When clients ask me what they should do to start rising in the search engines, I tell them they should start blogging. You wouldn’t believe the looks I get. “Who, me?!” Yes, you!
What’s more, blog posts provide valuable content to your users in their purchasing decision process. Why would they want to choose you over any of your competitors? A blog is a great vehicle for diving deeper into your value proposition.
Establishing goals for your blog
That said, you need to come up with a game plan for your blog. I find it effective simply to open a document and start writing down thoughts and goals. What is the purpose of your website? Why are you bothering to take your time writing content on the interwebs?
At Oil Sales Consulting, for example, our end goal is to gain a new client looking to design a new website or who needs help marketing their business online. Great, so you can mark something like that down as your main goal, but you’re not ready to start blogging yet! There are lots of smaller goals you need to address as well.
You want people to subscribe to your blog by providing you an email address. You can then market to them with your newer blog posts, content offers or sales. Just make sure not to spam them; no one wants to receive an email every day pushing a purchase.
Produce a content offer — like a whitepaper, video or infographic — that will really help the user. We provide a content offer called “10 steps to help your business succeed online.” It’s a whitepaper that helps users ensure they are covering all the bases when starting out online.
Set up a conversation
What’s better than to get your potential customers on the phone so you can truly understand what they are looking to do? Whether it’s a call to have you come perform a service or an inquiry about a large product purchase, talking to the customer can give them a voice to associate with the website. This adds the personal touch and will increase your chances in making that sale.
Create a video
Depending on your business, this might seem like an odd one, but in fact users who watch a video are 144 percent more likely to purchase from you. Producing a video can be fun, but don’t feel bad if you need to reach out to a professional video producer to help make that happen.
Now that you have some goals in mind, make sure to write them down and find the best way to track them. Depending on your experience, you can track them through form submissions or via more in-depth tools such as Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics.
What not to do
Now you understand what sort of goals to have in mind, but maybe you want an example of what happens when you don’t have a plan in place. Sure thing! I volunteer one of our posts at OSC as a poor example of planning.
In the beginning we were posting without a clear understanding of who our user personas were and why we were posting. We wrote a post called “3 Reasons to Stop Googling Yourself.” That sounds targeted enough to someone who wants to learn more about having a website right?
Well, it so happens that people who want to stop Googling themselves tend to be bored at work and are just killing time.
Despite it ranking first for “stop googling yourself,” not one of the viewers has reached out to us for a website. The only comment we received was from a Jesse Fowler (yes, the same name as yours truly) who thought it was funny he happened upon this after Googling his name.
The post was not targeted toward people who needed help with their website. We had no game plan in place when we launched that post. The result? It messed with our analytics because the bounce rate was through the roof and it is still one of our most popular posts.
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So, just how did we turn our blog posts around and start attracting our target audience at OSC? You guessed it! We determined our goal, which is always to provide education to our potential clients, lead them to become customers, and continue to delight them with quality content for years to come. By starting with the subgoals listed above, getting better acquainted with our customers, and producing content with our buying persona in mind, we have seen consistent growth and success.
Now that you know what to do and what not to do, get out there and start writing valuable blog content! Just make sure that you have goals in mind first and write it for your customers — not someone with your name who is typing his name into Google.