What’s The Point of Creating Content Anyway?
You’ve heard that you need to be blogging, but why? They say it is hard to get motivated when you do not know what the result will bring. We all know success rates plummet without planning and motivation. You are about to spend a considerable amount of time and effort creating content and “blogging,” so there better be a game plan!
Here is a recap of the benefits of consistent content building.
Google Search Traffic
When you are blogging, you are creating pages that will be listed in Google’s Search Results. When you search for a keyword, Google attempts to connect you with a “Landing Page” not a Homepage. Why would they do this? In a well-calculated effort, Google is attempting to connect the searcher with a better result and experience. Imagine yourself searching [dishwashers at Sears]. Google painstakingly selects the best pages within Sears’ website to display. Results 1-8 are Sear’s dishwasher pages from within their site. The Sears Home Page is in the 9th position of Google’s results. This means is that you can expect many more visitors to come from your posts and pages than your Homepage.
Content Creates a Better Customer Experience
Blogging creates focused “landing pages” for your website. Providing a better user experience will lead to better results. If you direct your audience to the specific information they seek, your chances of conversion drastically increase. Reduce the number of clicks the user needs to take, keep your calls to action clear, and your marketing message simple. This will lead to improved results.
Branding Reinforcement Through Content Creation
Engaging and connecting with the existing audience you’ve invested a considerable amount of time and effort to build your client base and circle of influence. Now, more than ever, you cannot afford to let it all fizzle out. Reminder Marketing has been used for ages to reinforce a brand within its own community.
Think about Coke and Pepsi. You either love one or the other. You have decided long ago which taste you like and which brand you favor. So why did Coca Cola spend more than $4,000,000,000 (four billion dollars) on marketing in 2016? To remind you of how thirsty you are. Even deeper, seeing an advertisement for your favorite food or beverage will trigger something within, making you feel hungry or thirsty even when you were not before.
Content Brings More Traffic to Your Site
Feeding your Online Sales Funnel. To generate new traffic, you are going to need new content. As mentioned, good articles come up in search and draw in new potential clients to your online sales funnel. For every one hundred visitors, there should be a result. Generating new pages will help get your web site’s traffic from zero to several hundred visitors each month and beyond.
Blogging is Great for Social Media and Email
Content makes great fodder for your marketing cannon. What do you plan to send out in your weekly or monthly newsletter? What do you plan on posting to Social Media? Great content is the perfect place for your visitors to land. Make sure to design your emails and social media posts to drive traffic back to your website. Your website is the best place for your potential clients. Getting them away from social media, or their email inboxes is the best way to get their undivided attention.
Writer’s Block Anyone?
Not all of us feel so creative. Writing about our products and services may not have been part of the original business plan, and certainly wasn’t part of the traditional marketing plan you envisioned. Ads and Coupons are now seen as wallpaper and publication after publication using these means continues to go out of business. Today, we must make connections and evoke emotions to earn the attention of our prospects.
So, what are you going to write about? I hate to answer with, “it depends,” but it will vary from business to business.
As we look at a few examples, it is important to put yourself in your client’s shoes. Walk a mile or two in them. What troubles them? What are their professional or personal hardships? Can you provide information to help or educate them? How can you gain their trust? What are they wondering about?
Mind Mapping is a great brainstorming technique that could be used to come up with some ideas.
Let’s look at a few topic examples from common industries we engage with while Networking.
Real Estate Agents
- How to Stage Your Home for Sale
- 10 Steps to Prepping Your Home for Market
- Buying a Home 101
- How to Sell Your Home Without an Agent
- This Year’s Market Predictions
- Step up Your Cell Phone Photography
- Where Not to Have Your Photos Printed
- 3 Steps to Taking a Great Family Photo
- Family Photo Home Décor Tips
- Safekeeping Your Family’s Memories
Trainers and Coaches
- 5 Ways to Ask for That Promotion
- How to Advance in Today’s Job Market
- 10 Habits Successful Business People Have
- How to Avoid a Mid-Career Crisis
What’s the game plan here? I mean, are we telling photographers to give out free photography lessons to their prospects? Why? What could a photographer gain by giving away this type of information for free?
Be the Expert
Showing your craft to others allows them to get more engaged with your business. They will get to know some of the ins and outs of your process. Understanding this could give them a whole new respect for your profession. Especially your pricing. Now that you placed yourself in the position of teaching, you have given yourself a platform from which to promote yourself.
The Givers Gain. Books have been written about how being generous creates relationships and helps you gain trust within your market. Imagine the photographer giving a few free workshops or private lessons to someone who has some shred of interest.
He or she is going to ask you those questions that usually come up when someone advances their skills to the next level. You are now continuing the conversation. You are allowing the person to naturally find their talent ceilings or interest levels. You’ve helped them enhance their day-to-day lives, but when it comes to getting professional photography done, they will ask the one who’s been the most helpful.
The same goes for referrals. If you demonstrate that you are the local expert and give away bits and pieces of your information, your name is most likely to be mentioned when someone is seeking your talents and skills.
Use Pictures to Tell Your Story
We think in colors and images; therefore, it is very important to add an image to your new content. Finding the right image is no easy task. With millions of copyright-free stock images, it is easy to come off cheap and unprofessional. We wouldn’t want to use “clip art” now that we are professionals.
Subscribe to Adobe Stock, Thinkstock, IStockPhoto, Getty Images, or another national image subscription service. Canva is also a popular choice for those just getting started. Look for images that evoke emotions. If your topic is addressing a pain point in your prospect’s life, support that with a matching photo. Another good image would show what it looked like after a prospect uses your services to solve their problem.
Make it Snappy
Try not to overdo it. There is no need to write a book every time you start blogging. Now more than ever before, people don’t have the time to read a long post. A quick two to four-minute read is the perfect amount of information for our on-the-go lifestyles.
An informative three to five paragraphs will do just fine. You can even give a hint to the reader as to how long the post is, by the way, it’s titled. You may have noticed the ever-popular list titles. As an example, “5 ways to write a great blog”, or “3 things you don’t want to miss when blogging”. These “Listicle” titles are meant to signal to the end-user that the information can be consumed quickly. They entice the consumer to abandon their Facebook feeds, or inboxes, for just a few moments to absorb your carefully crafted information.
If you feel that you have a subject that needs a deeper look, why not break it up into a series? That way, you give yourself that many more opportunities to distribute new content to your circle of influence.
Don’t Reinvent the Wheel
Before you write your blog post, go right to Google to observe how others have written before you. Google your topic and start to look at the sites listed in the top ten search results. Examine their writing styles and content. Please take note that Google thinks these are the best results possible. If Google grades these posts and pages as the best, then you should try to match the efforts of these pages. Use these pages as a guide or outline as to how you are going to write your post. Take note of their length, reading level, and subtopics.
Sprinkle in a Touch of Local
Google loves local, and sprinkling in some local keywords or locations will go a long way towards getting you found online. Google is constantly trying to match users to the best results, and a primary factor is a location. As we walk around with our smartphones, Google is keeping tabs of our location history.
That way if we search for “best food near me,” Google can give us a local result we can rely on. Even if you search “best food,” Google will look at your location and give you a local result. Local search results are always primary, and global or national search results are secondary. It has been this way for several years and was done to lend a better end-user experience. We used to have to search for “best food in Annapolis, MD” to find a local result. This is no longer the case.
What to Do After You Post Your Content
You have written and published your post, now what? Remember why we posted in the first place. We needed to spread the word about our business but didn’t have anything to say. Now that we have some content let’s spread the word.
Head to Social Media and start posting a link back to your Landing Page.
Use Your Content to Spread Your Message on Social Media
Remember the object is to get users away from Facebook’s’ sales funnel and into your sales funnel. Facebook is not in love with this idea, and that is one of the reasons you are going to have to pay to boost your posts. Boosting your posts will get your message in front of not only your audience but a new targeted audience as well. As Facebook continues to be pressured by stockholders, we are headed for a day where if you do not pay, your posts will no longer be seen by your audience.
Send an Email to Your Fans
Craft an email to be sent to your lists. Keep in mind that we want our prospects to leave their inboxes and go to your sales funnel. Meaning, only include a synopsis of your blog post with a large READ MORE button. This way, if the prospect wants the meat and potatoes, they will have to visit your website to read the entire blog post.
Posting your blog to social media and emailing your list should drive traffic to your sales funnel. The result will be new phone calls, new sign ups, and new emails. For every one hundred visitors, a percentage will convert.
Workshop – Creating Useful Content
Problems do every one of your clients complain about?
Do they hate about your industry?
Are the stereotypes?
Problems you have solutions for?
People make choices based on pain and pleasure.
List five problems or complaints you often hear from your prospects.
Find a Clever Title
To get the attention of a prospect an engaging title is a must. The title will need to convince the reader that the content can solve a problem in a short amount of time, or the content can help the reader avoid a disaster.
Use one of these title formulas to create engaging titles.
How to [fill in the blank] without [fill in the blank].
How to get in front of your customers without wasting your marketing budget.
Another…[Fill in the blank] simple steps for [fill in the blank].
4 simple steps for getting found online.
Here is an impressive list of content prompts from Elizabeta Perstneva of SEMRush
Keep it Simple
- ___ vs ___
- # Bad ___ Habits
- ___ Facts and Myths
- # Ways to ___
- Offer useful information.
- What everyone out to know about ___
- Little Know Ways to ___
- A Cheat Sheet for ___
- The Ultimate Guide to ___
- ___: The Ultimate Checklist
- Use “How”, “Why” or “What”
- Where to Find___
- How to ___ Like a Pro/Boss
- What to do with ___
- How to ___ That Drives ___
- Create a Sense of Urgency
- How to Rock ___
- How to ___ in ___ Easy Steps
- ___ Quick ___ Tips
- The Real Truth about ___
- The Secret of Successful ___
- To World Cheapest/Best/Worst
- The # Deadly Sins of ___
- # Essential Steps to ___
- # Killer Strategies to ___
Fill in the Body
Now that you have a title in mind try to list three or more ways that your product and service help solve the problem (pain or pleasure).
Other questions to consider. Will you have an offer? What are the offer details? Is there an upcoming Holiday that you can tie into your
promotion? Do you have a special event coming up or could you plan one?
Close with a Call to Action
Always end with a call to action. Not a hard sell, but a request to inquire more, to join the conversation, or attend an event.
Can’t Bring Yourself to Write a Blog Post?
Hire someone competent to write for you. Ask for references if you don’t know any content writers. Whether you are doing your own writing or hiring a writer, you need to understand how your blogging content should be structured.
Now that you have an article written and a graphic selected, it is time to distribute your message to the masses.
Use social media as an inexpensive way to advertise. Facebook boosts are drastically cheaper than Google Adwords, or most traditional print media. Select your audience, choose how many days you want your post to circulate, and boost the post.
Email is still #1
Look at email addresses as the most valuable marketing asset you can collect. Send a small excerpt of your post to your email lists. Remember to make sure that if they want to read the entire post, they must visit your website. Keep your emails brief and to the point. Do not clutter up your message. Remember, everyone you meet during networking goes on an email list.
Print it out!
Why not convert your article into a flyer or hand out for your next networking event? Stand out by handing out valuable information rather than just your business card.
Want More Content Help?
I hope you found this information helpful, and that you’ve gained some insight into why blogging is such a big deal! When you see the big picture, blogging becomes a no-brainer that you realize must be a part of your web presence. If you have questions or need help developing your blogging strategy, reach out to us through the contact form shown below. Hawk Marketing can help with all of your digital marketing needs, and we are available for consultations.