Most companies start blogs to generate website traffic and start relationships with people or prospects who are looking for answers.
Recent reports from Mintel and Acuity Group state between 70 percent and 94 percent of buyers do research online prior to purchasing. Regardless of the percentage, it’s common knowledge: People look for answers throughout the buying process and after the sale.
By providing those answers through a blog, you can position yourself as an industry expert and gain trust of potential buyers. Offering answers to popular questions can also generate traffic, and every business wants traffic — it’s directly tied to leads generated from your website. More leads equal more closed deals.
Come full circle, and you realize the first hurdle to generating more leads through your website is generating more traffic. This can be accomplished in a number of ways — one of which is blogging.
But what should I blog about?
No one wants to invest their time writing blog posts that are never read.
To generate site visits by blogging, you need to cover content that appeals to your target market. You want qualified prospects visiting your site. You need to talk to prospects about what they want to hear; you can’t just talk to everyone about everything. Here are a few ideas:
- Create Buyer Personas: The activity of creating buyer personas tends to generate a mountain of blog post ideas. Buyer personas are a fictional representation of the members of your target market. Through the activity, you’ll document each target market member’s concerns, goals, challenges, and more. Take those concerns, goals, and challenges and turn them into a Q&A to explain to your target market.
- Listen to Your Clients: When clients ask questions, jot them down. This is the substance of a good blog post (hopefully your clients are in your target market). If the questions are relevant to your clients, they may be relevant to the rest of your target market as well.
- Follow Other Blogs: Find a blog that you want to emulate — maybe one of the big dogs in your industry. Do they post how-tos or listicles? If you don’t have time to check every blog on a regular basis, subscribe to email newsletters. Skim the newsletters to see if there’s a topic of interest to your audience. Following industry blogs is also a good way to keep up on industry trends and reports.
- Industry Trends and Reports: As new industry trends emerge, report on them for your readers. Discuss each side of the story, explain the pros and cons. Present both sides — this paints you as an objective professional, not a biased salesperson. Review industry reports, then dissect data and put it into terms your audience will understand and value. Make the data real to them through examples of how it may adjust their practices.
- Review Your Data: Speaking of data . . . review yours! Write more about what your audience likes. Identify traffic-generating articles in your blog and try covering the same topic from another angle. Find a way to sort data to identify the actions of your target market. For example: review local data versus national data; if you only do business locally, then make your blogging decisions based on the local data.
Offer value and you’ll see results. Tell people what they want to know — not just a watered down general answer, but an honest to goodness truth-filled, well-researched response. Blogging is a trial and error exercise. The most important thing in the equation is your target market. Your expertise and your interests will shine through in your answers. Review the results to see if it interests others as well.
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Veterans United Home Loans
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“We created this ‘10 Things’ article to help raise awareness about the benefits and limitations of VA loans. We want to help separate fact from fiction and get veterans and military families the information they need to make the best home buying decision possible. There are more than 1,000 comments on this article. With our blog network, we strive to go beyond the article and answer individual questions as an extension of our commitment to educating veterans and enhancing lives.”
– Chris Birk, director of education
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“The idea for this article came about after a major industry research report was released. Rather than just sharing the link to that report and calling it good, our team thought it would be valuable to really dig into it ourselves and find elements that we thought would resonate with our audience.”
-Nickie Bartels, marketing editor