business blog

[336] How to make sales from your business blog

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).

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

 

[321] How to get people to actually read your blog with Andy Crestodina

Andy Crestodina is an experienced content and ethical digital marketing expert who has helped thousands of businesses get better results online.  In this episode he shares his top tips on getting more people to read your blog, how to make your content rank higher in search engines and why collaboration is the key to growing your audience.

Here’s what you’ll learn in this episode:

  • Andy’s business story (2:52)
  • How to plan content that will get engagement (4:40)
  • How to make your content visible in search rankings and build up your website's authority (7:20)
  • What you need to know about no-follow and do-follow links (14:20)
  • Why creating a niche headline (and content) will give you more chance of ranking high on Google (17:01)
  • Why you should include quotes from other people within your content (23:48)
  • How to include video in your blog content (25:10)
  • How to build your audience online (28:42)

Resources

Andy’s website: Orbit Media

Andy on Twitter and LinkedIn

Andy’s Book: Content Chemistry

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)

My FREE Janet Murray’s Love Marketing Facebook Community

Connect with me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook

[209] How to write great copy with John Espirian

When it comes to writing content for your business, it’s important to understand exactly who you are writing for and be able to speak their language.

In this episode, technical writer John Espirian shares practical tips on how to get tuned into your audience’s needs and write compelling content to help grow your business.

Here’s what you’ll learn in this episode:

  • John Espirian’s business story - how he became a technical copywriter and blogger
  • The questions you need to ask about your audience before you start writing
  • Some of the most common copywriting mistakes made by businesses - and how to avoid them
  • Why John thinks you are the best person to write content for your business
  • How to research the language your prospective customers use, by using LinkedIn, Facebook groups and industry forums
  • Practical ways of writing in a conversational tone - including using voice memos to create written content
  • Ideas on where to get inspiration for blog headlines
  • What to consider when it comes to keywords and the search engine optimisation (SEO) of your content
  • Why every piece of content you write should encourage an action

Key resources

Order the 2018 media diary or join the media diary owners’ club

The Soulful PR Studio

Your Year in PR - my media planning masterclass

Video of Soulful PR Live

Soulful PR for Starters

A PDF guide to navigating the podcast episodes

John Espirian’s website

John on Twitter

KW Finder

Keyword Tool.io

Answer the Public

Podcast Are you making this mistake with your about page? (episode 144)

Podcast SEO made simple with Martin Huntbach (episode 167)

Podcast Shut up and write with Stella Orange (episode 99)

Podcast How to tackle writer’s block (episode 172)

Podcast Six types of blog post you should be creating regularly (episode 134)

My blog post Why using big words can make you look stupid

Podcast How to quadruple your income through blogging with Kate McQuillan (episode 119)

Podcast How to use competitions in your marketing with Kate McQuillan (episode 191)

Livestream Katya’s website

Podcast How to use livestreaming to make money in your business with Livestream Katya (episode 103)

Podcast How to build raving fans through livestreaming (and why you need to) with Livestream Katya 195

Soulful PR Podcast Community on Facebook: chat about the show with Janet and other listeners

**MY BOOK ** Your Press Release Is Breaking My Heart (A Totally Unconventional Guide To Selling Your Story In The Media)

My FREE Soulful PR Facebook Community: tips & advice for promoting your business

Connect with me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook

What to do next

If you enjoyed today’s show, please share it using the social media buttons at the top of this page.

I’d also love it if you could take a few minutes to  leave an honest review and rating for the podcast on iTunes. I read every one personally and may even read yours out on the show.

And don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, to get automatic updates every time a new episode goes live.

 

[134] Six types of blog post you should be creating regularly

Do you ever get stuck for ideas for blog content? In this episode I share six types of blog post you should be creating regularly. You’ll never run out of ideas again.

Here’s what you’ll learn in this episode:

  • How regular blogging can help you build trust with prospective customers
  • Why you should focus on blog posts that solve customers’ problems
  • Tips on whether you should discuss costs and prices in your blog posts

Key resources

The Soulful PR Studio

Soulful Marketing one-day masterclass

ResponseSource

Podcast Are you making these excuses not to blog? (episode 132)

Podcast How to use media enquiry services with Daryl Willcox (episode 131)

Podcast They ask, you answer: content marketing made easy with Marcus Sheridan (episode 127)

Podcast How podcasting can help you grow your business with Colin Gray (episode 61)

Podcast How to use Instagram to promote your business with Sara Tasker (episode 93)

My blog on the costs of putting on events

My blog on media enquiry services

**MY BOOK ** Your Press Release Is Breaking My Heart (A Totally Unconventional Guide To Selling Your Story In The Media)

My Soulful PR group coaching  programme (next intake starts in March 2017)

My FREE Soulful PR Facebook Community

Connect with me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook

What to do next

If you enjoyed today’s show, please share it using the social media buttons at the top of this page.

I’d also love it if you could take a few minutes to  leave an honest review and rating for the podcast on iTunes. I read every one personally and may even read yours out on the show.

And don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, to get automatic updates every time a new episode goes live.