Running a company blog is a powerful form of inbound marketing – when businesses provide customers with the resources and information they need to make a decision instead of plying them with ads, calls, and emails.
To gain the best results and convert, you have to blog strategically. Since it’s such an ample field, we divided it into several posts dealing with content planning (analyzed in this post), writing converting texts, and content promotion (coming soon).
Let’s go with order. Before deciding what to write –
Define your target audience
Don’t fall into the trap of writing about topics that interest you, people from your company or your business sector – write about stuff that matters to your customers.
For this, you need to collect audience data and draft a profile of your typical customer. Take into account such criteria:
- business type
- business size
- geographic location
All this will determine the topics, style, tone, and formatting of your blog content.
For example, as a live chat software provider, we have this B2B blog directed to all online and offline business worldwide that need to communicate with customers online for support and sales purposes: SaaS companies, e-commerce site owners, bloggers, and other businesses with an online presence.
Decide on the types of content to publish
- Product news (updates, new features, improvements, plans for the future etc). These should be always introduced from the customer’s perspective – focus on the benefits your new features can deliver to customers. Such posts shouldn’t take up more than 30% of your overall content.
- Company news (participation at conferences, awards, anniversaries, events, people in your team) must contribute to building your company’s reputation and credibility.
- Trending topics in your industry. Research what’s hot in your industry – this is likely to be interesting for your customers. Browse your competitors’ blogs and check which of their posts performed well. Go to Google Trends, Google News, Buzzsumo and digg and quality magazines in your industry to see what’s been trending recently. For example, we monitor what Forbes, Entrepreneur, CustomerThink, Smashing Magazine, Business 2 Community etc have to say about customer success and sales.
- Blog posts that provide value and resolve customer pain points – this is an extremely important content category that wins your customers’ trust by giving them the answers that they’re looking for – and eventually converts them.
Choose the right topics for your value blog posts
This is where your audience profile is very important. To hit the target, ask yourself:
- what common problems and challenges are your customers frequently faced with?
- what might be their business goals and ambitions?
- what are their areas of interests, fears, risks?
In your blog post, don’t wander around and present mere information. You should provide a framework for solving a problem.
Also, don’t dive too far into the areas of business that you don’t cover. The information you give needs at least to some extent be related to the products or services you provide.
To convert readers into paying customers with content, you must understand why people decide to buy a product.
Write according to customers’ buying decisions
People’s decisions to reach for their wallets are based on 3 questions they ask themselves:
1. What’s in it FOR ME? Illustrate how your product will help them:
- earn more and spend less
- learn something new
- achieve business growth
- avoid mistakes
- resolve problems
- simplify workflow
2. Why should I buy it from YOU? Your writing must instill confidence in your target audience. Be clear about:
- what differentiates you from competitors, why you’re better
- why your company is trustworthy and reliable
- how you guarantee that you’ll live up to your promises and won’t rip them off.
That’s why blog content created for conversion tends to be long-form – it gives you more time to engage readers, earn their trust, and demonstrate that you have the product or service that meets their needs.
3. Why should I buy it NOW? Building a sense of urgency is the trickiest task. Illustrate why it is imperative to deal with the problem as soon as possible.
For example, after analyzing our customers’ needs and paint points we, at Help Crunch, focus on creating blog posts about
- enhancing customer support and customer success
- startups (a lot of our customers are SMBs and startups)
- boosting online sales
- recruiting perfect live chat staff
- improving customer engagement and retention
- converting free trials into paying customers,
- building an effective online store and so on
Don’t be overly promotional
Yes, the overall goal of the blog is to sell. But does this mean that every single blog post should be aimed at immediately turning a reader into a customer? Not necessarily.
It can be a brick in the foundation of trust between you and them and contribute to winning the customer in the long term. Trust is the second step in the buying process described earlier and it’s earned gradually.
Anyway, avoid hard sell in your copy. An ideal sales text should be largely based upon advice and selling should be only its natural outcome.
Don’t give all the answers
Providing value is crucial but don’t give away everything. After reading your post, customers should be happy they’ve gained useful information but should want to learn more or get further assistance by completing a certain action, like subscribing to your blog newsletter, downloading a demo, signing up for a free trial, or buying your product.
If you want to grow your blog audience, you need to post on a consistent basis and maintain fresh content. That’s why once you’ve got the hang of writing on a regular basis, start timing your blog posts.
As for the day when a day to publish a blog post, Hubspot, which analyzed 170,000 blogs, found out that Mondays and Thursdays are the best days for publishing.
That’s all for now on planning your content. In the next post, we’ll concentrate on content creation, i.e. on how to make your text readable and compelling. Subscribe to our blog not to miss it out 🙂