a good chance of ranking highly for a brand new, or at least recent, current event. You could score some nice organic traffic from the search engines.
Any publicity is good publicity, but just make sure you don’t position yourself as an extremist or fanatic.
Not too many things are more specific and actionable than a “how to” post. Teach your customers how to solve a common problem they have. Take as much space and time as you need to help them solve their problem. They’ll thank you for it, and your business will reap long-term rewards.
Increasingly, Google is giving preference to sites with a diversity of rich content. Upload a video to YouTube and post it to your blog. Answer a customer question. Talk about the industry news. Introduce people to your team. Whatever you do, make it informative and interesting.
There’s rumors these might be dead, but we kinda doubt that. Just like video blogs, infographics are diverse content, and not only does Google appreciate diverse content, but your customers do too. And, not everyone learns by reading thousands of words.
If you use an infographic, make sure you have it done professionally – it may cost $1000 or more to create it. The information on it must be very useful, should summarize what many more words say, and it has to be visually attractive. But, here’s why you might be willing to spend $1000 or more on it:
You can get serious back links – 100s or even 1000sPeople love to share them (do you have social sharing options on your website?)It gives you much more credibility – you look that much more professional
Summary of Current Events
Although similar to Industry News Posts, these posts provide a roundup of some of the top stories in your industry. Summarize 10 – 15 top stories and link to them.
“But, won’t that many links encourage people to use other sites?”
Yes, it does.
However, provided you link to credible sources with relevant, interesting information, people will trust you more. By providing people with valuable information, they’ll think you have their best interests in mind, which is exactly what you want. When it comes time for them to purchase, guess which name arises to the front of their mind?
In these posts, you simply think out loud and ask questions. Is there something about your industry that’s always bothered you? Is what the “experts” are saying really true? Is there some topic everyone else is afraid to touch?
Think about the question in the form of a blog post. Not only will your thoughts be interesting to your readership, but it will stimulate the conversation. Another key to digital marketing lies in starting the conversation, and keeping it going. Many links will be created if you’re the one starting the controversy (in a good away).
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