Another week and another blog! “What’s the point?” you might ask, and it would be a fair question. At least it would be if you are in a 20th century mindset that says all marketing is about sending out offers to immediately impact your P&L; If you believe that marketing is all about pushing tactical activity out to deliver sales spikes – short term income in the hope of building to an exit that is based on long term equity.
Blogs don’t deliver sales spikes, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t support long-term growth. If I think about our blogs from Focus7, nothing could be further from our minds than sales spikes. We use our blogs to keep you up to date with trends, to talk about things that we are doing that we think you might want to engage with, to give you ideas and to stimulate thought processes. We talk about the problems that we encounter and how we go about addressing them and share content that we believe is relevant to you.
We never try to sell anything to you – we want you to get to know us and to engage with us. We believe that if you like what we write, if the problems, pain points and issues that we address resonate with you, and if you consider that we will have the answers to these, you’ll contact us when you need to. After all, who wants to be sold to?
I don’t suggest that makes us unique, it’s a fairly typical blog content strategy, so I was interested to read the results of a survey that HubSpot has just carried out with 300 of their customers.
Now remember, the purpose of blogs is not selling, it is building personal and business brand recognition, educating, entertaining or stimulating.
So you might be surprised to discover that over half of the people surveyed, in fact 56% of respondents, said that they had purchased from a company after reading their blogs.
This proves a point – people don’t buy because you try to sell to them, they buy when you align with their emotional journey. They will come to you when they can recognise empathy, see you understand their pain points, worries and concerns and that you can help to solve them.
Maybe the best way to put it is that blogs do not drive sales, but they do position you and your business and encourage your contacts to purchase when it’s appropriate for them. That is why blogs should be an essential part of your marketing mix.
If you are not sure about how to put a blog together, here are 10 top tips for writing effective blogs.
- Think about your target market and try to create a persona, a typical person, that you are writing for. This will help you to shape the content and your tone of voice.
- Try to come up with an attractive header image and a catchy title.
- Do not sell! Use blogs to build trust and confidence in you and your business.
- Demonstrate your understanding of your target market’s pain points and their emotional journey.
- Ensure your blog aligns with your purpose, and emphasises your personal and/or your business brand values.
- Remember blogs are an essential element of your SEO and lead generation strategy. Include keywords and phrases that your target market is searching for, but remember that Google searches for context in your content.
- You can make blogs as long as you like but people generally have limited time to read them. Up to 800 words is generally enough.
- A picture speaks a thousand words, so include images and video content in your blogs.
- Include a call to action. What do you want people to do? If you want them to call or email you, include your details. If you want them to visit your website, include links to it.
- Use your blogs to support your wider communication strategy – include a summary in your email and snippets on social media, linking to the full blog on your website.
And here’s a bonus eleventh tip… You don’t have to write new content all of the time, but it is good practice to establish a routine of posting regular blogs if you can.
If you struggle to write blogs yourself, delegate within your team or outsource to someone like Focus7 who can help.
David Langdown is co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer of Focus7, a purpose-driven, brand-led growth agency. David has been a Fellow of the Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing since 2003. He has an Advanced Professional Diploma in Psychotherapeutic Counselling and is a practising counsellor.