So much of the content out there on the web sucks.
I have noticed it more and more lately. Maybe it is simply a matter of over-saturation but it feels as though everyone is just copying one another, creating the same blog posts written in different ways, trying to gain as much traffic as possible.
Don’t get me wrong, I get it. In a way I do the same thing, operating on the assumption that my work will pay off and my brand will strengthen. But that doesn’t mean the quality of work has to go down with my desperation, or anyone else’s, for that matter.
A blog is a wonderful tool, one that can help you to hook an insane number of customers/readers if you do it the right way. Unfortunately, so many people are doing it the wrong way instead. That pretty much mitigates any real benefits and makes the work put into the process less effective, sometimes even worthless.
Here are some ways that you can do better and make your blog genuinely effective in its aims.
Write for your audience, not your brand
One of the biggest tips I give business owners that consult with me is that you are not writing for your brand or your company. You are writing for your readers, who are the ones that will benefit from what you are providing them. Sure, you are using it as a platform to increase brand awareness and should always have a call to action. But that is a tiny part of the overall purpose of your content.
Instead of writing as though you are selling something, focus on what it is your customers would want to know about. If they see you as an authority they are going to be more likely to purchase from you in the first place. Good content is what takes leads to conversions.
Hook ‘em fast; hook ‘em good
Notice how I pretty much insulted all the blog posts on the Internet in my introduction? I bet it caught your attention. I am not saying I am the best at hooking interest but I do put some effort into the task. Which is why you are reading this paragraph right now instead of switching over to Instagram to see what Kim Kardashian is posting right now.
Write a solid opening sentence or paragraph and promise something to your reader.
Use visuals…a lot
While your writing style is very important, it’s not enough for the blog success. Nothing catches an eye as effectively as visual content, that is why I need to note it here. If you are not paying attention to your blog visuals, start doing that now.
Learn how to write a good headline
A few years ago Upworthy released one of the best Slideshare presentations I have ever seen. It was a breakdown of how they make so many of their posts go viral on social media and a big part of it was how they presented their topic from the very beginning. I am talking about headlines, the eye-catching face of your content.
Creating buzz generating headlines can be tricky and I have never been as good as so many others are at it. But it is worth learning (I am doing my best to do so, myself) and according to Upworthy it is the first step in having content make it big. Colorlib lists some great plugins for writers that can help create effective headlines.
I like using Cyfe to collect all my content ideas in one informative dashboard. You can integrate your keyword lists (using Google Spreadsheets) into your Cyfe dashboard, add a simple notepad, monitor Twitter trends, etc. All of these give me a nice brainstorming dashboard helping me come up attention-grabbing topics and headlines:
Be friendly, not just informative
Maybe friendly isn’t the right word because not everyone has to keep a buddy-buddy tone to make their blog effective. Personable might be a better one as it offers a certain objective status that allows you to match the tone to your brand’s personality.
Being too dry is a quick way to lose customers who might have otherwise been interested in what you have to say. While you want to be informative, you also want to seem like someone who can be entertaining, who can offer a friendly bit of advice. Finding that balance isn’t always easy but if you look at some of the more popular blogs out there you will find that they have struck that middle point between formal and informal.
No one likes a bossy boots, do they? You are trying to establish your blog as an authority in order to bring people to your posts when they have a question about whatever your topic happens to be. But that doesn’t mean you need to stand at the pulpit and drone on and on at your readers. That is likely to put them off, maybe even annoy them enough that they don’t want to come to your blog anymore.
Don’t be afraid to admit your faults. Be open about there being many ways to do something and your way might not be best. Offer alternatives. Ask for opinions. These are the ways in which you can maintain that authority but also remain humble and relatable.
Stop using overdone topics for cheap traffic boosts
You want to find out what your customers are asking about and interested in. You know how you don’t do that? By looking at what other people are writing on their blogs. Alright, that is one way to do it but it isn’t nearly as effective as if you were to go to the source itself. All you are doing when you use competitors as a metric is seeing what they have already answered. Unless you have something of value to add or you vehemently disagree, you are better off going for new topics.
I personally like trawling the depths of social media for ideas on what people are asking about. I also check my comment section on blog posts a lot to see what people are talking about (hint, hint!). Viral content is great but only when its virality is not its primary purpose!
Turn your readers into leads
One of the most important steps of improving your bottom line with your blog is to actually think about your content readers as your leads. Integrate your blog into your sales process: Connect your blog contact forms to your CRM platform and get your sales team develop that relationships. Salesmate can be used for that purpose because it has powerful integrations you can make the most from, including support for Wordress and Gravity Forms.
SEO is a tool, not a purpose
Finally, we have SEO, my bread and butter. I am the first to state how important SEO is to any marketing strategy. But if your content is just some platform to dump your SEO onto, you are doing it very wrong.
Content should be created for the sake of providing something of real value to your customers. The SEO can be worked as you go to enhance your traffic based off of what you create, not the other way around.
Have a tip for getting a flood of customers from your blog? Let us know in the comments!