We encourage our clients to blog for a few different reasons — but most of our clients discover that blogging is harder than it looks.
We encourage our clients to blog for a few different reasons. Blogging encourages your customers to connect with you, which is great for increasing customer loyalty. Blogging also spreads your message to a wide number of people and gets your name in front of more potential customers more often (and brings them directly to your website, where they’ll have easy access to more information about you). Also, blogging is a fantastic way to boost your Search Engine Optimization, or SEO — the more often you produce good blog content that includes your optimized keywords, the better the chances your site has in ranking well on Google’s front page, making it easier for customers to find your business.
But most of our clients discover that blogging is harder than it looks. It can be difficult to come up with topics for blogs, or to narrow down your vast knowledge of your field into the short paragraphs that make up a blog. The good news is, blog topics will come to you — you just have to learn to recognize them. Here are a few of my favorite techniques:
When you’re reading or listening to the news, think about the stories that relate to your business and write about the connection. If you’re an attorney, you could weigh in on a high profile case or explain a confusing bit of legislation. If you’re an architect, write a short piece about a new development in your area that’s been in the news. Sharing about something that’s part of the news cycle or that’s trending online increases your chances of being found in an online search, and it reminds your customers that you’re a relevant source for interesting information.
Think about the questions you answer over and over, both from customers and at cocktail parties and Little League games. Through these conversations, people have already told you what they want to know about your business, so use your blog to tell them. Blog answers to common customer questions, too. This is great for customer loyalty, because finding an answer on a blog before they’ve even asked the question reassures the customer that you’re on top of things. When you get the question again over email, just reply with a short note with a link to the answer from your blog, saving you the time it takes to rewrite the same answer over and over, and showing the customer that you’re aware of their needs. (This blog post is an example of that technique — so many clients asked me how to come up with blog topics that I decided to write out the answer.)
This goes hand-in-hand with Asking Questions, but it’s not exactly the same thing. Sometimes you wish your customers knew something about your business or service that would make their experience so much better. Write a blog about this! It’s a way of sharing quality information that you wish more customers had without seeming pushy about it.
We encourage our clients to invest in SEO because it really helps to grow business. We create a list of keywords that we’ve thoroughly tested to be sure they’re the best at driving traffic to each specific site, so use those keywords to decide what to write about. As far as search traffic is concerned, the more you use these terms, the better. So use them as starting points for deciding what to blog about, and then they’ll be easy to work into your content.
Finding What You Like
It’s easiest to write about things that you actually enjoy, and usually that attitude comes across in the writing and makes the blog more enjoyable to readers. Maybe you’ll find that you love writing about your employees, or writing customer profiles, or sharing helpful how-to’s with your customers. Niche topics actually help blogs to grow, so as you begin writing, pay attention to which blogs excite you and which ones you struggle to write. Start posting more of the blogs that interest you, and your customers will be interested, too. (Plus, blogging won’t feel like as much of a chore.)
Notice I didn’t list “What You Want to Promote” as an option for content. This doesn’t mean that you can never promote a product on your blog, but be sure your blog isn’t all sales-driven content — readers are very hesitant to engage with sales-driven blogs, and you’ll have trouble getting visitors to your site. A blog is best for building a customer base, establishing customer loyalty, and using SEO to get your website seen by lots of potential customers. When you work with the blogging format instead of against it, you’ll see much better results. And when you pay attention, you’ll find that you already have access to a lot of great topics — now all that’s left is to go write about them.
Having trouble writing when you sit down to blog? Check out our blog post on making blog writing easier.