Outside of “How often should we be blogging?” the second most frequently asked content marketing question I get asked is, “What should we blog about?” The secret sauce to any successful Inbound Marketing strategy is two-fold: 1) create great content that people like to read, and 2) create content that works as marketing (read: gets found in search).
I will address question number one in a subsequent article. But today I’m going to answer the “what do we blog about” question because that’s the real stumbling block people tend to run into.
Obviously any great article starts with compelling content. The secret to creating compelling content is to focus on the needs and desires of your target audience. Most companies don’t do this until they start thinking about the sales cycle, but really your sales cycle begins with the first contact someone has with you. That’s what Inbound Marketing is all about (delivering value from touch one) and that’s where great content begins.
This very instant, your ideal prospects and future clients are online seeking answers to the exact problems that you solve for them. Professor of Harsh Reality says: They’re either going to find you, or they’re going to find your competitor. So, your job is to get your high-value, solution-oriented content in front of them before anyone else does.
Think of your content as the vehicle that carries a prospect all the way through the sales process so that they can sell themselves on your product or service before they ever contact you. The higher the value of your content, and the better you research their problems and desires, the shorter your sales cycle becomes.
The real key is creating compelling content that’s worth linking to and sharing. Then you simply need to get the word out via social media, email marketing and other means. Think: Great storytelling that entertains and educates in a meaningful way.
Some things I recommend doing to start the ball rolling are:
Create a top 10 list of frequently asked questions. From there, you can create your first several topics.
Stay relevant by researching top trends. I like to use http://www.google.com/trends/
Create compelling, keyword-optimized titles that are between 40-70 characters in length. I love this article from Heather Lloyd-Martin on creating eye-ball grabbing headlines from tried-and-true headline archetypes.
Some SEO-friendly and compelling headlines for a resort or B&B, for example, would be:
[your city] History and Geography
[your area] End of Summer Events
Romantic Places in [your city]
3 Surprising Reasons You Must Visit [your area]
Visit These [your area] Attractions During Your Vacation
After I get the initial draft done, and I feel it’s compelling enough for someone to click on it and read, I always like to go back through to ensure I’m using important keywords when I write an article.
Research related keywords. Hubspot has a great article on how to do keyword research. I like it because it touches on how to write SEO friendly articles, how to compose your call to action, and how to create social media posts that are also SEO friendly: You can read it here.
Finally, begin with the end in mind. Meaning: what action do you want someone to take as a result of reading your post? Make sure it’s clear and easy — and of course, compelling.
Need more inspiration? Check out these “How-To” examples from HubSpot:
- How to Write a Blog Post: A Simple Formula to Follow
- How to Do Keyword Research: A Beginner’s Guide
- How to Write an Effective Meta Description (Yes, They Still Matter)