You think you’re doing all the right things to build a successful business blog. You’re showing up every week, you spend ages researching, writing and promoting, but it’s not making you any money.

In this episode, I break down the steps you need to take to create strategic blog content that people actually want to read - and will actually lead to sales. I look at the type of content you should be creating, how to find the right keywords to help people find you and how to gear your content towards your paid products and services.

{Click on the player above to listen to the podcast episode and/or read on for a detailed overview. Scroll down to the bottom to read the show notes including all the links mentioned in this episode}.

Create content your ideal customers are actually searching for

One of the biggest mistakes I see business owners making with blog content, is choosing topics that they want to write about rather than what their audience want to hear about. They assume that what interests them will interest their audience too, or use their blog as a way to vent about the things that are annoying them.

Another common mistake is to use creative but obscure blog titles. For example, one of my clients wrote a blog post entitled ‘Beginnings’. But when was the last time you did a Google search for ‘Beginnings’? That’s just not how people search for content online.

Think about your own online search behaviour — what was the last thing you typed into Google?

For me it was ‘Motorway service stations M1 KFC’. I was travelling along the M1, totally starving and I needed to find some food, fast. I was asking a very specific question to solve a very specific problem.

That’s how your customers search too. They don’t necessarily care about the topics that interest you, or your opinions - they just want to find the answer to their problems.

That’s why when you’re creating content for your blog it’s so important to get inside the head of your ideal customer. Ask yourself, what’s the problem they need help with? Which words or phrases would they use when they’re searching? What would they type into their search engine?

My client - the one who started off with obscure blog titles - is killing it now. She’s writing topics like, ‘five fundamentals to choosing a career you love’ and, ‘seven lessons from being on the brink of burnout’ because these topics tap in to the things that keep her customers up at night. The things they’ll actually be searching for on Google.

Make sure your content links to your paid products and services

You’ve read a million times that blogging is great for brand awareness and establishing expertise but don’t forget that your business blog is there to drive sales too. Which means you shouldn’t shy away from linking your content to your paid products and services.

In fact, doing so is mutually beneficial — you’ll increase your sales and your audience will benefit too. After all, they need the products you’re selling or they wouldn’t have landed on your page in the first place. Not giving them the opportunity to buy would be doing them a huge disservice.

Start by making two lists - one on the most common questions people ask you generally about your industry, the other on more specific questions customers ask you in relation to your products or services. You can then use these questions to generate topic ideas, which you can link back to your paid products (including information on how people can buy from you).

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Buffer
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn

Take my Media Diary as an example - it’s an A4 desk diary full of key dates and awareness days that will help you plan your content.  More general questions people may ask are, ‘How do I create a content plan?’ or, ‘What should I post on my blog?’. More specific questions, about my Media Diary include things like, ‘What size is the diary? or, ‘How do I use the diary?’.

The first list is a great springboard for general ‘How to’ content that will answer the question and offer the Media Diary as a potential solution, and will include a call-to-action (where I show readers how to order the diary), while the second list gives me a host of ideas that I can turn into blog posts, all of which will encourage diary sales.

How to do keyword research

Once you’re creating content people want to read, the next step is making sure that your ideal customers can actually find it - ideally on the first page of Google. This is where keyword research comes in.

A lot of this is down to common sense and goes back to my earlier point about getting into your customer’s head and thinking about the kind of things they’ll be searching for online. But using keyword tools can help you refine your terms.

The first thing to do, now that you have some topic ideas in mind, is to find your keyword sweet spot — ideally you want a term that people are searching for, but not one that is so popular that your post will get lost in the noise of the competition.

Narrowing things down can help with this. For example, the phrase ‘how to write a press release’ is a very popular search term. Using a less popular, but more specific phrase  like ‘How to write a press release for your small business’ or ‘How to write a press release for a charity’ (generally referred to as ‘longtail’ keywords)  is likely to be more effective when it comes to Google rankings.

If you’re not sure how to make your topic more specific, using Google’s autocomplete is a fantastic hack. Start typing in your topic title and take note of the suggestions that come up under the search box — that’ll give you a great idea of the kinds of things that people are searching for relating to that subject. You can apply the same trick to Youtube and Pinterest too.

Other keyword hacks

If Google autocomplete isn’t giving you what you want you could try looking for inspiration in your industry’s trade publications. You could also head over to Amazon and look at books relating to your industry (chapter titles can be a great source of topic keywords), or have a quick look at your competitors’ sites for inspiration too.

Keyword tools

Keywords Everywhere — Type in your chosen phrase and this nifty tool will tell you how many people are searching for that particular phrase so you can determine whether it’s going to be too popular a search term.

Answer The Public — Key in your topic and you’ll find a list of related questions that people are asking about that particular subject.

Google Ads — Enter your keyword and let the price be your guide: the higher cost per click, the more popular the search term is likely to be.

Keyword Finder — This tool gives you really in depth information on how easy it’ll be to rank for your chosen phrase and shows you the top 10 pages ranking for that term. It even gives you some alternative suggestions, again showing you the popularity of each phrase.

Break down your content into awareness, consideration and purchase content

You may have heard me speak about the three main types of content before but it’s so important it’s worth mentioning again for anyone who missed it.  Dan Knowlton originally taught this so brilliantly at my event last year, Content Live.

  1. Awareness content: this content relates to your area of expertise and general information about the type of products you sell — so for my client Jennifer Hamley, who designs handbags, an example might be: How to protect an expensive handbag in the rain.  Or for my Media Diary: How to create a content calendar in six easy steps
  2. Consideration content: this is where you get a bit more specific about your product or service to help people decide whether to buy. For Jennifer, this is where she looks at how previous customers are using the specific features of one of the bags she sells, showing potential customers its many benefits: Eight ways to carry your cross-body handbag. And for my Media Diary: Have you got a 2019 content calendar for your blog? (How the 2019 Media Diary can help in just a few hours of using it)
  3. Purchase content: this is the straight up selling part — where Jennifer might do a live sales event on Facebook, for example.  I have also done a Facebook Live to sell the Media Diary or an Open Day to sell the Love Marketing Membership.

Most people are great at creating awareness content but fall down when it comes to the other two categories - often because they believe that it’ll come across as too ‘salesy’.

I find though, that lots of my new clients come to me directly as a result of my consideration or purchase content. And when you think about yourself as buyer, isn’t that the kind of content that makes you feel more confident about your purchasing decisions? You appreciate consideration and purchase content — and so do your customers.

When planning for the three content types, it’s all about hitting the right ratio. I’d generally go with about two to three ideas for each content type every time you launch a new product or service to make sure you’re not missing out on sales opportunities.

Podcast show notes:

  • Why you need to write blog posts that answer your clients or customer’s problems (6:03)
  • How to tailor your blog posts towards a paid product or service (12:54)
  • How to use keywords that will help you rank higher on Google (18:36)
  • Examples of the three different types of content you need to be creating (35:45)

Resources

Keywords Everywhere

GoogleAds

Answer the Public

KW Finder

Jennifer Hamley

Jammy Digital

Apply for a place on the LinkedIn Content Strategy Masterclass here

Get your hands on the ‘How to write awesome sales copy’ course now

Janet Murray’s Audience Calculator

Register your interest in the Build Your Audience programme

Order the 2019 Sorted Content Planning Toolkit here

Order the 2019 Media Diary

Order the 2019 Media Diary and Media Diary Owners’ Club

Order the 2019 Wall Year Planner

Janet Murray’s Love Marketing Membership

Love Marketing, Make Money Income Goals Checklist

The Janet Murray Show Podcast Guide

My YouTube channel

**MY BOOK ** Your Press Release Is Breaking My Heart (A Totally Unconventional

Guide To Selling Your Story In The Media)

Connect with me on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn

 

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